The music blared, the people screamed, and the counter echoed. Lights were flashing and brightly colored balloons kept falling from the ceiling. But Sedgewick ignored all that. He had won a five minute, no holds barred shopping spree at the local toy store. That means Sedgewick had five minutes to run through the store and fill up as many shopping carts as he could with whatever he wanted. Whatever was in his shopping carts at the end of the five minutes was his to take home. It was the prize any kid would die for. And Sedgewick had won. His grandmother had entered him a year ago when they last visited the toy store.
Now Sedgewick had to make his selections. Two other kids had won, and they were already tearing through the store, sweeping entire shelves of stuff into their carts. Action figures, board games, accessories, video games, everything they saw they kept. When the horn went off to start, the other boy and girl who had won took off like rockets. They tore past the initial aisles of cheap toys, following their well practiced plans of attack. But Sedgewick didn’t even run. He calmly pushed his shopping cart down the aisle, happily gazing at all the toys as he went past. He meandered toward the board games, nearly getting run over by the excited boy with a cart full of Nintendo games. Sedgewick stopped his cart in front of the stacks of Monopoly and Memory and started gazing up and down the rows. He crossed his arms and furled his eyebrows as he didn’t see what he was looking for. The timer was still echoing in the distance and shouts of parents and excited children boomed from the front of the store. Sedgewick tried to ignore them. Finally, he found was he looking for, a simple wooden chess set. He stood on his tip toes and pulled the yellow box off the shelf and carefully placed it in the bottom of his empty cart.
He turned around just in time to pull his cart out of the way of the screeching girl. Her cart was full and she was barreling down the aisle, desperate to get another cart and fill it again. Sedgewick watched her fly past, and then continued on his way. He stopped in the music aisle and let his eyes drift over the assortment of plastic musical devices. There were bongos and shakers, saxophones that whimpered and drums that were just plain loud. Sedgewick wrapped his little hands around a pint sized guitar, carefully setting it next to the chess set.
A booming voice then alerted the three lucky children that their time was half up. They only had two and a half more minutes to fill their carts with goodies. Sedgewick smiled. He was already half done. He only had two more stops to make. In the stuffed animal aisle Sedgewick picked out a teddy bear with a handsome vest. He plopped the bear next to the wooden chess set and the pint sized guitar. With that, Sedgewick headed towards the front of the store for his last stop. Near the front of the store was the section of school supplies. The crowd in the front of the store watched Sedgewick come around the corner and they all started screaming. Except for Sedgewick’s grandparents. They stood quietly near the back waiting for Sedgewick to finish. Sedgewick stopped his cart in front of the school supplies and stood looking at all the supplies with his hand on his chin. He wasn’t sure exactly what he needed. He finally made up his mind, ignoring the frantic children urging him to hurry. He carefully set in his cart a 64 pack of Crayola crayons, the kind with the sharpener in the back, a package of construction paper, a package of drawing paper, and a bottle of Elmer’s glue. With that, Sedgewick calmly pushed his cart back to the start/finish line and parked it in the spot he was told to before the event began. He sat down next to the cart, and waited for the commotion to die down. The parents and children just stared at Sedgewick. They had given up urging him to get more. They just watched him sitting there with a smile on his face.
Finally the owner of the store walked over to Sedgewick with a stern look on his face. Mr. Krumbel had never seen a child like this. He knelt down next to Sedgewick and asked him why he didn’t fill his cart with toys like the other children were doing.
“I’ve got everything I need right here,” explained Sedgewick. Mr. Krumbel looked astonished.
“Aren’t there any of these toys you want?” Mr. Krumbel asked, motioning to the volumes of toys in the store. Sedgewick’s eyes fell to the ground. His forehead wrinkled and his mind mulled it over. After a few drawn out seconds, Sedgewick looked up to Mr. Krumbel with a smile on his face.
“Yeah. There is something I want.”
“Well that’s the spirit!” Mr. Krumbel exclaimed, happy to see the child becoming normal, “Now hurry up and go get it, you don’t have much time left.
Sedgewick stood up and ran as fast as his little legs would carry him. He didn’t even take his shopping cart this time. He ran past the posters and the school supplies, past the video games and the matchbox cars. He ran to the edge of the board game aisle, the one he passed earlier. He pulled a blue yo-yo off the display and ran back to the front of the store. Mr. Krumbel’s jaw dropped as he watched Sedgewick set the blue yo-yo in his cart, and sit back down on the floor, a full thirty seconds left in the shopping spree.
The time finally ran out and the other two children collapsed on the floor. The boy had filled five shopping carts and the girl four and a half. Their parents drove them home that night in minivans packed with every new video game, action figure, doll, Lego set, racing car, and fire breathing robot you could imagine. Sedgewick drove home in the backseat of his grandparent’s car. Next to him on the seat sat a wooden chess set for his grandfather, a teddy bear in a handsome vest for his grandmother, two packs of paper, a set of crayons and a bottle of Elmer’s glue so his grandmother wouldn’t have to pay for his school supplies that year, and a pint sized guitar so Sedgewick could try and play just like his grandfather. Sedgewick held the blue yo-yo in his hand and smiled. His grandmother looked back at the boy, then leaned closer to her husband and squeezed his hand. The two exchanged glances and smiled.