Episode 1: Dollar Billy

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Ever wondered what it would be like if your parents were literally made of money? Billy knows exactly what that’s like. Find out what happens when his wish finally comes true. (Duration 14:06) Theme music by Kevin Macleod – Incompetech.com. Want to listen offline? Click the download icon on the player above to download this episode to your device.

Episode 1: Dollar Billy

The Main Street Arcade.

A run-down garage where kids go to blow all their money in one sitting. Century old arcades lined the walls like statues in a museum. On any given day it was full of kids with numb expressions that stared into flashing lights. The place smelled like old carpet and popcorn and the sounds of digital pings, wongs, and zaps echoed around the corners.

A chubby toddler cried his eyes out on one of those old penny horses that bounced. It had stopped and the kid’s mom had either run out of money or wasn’t about to watch him bob up and down for another 20 minutes. Next to them, a group of kids huddled around Smithy, a Junior Higher who had mastered the game of Bowsa Yowsa. The kids shouted and clapped as he set a new record – 520 thousand points. And one arcade over from the celebration was Billy.

Billy stood quietly at his favorite game, Batta Watta Ding Dongs 5. He dug into his pocket and fetched a quarter. The coin dropped into the arcade and the towering box hummed to life. A synthesized theme song was followed by an onslaught of pixelated bats that flew across the screen. Billy frantically jerked the joystick, firing a spray of twinkies at the creatures and ending them in a creamy splatter.

Before he knew it, a bat swooped down and ended his last life.

Game Over.

Billy dug into his pocket for another quarter, but instead pulled out lint and a Starburst wrapper. You’ve got to be kidding me, he thought. We just barely got here!

“What’s wrong Billy? Ran out of Twinkies?” said Smithy, walking up and leaning against his arcade. The mousy boy tossed his long black bangs to one side. Legend says that Smithy had beaten every arcade in the joint multiple times. An even greater legend says he is actually a game character come to life and walks the arcade as its guardian. Either way, his presence alone intimidated Billy.

“No,” Billy replied. “This game’s getting old. You know how it is when you beat it so many times. It’s just boring after a while.” Truth was, Billy hadn’t beaten the game yet, but he wasn’t about to tell the Arcade Legend that. Not in a million bazillion years.

The group of kids standing behind Smithy hovered around the short dark headed greaseball like he was the president of the United States. Half of them, Billy recognized, were his friends, easily influenced by whatever alpha male gamer happened to be around that day. So much for them coming to his aid.

Smithy smirked, “Oh, I know very well how that is Bill,” he said, “Although with this game here, I lost track of how many times I beat it when I stopped playing it at age four.”

“Ooooooh,” said the kids behind him. Smithy held up his hand like a Pharaoh and the group silenced immediately.

“Wait a minute,” he continued, “you’re not outta Twinkies, you’re outta money.”

Before Billy could deny it, Smithy snapped his fingers and a big kid next to him dropped a sack full of quarters in front of him. It landed with a heavy thud like a bag full of golden Doubloons.

“Go on, take a few. This one’s on the Smithman. You’re welcome.”

The Smithman? Billy thought. That had to be the lamest self-proclaimed nickname of all time.

“Nah, I’m good. Thanks anyway,” said Billy. He could hear the snickers as he turned and headed out the door.

That evening, Billy approached his parents who were sitting and talking on the couch.

“Mom, Dad, I think I’m ready for a raise.”

Billy’s dad looked up at him with a raised eyebrow. “In allowance?”

“Yeah, I’m old enough to earn way more than I’m getting now. How about we start with a cool thousand buckaroos a week? Cold hard cash. Small bills will do.”

“Cold…..cash?” His parents looked at each other before bursting into laughter.

“Fine. If that’s too much, I should be making at least twice what I’m making now.”

“Well,” said Billy’s mom calming herself, “if that’s what you want, you’ll have to do twice as many chores.”

“Twice as many-? Paul, Johnny, and Clyde make nearly three times what I make and they barely clean their rooms! Seriously, Clyde’s parents put out an Amber Alert on his little sister only to find her hours later buried in a pile of dirty clothes in his room.”

His dad shrugged. “So?”

“So it’s not fair!”

“Billy, your mom and I don’t think it’s a good idea to give you a bunch of money for doing nothing. If you grew up thinking you should be paid for breathing you’re going to have an impossible time finding and keeping a job someday. If you’re willing to do some extra work, I’m sure we can bump your allowance to say $8.50.”

“Eight fifty?”

His mom shook her head. “We’re not made of money honey.”

“Well I wish you were!”

“Were what?”

“Made of money!”

And with that Billy stormed off to bed.

The next day, on his way to school, Billy passed by the Fountain on the corner of Dobson. He stopped and thought for a minute. A fountain, he thought. A wishing fountain. He turned and walked back and stopped by the little geyser. At the bottom of the pond were hundreds of shimmering coins. No he wasn’t going to jump in after them. He wasn’t that low. Or at least not yet. Billy dug through his backpack and found a penny. “I wish my parents were made of money,” he said, flicking it into the fountain. The ripples in the water shimmered as he walked away.

After school, Billy ran home and went straight for the fridge. He froze when he noticed something strange next to him doing the dishes. Slowly, he stepped away from the fridge and looked at it.

Standing in front of the sink was a tall figure made of green paper. Not just any green paper, MONEY! Loads and loads of money. Rolled up bills formed its arms and legs. Folded checks dangled down its back like long hair. Its coin roll fingers turned the dishes and scrubbed. Finally, it turned and looked at him with nickel eyes.

“M-Mom?!” he cried.

“Hi, honey! How was school!”

Billy’s dad walked into the room. Or at least a thing that looked vaguely like his dad. “Babe, have you seen my allen wrench. Darndest thing. I can’t find it anywhere. Oh hey, son!” said the man made of cash.

Billy struggled to find the words, “But you guys, you guys are made…of money,” he said.

They looked at themselves. “Would you look at that, we are!” said his dad, chipper as ever.

The weirdness of the situation slowly faded as Billy got an idea. He smiled. “You guys wanna go to the arcade?”

Minutes later they were in the Main Street Arcade, Billy pounding away at Batta Watta Ding Dongs 5. Every time the game ended, he reached over and took a coin from his parents’ fingers. “Oh, okay, sure,” they would say as he put the coins into the machine.

Pretty soon the whole place was huddled around Billy, watching him set the new high score and marveling at his parents made of money. They chanted his name, patted his back, brought him pizza and returned it when he asked for cheese. His fame grew by the minute.

Billy snapped his finger and a hunched-over Smithy came waddling over to his side. “I’ll take two scoops of Rocky Road in a waffle cone,” he said without looking away from the game. He pulled a five dollar bill from his mom’s arm and held it out for Smithy.

“But I don’t work here-”

“Remember, waffle cone, not sugar,” Billy insisted.

Smithy lowered his head and took the money.

On the way home, Billy and his parents stopped by the pet store. “I’ll take one puppy please. The biggest one you have,” he said, holding out a wad of cash from his mom’s hip. “No make that fifty puppies. I don’t want them getting lonely.”

It wasn’t long before Billy was taking his parents all over town, buying everything his heart desired with their money. All the while Billy’s poor parents grew smaller with every purchase. A few dollars from a shoulder. A handful of coins from their toes. Signed checks from their hair. Billy was on a roll.

With mom’s foot he bought a three story treehouse equipped with rope bridges, working cannons, and a twisting waterslide into a pool. Oh yeah, he got a pool too, thanks to dad’s left arm. But it wasn’t just any pool, the glimmering oasis had caves, jungle trees, swinging vines, rock climbing walls, and hidden jacuzzis. To top it off, he bought a school of sharks to guard it while he was away.

The next day, they flew to Disneyland and with a little help from mom’s right leg got to the front of every line. Not because of a pathetic fast pass, oh no, it was because Mickey Mouse himself carried them to the front on his shoulders.

For the flight home, Billy thought he’d mix it up and take a private helicopter stocked with a booming sound system, a soft serve ice cream machine, and a  Nerf firing gatling gun.

Now that he was home, his house was looking pretty sad next to his grand treehouse, pool, mountain of toys, and helicopter pad. So he used his parents’ cash torsos and built a Cocoa Mansion. That’s right, a 12,000 square foot estate made entirely of decadent chocolate, 60% milk, 40% dark. A curved staircase made of candy bars stretched up through the foyer. The Great Room fireplace was a floor-to-ceiling chocolate wafer that cooked a bubbling cauldron of hot cocoa. The floor tiles were made from a delicious assortment of truffles. The chandelier, layers upon layers of chocolate peanut butter cups.

Billy was in heaven.

“Oh! We could really use a pool table made of Toblerone,” he said, reaching over to his parents for more money. Only this time, his hand grabbed air. Confused, he looked all around for any sign of his parents. All that was left of them was a single copper penny.

After that it didn’t take long for things to get boring for Billy.

The treehouse filled up with noisy birds.

The helicopter ran out of fuel and soft serve.

The sharks had babies and now infested the pool, making it impossible to swim.

The dogs grew up and got enormous, barking non-stop and littering the yard with giant dog droppings.

In the summer, the chocolate dream home started to melt. Pretty soon, Billy was left sitting in a giant chocolate puddle with a stomach ache, surrounded by yapping dogs.

He was broke.

He was miserable.

And above all, he  was lonely.

Something shiny floated in the chocolate in from of him. He perked up. It was his little penny. All that was left of his parents that he missed so dearly. As he stared down at the little copper reminder of his family, he got an idea.

Covered in chocolate, Billy ran as fast as he could down to Dobson Street. He came to a skidding stop in front of the fountain on the corner. After a deep breath he squeezed the penny tight and whispered, “I wish I had my parents back.” And then he tossed the coin into the fountain. The ripples shimmered.

He bolted back to his house, leaving chocolate footprints winding through town. As he ran into his culdesac, his small little house came into view. Not a brown messy mega mansion, but his simple little old house. Billy shouted with joy.

He burst through the front door and saw his parents sitting on the couch. “Mom! Dad!” he jumped on the couch and gave them both a big hug. “You have no idea how much I’ve missed you guys! I’m so sorry for everything!”

“Sorry?” said his mom. “Sorry for what?”

Billy couldn’t believe his luck. They didn’t remember a thing. But it didn’t matter, he wasn’t ever going to make that mistake again. He would never ever put money before what was truly important, like his family.

“You know what,” said his dad, “I forgot to mow the lawn this weekend.  Would you mind doing that for me? I’ll pay you…” he started to pull out his wallet.

“No!” Billy shouted. His parents jumped. “I mean. No, thanks. This one’s on me.”

Discussion

Money isn’t bad, but it isn’t what’s most important in life. Talk to your kids about what should take priority in their lives.
Money needs to be managed. Teach your child about the importance of saving and how to do it. Challenge them to save for something specific they want. If appropriate, negotiate an allowance.

 

Activity

Go over the different kinds of money

 

Penny = 1 cent 

President on coin = Abraham Lincoln

penny

 

 

Nickel = 5 cents 

President on coin = Thomas Jefferson

nickel

 

Dime = 10 cents 

President on coin = Franklin Roosevelt

dime

 

 

Quarter = 25 cents

President on coin = George Washington

quarter

 

 

One Dollar Bill = 1 dollar 

President on bill = George Washington

dollar

 

 

Five Dollar Bill = 5 dollars

President on bill = Abraham Lincoln

five dollar

 

 

Ten Dollar Bill = 10 dollars 

Man on bill = Alexander Hamilton (U.S. Secretary of the Treasury 1789-95)

ten dollar

 

 

Twenty Dollar Bill = 20 dollars

President on bill = Andrew Jackson

twenty dollar

 

 

Fifty Dollar Bill = 50 dollars

President on bill = Ulysses Grant

fifty dollar

 

 

One Hundred Dollar Bill = 100 dollars

Man on bill = Benjamin Franklin

one hundred dollar

 

 

Check = infinite dollars

Teach your child about checks and how to use them

check

 

 

Budget
Help your child create a budget and start managing their money. Use the kid-friendly budget sheet found HERE (Thank you to MoneyandStuff.info for creating this great tool!)

Sample Budget for Kids