The Child is on a mission: she needs money.
In the summer, she sells sno-cones on the street behind our house. She does quite well with this, raking in sixteen dollars on one particularly hot day last summer; she sold sno-cones to the mailman, a grandma with a car full of grandkids, and a local Got Junk franchisee. A picture of The Child, her sno-cone stand, and the truck’s driver ended up on the Got Junk Facebook page that day. She was both rich and famous.
Sno-cones in November, though, are not a good business model, even when you live on a busy street. The Child develops a new plan: Hot chocolate. She spends days working on a sign, nagging me to buy her a supply of mix and hot beverage cups, and badgering me into buying her a little table for her business. She needs something to keep the cocoa hot, and receives my old slow cooker from the yard sale pile in the garage.
The day before Thanksgiving, she hauls everything out to the corner, and eagerly jumps up and down in the icy drizzle with her sign advertising hot chocolate.
An hour later, she comes back inside, despondent.
Nobody wants to buy hot chocolate, she says.
Don’t worry about it, I tell her. Try again on Friday.
She frowns. This will not do.
I need a way to earn money, she says. What if nobody wants my hot chocolate on Friday, too?
Well, then you’ll have to find a new business plan. Keep trying until you find something that works.
She doesn’t like this idea. I need money sooner than that, she says.
A bell goes off in my head, and an angel gets its wings: Christmas is coming.
I get on the phone with my father, mostly to tell him this story because I think it’s cute. She doesn’t understand, I say, parents don’t want anything that costs money. We like the stuff they make.
That’s not true, he says. We like expensive things. Me, for example, I like expensive woodworking tools. Take note.
I have a garage full of expensive tools, I say. I’ll send them to you.
Those tools are crap, he says. The Departed bought lots of tools for his shop, none of them worth owning, according to my father.
That may be, I say, but they cost me a fortune and I want them out of my garage. Anyway, you said expensive, not good quality.
Noted, he says. Put The Child on the phone.
I get The Child and make myself scarce, as instructed.
Later, I ask her if there is anything I need to know or help with.
You need to take me to the mall on Sunday. Early, before it’s crowded, she says. Also, if an envelope full of money should maybe happen to come in the mail, it’s not for you.