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

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...

Madison O'Neal: Although the book may be good the grammar is horrid and it's hard to concentrate on the story when having to correct the mistakes of the author I suggest the author go back and correct things to improve the enjoyment of the book overall and the app should proof read things before they are publish...

Sinhala-Kella (aka Scandal Mania): Hey Fazio, I LOVED your story! The bus - I don't watch Grey's but that was vividly shocking! And the last paragraph where you said April was engaged to one man but rushed in to save another. It was sooo cute the way Jackson won April back - there were so many lovely bits - 'Shonda' (LOL!).You nee...

Alex Rushmer: I just want to say that the writing in this is amazing! I read the first couple chapters and was absolutely drawn in by it, The way you use first person in this story is extremely engaging and does wonders with your character development. I immediately had a picture of the characters and plotline...

quonisabailey: I love this book!!! I can't wait for the second one. I wish we had a backstory on foster though. I also wished we know why Mitchell was so dangerous. he seemed like the great reliable friend. anyway good jog with this book and keep up the great work!!

Bloodied_Demon_: I start reading this book over a year ago and i am in love! I followed this author from Wattpad to Radish and now here. she is an amazing writer that makes you feel like you are right there in the book! The people in the book feels so real. I hope and pray that this book becomes a New York best s...

Mona Matthews: I went to high school a while back and was able to revisit it in this book. The emotions, conflicts, and triumphs kept me turning the pages. Who is cool in high school? And what makes them cool? Why do we care? This book blends the turmoils of high school and the turmoils of life with perfect bal...

Ruby0h: Overall I thought your story was really good! It drew me in right away and kept me interested as the story progressed. I loved the character of Kayla being inserted into this story, and the way she affected and shaped the life of the original story into something totally new and interesting. I lo...

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...

More Recommendations

info2: Cracking read, enjoyed the different story line and was gripped from start to finish. Looking forward to reading another book from this author.

alyssaleigh01: This book is the first book i read on this app and lets just say i was not disappointed! The story line of this is so amazing. it shows the twists of true friendship and how it can change how you view everything. I finished this book in 2 days and would not stop till i did. Highly recommend!