The Tally

Mr. Fremont led Kim to the cash register.
“Let's pretend you already have a job here,” he said.
“Okay,” said Kim.

Mr. Fremont went and got some things from the shelves and plopped them into a shopping basket. He selected a jar of peanut butter, a bag of cookies, and a key lime pie. Then he set the basket on the counter next to Kim.

“Can you tally up the cost of all this food?”
“You bet!” said Kim cheerfully. “Do you want me to use the cash register?”

“No,” said Mr. Fremont. “I want to see if you can do it without the cash register. Let’s pretend the cash register is broken. So you have to add up the tally all by yourself”

That sounded hard to Kurt. He looked at Kim to see if she looked scared. She did not.

“No problem,” said Kim.
Kim got a sheet of paper and a pen. She wrote down the cost of each item. Then she added it up carefully.

When she finished she said, “Mr. Fremont, should I add the sales tax on top of this?”

Kurt looked at Mr. Fremont and saw him break into a big grin. Mr. Fremont'’s grin seemed to stretch from ear to ear. Kurt could not tell why he was so happy.

“Yes,” Mr. Fremont said. “We must add in the sales tax.”
“Whar is sales tax?” Kurt asked.

Mr. Fremont explained, “It’s a tax we have to pay to the state to help pay for roads and firemen and that sort of thing.”

Meanwhile Kim had finished adding in the tax. When she was finished, Mr. Fremont checked her numbers.

“Wow!” said Mr. Fremont. “You added and multiplied perfectly!”

He held out a hand for Kim to shake and said, “You've got yourself a job!”

“For real?” said Kim.
“For real!” said Mr. Fremont. “You can start next week.”
Kurt clapped his hands.
“I'm so excited!” Kim said.

“Well, you should be proud of yourself,” said Mr. Fremont. “It’s never easy to find a job.”

“You got that right!” Kurt said, sighing loudly. “It took us all day!”

“Just one day?” Mr. Fremont asked. “I'm impressed. Sometimes it takes a lot longer.”

“I suppose I got lucky,” replied Kim.

“Luck is finding a dime on the ground,” Mr. Fremont said. “Getting a job is not luck. You had to visit a lot of places and talk to a lot of people. And you had to pass the tests I gave you.”

Mr. Fremont showed Kim the rest of the store and the warehouse. Then he had her fill out some papers.

Mr. Fremont handed Kim twenty bucks for the time she had spent taking inventory and tallying up the costs. Then the two of them shook hands.

“Be here at nine o'clock sharp. Don’t be late!”
“You can count on me, Mr. Fremont. I will be here, on time, every day.”

Kim and Kurt went outside.
Kurt said, “Way to go, big sis!” They slapped hands and did a dance on the sidewalk.

Kim got out her cell phone and called her mom, who was at work.

“Mom,” she said, “I got a job!”
“Whoooo0-hooo!” said her mom.