This is the story of Randall’s time spent in Time-Out city.
Nine year old Randall was like most other children his age: rottenish. He never wrote letters to his grandmother to thank her for gifts; never ate all his vegetables; and never ever brushed his teeth properly or squeezed the toothpaste tube from the bottom.
Eventually he was arrested for repeatedly going down the up escalator and up the down escalator at a local department store. His sentence was to be served in Time-Out city where he would have to earn enough money to pay his fine. To make money, children were given the barest of materials and had to use their imagination to create products that people would buy.
Fed only parsley left over from local restaurant dinner plates and forced to sleep on old bristly “WELCOME” mats, the incentive to succeed was great.
Some children made underwear out of lint from clothes’ dryers. Some children sewed old elevator buttons on to even older shirts; some sold broken shoelaces for broken shoes. One child even sold extra belt holes!
Randall was only given crayon bits that were too small to use for coloring. He tried selling them as they were, but that proved impossible.
Hungry and sad, little Randall molded the crayon bits in to candle form by warming and squeezing them together in his hands. The birthday candle sized candles looked very nice, but they were missing one candle element: they had no wicks.
He sat on the sidewalk with his colorful unlightable crayon candles displayed in a shoe box with lettering on the front proclaiming “CRANDLES“. Day after day people passed by, peered into his shoebox, and walked away shaking their heads laughing.
Finally after weeks of people peering but not buying, a man came and looked interestingly at Randall’s Crandles.
“Can you light them?” the man asked.
“No” Randall answered ready for rejection.
“Good, I’ll buy them all.” replied the man.
“What will you use them for?” Randall asked enquiringly.
“I will sell them to people so happy and content that they don’t need to make birthday wishes. Most of these people are pretty old, so they will need to buy a lot of them.” answered the man.
And that is how Randall made enough money to pay his fine and return to his home where he always rode store escalators the proper way and even used the handrails occasionally.