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I remember when I was about ten years old, about two months before my parents divorced, I was on the school bus going home one afternoon.
I was a quiet, shy kid with usual ten year old kid worrries and problems. Things like, What the hell is this long division crap, Is Nicholas finally going to catch me and beat me up tomorrow, What does "I've been to paradise but I've never been to me" mean anyway? But most of all, most of the day actually, I would be saying little prayers to God.

"Please make them not fight tonight."
"Please don't make them fight again tonight."

It was always about something, mostly money is the form it took though.

We lived in a new subdivision way out on the outskirts of a rather small country town, so it wasn't hard for my father to get the bus driver's attention from his car and get him to pull over. Dad was all excited and in a good mood when I got in the car. "How was your day son?" and the like. What have you.
While getting into to the car, I took a furtive glance over the back seat to see If he had bought the sleeping bag that Mum had asked him to. It was Friday and I was to go on my first scout trip the next day. There was no sign of it. As we were nearing our street, I couldn't handle the suspense so I built up the courage to ask him (in my usual wimpy way that I always addressed him).
"Dad, I was wondering if you had managed to find the time to buy that sleeping bag for me today, 'cause that camp thing is tomorrow and all."
Slapping his forehead, or the steering wheel (I don't remember which), he exclaims, "AAwww son! I'm sorry, I totally forgot."

Once in the house, I go up to my room to play Atari. After a while, Mum comes in the room and asks me if my father got the sleeping bag today. Before I get to answer Dad bursts in with the sleeping bag that he had bought the day before. He stops laughing when he sees my tears.
He never did see why his joke wasn't funny.

One Saturday afternoon, my brothers and I decided to ask our dad for a hundred dollars. The morning cartoons were over, and boredom had started to set in. We wanted new toys to play with, and were scheming on how to get them - being three, five, and seven years old at the time, this was the best we could come up with.

We filed into the living room, where my dad sat in his armchair, puffing on the everpresent Marlboro cigarette.

"Hiiii, daaad", Matt said. Being the youngest, he didn't realize that the hyperbolically loving tone of voice was nothing but a dead give away that we wanted something.

My dad grinned at us. He was usually in a pretty good mood on Saturdays. Sundays were the days to watch out for him on. "Well, howdy there, boys."

We had decided that Josh, the oldest, would broach the question. Not really expecting it to work, he just tossed it out. "Dad, can we have a hundred dollars?"

He thought about it for a second. Then he laughed, and said, "Sure, here you go!" He stood up, reached into his pocket, and in an elaborate show, handed us each a hundred dollar bill.

We stood there, flabbergasted. ONE HUNDRED DOLLARS. When you're only a couple years out of training pants, man, that's some serious cash flow. We didn't even expect to get a hundred dollars between the three of us. Hell, it was really kind of a Hail Mary pass of a child's Saturday afternoon. But a hundred dollars, EACH?! That was like, five freakin' Transformers, just for me, dude! We all looked at each other in wonder, then ran off to the kitchen to show our mom our newly aquired riches.

We burst in, and our mom immediately affixed us with a wary eye. We all held out our spoils, and I yelled, "Mom, look! Dad gave us all a hundred dollars!"

My mom's hand darted out, and in one practiced snatch it was all gone, tucked neatly into her pocket. We stood there, our newly empty hands shaking in the air. The room was utterly quiet for about five seconds, while the gravity of the situation sunk in on the three of us. Then, as a single synchronous unit, we all burst into tears, and ran back into the living room to protest the injustice to our dad.

He was still grinning when we came back in. "Dad," I sobbed, "Mom took all our money!"

My dad chuckled, looked at us, and said...

"Well, boys... Now you know exactly how I feel, don't ya?"


This is a true story.

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