Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: CANDY (04/28/16)
TITLE: Licorice Sticks
By Raymond Bouchoc
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“I’m not askin’! You ask!”
“I’m not askin’! Mark. You ask! You’re good at that kinda thing.”
“I don’t wanna ask!”
“Well, one of us has to ask!”
They un-huddled, and looked longingly through the window. Tom turned to Mark, who was standing in the middle. With a plea of desperation in his voice he said, “Come, on, Mark. You gotta ask!”
Mark bent his head down, and with a resigned and sad voice, the kind of sad that comes from having to do something you really don’t want to do. He said slowly, “Ok, I’ll ask.”
The store clerk watched the three of them through the window, and their agitated discussion. He didn’t know exactly what was going on, but he had an inkling.
They entered the store and walked to the counter. Sheepishly, Mark looked up without much lifting his head.
Mr. Brown, the clerk, smiled.
“Mister,” Mark stammered, while Tom and Billy stood closely at his back. “Me and my friends, well, we only have a nickel each. Is there any way we can get some of that candy? Please?” All three looked up with wide-eyed anticipation.
Mr. Brown looked down at the boys. He remembered being a little boy himself, in the exact same boat. These boys were good boys. They never fussed and always respected their elders. A little tug pulled on his heart. They made him think of his own little boy, too, when he was their age. Yes, they were good little boys.
“Well, now, boys. Usually it takes a little more than a nickel for some of this fine candy you see up here. But I believe that I have the right to put them on sale, now and again, if I want. I think we can have us a deal for some of these licorice sticks.”
First, their mouths dropped open. Then, in unison, they jumped up and down with glee, whooping and patting each other on the back.
Mr. Brown made his way around the counter carrying the jar of licorice sticks. The boys hurried up to him, unable to contain their excitement.
“Go ahead and take one out for each of you.”
The boys could barely control themselves as they tried to grab licorice sticks at the same time. Mr. Brown chuckled with pleasure.
As they joyously fled the store, each yelled back at the clerk, “Thank you.”
“Thank you, mister.”
They were gone. At least for today they were gone. They’d be back, and Mr. Brown couldn’t wait.
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