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Busting
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By Alex Freeman

Busting
Ok, I am Alex Freeman and I’m in the supermarket trying to remember what groceries mum told me to pick up, but I can’t think, I can’t breathe, I can’t do ANYTHING. I’m busting! I’ve got to find a toilet. Then I can come back and think about groceries with a clear mind. I haven’t got a second to lose. I sprint down the aisle and skid around the corner.

WHAM!
Straight into an old guy with a walking stick. He staggers forward and crashes into a mountain of cans, they go rolling all over the floor. The old man is lying in the center of them.
‘Well, don’t just stand there.’ He says. ‘Help me up!’
I reach down, take his hand and pull him to his feet. The store manager appears. I can tell he’s a store manager because he’s wearing pants that are too tight.
‘What happened?’ he says.
‘This silly little boy knocked me over.’
‘It was an accident!’
‘Were you running?’ asks the store manager.
‘Yes,’ I say ‘but I was…’
‘There’s no explanation,’ he says. ‘I believe you own this gentleman an apology. Then you can pick up all the cans for me.’
I turn to the old man.
‘I’m really sorry sir,’ I say.
He shrugs and I start picking up the cans. By the time I’ve finished picking up the cans, I’m seriously busting. But I know better than to run out of the store. This time I just walk hurriedly. I get outside the supermarket and into the main shopping centre. I’m looking for a sign pointing to the toilets. I can’t see one.

There is a man selling pencils outside the supermarket
‘Excuse me,’ he says. ‘Want to buy a pencil?’
‘No thanks,’ I say.
‘They’re cheap-twenty cents each.’
‘No thank you,’ I say.
‘Just one?’ he asks.
‘I haven’t got time!’ I say.
‘You could have brought one by now,’ he says.
‘How many times do I have to say it?’ I say. ‘I do not want a pencil! What I really need now is a toilet.’
His shoulders drop. He sighs heavily. He looks like he’s going to cry like there’s no tomorrow. If he’s trying to make me feel bad then he’s succeeding.
‘Okay.’ I say, looking for change. ‘I’ll have one pencil.’
I can’t find a twenty-cent piece. All I can find is a two dollar coin.
‘Have you got change?’ I say.
‘No.’ he says. ‘You’re my first costumer today.’
‘Keep the change then.’ I say.
‘No, that wouldn’t be right.’
‘Fine.’ I say. ‘Give me ten pencils!’
He counts the pencils out one by one. He makes a mistake and starts over again. I’m shifting from foot to foot. Finally he hands the pencils to me.
I quickly ask him where the toilets are, he points and said to turn left, and then right and right again, he also reminded me not to go into the girl’s toilets. I dash off before he figures another way to waste my time. I turned left and right and right again like pencil guy told me and nearly went into the girl’s toilets. So every time I’m asked to go pick up groceries, I always remember to walk and go to the toilet before going.



Brian Falkner Books