SINCE a kid named Fleischman is going to hang around a whole lot in these pages, I need to tell you right away that Fleischman is not his LAST name but his FIRST name. Fleischman was his mom’s last name before she married his dad and changed HER name to HIS, just like other moms’ last names could be Anderson or Kelly before THEY got married. (Some moms don’t change their last names after they’re married, but I really don’t feel like discussing that right now.) Anyway—stay with me here—some of these used-to-be Kelly moms might decide to first-name their daughters Kelly, and some Anderson moms might first-name their sons Anderson. Or maybe they’d name their sons Kelly and daughters Anderson. And though not too many Fleischman moms decide to name their kids Fleischman, Fleischman’s mom did. Got it? No? Well, too bad if you don’t. I’m busy, and it’s time to tell my story.
Lulu—remember Lulu?—used to always be a big pain, till she met Mr. B, a lovely brontosaurus. Now she is just a sometimes pain, and not nearly as rude as before. But unless what she wants is utterly, totally, absolutely, and no-way-José impossible, she’s still a girl who wants what she wants when she wants it.
So, what is it, exactly, that our Lulu wants? Right now I’m just saying it costs a lot of money. Furthermore, her mom and her dad, who give her almost everything she asks for, said to her—with many sighs and sorries—that they couldn’t afford to buy it for her and that she would HAVE TO EARN THE MONEY TO GET IT.
Lulu thought about throwing one of her famous screeching, heel-kicking, arm-waving tantrums, except that—since her last birthday—she wasn’t doing that baby stuff anymore. So, instead, she tried some other ways—politer, quieter, sneakier, grown-upper ways—of changing their minds.
First try: “Why are you being so cruel to me, to your only child, to your dearest, darlingest Lulu?”
“We’re not being cruel,” her mom explained in an I’m-so-sorry voice. “You’re still our dearest and darlingest. But we don’t have the money to spend on things like that.”
Second try: “I’ll eat only one meal a day and also never go to the dentist, and then you can use all that money you saved to buy it for me.”
“Dentists and food are much more important,” Lulu’s dad explained, “than this thing that you want. Which means”—and here he sighed heavily—“that if you really still want it, you’re going to have to pay for it yourself.”
Really still want it? Of course she really still wanted it! She was ALWAYS and FOREVER going to want it. But paying for it herself—that might be utterly and totally, plus absolutely and no-way-José, impossible. So she kept on trying to change their minds, making her saddest and maddest and baddest faces and giving her mom and her dad some unbeatable arguments. Like, “I’ll move down into the basement, and you’ll get the money by renting out my bedroom.” Or, “You could get money by selling our car and taking the bus instead, which would also be much better for the environment.” But, great as her arguments were, her mom and her dad kept saying no and sighing and sorrying. And after her sixteenth or seventeenth try, Lulu was starting to feel a little discouraged.
Last try: “So, while all the other kids are playing and laughing and having fun, I’ll be the only kid my age earning money?”
“Oh, I don’t know about that,” said Lulu’s mom. “That little Fleischman down the street is always earning money by doing helpful chores for folks in the neighborhood. So young and already such a hard-working boy!”
(Well, what do you know, here’s Fleischman, and it’s only Chapter One
. I told you he would be hanging around a lot.)