Birthday Boy

Twenty bucks is all Katie’s got that’s not going to rent, gas, and electricity. 

The register flashes $23.19.

Katie surveys cake mix, frosting, candles, eggs, ice cream, and balloons, weighing cost against Kody’s smiles. 

“Take the ice cream off, please?”

Austin presses a button. 


Katie hands him crumpled bills and scrounged coins.

Austin sorts the money into the register. He asks, “How old is your kid?” 

“Kody’s seven.”

Austin lifts the ice cream high, where the scanner can’t see it, and sets it in her cart.


“Kroger can afford it,” Austin says. “Tell Kody ‘Happy Birthday’ for me.”

© Copyright 2020 by Jim Latham
Photo by Richard Burlton on Unsplash