You’re strolling down the city market one day, when a tall, well-dressed man in a dark suit blocks your way. “Psst!” he says, “I have a great proposition for ya!” He takes you aside into a small but swanky shop, where he has you seated on a nice couch, orders someone to fetch you a cool drink, and explains that he has these magic beans that are of immense value. You’re skeptical but intrigued, and ask, “Ok, so what do they do?”. “Oh!” he says, “These beans are absolutely amazing! Take a look at these smooth shiny edges and the roundness…so perfect and balanced!”
He then proceeds to tell you the story of his aunt who struggled to raise him, and how thrilled she was when he acquired these magic beans for her. By the end of the story, he seems almost tearful and lost in thought. You’re a bit confused, as you have a vague sense that he didn’t answer the question, but you decide to bite. “Alright, how much are you selling them for?” For a second, he gives you a puzzled look, and then exclaims, “Oh! I’m sorry, I’m not actually selling these. Did I mention I bought these for my aunt? My poor aunt passed away last month, and I shall keep these in her memory. And anyway, these are the last few beans in my possession, and they’re all the rage today. Why, even my lazy neighbor Joe managed to get hold of some. I have to say, I’m so glad you caught this train just in time! The price of these beans is going to skyrocket. There’s no doubt about it!”
Now you’re more confused than ever, even a bit flummoxed. “Listen, if you don’t want to sell these magic beans, then why am I here?” He sighs and shakes his head. “Listen, friend, it’s so hard to come across honest and hardworking people these days, and it breaks my heart that opportunities like these pass you by while people like Joe become rich.” (You’re reminded of one of your co-workers that you always despised.) He continues, “I want to help you, I really do, and I hope to God I’m not too late! I know a guy…they call him Jack…he can acquire more of these magic beans for you. He’s a bit…difficult, but I’m sure I can persuade him — for you — to part with a few. I mean, it’s only fair that you get a share of this pie, and he’s a reasonable guy.”
You chitchat for a bit longer. Once or twice, you attempt to talk more seriously about what the magic beans actually do, but he has all these interesting stories to tell about the history of the beans that it’s hard to keep up. At some point, he enthusiastically brings out a chart showing the trading price of the beans — a closely guarded secret, apparently — and how it’s gone through many ups and downs, but has been zooming up over the past year. “This is it, this is the year we’re going to become millionaires!” he says joyously and laughs uproariously. The laughter is infectious and you can’t help joining in.
You eventually head home, but not before promising to follow up on buying a dozen or so of the beans. Once you get home, you look them up on the Internet and find a great many stories of people getting rich, but very little that explains what the magic beans actually do. But the guy was right: there did seem to be a lot of people who had managed to get their hands on these beans, and were thrilled to have them. Surely, they couldn’t all be wrong? You try to call up your local authorities to ask about magic beans, but they’re surly and unhelpful, except to remind you that you’d better account for them in your tax returns when you become rich.
You eventually get in touch with Jack over the phone, and he hums and haws for a bit before finally agreeing to sell a dozen magic beans to you for the special discounted price of $1300 per bean. He is reluctant, but admits that it’s for a good cause. “Spread the joy, my friend!” he says, before promising the beans would arrive by registered mail within a week.
When the magic beans finally arrive, you’re so relieved! For a few days there, you’d begun to wonder if it was all a scam. But now you can touch and feel the magic beans in your hand. Such smooth edges, beautiful, balanced…and indeed, the price had only gone up over the past week.