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The Video Game Console Bargain - a short story by A.B.King

   Once upon a time in a place called Nigeria there lived a little boy named Francis. He was a member of a Christian household. He had said the salvation prayer to receive Jesus into his heart a long time ago but his relationship with God wasn’t something you would call serious or unserious. To him, being a Christian was just one of those things. Francis took a causal approach to the things of God. His Mum and Dad were nice people and good citizens of their country. They made a fair income and never lacked any true necessity but they couldn’t afford to spend too much on luxuries.
   One day, Francis saw an ad for a hand-held video game console. The thing is, the console was been sold at a remarkably low discount. It was a bargain that Francis didn’t know when or if it would ever happen again – he just couldn’t miss it.
   Francis walked up to his Mum and asked her for money to get thehand-held video game console but she quickly said no. Francis tried to point out to her that the low price made it a good reason to buy but Mum still said no. Then, he begged her that he’s always wanted ahand-held video gameconsole. Mum still said no.
   Francis went to meet his father and ask him for money for the console. But his father told him to go and sweep the backyard and the front of the house for coming to ask him for something Mum already said no to.
   After Francis finished his punishment, he decided to go back to his Mum and beg for the console. He told his Mumhow much he would be the best good boy he could be and help around the house if she buys the console for him. But his Mum said that he was already supposed to be trying to be the best good boy he could be regardless of whether video game consoles existed or not in the first place. And as for being helpful around the house goes; that is something that tradition demands from every African child so she doesn’t see why he should think he should be bribed into it. Kids trying to manipulate their parents like that is wrong, she told him.
Francis saw that his current system wasn’t working so he decided to try scheming. Maybe he could manipulate Mum into getting it if she thinks that her friends are getting video game consoles for their kids. So after a few phone calls and listening to gossip from kids here and there, Francis finally got a name of someone he knew was Mum’s friend that had bought her son a video game. It was Mrs. Juliet.All he had to do now was to look for a way to get Mum’s friend (Mrs. Juliet) to tell Mum that she bought her son a video game console. That’s not something parents usually talk about – matter of fact that’s not even something a parent who likes to brag would even brag about – no parent brags about buying video games for their kids to their friends. Wow! This was going to be difficult, how was he going to get the parent to brag about something parents don’t usually brag about to his Mum? Hmmm!
   After a lot of brainstorming, Francis finally got an idea that just might work. Francis called the house of the kid whose Mum got him a console in the guise of he was going to talk to the kid but who he really wanted to talk to was his Mum (Mrs. Juliet). When the kid’s Mum answered the phone Francis told her that he’s wanted to talk to her son, Johnny. Just as she (Mrs. Juliet) was about to call her son (Johnny) to the telephone Francis said that he thinks that his Mum had been wantingall week to just sit and chat with her. He asked her if his Mum had called her to tell her that she would like to come over some time. Mrs. Julietwas likeNo, that Francis’ Mum hadn’t. Mrs. Juliet then called her son (Johnny) to the phone to talk to Francis. Francis quickly made up something to talk to him about.
   Later that day, Mrs. Juliet called Francis’ Mum and told her that she would like to have her over for tea on Saturday so they could just chat. Francis’ Mum was shocked because to her this just came out of no-where. She was friends with Mrs. Juliet but they weren’t that close yet. Francis’ Mum tried to give an excuse, “But I’ve got to take care of Francis-”
   “Bring him along. I’m sure he’ill love to play with Johnny”, Mrs. Juliet cut in.
   Francis’ Mum didn’t know what to say. Then after a few seconds of absorbing the shock she said, “Ok!”
   On Saturday when Francis’ Mum had brought Francis seemingly against his will to Mrs. Juliet’s house. Francis went to play Johnny’s video game with him. After about 20 minutes of playing, he went to the balcony where Mrs. Juliet and his Mum chatted while having tea and causally made a subtle and cunning remark about the video game hoping to change the topic the grown-ups where talking about – hoping to get Mrs. Juliet to talk about the video game she had bought her son for at least a few minutes but hopefully more.
   Mrs. Juliet only made a few sentences about the video game. Francis tried to press Mrs. Juliet to talk about it more, that was when Francis’ Mum began to figure out that something fishy was going on. Let’s just say that by the end of that Saturday, Francis’ Mum had had a great time but to Francis’ painful disadvantage,his Mum was only more resolute on not getting him the discount video game.
   Francis never gave up though. He just had to have thathand-held video game console. He would scheme till he gets it.
   Francis ran into his Mum’s study one afternoon and told her with fake tears (that were as realistic as he could make them). He told his Mum that he went to the store to look at the game and he picked it up just to admire it and later keep it back on the shelf it accidentally fell and broke to pieces and now the store manager is telling him to pay for it.
   Francis’ Mum laughed because first of she knew Francis’ tears where fake. Secondly, she knew that if he really broke it, the store keeper would hold Francis and not let him out of his sight. Then he would call whatever number Francis gives as his guardian’s or parent’s number then tell them what happened and to also bring a certain amount of money to pay for the broken item when they are coming. Therefore, the mare fact that Francis was standing right in front of her was prove that Francis was lying.
   After having a good laugh, Francis’ Mum told Francis to mob the entire house as punishment for lying. It was a heavy task for Francis, and it took up the rest of his day.
   Day after day, Francis spent time trying to think up a scheme to get his Mum to give him the money. He tried a different scheme everyday but each day each plan only got himeither a big fat “No” or in trouble which meant more punishment which he really loathed.
   One day, Francis finally got an opportunity that presented an in-built opportunity of a scheme that had a greater potential than anything he had tried before.Francis actually really needed new clothes because all the ones he had where now old. Francis’ Mum was the one who complained that he needed new clothes but she said that she didn’t have the time to take him shopping herself, so she was going to give him some money to give their long time security man/ handy man to escort and supervise him on the shopping trip.
   Francis could see two mistakes his Mum made in the plan. Firstly, she was going to give him (Francis) the money and not the security man. Maybe, because she trusted her own son more than some long serving security man, but giving him (Francis) the money was a big mistake however. A mistake she could correct if she also told the security man the amount of money she gave her son – but she didn’t. That was her second mistake.
   Francis simply took out enough money to buy the hand-held video game console from the money he was given to buy the clothes. He quickly rushed to the store to buy the hand-held video game then after hiding it, he went to meet the security man for them to go shopping for clothes. Of course with the money cut short, Francis didn’t have enough money to buy much clothes so he told the security man that he Mum wanted them to go to the really really cheap clothing store. The security man thought that was weird, he wondered why his Mum would even want him wearing clothes from the really really cheap clothing store, but it wasn’t his place to ask – so he didn’t.
   A few weeks later, the new clothes that Francis bought now looked old and every other reason why they were really really cheap was really really clear now.
   As for the hand-held video game; it spoilt. Yelp! There was a reason why it was kept at a seriously discount price for so long. It had problems and even though it worked well in the store, the store keeper knew that after a few weeks it would stop working properly and because of his no refund policy he won’t give the buyer back his money therefore he gains and the buyer losses. The store keeper was a crooked (dishonest) business man.
   Francis regretted everything. He’d disobeyed his Mum, lied to almost everyone, and dishonestly schemed only for him to end up with new clothes that are now old and a hand-held video that doesn’t work.
Francis’ Mum and Dad found out about everything. After punishing him, they talked to him and told him that none of these things would have ever happened if he had taken his relationship with Christ seriously. If he was totally devoted to his relationship with God there is no way that he would have disobeyed them or spent his God given time cooking up such devious schemes.

THE END.

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