A couple of days ago the kids next door were playing 'house' with the concrete blocks stacked along the side of their wall. One of the things they were doing was planting seeds in pots, and when Miguel came home, he saw what they were doing and took them some of his own seeds. He explained how to soak them, plant them, and then water them. He described the type of flower they would get if they took good care of the plants.
Later that afternoon the youngest girl, about 6, ran over as we were going out to clarify how much water she should use to soak the seeds. I think they are taking it seriously - I have spotted the pots along the railing of the balcony, where they will get a nice dose of sun every day.
The next day I was out walking the dog when the smallest child called to me - something about 'melate'. The only 'melate' I know about is the national lottery, the one I really would like Miguel to win.
She called to her 10-year-old cousin, our next-door neighbor. The cousin, a very polite young girl, came over holding a handful of different lottery papers (the ones you use to submit your numbers to the machine). She asked me if I wanted to buy one but before I could even answer, she said her friend had told her to sell them and then she said, timidly, 'but maybe it's not true'.
I told her that it really wasn't true, she couldn't sell those tickets to make money. She would have to submit the numbers and pay for the ticket, so there would be nothing in it for her. She looked a little sheepish so I didn't tell her that children probably cannot play the lottery anyway.
I told the girls that Miguel buys those tickets twice a week and he could explain to them how it all worked, if they wanted to know. He is now their buddy so they will probably ask him about it (if they remember).
A little later I was cooking our dinner when I decided to run to the store down the street to pick up some fresh rolls. I turned the burner down to low and headed out.
The youngest child ran up to me and jabbered something very excitedly in Spanish - she spoke so fast I didn't catch what she was saying. But then I saw that she, her brother, and their cousin (both 10 years old) had set up a small table on the terrace next door and it was loaded with some of their toys.
Stuffed animals, some kind of keyboard toy, and in the middle, some blank lottery papers to fill in your numbers. The same papers they'd asked me about.
The boy was sitting behind the table. They asked me if I wanted to buy something, and I told them that I had to run to the store because I was cooking, but would check it out a little later.
When I got to the corner I was amused to see a sign posted on the wall of the corner house, notifying the neighborhood that there was a sale of toys and games going on, with an arrow pointing in the direction of the sale.
I bought my rolls and headed back home. When I got to the table, it had been cleared off. The salesman was still sitting there, and I asked him if they had already sold all their stuff. I couldn't imagine how they could have sold out in just 5 minutes, but nothing was there. The sale of the century? (at least on our street?).
They just smiled and explained that the sale was over. I suspect their parents got wind of their scheme when they were explaining it to me, and while I was at the store they were told to shut it down.
They didn't seem bothered by it though. They informed me that now they were going to put on an hour of theater. Since they weren't inviting me to buy a ticket to their show, I went in and we ate our meal. Afterwards I tried to nap on the bed, but the kids were in full throttle with their show, and it was noisy.
From what I could gather, the 10-year-old girl was the queen and her 10-year-old cousin was her slave. She barked out orders to him and he mostly obeyed, although she had to get tough with him now and then. I'm not sure what role the 6-year-old was playing because from what I could tell, she mostly supported the queen, shouting out encouragement now and then, and just running around.
So I'm really not sure what they've really been up to the last couple of days but maybe they are trying to raise some money. Maybe I was overhearing dress-rehearsal and I will still get hit on to buy tickets to the real show. Or maybe once the seeds sprout, they'll try to sell me some plants. I have a feeling these children have a plan.