It was mid Saturday morning, in a noisy crowded supermarket. Busy shoppers bustled, pushing their laden trolleys, up and down the well-stocked aisles, hunting for the shelves that held the foods they wanted to buy.
When above the general din came a loud unruly child’s voice.
“I want sweets!” demanded little Harry at the top of his voice. “I want sweets!”
“You’ve already had sweets today,” his patient Mum tried in vain to calm him.
The other shoppers looked on, but Harry did not care. He was insistent. “I want chocolate!”
“No,” said Mum, trying hard to remain placid. “If you eat more sweets now, you won’t be able to eat your tea.”
“I want sweets now!” shouted Harry even louder. For a six year old, he sure could shout loudly. So loudly that his Mum put her hands briefly over her ears as his words echoed around the store.
His bewildered Mum looked around the crowded aisle, at all the bemused shoppers staring at them.
They were in the middle of the local store, towers of shelving either side of them, stocked full with enticing biscuits, sweets and crisps in bright colourful wrappers.
“Harry! You’re making a scene. Everyone’s looking at you!”
So young Harry decided to push the limits. He emphatically stamped his little feet on the shiny tiled floor and folded his arms in defiance.
He looked up at his flustered Mum and said very loudly, and very slowly, “I… want… sweets!”
“Harry, you can’t have any more sweets. They’ll rot your teeth and make you ill. Now I’m not discussing it anymore.”
Exasperated, Harry’s Mum pushed the heavy shopping trolley, with its awkward squeaky wonky wheels, towards an empty checkout, and reluctantly, Harry followed, stomping as he went, and sticking his bottom lip out as far as he could.
Opposite the checkouts was a long cushioned bench. “Why don’t you sit on the bench there where I can see you, while I put the shopping through the checkout and pay for it,” Harry’s Mum suggested, hoping desperately that her petulant son would agree.
To her surprise, Harry did, albeit with a slow loud stomp and a huff. His bottom lip stuck out even further.
Harry’s Mum, now feeling frazzled, smiled meekly at the uniformed sales assistant serving at the checkout who smiled back with a sympathetic nod. She began placing the contents of the trolley onto the checkout to be scanned.
Harry jumped up onto the bench. He folded his arms, kept his bottom lip firmly stuck out, swung his feet deliberately and gave his Mum the hardest glare he could conjure.
It wasn’t fair, he thought. He didn’t want to come shopping anyway. Shopping was boring. Boring, boring, boring!
“I’d be careful, if I was you,” a crackly voice muttered. “No good can come from huffing, stomping, shouting and glaring.” It was barely audible, but clear enough for Harry to hear.
Harry looked left, and next to him was sat a very peculiar old woman. Funny, she wasn’t there when he had sat down, and he hadn’t noticed her sit down next to him.
He regarded the old woman. She had a distinctive smell that reminded him of old cheese. Old Cheddar cheese…
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