DAY 13: Grumpy Geese Go For Gold...

Joshiam the wood-man had tough skin. The kind of skin that could double as a spartan shield or protect astronauts from the roaring flames of their rocket ships. He worked hard, but Joshiam's problem lay not in his thick skin, but in his affinity for chocolate. He saw chocolate in everything, even wood. This posed a problem on the job but also created a daunting ravine in his home life. Jo's wife Joshmeda hated chocolate with all her heart, but her love for the man with the thick skin propelled her into acceptance. Meda, as Jo called her, hated everything chocolate stood for, from Halloween to Christmas, birthdays to graduations, easter to coco day there would only exist one single hint of happiness from Meda when the milky sweet aroma of a fermented cocoa bean was near, Joshiam.

Meda was born with a condition. Upon entering the world, the doctor held her up by one chubby leg, slapped her butt, and with the inevitable double take, his eyes reflected a glowing purple bean. This was the sign all parents feared. She had Beanitis, a rare condition resulting in a merging of all bean flavors. As the old wives saying goes, "where there is one bean, all beans can be found." Meda's condition set her back quite a bit, but with Jo's help, she had begun to learn to appreciate the flavors she could taste.

Like any successful relationship, Jo was allowed a workshop to keep his "tools" separate from their home life. A place that the common man might call a "man cave." This was where Jo spent his nights tinkering with secret projects which Meda accepted as woodwork. She had never been inside because she felt that Jo should have his own space, but lately, his work held him deep into the night, the sounds of saws grinding, and the bubbling of wood glue consuming the still silence of darkness.

Meda's trust in Jo was always steadfast, but lately, the stench of burnt beans had begun to permeate from his standard-issue overalls. Jo claimed, of course, that the smell was that of Trickle Tree wood, a rare flora that produced a protective grain with a strength that rivaled his own skin. "It's best for ladder making, but I can't seem to get it right," Jo would always say, and Meda knew ladders were the source of his wood-pride. He needed them for wood collection and his skill in making them was unmatched.

Ancient wood lore stated that a ladder crafted with the wood of the Trickle Tree was impervious to superstitions, but that once ascended, the maker would never be compelled to come back down. This instilled a complacent fear in Meda, but she continued to see the twinkle that set up camp in Jo's eyes and decided he should be left to pursue his passions.