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Rated: ASR · Short Story · Contest Entry · #2228323
What do kids do, for money to buy candy? My take on the prompt: 'Hurrying to pay the rent'
There were ten members of the audience. One grandmother, one grandfather, four mothers and four fathers.

There were six members of cast-and-crew, three girls and three boys. They ranged in age from nine years to four years. The nine year old, by virtue of being the eldest, was directing the play.

They had scripted it themselves, based on a story grandma had told them the previous day, about a sheep who hides in a drum to avoid a prowling wolf. The wolf is suspicious when the drum speaks to him, and rolls it down the hill. The drum rolls faster than he can run and the sheep is saved anyway, in spite of giving away her position by talking.

They had rehearsed for half an hour and, according to them, were perfect. Good enough to be on a professional stage.

"You know," the six-year-old piped up, propped on his elbow on the floor (he had just been the rolling sheep), "when we go for a play or a movie in the theater, we have to buy a ticket. Why don't we make the adults buy a ticket, to see our play? That way we'll get some money for candy."


An old diary was found, a page torn out and shred into strips, 'TICKET FOR PLAY 0.50p.' penciled on each strip, and they were ready to collect the cash.

Two of the adults paid up immediately, and they had a whole rupee! But when they got to grandpa, he paused.

"Himmm," he muttered. "Ticket, huh?"

"Yes, grandpa, pay us 0.50p and you can watch our play. That's what happens at the theater."

"But you know something, kids?" he asked.


"When actors act in the theater and charge for tickets, they have to pay the owner of the theater for using his space. I own this hall. Pay me rent for my hall, if you want to act here."

"Rent, for the hall?"


The seven-year-old grew business-like. "How much rent are you asking, grandpa?"

"Let's see. I think If you're charging 0.50 p for a ticket, then Rs. 3 as rent is fair."

They had collected just one rupee so far. They tried to do the math quickly. Finally, they realised they had to sell four more tickets to be able to afford grandpa's rent.

"Hurry up with your play, kids, dinner's almost ready," grandma called from the kitchen. "I'll want everyone at the table in fifteen minutes."

The play was ten minutes long. They had to start in five minutes. Quickly, they approached the other adults with their tickets.

"Is this play a comedy?" one of the adults asked.

"Not ... not ... exactly," the truthful nine year old replied.

"Well, I'm in the mood for a comedy. I'm not sure if I want to see a serious play tonight."

Frantically, they went from adult to adult. Nobody was buying their tickets. "No rent, no hall," grandpa said, firmly. He wasn't giving them a discount on the rent, either, or taking an advance against later payment.

"Shall we do it for free?"

They got into a huddle and decided, yes, for free. After all, the adults did a lot of things without charging them for it. What if grandma suddenly decided to charge them for the dinner? They shuddered at the thought.

The play was a big hit.

And you know what? The two adults who had paid didn't accept the refund they offered. They got some candy and shared it out after all. "You've earned it," grandpa smiled.
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