The day he learnt about money (Short story)

“Is this still?”

I looked up from behind the counter engrossed in my cleaning duties to see a young Spanish boy eyes wide open, awaiting my answer.

‘£1.60’ I replied, not realising what the actual question had been.

‘Still??’ He asked again.

‘Yes’ I nodded reassuringly.

Digging his hands down into the pockets of his light blue jeans he gathered together some coins.

With a nervous nod he handed me over the grand sum of 10 pence.

‘Oh, its a little bit more’ I said with a comforting smile.

The smile wasn’t neutral.

I’m not sure  how much he valued that 10 pence to be worth but his face changed to one of bewilderment and horror.

I pointed at his still open hand, where he held a £1 and 50 pence piece.

The young man slowly looked at his hand, then back at me with a facial expression which suggested I just told him that father Christmas doesn’t exist.

Reluctantly he handed me the 50 pence.

Still smiling I pointed at his hand once more

This time he seemed to almost challenge me in his state of confusion.

If an expression could speak, at this moment his would be saying something like

‘Hey Mister, I know you are older than me and everything but are you really sure you have got this right?’

He handed me the remaining £1. This time his eyes patrolled my hand as I took the £1 from his palm and watched as I dropped it into the till, all the while with the facial expression of a child watching you eat a sweet you just offered them.

I gave him his receipt and he ran over to his mother and sister.

I hear female laughter a few moments later as they both look down at him.

‘Diez?!’ I hear them say in unison. (which is ten in Spanish).

When he received that £1.60  he probably thought that he was going to buy all of the sweets he could eat and play as many arcade games as he could get through on his fun day out in London.

Lo siento mi amigo.

Lo siento.

Nathaniel GE

See You In 5.

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