"Camilla!" Mrs. Secular called from the kitchen, "Can you come here for a
"Coming!" Camilla replied, taking the stairs two at a time from the
"Honey, can you go to the grocery for me? I'm busy with Ben's game
today. Also, can you handle Brent? I don't want to take him because he
and Ben will fight." Her mom asked.
"Uh huh, Brent's no trouble." Camilla assured.
"Okay, the money and list are on the counter, bye honey, bye Brent!"
Mrs. Secular called.
Camilla watched as her mother's car drove away.
"Okay, Brent, you get to go grocery shopping with me!" Camilla
exclaimed, as she picked up her little brother from the floor.
"But I wanna stay here!" Brent wailed.
"How about this, if you behave, I'll play catch with you when we get
back." Camilla bribed.
"Okay. but I get to scan the stuff." Brent sniffed.
"Have fun." Camilla sighed.
There was $20, and a list. They needed to get bread, carrots,
noodles, cheese, cereal and marshmallows. Camilla grabbed a small cooler
that would keep the cheese cold so that it wouldn't go bad. A normal five
minute walk turned into about 20 minutes with her brother. As they walked
to the store, Brent asked Camilla so many questions that she couldn't keep
track of them all. When they got to the store, Brent suddenly grew quiet.
"Finally," Camilla thought, and then said, "We should get a basket,
"Uh huh," Brent muttered, and went to go get one.
"We should get the noodles, first." Camilla said, more to herself
"I know where they are!" Brent exclaimed, and headed toward the
"Brent! Wait up!" Camilla called after him.
"Sorry." Brent grinned when she finally caught up with him.
"Brent, what am I going to do with you?" Camilla asked, joking.
"I don't know, what are you going to do?" Brent replied.
"Make you work." Camilla snickered.
"How so?" Brent asked.
"If the noodles that mom wants are $1.50, and I have $20.00 to spend,
how much will I have left for the rest of the food?" Camilla questioned.
"I know this! We did it in school yesterday!" Brent replied, "Hold
on. you would have, $18 left?"
"No, close. Think about it, what is twenty minus one?" Camilla
"Nineteen." Brent replied.
"Now, you have to take away 50¢ from $19." Camilla explained.
"Okay, so it would be $19.00 - $0.50 = 18.50!" Brent exclaimed.
"Good." Camilla replied, placing the noodles into their basket, and
walking towards the bread aisle.
"Cami, if we have $18.50 left after we've gotten the noodles, then how
much will be left after the bread?" Brent asked.
"I don't know, you tell me. The bread is .89¢." Camilla replied.
"Fine, be mean." Brent joked, "But I bet I can figure it out before
"I'm sure you can." Camilla agreed.
"Okay, hold on, 18.50 minus .89. That's a tough one. I have to
borrow. We will have $17.61 left!" Brent exclaimed.
"I knew that!" Camilla protested.
"Liar, liar, pants for hire!" Brent exclaimed.
"Alright, take your little nine-year old self, and stop contradicting
me!" Camilla ordered.
"I don't have to listen to you, you're not my mommy." Brent replied,
sticking his tongue out at her.
"Yeah well, your mommy left me in charge, so grab the bread and come
on." Camilla glared.
"Okay." Brent yelped, and followed Camilla to the produce section.
"Brent, grab the carrots that are on sale." Camilla ordered.
"The ones on sale for $1.59" Brent asked?
"Yes, and while you're at it, you can figure out how much money we
have left for cheese, cereal, and marshmallows" Camilla replied.
"Give me a minute." Brent sulked.
"We have $17.61 left. Take away $1.59. Fifty-nine is less than
sixty-one by two cents. Seventeen minus one is sixteen. So, we have
"You're asking a seven-year old how to do math? I'm surprised you've
gotten as far as you have in school." Leigh, Camilla's worst enemy, smirked
from behind them.
"He's nine, and I'm helping him for school, Leigh." Camilla replied.
"Whatever you say, Camilla," Leigh smirked, and walked away.
"Now, if cheese is $3, then how much will we have left over?" Camilla
"That's an easy one, $16.02 minus $3.00 is $13.02," Brent replied.
"Can we get the Sugar Bombs
cereal?" Brent asked.
"That's my favorite cereal."
"Mom told us to get the kind
of cereal we would eat, so that sounds like a good idea to me," Camilla
agreed. "It is $3.82 a box."
"Okay I know what's next," Brent lamented. "$13.02 minus $3.82 is
less than 10 dollars. The pennies are even. Eight minus ten is two.
Twelve minus three is nine. So, we have $9.20 left. Then there are the
marshmallows. They are $1.20. So, $9.20 minus $1.20 equals $8.00. That
makes our total purchase $12.00, because $20.00 minus $8.00 is $12.00."
"You knew what I was going to ask, amazing." Camilla smiled.
"You're my sister, and you've been asking me math questions all day,
what did you expect?" Brent asked.
"I don't know, maybe a confused little boy?" Camilla replied.
The smile on Brent's face grew ten times bigger.
"I proved you wrong!" He exclaimed.
"You act like it's a big deal." Camilla said.
"It is, at least to me." Brent grinned.
"Well, then, I guess this calls for a treat. Come on, help me pay
for this stuff, and after we've dropped the grocery's off at home, I've got
a surprise for you." Camilla winked.
"Alright, if I have to." Brent agreed.
They paid for the groceries, and headed back home.
"So, wait, if we were only given $10, what would have happened?"
"Well, we wouldn't have bought the Sugar Bombs." Camilla replied.
"Nooooooo, why?" Brent asked.
"It was the most expensive item that was on the list." Camilla
"But we need Sugar Bombs!" Brent wailed.
"But we could've waited until next week." Camilla replied.
While they had been talking, they had reached their house. They put
the groceries away and headed out again.
"Where are you taking me?" He whined.
"We're going far, far away." Camilla replied.
"That's mean!" Brent exclaimed.
"You're right, but I don't care." Camilla replied, pulling him along
faster. When they reached the local pizza parlor, she turned and entered.
"Sweet," He exclaimed. "I want cheese!"
"Okay, but only if you can figure out how much change we'll have from
a small cheese pizza and two root beer floats." Camilla explained.
"Remember we have to pay sales tax on fast food. It's seven percent."
"That makes it tougher because I need to multiply. Seven times seven
is 49. Now, a small pizza is $5, and one root beer float is $2, but its
buy one get one for a penny. Then, I add the $0.49 sales tax, and which is
going to be $7.50. That is $0.50 less than how much you have left." Brent
Camilla replied, "That sounds good, why don't you go order and find
out if you have calculated everything correctly."
"What did you do in class, anyway? Pass notes non-stop, so that you
have to get a fourth grader to figure out simple math?" Brent retorted.
Brent walked up to the counter to place their order.
"How may I help you?" The cashier asked.
"I'd like a small cheese pizza and the buy-one-get-one-for-a-penny
root beer floats." Brent replied.
"That'll be $7.50." The cashier said.
"Here you go." Brent replied, handing her the money.
"Thank you." The cashier grinned.
"Good job, Brent, I'm so proud of you!" Camilla exclaimed. "I knew
you were right all along."
"Yeah right, we're order number 986." Brent replied, climbing into
the booth Camilla had picked out.
"Number 985," The PA system called out.
"We should be next." Brent proposed.
"Number 986," Called the PA system.
"I'll go get it, you stay here." Camilla ordered.
"Okay, hurry back!" Brent joked.
"I will!" Camilla called back.
"Okay, so, we started out with $20, then we bought pasta for $1.50,"
Brent mused to himself while Camilla was getting the pizza. "Then, that
left us with $18.50. After that, we bought bread for $0.89, which gave us
$17.61. The carrots were $1.59, which gave us $16.02. Then, the cheese
was $3, leaving us with $13.02."
"Brent, what are you mumbling about?" Camilla asked, returning to the
"Everything that happened today," Brent replied.
"That's what I thought. Dig in!" Camilla exclaimed, placing the pizza
down in front of him.
"This is good." Brent said with his mouth full of pizza.
"Don't talk with your mouth full, Brent! I thought your mother taught
you better than that!" Camilla scolded.
"She did." Brent replied, gulping down the rest of his float.
"We've got to be getting back home. You know just as well as I do
that Ben's games are short, and mom will be home soon." Camilla reminded.
"Yeah, because he gets hit trying to catch pop-ups." Brent snickered.
"Brent! That was mean!" Camilla exclaimed as they walked home. About
half way there, their mom caught up with them.
"Want a ride?" Mrs. Secular asked.
"Sure!" Brent and Camilla replied.
As they drove home, all you could hear were Brent and Ben talking about