Cereal Prize

Alex found the blue plastic bowl he liked best and put it on the table.   Then he dug through the silverware drawer until he found the spoon that looked like it had been chewed on by alligators or piranhas or maybe both. His mom said it was the garbage disposal, but Alex had looked inside once and it didn’t have any teeth. It was still a little scary though.

The spoon went on the right side of his bowl, because he was right handed.   He considered getting his plastic alligator from the bathtub to put in the bottom of the bowl. Would it taste like soap? He could rinse it off first. But if it was in his cereal it could get milk all over it. He could lick it off. But what if it came to life and bit his tongue? He could give it a bath instead. Alex found his alligator, rinsed it, and put it in his bowl.

Alex checked the fridge. There was the perfect amount of milk left. The carton wasn’t so full that it was too heavy or so empty that his cereal would end up dry. Dry cereal was gross, almost as gross as soggy cereal. That’s why you had to put the milk on at just the right moment.

He set the milk on the left side of his bowl. Then he pushed a chair over to the cupboards. He climbed up and looked through the selection. There was a bag of cereal shaped like life preservers. That could be fun. There was a bag of flaky cereal like leaves or fish. Hmmmm. Oh, there was a box of cereal in big puffy shapes.   That was new.

Alex ran to the bottom of the stairs. “Mom,” he yelled. “Can I open the new box of cereal?”

“Yes,” she yelled back. “Just clean up after yourself.”

“I know,” Alex said. He ran back to the chair and took down the box.

He carefully peeled the top open. The bag inside had a line of holes poked in it to make it easy to tear open, so he didn’t even need the scissors. Nice. He tore it open and left the thin plastic strip by his bowl. Maybe he could pretend it was a ghost snake and it could battle the alligator. The alligator would win of course, unless the cereal was piranhas. They always ate everything.

Gleefully considering the possibilities, Alex stood on his chair to carefully pour the cereal into his bowl. He tipped the box just enough so that the puffballs were slowly burying the alligator alive. Would they eat him, even in open air, or would they wait until he added the milk?

Just then, something heavy slid out of the box and crunched into the bowl, sending puffballs flying over the edge. Alex stopped pouring and set the box down. He gathered up the stray cereal and popped it in his mouth.   “Aaaaaaaah,” he said, making the dying scream of the piranhas.

He shifted through his bowl to see what had fallen out of the box. Was it a cereal prize? He looked at the box. It didn’t say anything about a prize. Maybe it was coupons. He saw something shiny and brushed the puffballs away. It was a little toy car.

It was light blue and very detailed, and it was not in a little sealed plastic bag. Alex picked it up to look at it more closely. There were little people inside. Angry little people. They were waving their tiny little arms and screaming at him in high-pitched voices.   Alex couldn’t understand what they were saying.

They started pointing down. Alex looked down. There wasn’t anything there.   Oh. They wanted down. Alex carefully set the little car on the floor. He stood still as it carefully drove around his feet. Then, it drove straight at the wall and disappeared.

Huh. That was strange. Well, it was time to get back to breakfast. He hadn’t decided yet if the alligator could beat the piranhas. What if the ghost snake was attacking at the same time? He had to decide before he added the milk. Soggy cereal was gross, after all. Alex forgot all about the car.

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