Authors: Annie Barrows
Bean sighed. She was unfamous and unimportant. There had to be some way she could fix that.
ON YOUR MARK, GET SET, YIKES!
The first 40 straws were easy-peasy. Bean stuck them all in her mouth at once. Then she opened another box of straws. “Uhhhr,” she said to Ivy, pointing.
“More? Are you sure?” asked Ivy.
Bean nodded. “Ooo-uwer hihy-eh-uh,” she grunted, which meant two hundred fifty-seven.
Ivy pulled a straw out of the box and shoved it into Bean’s mouth, but she accidentally shoved too hard, and the straw scraped the back of Bean’s throat. “Hhha-
“ choked Bean, and the straws sprayed across the kitchen floor.
Ivy winced. “Sorry.”
“Ow.” Bean’s eyes were watering. She looked at the straws all over the kitchen and thought about Mary Anning. She wasn’t a quitter, and neither was Bean. She began to pick up the straws. Ivy helped.
Once again, she shoved 40 straws in her mouth, and, very carefully, Ivy pushed in one more. Forty-one. Forty-two. Forty-three. The girls were working so hard that they didn’t hear Bean’s dad come into the kitchen. Forty-four.
“Hi, Ivy. Hi—Bean, what have you got in your mouth?” Bean’s dad said, staring.
“Awww,” said Bean.
“Straws,” said Ivy helpfully. “She’s breaking a world record.”
“Excellent,” Bean’s dad said, leaning over to see better. “How many does she need to get in there?”
“Two hundred and fifty-seven,” said Ivy. She looked at Bean.
“How many does she have in now?”
Her father didn’t say anything, but Bean knew what he was thinking. It was no good. She was never going to get 257 straws in her mouth. Sadly, she pulled the straws out. “I’ll never break a world’s record.” She handed the spitty straws to her father.
“Thanks a lot,” said Dad. “Maybe there’s a different record you could break.”
“Like what?” asked Bean. “I can’t walk on my hands.”
Bean’s dad glanced at the sink. He hadn’t washed the breakfast dishes yet. “Why don’t you set the record for fast dish washing?” he said, smiling. “That would be a good one.”
Bean ran to get the book. There were no
records for fastest dishwasher. “This is going to be a piece of cake,” said Bean, looking at the counter piled with plates.
“You could do it slowly and still break the record,” said Ivy.
“It’ll be better to do it fast,” said Bean. “Super-fast. Then no one will ever break my record.”
Her father began to look a little worried. “Maybe this isn’t a very good idea.”
“Dad, every day, you and Mom tell me I have to wash the dishes,” said Bean, “and now, when I finally want to, you say it’s not a good idea.” She shook her head. Grown-ups were so weird.
“Well,” said her dad, “okay. But be careful.”
What was he talking about? She was always careful. Bean began running nice warm water in the sink. She squirted out a big jet of soap, and mountains of bubbles grew. “Keep your eyes peeled,” she said to Ivy. “You’ll probably only see a blur.”
Bean’s father ran his hands through his hair. “Couldn’t you grow the longest finger-nails instead?” he asked.
“Takes too long. You’re the official timekeeper, Ivy,” said Bean as the water gushed. “And Dad, you have to take a picture of me when I’m done. With all the shiny clean plates.”
“Sure,” said her dad.
“I’m going to do all these plates in five
minutes,” said Bean. “Got that? Five minutes.”
“Okay,” said Ivy, looking at the clock. “On your mark. Get set. Go!”
Bean grabbed a plate and plunged it into the water. Wipe, wipe, wipe. She rinsed it in the next-door sink. Rinse, rinse, rinse. She put it in the dish rack. Okay. Next plate.
Wipe, wipe, wipe.
Rinse, rinse, rinse.
“How am I doing?”
“One minute gone,” said Ivy.
Wow. Bean looked at the pile of plates. She would have to hurry. Quickly, she put two plates in the soap and wiped them. Quickly, she rinsed them. Rack! Again!
Wipe! Rinse! Rack! Again!
Wipe! Rinse! Rack! Again!
Wipe! Rinse! Rack! Again!
“How many more minutes?” yelled Bean as she scrubbed.
“You’ve got half a minute left,” said Ivy.
“Oh no!” Frantically, Bean took two more plates and plunged them in the soap. Zip, she wiped them. Zip, she put them in the clean water. Dish rack!
“Only ten more seconds!” called Ivy. There was one more plate left! Bean whizzed it into the soap and shook it. Hurry! She whizzed it into the clean water. Hurry!
“One more second!”
Bean panicked. “YAH!” she screeched, hurling the plate at the dish rack. It flew over the rack and crashed to the floor, shattering into a million pieces.
There was a stunned silence. Ivy, Bean, and Bean’s dad stared at the little bits of plate sprinkled over the floor.
Finally, Bean spoke. “Did I do it in five minutes?”
Ivy shook her head. No.
WHAT A SCREAM
When Bean’s older sister, Nancy, wanted her room painted yellow, Bean’s mother said that Bean could pick out a new color for her room, too. Bean picked green. Not light, sweet green. Deep, rich green the color of emeralds. Everyone told her she would get tired of it, but she hadn’t. Bean loved her room. It was small and cozy: her bed was in one corner, her toy box in another, her dresser in a third, and, best of all, her basket chair was in the fourth. She liked to sit in her chair and pretend that she was an ape-girl living in a jungle tree house. She had made a lot of pictures of jungle
animals and stuck them on the wall. The best was the toucan.
“We could draw,” said Ivy, looking at the pictures. “We could draw dinosaurs.”
“I don’t want to draw. I want to break a world record,” said Bean. “Don’t you?”
Ivy shrugged. “Not really. Seems like a lot of work for nothing. I don’t want spoons all over my face.”
“But then you’d be famous,” said Bean.
“But I don’t care if I’m famous for spoons on my face. If I’m going to be famous, I want to be famous for something important, like Mary Anning.”
Bean shook her head. Spoons would be fine with her. But spoons were taken. Bean stared at her green wall and tried to get an idea. Ivy lay down on Bean’s bed and tried to imagine finding an ichthyosaur. Quiet minutes went by.
“Hey!” said Bean.
Ivy looked at her.
“I’ve got a great idea!” said Bean. This was going to be easy. “I’m good at screaming, and I’m good at breaking things, right?”
“I guess so.”
“I’ll break a glass by screaming,” said Bean. “I’ll be the youngest person ever to do it.”
“What? You scream and throw a glass?” Ivy looked confused. “You already did that with a plate.”
“No—the scream breaks the glass. This lady in the book did it. She screamed so loud that a wine glass shattered. But she was old. I could probably scream louder because I’m young. I’ll be a record breaker.”