Essay by kokerHigh School, 10th gradeA+, January 2006

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Christmas is nearing in the city, as lights blink even at day to attract customers looking for the perfect gift. People fill the shopping mall, from the jewelry stores to the parking lots to the toy stores. "I want that one!" A child walks sideways through an alley at KB Toys with his eyes glowing. "And that one, and that one too! This is so cool!" His father trails behind him with hands full of red and green shopping bags. "Hey look, Godzilla! ROAR! Grrrr... Wham!"

"Xander, we came here to buy a present for Mary, not for you. Come on, let's go to the girl's section."

"No! The girl's section's sissy!"

"Mary is your sister. Really, we don't have time to..."

"Hot Wheels!"

Xander gasps in amazement. He can not hear his father anymore as he stares at the sleek miniature race cars with his mouth wide open. His ears are disconnected from his brain, which is floating off into Hot Wheels Fantasy Land.

A car zooms by, maneuvers expertly around another car, drifts around a corner and flies through the goal in first place. Suddenly, a jerk brings him back to the mall. His father switches all the luggage to one hand and pulls the child toward the girl's aisle where dolls and toy makeup fill the shelves. Xander, however, shows no interest, and tries to get back to the race cars. Sighing, his father takes a Barbie doll and proceeds to the counter.

Meanwhile, at the clothes shop, there is a special Christmas Sale. Knit sweaters with reindeers and Santas are on display under blinking Christmas lights. A woman pauses in front of it. She tries holding it in front of herself, and looks in the mirror, posing. A small girl, a little younger than the boy...