James Becket Age Nine
– Need –
It was a scorching day but the dinosaurs didn’t mind. Mist was sprayed into the air in and around their exhibits to provide the humidity that they thrived on. The humans of the Beckett family, on the other hand, were hot and tired. James was the only one who didn’t mind the heat. He loved seeing the dinosaurs at the zoo. It was a miracle of science that they were alive at all. And now to see them at the local zoo – it was just fantastic!
“Mom, can we go ‘round again?” They were near the exit now, but James just couldn’t get enough of new and unusual things.
“No. Let’s stop in here and I’ll buy you all slushies before we go.” His mother herded him, his brother and his sister into the small shop beside the exit. She doled out money to the cashier and bought four green slushies. But Jonathan and Cara were looking at the dinosaur stuffies.
“I want one,” three-year-old Jonathan declared, touching one of the giant plush toys.
“Need,” corrected Cara, hugging a T-Rex, almost as tall as she was. Cara was a big girl now, almost twelve.
Their mother pursed her lips and then spoke. “Fine.” She wasn’t going to fight a battle that would be so costly. She probably could drag Cara and Jonathan from the zoo but she just didn’t have the stamina for it.
“Do I get one too?” asked James.
“You’re nine, James. You really don’t need a stuffy dinosaur.”
But he did want one. “Yes, I do,” he insisted. If his younger brother and older sister got one, why wouldn’t he? He could just imagine it sitting in his bedroom by the window. The stuffies were really very cool.
“I don’t have enough money. James, I really need you to be the mature one right now.
“But it’s not fair…”
“James.” She cut him off with a look. Then she leaned in and whispered fiercely, “Your sister’s autistic and your brother’s three. I expect better from you.”
He swallowed his words, looked down and pushed the anger away. She needed him. He’d do better. He didn’t need a stuffy dinosaur.