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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of “All that Glitters is Not Gold” (without using the actual phrase or literal example). (01/24/08)

TITLE: Pretty Please?
By Mo


“Can I have it Mom? Can I? Please!”

“We’ve been through this before Billy. That rocket is way too expensive. If you really want it, you can save up your allowance until you have enough money to buy it yourself.”

Billy sighed. “Okay.” He reluctantly put the Super-Duper Xtra Special Gyro-Rocket III back on the shelf.


“Can I have it Mom? Can I? Please?”

“I thought you wanted that Super-Duper Rocket thing?”

“Oh, yeah.”

“You can’t have everything you know. You have to decide what you want most.”

“I want the Super-Duper Gyro-Rocket, definitely. Everyone has one. They’re awesome.”

“You know, I read some reviews of that thing online and…”

“Enough with the reviews Mom, Eddie has one. It’s awesome.”


Six months later Mom took Billy to the store for his big purchase.

“That will be $69.99,” said the cashier.

“You did good Billy. You saved your money for a long time. Are you sure it’s worth it, the reviews online said…,” said Mom.

“I have to have this. Everybody has one, even Buffy. They’re awesome.”

“Are you sure?”

“Of course I’m sure!”

“I see that telescope you wanted is on sale…”

“I’m getting the rocket -- today.”


Not long after they got home Billy ran into the house crying. “Mom, it’s broken, it just broke, the very first day,” sobbed Billy.

“I’m sorry honey, maybe Daddy can fix it.”

“Did I hear someone call my name?” Billy’s father strolled up the front walk.

“Dad, this dumb rocket just broke. I only played with it for like ten minutes -- and I wasn’t being rough with it, honest.”

“Well, let’s see…” Daddy tinkered with the Super-Duper Xtra Special Gyro-Rocket III. After some time he sighed and said, “I’m sorry son, I’m afraid it’s pretty banged up. Maybe the store will take it back.”

“I doubt it,” said Mom. “They’ll just say he didn’t follow the directions properly or something. The reviews I read said this can happen -- and that the company has lousy customer service. I doubt they’ll send him another one…”

Billy looked up at his mom, “Why didn’t you tell me?”

“I tried to…”

“Dumb toy, I only launched it once. I wish I’d gotten that telescope instead. It wouldn’t have been so boring either.”

“Boring?” asked Mom.

“Yeah, this dumb Rocket just flies up into the air and crashes to the ground. The parachute thing didn’t work at all. The telescope would be awesome. Can we go get that instead, right now?”

“Maybe for your birthday,” said Mom.

“But that’s months away!” Billy wailed.

“Actually, it’s about six weeks away. I know that seems like a long time. And you saved up for the Super-Duper Rocket for so long. I’m sorry honey.” Billy’s Mom gave him a quick hug. “It was your choice. You know, I tried to tell you, some of the reviews I read said this Gyro thing didn’t always work right.”

Billy stared at the ground, wiping his tears on his shirt.

“The telescope is actually a little cheaper,” said Mom. ”Maybe we can splurge, for your birthday.” She winked at Billy’s Dad.

“But, you’ll have to have a smaller party,” said Dad.

“That’s okay,” said Billy. “I wouldn’t want all the girls to come anyway.”

Mom grinned.

“You know, just because everyone else has one doesn’t meant it’s so great,” said Dad.

“I know,” said Billy as he wiped his runny nose on his shirt sleeve. “I know…” He kicked the useless Super-Duper Xtra Special Gyro-Rocket III. “Worthless piece of junk…”

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Member Comments
Member Date
Beth LaBuff 02/03/08
Your descriptions are good in this heart-breaking lesson for Billy. (it's an excellent adult lesson too). Good work on this perfect illustration of the topic.
Joanne Sher 02/04/08
I really enjoyed this. This felt SO accurate - and this doesn't just happen with kids. :)

If it were me, I might have ended this a few sentences up - you don't really need to "explain" the lesson he learned - you showed it above. Maybe ending with mom grinning would have been fine.

Great title too - enjoyed this piece.
Colin Swann02/04/08
It's a good thing that some of the glittery things of life let us down. Helps us to get our priorities right. Good message right on topic.
I think you must have enjoyed writing this. Thanks!