Thursday, March 08, 2007

A boy who will go far...

Yesterday I met a lad who is going to go a long long way. The sort of person who, as you scan the list of Australia's richest, you see his name and mutter, "I knew him when he was young, and I'm not surprised."

There was a knock on our door, and after rushing about, checking t-shirt for stains and locating tracksuit pants, I opened it to find the little blonde cherub from next door. He is five.

"Would you like some of my toys?" he asked. Blinking innocently, and offering up a small wooden box, full of tatty odds and ends, various doll limbs and bits of string.
"Oh, well, are you sure you don't want to keep them?" I say.
"No, I want to give them to someone," he replies and my heart melts.
"Okay, well we would love to have them."
I fully intend to return them to his mother next time I see her.
"Great!" He says, losing the sad puppy expression. "That'll be $50."
I squat to his level. "I'm very sorry, but we can't afford $50 at the moment..."
He looks a little crestfallen at this, but rallies strongly. "That's okay, you can have them for $10."
"Er, um, er, we can't afford $10," I say, completely pathetically. Desperatly wondering how the hell I'm going to get out of this one. He isn't fooled. All grown-ups can afford $10 says his contemptuous expression. I feel small, very very small.
"Right, you can have this for fifty cents." He waves a headless doll at me.
Oh God.

At this point I am saved. His Dad pokes his head over the fence (I swear he'd been listening on the other side all along), and then comes and removes his protesting offspring.
"Twenty cents, just twenty cents..." he cries as he is hauled away by his father.

My children will never be like that!!

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