It isn’t fun to be a child worker
|Image: All Rights Reserved|
|New York : Aladdin|
“Do you have questions for me?” she asked.
Slumping, I jerked away from her touch and folded my arms across my chest. “Yeah. When can I go home?”
“That’s the beauty of FDO 169-D!” Her smile would have lit up the bottom of a black pit. I almost wanted to squint away from it. “The amount of time you will be required to spend at the workhouse is entirely up to you and your family. The harder all of you work to get back under your debt limit, the sooner you can go home. I’m sure it makes you feel better to know you’re in complete control of the situation. Doesn’t it, Matthew?”
“Matt,” I said, without really thinking.
“You like to be called Matt?”
“Yeah, I guess.” I stiffened. “Whatever, So you’re taking me to some workhouse?” History book pictures from the early 1900s of old factories appeared in my mind. The child laborers—child slaves really—always looked half starved and exhausted.
“Yes. FDO—Federal Debt Ordinance—169, option D, allows children of a certain age to help reduce their family’s debt by spending some time at an FDRA workhouse.”
“What happened to options A through C?” I thought families were supposed to be able to choose. I’ve heard stories, but I know of only one person for sure—a girl from Lakeview Middle School—who who’s had to go to a workhouse. Most families choose supervised spending. Why didn’t my family get to choose?”
“Oh, Matt,” she laughed and patted my arm again. “I know you overheard me tell your mother that I don’t know why this option was chosen for your family.” She leaned in close, twitching her eyebrows, and whispered, “Trust me. You’ll like option D. FDRA workhouses are fabulous places to live—especially for kids like you.” Her last word came out with a puff of air that tickled my ear. I leaned back until my head bumped against the glass.
“It stands for Federal Debt Rehabilitation Agency. It’s where I work. We oversee those participating under FDO 169-D.”
She went on and on about how amazing this workhouse was and how much I was going to love it there. After a few minutes I tuned her out. One thing I knew for sure, no place could be as much of a paradise as she seemed to think the workhouse was.
Extract from the book The Limit
By Kristen Landon
All Rights Reserved.
New York : Aladdin, c2010.
Call Number: J English LAN
Extract contributed by Yang Qinli
Available at NLB
Title: The sacrifice
By Kathleen Benner Duble
Call Number: J English DUB
Title: The house of djinn
By Suzanne Fisher Staples
Call Number: Y English STA
Title: The other sister
By S.T. Underdahl
Call Number: Y English UND
Is it our duty to make sacrifices in times of need to help our family?