Get Free Copy

100 free copies left

This novel is limited to 100 free copies due to its part in Inkitt’s Novel Contest.

0
Free copy left
You can read our best books
GColinThornton would love your feedback! Got a few minutes to write a review?
Write a Review

KING NUT

By GColinThornton All Rights Reserved ©

Humor

Chapter 1

Although my parents would be horrified to hear this, I had a deprived childhood. 

Every kid in the neighbourhood suffered the same privation. The east Indian girls across the backyard fence, the six Italian kids next door, the Polish family on the corner, Mindy and Fern Waldman, the Japanese boy down the street who played clarinet in our school band and my best friend Brent, a Ukrainian Irish hybrid.  

Superficially we grew up in abundance – cottages, swimming pools, new cars, colour TVs, but this affluence was a mere glaze on our deep emptiness. You see, our parents had the appalling lack of foresight to move into a neighbourhood with only one chestnut tree. Hard to believe, I know, but it’s true – one. 

Every June when the school bell rang for the last time and we were paroled for summer, spires of pink and white flowers festooned the sacred tree. A week later, the petals had fluttered to the ground as the tree moved into its next phase. 

We would stare at clusters of little nubs on the end of the branches willing them to grow faster knowing that each little nub would soon swell into a full-blown chestnut and out of a spiky green leathery shell, cradled in a creamy white, velvety interior, would emerge one, sometimes two, mahogany-coloured gems.

Their exquisite beauty and lamentable rarity made them precious. So precious, in fact, that we used them as currency. 

We knew nothing about global economics. We barely knew our multiplication tables. Instinctively, however, we knew that everyone wants what they can’t have. Ipso-facto: Chestnuts were gold. 

Two chestnuts could be bartered for a chocolate bar; four bought a cone of fries; six a comic book; a dozen could wangle an invitation to join a family vacation to Florida in the depth of winter. 

Patience was another rare commodity in our neighbourhood. 

One year, mid-July, Brent shinnied up the tree to pluck a few chestnuts so immature they were barely the size of chickpeas. Valiantly, he inched along a thin branch creaking under his weight, arching down a little further with each nudge forward. We all heard the crack as the branch broke and another crack when he hit the ground still clutching his treasure. It was a noble mission and we all signed his cast. 

Tragedy turned my life inside out that summer. My parents went to Europe and I went to stay with my Uncle Jack and Aunt Molly in downtown Toronto.

Nothing against Jack and Molly, I love them. Uncle Jack was a janitor at Maple Leaf Gardens and occasionally left me in the stands to watch the Leafs’ hockey practice while he swept the hallways. No, Jack and Molly were great. The source of my chagrin was much more practical. 

By missing the annual chestnut harvest I would be doomed to a year of penury. Reduced to selling pencils on the street corner, shoveling driveways or delivering papers to make ends meet. This was a serious imposition, almost certainly a violation of one Geneva convention or another.

My head hung low the day I was banished to the depths of Toronto’s east end. Molly showed me my room and where to find things in the kitchen. Ground rules were established: home when the street lights went on; stay off Dundas Street; and no wandering into the Greek section of town (I love Greeks, but my Scottish kin were not so enthusiastic).

Making new friends was easy. A kid from the suburbs was an exotic addition to the inner city menagerie.

One day, playing soccer on the street, I took a bad tumble – tripped deliberately by one of those Greek kids I was warned about. Lying flat on my back on Hillingdon Avenue staring up at the sky I recognized... a chestnut tree. 

I stood up and scanned the street and the angels began to sing: The whole street was lined with mature trees laden with ripe chestnuts. Chestnuts in downtown Toronto – who knew?

In the middle of East York I had found Eldorado. Chestnuts so plentiful they were literally lying on the ground, crushed by cars, carried off by squirrels. It boggled my mind that people could be so oblivious to the bounty being squandered.

For the remainder of my exile, I collected chestnuts diligently. Those squirrels may have had a head start but I had opposable thumbs, motivation and two new pillow cases. When it came time to go back to the suburbs I left all my clothes in the closet and lugged my little suitcase back to the suburbs filled with chestnuts. 

Exquisite delirium! Wealth beyond imagining. For weeks I kept my suitcase in my closet on its side brimming with mahogany gold. Whenever I needed a favour, a snack, or to borrow someone’s bike for an hour or two, I had ready cash. 

Unfortunately, through inexperience and (to be totally honest) a modicum of greed, I flooded the market with chestnuts and their value plummeted. Periodically this happens on other stock markets as well. 

Then natural disaster struck: Worms invaded, little white wrigglers, and mom threw my cache out with the trash - a day that will forever live in infamy as Black Wednesday.

That was the summer I learned about global economics. I’m not talking about Adam Smith, Marx, Keynes or John Kenneth what’s-his-name. Those days, Jimmy was the only Buffet I knew, a cheeseburger in paradise cost ten nuts and margaritas would be a glorious discovery for a future decade. No, that was the summer I learned the law of supply and demand, a theory known to cognoscenti around the world as The Chestnut Standard. 

A lifetime later, I can’t help but notice that one residual quirk remains from my days as the Chestnut Baron of Wishing Well Park. Wherever my wife and I live, Toronto, Boston, Halifax and now Shediac, New Brunswick, we plant chestnut trees in our yard. Spread the wealth, I say. 

——THE END ——



Write a Review Did you enjoy my story? Please let me know what you think by leaving a review! Thanks, GColinThornton
Continue Reading
Further Recommendations

Jaslyn: I loved reading this so much!! The transformation of Nina's self-esteem was incredible to read, and while I was rooting for Parker halfway through, I was very satisfied when Harrison and Nina finally got everything straight. The side characters were adorable - I especially loved Anna, Richel, Mic...

rak9485: I just finished with ch 24 n the story cut off at the end of the chapter please tell me there is more to this story I need to know the ending like if they end up together. do they have sex or not? do they date? is she to afraid to b in a relationship after Tyler.

christylynnr5: This book was absolutely amazing. It had romance, comedy, and mystery. Sid is a girl that pretends to be a boy and goes to an all boys school. Of course there is going to be romance. There's comedy in the story because Sid's character is carefree and has no filter making her bluntness and sarcasm...

ianwatson: The comedy is original and genuinely funny, I have laughed out loud many times reading this book. But the story and the plot are also really engaging. The opening two or three chapters seem quite character-dense but they all soon come to life and there is no padding, filling or wasted time readin...

Rebeccaseal: This was an almost perfect story that I would recommend to anyone. The only thing I would work on is painting a more realistic picture of Haiathiel. Somehow the environment seemed limited, and the land itself a bit unfinished. This can be solved simply by added descriptions to people and places. ...

M.Jones: Its rare i come across stories with women relationships and its rather realistic, but at the same time its as a fantasy in terms of a shinning knight and a princess type style. The only thing was I was having some issues at parts with keeping track of who was saying what and who was talking at ti...

Destiny Lee: This is amazing. It's totally realistic - cool girls have flaws, too, okay?? Totally awkward girl picks up her mom's old bass from her garage, messes around, and realizes, hey, maybe I can move on after all. She has moments where everything's hopeless for her, after all, an alcoholic dad and a fl...

JulieJeanette: I'm only on chapter nine, but so far I am loving this story!. I am on pins and needles hoping that they find good men in their lives by the end. I am American and so the British tone and lingo ('knickers,' 'sod it' ) of the book is very appealing. I had to find out how much '12 stone' was by goog...

bethnaloza: Good book... bad grammar though it gets a little annoying though but otherwise it's good..I stayed up like almost 4am for this damn book!!!It's good and frickn *JehshhsDjjdjxjxmsdbhsjDhsjkakanabshjsjssA

More Recommendations

Toria Davis: To say this book was amazing would be an understatement. I am absolutely in love with Rye and Thera. I believe that the author did awesome with this book. The funny thing was that I wanted to do this, but remember " You have a boyfriend, idiot." Thanks for the experience of these amazing writing ...

AASTHA SHARMA: really...one of the best novel i've ever read...a very touching story....really loved it...thanks for writing such a masterpeice...the struggle of the narrator but still remaining satisfied is the thing that i liked the most...another nice thing is the concept of talking with god...in short i wou...

Ben Gauger: Kudos to Dhira Vidhea, author of Boy Who Broke In My Window, an otherwise engaging tale of love and acceptance of the quirkiest of individuals, whose overall conception of the plot is spot-on and whose writing style is impeccable and as for her writing skills they are the best I've ever seen, tho...

Kelsie Ann: The title of this book is ironic considering I COULD NOT put the book down! Everything about this is amazing! For the original 'His Bubblegum Klutz' readers, do not be discouraged to read this book! I was at first, but I assure you the plot is the same and it's worth reading a second time! You wi...

About Us:

Inkitt is the world’s first reader-powered book publisher, offering an online community for talented authors and book lovers. Write captivating stories, read enchanting novels, and we’ll publish the books you love the most based on crowd wisdom.