Jack and Jill went up the hill to fetch a pail of water.
“Nice pail!” Jack turned to see who’d interrupted his tempo.
“And you are…” he said, raising one eyebrow like he’d seen the Cheshire cat do.
“Jack!” the boy nearly shouted. “Jack! Don’t you remember Jack? I’m Jack! You know, Ma Hubbard’s nephew? It’s me! You and I and Jill and Gretel, the Black Sheep?”
“Oh crap” Jack said apologetically, “It IS you! I didn’t recognize you in the farmer outfit! Nice mustache buddy! So what are you doin now? Did you and Gretel ever get married?”
Jack the other laughed. “Oh hell no” he said with a twinkle in his eye; “she went back to that creep Hansel. I should have listened to you guys. Once you bake a witch together you’re kind of traumatically tied I guess.”
Jill touched Jack the other’s shoulder. “So nice to see you Jack, I’ve missed being surrounded by Jack all.”
“Yea, there are a lot of us aren’t there. I wonder what ever happened to Sprat?”
“Heart attack” said Jack the hill climber as he turned to Jill for affirmation; “he died last year I believe didn’t he honey?”
“Yup” replied Jill, “September, right after his wife passed away.”
“Heart attack” cried Jack the other; “I thought he ate really healthily!”
“Well he did” said Jack the former hesitantly; “at least he ate no fat, but his diet was sorely lacking in omega 3 fatty acids and, well, you know. Who knew?”
“Wow, what a shame” said Jack the farmer looking guy.
Jack the water boy shook his head in empathy. “Yea, life’s a bummer sometimes. Say listen bud, I gotta go get this water. It was great meeting you like this, I love serendipity. How’s about we do lunch sometime?”
“Hang on a sec” said the other Jack, “before you take off let’s talk about your pail!”
“What about it?”
“It’s a really nice one.”
“It’s just a pail man, how nice could it be?”
“Well, I mean, I could sure use that pail.”
“You’re kidding right? What would you want with a pail?
And so Jack the latter told Jack the former and his constant companion Jill the sad story about Milky-White the cow and his trading her for a bag of beans, and how his mother hadn’t fed him for days but how at least when she’d thrown the beans out the window he’d scurried outside and picked them all up, in case he’d need to make soup later to keep from starving to death.
“Cool story Jack” said Jill, all googly eyed, much to Jack the former’s chagrin.
“Yea, cool story” agreed Jack though slightly sarcastically so as to show his disapproval of any fawning. “But what’s that got to do with my pail?”
“Well see” started Jack the cow trader, “our pail rusted right through a couple months ago, and ever since ma’s had me fetching water from the well with only my hands. Do you have any idea how long it takes to fill ma’s bathtub with water cupped in your hands and run across the yard? Besides, if I came home with something worth more than a bunch of vegetable seeds, maybe mom would stop beating me!”
“Gods” squealed Jill, “you’re such a wonderful son!”
“Shuttup Jill” Jack the first mentioned snarled, “remember who butters your bread!” He turned to Jack. “In spite of my girlfriend’s obvious desire to spend some quality time with you, I’m willing to forgo my notorious jealousy and sell you the pail. After all, I’ve done a lot of research and nowhere in the world’s lore is an accounting of just who I’m getting this damned water for; and while we can assume I have parents and it’s they who I’d disappoint by returning with not only no water, but pail-less to boot, I can honestly say I’ve been up and down this freakin hill so many times I just don’t give a shit anymore. So… how much would you give me for it?”
Jack the poverty stricken hung his dust covered head. “I’m afraid I have no money Jack. Perhaps you missed that part in my story. Now that the cow is gone, we don’t even have a proverbial pot to… well you know.”
Jack the bargainer was undeterred. “Ok, what else ya got? How’s about those jeans? I could always use a new pair of overalls!”
“I’m sorry Jack” Jack muttered. “I go commando you see, and I’d be traumatized by stripping naked in front of the lovely girl you call your own in spite of the fact that she obviously wants me.”
“I’ll ignore that last part” said Jack of the soon to be broken crown, “because we’re friends, and because it’s probably true anyway. Ok then, no jeans, what else ya got?”
“All I have” said Jack the bargainee sadly, “is this bag of beans. Honestly Jack, if I had anything else I’d throw it in for sure!”
“Beans huh” muttered Jack of the upper hand. “Just a bag of beans…”
“Not just any bag of beans certainly” added Jack of spiteful mother fame, “They’re MAGIC beans!”
“Magic!” shouted Jack the guy trying to do a good deed in spite of his friends attempts to make it damn near impossible; “I LOVE magic! Gimme them beans and take this heavy assed stupid pail, we got a deal!!!”