By Violet Moss
“That’s wonderful, Mark, darling!” said Sarah, “Promotion, at last.”
“Well, I worked hard for it, Sarah,” Mark replied, “but it will mean I’ll be working at home during the evenings and at weekends. I will have to use the spare room to install a phone and computer and fax.”
“But, Mark, the boys use that room as their play room” Sarah complained.
“Well, they will have to move out and make do with their bedroom to play in, won’t they,” Mark said, irritably.
“But, their bedroom is so tiny, there is hardly any room in there for them to play.”
“There’s no other way, Sarah, we haven’t another room. This is a very important promotion for me, and it’s important for our future, and our boys’ future too, don’t forget.”
“I suppose your right,” said Sarah sighing, “I’ll start moving their toys out straight away, before they get home from school.”
“That’s the idea,” Mark encouraged, “we have to start the way we mean to carry on. I will start running a phone extension wire.”
With that, Mark was busy with hammer and staples.
The boys came home from school, and wondered what was going on.
“ What is our dad doing mam?”, said Jack, “And why are you packing all our toys, are we moving house?”
“No,” his mam smiled, “your dad has been promoted at his work. I’m sorry but your dad needs your playroom, and I don’t want any arguments about it. But listen, with the extra money, it means we can afford a new car, and a digital TV and go on holiday in an aeroplane. Won’t that be exciting?”
“But we like our old car," said Jack, “ and our favorite cartoons are on the TV we have got already," said Nicky.
“ And we always go to Nanny’s house by the sea for our holidays,” said Jack.
“And we like going there,” said Nicky.
“I know, darlings,” said mam, “but now, things will be even better. Now off you go and change out of your school uniforms while I get your tea ready.”
“OK,” said Jack, taking his brother by the hand and leading him off to change into their playthings, and stepping over the boxes of toys that their mam had yet to find room for in their bedroom.
Later in the evening, Mark was paged; he was called into work. About nine pm., the phone rang at his home.
“ Hi, Sarah”, he said, apologetically, “Listen, I’ve got to work late tonight, there is an important report that must be completed before tomorrow morning.”
“ I understand darling,” said Sarah, “ but the boys won’t go to bed until you get home to tell them a bedtime story. You know how they look forward to it.”
“ You just explain to them that it is very important that their dad stay’s on at work tonight, it means more money. I tell you what,” he added. “ Tell them, I will buy them a new toy at the twenty-four hour store on my way home from work tonight. That will make up for the missing bedtime story. And after all, we can afford to buy them extra things now, can’t we?”
Sarah explained to Jack and Nicky that their dad wouldn’t be home in time to tell them a bedtime story and that he would be bringing them a surprise present.
“But, mam,” said Jack, yawning, “Nicky and me aren’t tired, we can wait up for our dad.”
“No,” said Sarah, “I think you both should go to bed now. Your dad will be annoyed if he finds you still up when he gets home, and besides, your dad will be too tired to tell you a story, he works very hard for the new car we hope to be buying soon”.
They both reluctantly went off to bed.
Mark came home at midnight, looking completely exhausted, but at least he remembered to call in at the twenty-four hour store and had bought a racing car for Nicky and an action soldier for Jack. On his way to bed he placed them on each of the their pillows.
Next morning Mark had already left for work before the boys were up.
At breakfast, Sarah said, “ Did you like the presents your dad brought home for you last night? They cost a lot of money, I hope you two realise that.”
“They were ok,” said Jack, without much enthusiasm. Nicky didn’t say anything at all.
Looking at him, Sarah thought he looked as though he hadn’t slept very well.
“He probably misses his dad”, she thought, “but promotion brings money, and that’s important.”
While eating his breakfast, Jack said, “Mam, how much money does our dad get, now he is pronoted?”
Sarah smiled, “The word is, ‘promoted’, and your dad gets thirty pounds for every hour he works. That’s how valuable your Dad’s time is. Isn’t that wonderful?”
Jack and Nicky looked at each other and smiled.
“At last,” Sarah thought, “they are finally realising just how important money is in this life.”
Jack said, “Mam, can we take our new toys to school with us today?”
“Of course you can,” she replied, enthusiastically, “And don’t forget to show your new toys to all your friends, I expect they will be jealous. Your dad will be able to buy you lots of new toys from now on.”
They both dashed off to their bedroom to collect the new toys. And they were laughing.
“They’re growing up,” Sarah thought, “ they're probably thinking how envious their friends at school will be at their new toys. And won’t that stuck up pair next door be envious when Mark and me drive up in our new car,” she added smugly.
That evening Mark was home late again. The boys had been in bed for hours, or so Sarah thought.
She heard Mark turn the key in the lock and step into the hall.
Then she heard him say, “Hello, what are you two still doing up at this hour? Come on, off to bed with you.”
She came out into the hall and saw them both sitting at the top of the stairs.
Jack said, “ Dad, can we ask you something?”
“Of course you can, but don’t be too long about it, I’m very tired from making money for us all”
“Well,” Jack began slowly, “this morning, our mam said that you get thirty pounds for each hour you work.”
“Yes, that’s right,” said his dad, puzzled.
“Well,” Jack continued, “ Nicky and me have worked it out, and dad....”
“Yes, what is it?” said his dad, beginning to sound a little impatient.
“Nicky and me, we sold our new toys to some children in school. They gave us their lunch money. We got three pounds for them both.”
“You did what!”, replied his dad angrily, “You shouldn’t have sold them, that’s very naughty. Do you know how hard I had to work to get the money for your new toys and you sold them! And for only three pounds!”
“ Sorry dad,” said Jack, and with that, he held out his hand. In it were three shiny one-pound coins.
“You wont get out of this by offering to give me the money” said his dad.
Nicky began to cry. Jack put his arm around him.
“But dad,” said Jack, “we're not giving you the money. We asked our teacher today, ‘If you get thirty pounds for every hour at work, then how much work would you have to do to get three pounds?’, and our teacher laughed and said, ‘ About six minutes’ ”.
“Well,” said his dad.
Jack, still holding out his hand holding the shiny coins, said quietly, “Dad, if Nicky and me pay you three pounds will you come and tell us a story for six minutes and then tuck us in like you used to?”
Nicky added, still sobbing, “ Before you got pronoted.”
Jack tugged gently at Nicky’s pyjama sleeve and whispering, said, “ Our mam said the word is ‘promoted’, and it’s very important, it means we get more money.”
Author Notes: I would welcome your critique.