Mai Mung Bean
Mai Mung Bean has come from Asia. It’s a long way to Plantwell City. She lives with her sprouts in a window box at the top of Haricot House. Far below she can see roads and houses and lots of people. It makes her feel quite small and lonely. In the distance she can see some trees. It is Plantation Park.
She decides to take her sprouts to the park. Perhaps she can find some friends for them all there. In the park she can hear music playing, and see people dancing. Mai likes the sound of music so she follows the banging and twanging and tootling towards a bandstand. “That looks like a good place to meet people,” she thinks.
Along the way she meets a small round person with red hair. It is Calum Coconut. “Hello,” says Mai. “My name is Mai Mung Bean. My friends call me Mai. We are new here, how do you do?” Calum looks at her but says nothing and keeps walking. “Perhaps he is in a hurry to listen to the music,” Mai says to the sprouts, “Let’s try somewhere else.”
Mai sees someone selling sandwiches at the bandstand. It is Walter Cress. “Hello”, says Mai. My name is Mai Mung Bean. These are my sprouts. What is your name?” But Walter carries on selling. “I expect he is too busy to talk”, says Mai to the sprouts.
Then Mai sees a very extraordinary person listening to the band. He is big and purple and is wearing a green spiky hat. “Hello,” says Mai, “I’m Mai Mung Bean. How do you do?” The very extraordinary person looks down at her. He has a kind purple voice to go with his smooth purple skin. “Yes?” he says, “and I am Mr Aubrey Aubergine. Can I help you?”
Mai explains that she is new to Seed City and wants to make new friends for her and her family. “The trouble is, everyone seems so busy. Nobody will talk to me. Do you think it is because I am different? I am small and green. Everyone is so big here, like you.”
“I don’t think so,” says Aubrey. “I felt like that when I first arrived. People thought I was posh, and I do rather stand out!” He smiled and shone in the sunlight. “I have lots of friends now. I suggest you go over there,” says Aubrey pointing to a colourful building. It has writing all over the walls, and a big red roof. A sign over the door says Community Hall.
“Always something going on there. Always need new people to help out. Be there myself later. Got to go. I’m meeting my friend, Baba Ghanoush, for lunch.” And with a cheery wave off he goes. Mai thinks, “He seems very nice. So, the Community Hall is the place to meet people.”
Inside the Community Hall there are lots of tables, all around the walls. Every table has a sign above it, like ‘Baking’, ‘Re-cycling’, ‘Swap’, ‘Allotment’ and ‘Face Painting’. Mai reads the signs out loud to the sprouts, but they are gone, happily running in and out of the tables, with all the other little ones. One table has a tent with a long queue of people waiting to go inside. A sign says “Sal Ad the Mysterious”. Mai is very curious and she joins the queue.
Inside Mai finds someone dressed in a fantastic suit of different colours. It is Aubrey Aubergine. “Well, hello again Mai Mung Bean!” says Aubrey.
“Where is Sal Ad the Mysterious?” says Mai. “I am he,” chuckles Aubrey, “It is my stage name: I’m also known as Salata the Greek and Signor Insalata. I’m looking for ingredients for my new act. Would you like to join?
Mai thinks this sounds very exciting, but is worried about leaving her sprouts.
“Bring them too,” says Aubrey” “They’re so full of life: along with ‘The Flying Adukis’ they’ll be my stars. Sal Ad the Mysterious’s shows are always fantastic, but with them it will be amazing. And you’ll meet hundreds of new friends, at every performance. What do you say?”
Do you know what Mai said?
© Andrew Gold