[Fiction] Friday Challenge #151 for April 16th, 2010
While digging in a cereal box for the toy surprise, a child makes a grisly discovery.
Jackson rubbed the sleep from his eyes and padded down the hallway towards the kitchen. The morning had ticked over into double digits, which was the prescribed time that an almost thirteen year old boy should emerge from his hiding hole. He still wore his flannelette Superman pyjamas and matching slippers.
From the kitchen he collected the necessary utensils and cutlery to make breakfast. He sat down at the table across from the television and surfed for Saturday morning cartoons. He moved the cereal box between himself and the television and looked at the proclamation at the top right hand corner. Contains one “Secret Agent Decoder Ring and Badge” said the packet.
Jackson had a rule, slightly unorthodox as it was. The rule was that the surprise toy or gift must not be scrummaged for; it must fall from the box during the pouring of cereal. Only that way would it truly be a surprise. Scrummaging was for those who had no discipline, like sisters. Especially his sister, Celia.
Today’s the day, thought Jackson, calculating how many bowls he had consumed, their relative volume and what was left in the box. He chanced a peek and saw the plastic edge jutting out like a shark’s dorsal fin in a sea of cereal.
Out of the box tumbled golden flakes of sugar-encrusted breakfast-y goodness. Jackson waited and poured. And poured. The bowl filled half-way. Three-quarters. Edging towards full. It was almost at Jackson’s Point of No Return where the adding of milk would cause an overflow onto the table. And you didn’t want to get Mum offside if you spoiled her clean tablecloth. One final shake. Light caught the plastic and reflected like a diamond as it dropped in slow motion.
Jackson looked down as his prize with the anticipation of Indiana Jones. He even licked his lips.
Jackson let fly with a string of invective that would have made the school bully blush.
“Jackson, what caused you to say such a thing?” said his mother.
“All week I have been waiting for my Secret Agent Decoder Ring and Badge and all of a sudden I find I have a girl’s doll dress up set. I’ve been had. I’ve been swindled. I’ve been set-up. I am going to email the breakfast cereal company and demand to know why my breakfast cereal box contained a Belle of the Ball Dress Up Set and not my Secret Agent Decoder Ring and Badge.”
His mother nodded, “Just don’t use that type of language. You can help me with the washing as punishment this afternoon.”
In her bedroom, Celia tried on her Secret Agent Decoder Ring and Badge and thought it looked rather nice with her fancy dress ensemble for Stephanie’s party that night.
Sitting atop his sugar crusted flakes was a small vacuum-sealed bag. A long finger pointed accusingly at Jackson. Just above the cleanly cut stump was a simple gold band.
“Mum, I think you need to come and see this!”
His mother came into the kitchen with a questioning look, which suddenly brightened up.
“So that’s where I put it. I must be more careful when disposing of ex-husbands. How careless of me. Let me take that from you.”
She scooped it from the bowl and put it into the pocket of her apron. Jackson stared at his bowl before pushing it away.