Candy Wrappers

The Lifeboat №18: a story about kids playing shop

The day was ruined. Oscar ran into his room, slammed the door, jumped on the bed, and, huddled, turned his face against the wall. A minute later, the door creaked and a gentle voice sneaked into the room.

"Tell me what happened," his mother asked, peering out from behind the ajar door.

"It's all Mark’s fault. We won't play with him anymore."

"What did he do?"

"He ruined our game!"


Oscar, Felix and Nina were playing shop. One was a shop assistant, the rest were customers. Then they switched, and so on, multiple times. Usually, the three of them occupied a room, dragged the heavy oak bench from the kitchen, covered it with a dark-blue bed blanket, and arranged the goods on top, like at the market, neatly, each according to its category. Some of the goods, for which there was not enough space, lay under the bench. After that, they cut price tags from paper and glued or simply placed them on top of each item.

The goods could be anything, mostly empty boxes and food wrappers: tea, biscuits, bottles, cans, NES cartridges, notebooks, toys, and anything else children were allowed to play with. The special goods were Pokémon cards and pins, Kinder Surprise toys, and other little things that could be traded for something valuable even beyond their game. The assortment varied depending on their mood and the availability of boxes not thrown away by their parents, the boxes which proliferated with no control in the closets and under the beds.

They had no toy money. In the summer, they used leaves from trees in the garden: apple trees, currants, cherry trees – all with different shapes, textures, smells. But one winter, when the desire to play was there but there were no leaves, except herbariums hiding in between book pages, they came up with a nifty alternative.

Candy wrappers.

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