The Collector

Robert dragged the chair across the kitchen floor and admonished himself for sleeping late. He had to hurry. His mother could awaken any moment to put a stop to his plan. His thoughts raced back to yesterday’s conversation.

“No Robert, you’ll just have to wait till it falls out on its own. I’ll not have you ruin an entire box of cereal with your hands.”

“I’ve washed my hands; they’re clean.”

“No, now that’s the end of it.”


“No buts! Now hand me the box.”

A loud dragging brought him back to the present as it echoed through the house. He cursed himself for not paying attention. He couldn’t blow this by being careless. He had to pull this off now or face another day’s wait. Everything pointed to the prize being at the very bottom of the box. Waiting wasn’t an option; he needed it today. He had to know if he would be the first in his class to collect the rarest prize.

Robert’s fingers barely reached the box as he stood on tip-toes atop the rickety kitchen chair. He paused to listen for his mum. The snores had stopped which meant she was probably in the bathroom. He had less than a minute to retrieve the prize. He ran to the table and smiled at his brilliance. No time to open the box slowly, he had to do it before she stopped him.

The bathroom door opened. In seconds she would be within eye sight of the kitchen table, she’d see him for sure. It was now or never. He tipped the entire box of cereal over.

“Robert! What are you doing?”

“I just wanted the prize.”

“Well now you’ve ruined the entire-” She stopped when she saw what he had done. “Well, Robert, that’s a fine solution, using my mixing bowl to hold all the cereal. Well done.”

Robert smiled and carefully took the prize packet from the top of the pile. He knew he had to clean up before she would allow him to open the brown paper packet. The slow careful pour of from the mixing bowl into the box seemed to take forever.

At last he was able to examine his prize. He picked the packet up and rolled it around in his fingers trying to make out the general shape. It didn’t seem to feel like the others. His heart fluttered as he tore into the packet.


All the waiting and planning had paid off. Robert raced from the kitchen to his room, burst through the door and threw himself into his chair. He gazed lovingly at his prized collection of wildlife statuettes meticulously arranged on the shelf by his window. His eyes fell instinctively to the empty spot. He imagined himself museum curator as he placed his new acquisition amongst his collection. Panda, Kodiak, Polar and now Grisly; the first in school to have all the bears. Nothing to do now but wait for Monday morning and announce his discovery to the world.

This week’s story was inspired by the [fiction]Friday prompt at WriteAnything. “While digging in a cereal box for the toy surprise, a child makes a grisly discovery”. I hope you had fun reading it.

20 thoughts on “The Collector

  1. That was brilliant! I was so tied up in all of the stories which featured gross items (bugs, body parts, and a sugar coated corn-flake) that I never saw that ending coming. I had a broad smile spread across my face when I learned the child used a mixing bowl to hold all the cereal so that he could retrieve his prize.

    Excellent piece.

  2. I don’t participate in the prompt game, but that pun on “grisly” is tremendous. Makes me smile in envy. Lovely work!

    Typo: third paragraph, “their clean” instead of “they’re clean”

  3. Pingback: Fiction Round Up VIII | Chinese Whisperings

  4. I really like that you found a way out of the bloody body parts for this prompt. And it’s a charming story. [You know, if you open the cereal from the bottom you don’t have to wait as long to find the prize. Not that I was ever that impatient….]

  5. Brought back memories of my sister and I trying to be the first to reach the prize in the box of cereal. She always won.

    I, too, thought the little boy would find something really scary.

    Loved that you found a sweetly creative way to fulfill the requirement of the prompt.

    And what a great little boy he is! Not spilling the cereal all over the counter.

  6. Well written. I remember the agony of waiting to be able to dig out a prize. Also, the great play on words from the prompt made me smile. I’d have never gone with grizzly bear from that. Well done!

  7. Aww, that was so sweet, and such a nice change that it was just as innocent as it appeared – we friday flashers are a dark bunch aren’t we? I have been there, and done that too, and this was a wonderful reminder of a time when silly things in cereal packets meant the world.

  8. Awww, nice to have a story where it all goes well, for a change!
    Do you still get toys in cereal packets in the US? I think you don’t in the UK anymore – some health and safety nonsense or other…

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