By Craig Spence (Langley, BC)

I blame it all on my heat-intolerant nature. Combine that with a blistering summer day, an unguarded purse, and a corner store just up the block and you can see where this story might tend for a five year old.

The facts of the case are beyond dispute. My mother left her purse untended on her bedroom bureau. Not knowing right from wrong, or the colour of a two-dollar bill from a twenty, I snuck in and grabbed the first legal tender I could get my hands on. I then hurried off to Besner's corner store, slapped my twenty down and demanded in as cocky a sarsaparilla voice as I could muster "all the Popsicles I can get for this."

Old man Besner raised his eyebrows in a way that made it clear I had just bought a lesson of a moral and mathematical nature: twenty bucks worth of popsicles, at five cents apiece, even... no especially on a hot summer day added up to something mighty strange and my folks would hear about it.

A choice of consequences followed: a week without television, or the favoured corporal punishment of the era. Hmm? A week without Wagon Train? Gunsmoke? Lassie? The Ed Sullivan Show (which we weren't allowed to watch, but always did from behind the living room sofa). Or the sharp discipline of the belt? I grimaced and took my punishment like a man.

PS: I have since learned better morals and the real colour of money.

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