They sat and chewed for a while. Toby knew the questions Jack wanted to ask but wasn’t completely ready to answer them. Jack had a question he wanted to ask but had been raised to believe the question was inappropriate. So they chewed their food in silence.
With just a little juice left in his glass and his sandwich completely gone Jack blurted out his question, “why does it do that?”
Toby understood the question but asked, “What do what?”
“Why does the grain in your field, and only your field, grow blue stocks with red grain?” It took a lot for Jack to get the question out; he had heard Toby reacted badly when people asked it.
Toby didn’t care for the answer so he asked, “what have you heard?”
“Some people say you have a special spray you put on the ground that you will not share, others say it’s a special seed, I’ve even heard you’re from outer space.”
“Which do you think is right?” asked Toby as he finished the last bite of his red bread and chicken sandwich.
Jack grinned and said, “I’m pretty sure you’re from outer space,” but the smile on his face said he didn’t believe that at all.
“Well,” said Toby with a big pause and then a deep breath, “You’re not going to like the answer but I want you to know the truth.” Toby just sat there on the steps looking at Jack like he was the grandkid he had never had.
Jack waited a little longer than the proper time and then said, “Well?”
“I don’t know,” Toby watched the disappointment displayed on Jack’s face. “Sorry, it’s not an answer I like either. If it makes you feel any better it is what my father told me.”
“It can’t be the seed you use, there would be some regular wheat mixed in at the edges of the field and a few of your seeds would jump across to the other fields. There is none, not even one stock.” Toby let Jack think while he finished his juice. Toby had left this question behind a long time ago. “Can’t be something plowed into the soil or sprayed for the same reason; you just couldn’t keep the edges that straight.” Toby leaned back on the steps and enjoyed Jack’s thought process. “Has to be a beam from outer space,” Jack concluded.
“Well, I’ve never seen it,” Toby used the handrail next to the steps to help himself up. “Want to turn over some of that blue hay so it can dry?”
Jack watched the wheels on the hay rake spin. The hay turned its moist, bottom side, toward the sun. Jack tried to find a reason for the blue hay until his head hurt. Finally he surrendered to the unknown and lost himself in thoughtless passes back and forth across the field for the rest of the afternoon.