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Children's Stories
by Margo Fallis
Clean Up

Sam always left a mess after he was finished eating. He never put the lids back on the mayonnaise. He never closed the top of the box of cereal and he never put things back in the cupboard or refrigerator. Not once had he picked up his dishes and put them in the sink. Sam's mom scolded him every day, but he didn't listen. He'd finish eating and then run off to play. Sam loved playing with his friends more than he liked cleaning up after himself.

Saturday was Sam's birthday. His mom was throwing a party for him. "Sam, I'll let you have a birthday party only if you promise to clean up after yourself for the rest of the week."

"All right, Mom. I will. I promise." Sam kissed his mom and started working on birthday party invitations.

He invited all of his friends from school and from his neighborhood.

On Saturday morning, Sam was so excited. He helped his mom blow up balloons and decorate the house. He stared at his birthday cake and watched as his mom put the ice cream in the freezer.

When his friends arrived, they played games and had birthday cake and ice cream and then opened presents. Jill gave Sam a box of donuts. Ben gave Sam a dozen chocolate bars. Bill gave Sam ten brownies and two chocolate eclairs. Sandra gave him a toy car. Jeff gave him a box of toy soldiers and Andy gave him some marbles. He got a lot more toys from his friends. After the party Sam played with his toys and ate some of his brownies and donuts.

Nighttime came and Sam started yawning. "Time for bed, Sam, but first you have to clean up after yourself, like you promised." His mom pointed at the kitchen. "You need to put the brownies away and the chocolate eclairs in a bag and close the box of donuts."

Sam didn't want to do anything. He was too tired. "All right, Mom." He went into the kitchen and instead of doing as him mom asked, he ate another brownie and went to bed without brushing his teeth. He left a mess everywhere.

His mom went into the kitchen later on. "I'm not cleaning this up. It's time Sam learned a lesson." She left the mess out, just like Sam left it.

In the morning Sam woke up. "I can't wait to eat some of my donuts for breakfast and a few brownies and eclairs too." He ran into the kitchen. Sitting on one of the donuts was a fat brown mouse. There were mice eating the brownies and some eating the eclairs. "Go away, mice," Sam said and shooed them all away.

His mom came into the kitchen. "Sam! What happened?" She saw the mice running away.

"There were mice all over my donuts and brownies and eclairs," Sam said. He sat in the chair and sobbed. "Now I don't have any more left."

"That's right, Sam, and why is that?"

"Because I didn't clean up after myself like I promised. I'm sorry, Mom. From now on I'll clean up every single time." Sam hugged his mom.

After breakfast, Sam put his dishes in the sink. He closed up the cereal box and put the milk in the refrigerator. After lunch he put the lid on the mayonnaise and  put his dishes in the sink again. That night his mom brought him another box of donuts. Sam was so excited. He sat at the table and ate one. He was about to get up and run to play with his toys, but stopped. "Oh yeah." He put the donuts back in the box and closed the lid. The next day when he got up, the donuts were still there. No mice had eaten them. Sam always cleaned up his mess after that. He liked donuts too much!

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