Oscar was nine years old when he won a provincial spelling bee. His mother and father were so happy that they told him he could have anything he wanted, within reason. His grandmother said the same thing.
“I want to paint my room,” he said.
“Wonderful,” said his mother.
“Sounds great,” said his father.
His baby sister said, “Ba ba ba da GOO!”
They went to the store to get paint.
Oscar went to the paint chips. He picked the darkest black he could find.
“Oh no,” said his father.
“Oscar honey, are you really sure?” said his mother
“Yes, I am certain. I am sure. I am convinced. I am positive!” said Oscar.
“Ba bo mmmm-BA!” said his baby sister.
“We said you could have anything you want, within reason,” said his father.
Oscar was prepared. He had gone to the internet and printed out pictures of rooms that were painted black. “Grownups do it,” Oscar said. He pulled the pictures out of his backpack and showed his mother.
The paint lady said, “Lots of people are doing it.”
His mother looked at his father and his father looked at his mother, and the paint lady looked at both of them.
“I’ll make you a deal,” said his father. “You have to put it back the way it was when we move out. But that won’t be for years, so you will have black walls for a long time.”
“Deal,” said Oscar. They all shook on it, just to make sure.
His baby sister said, “La ba do BA!”
His parents bought the paint. They bought brushes and rollers and painters’ tape; they bought troughs and sponges and drop cloths. They bought everything Oscar needed to paint. At first they supervised very closely, but Oscar did a good job and was careful. He even painted the ceiling, and that was not easy. His dad helped him build a special kind of ladder called a scaffold.
It took him almost a week and his shoulder was sore and he had black paint in his hair, but he was done.
He called his grandmother and said, “You said I could have anything within reason when I won the spelling bee.”
“Oscar, of course! Did you make up your mind?”
“I want the deluxe star kit,” Oscar said.
His grandmother sent him an enormous box full of glow in the dark stars. It seemed like every star in the sky fell out of the box.
Oscar put a sign on his door. “Keep out. Nobody come in AT ALL, until I say so!” His baby sister did not like to be left out, so sometimes she came in and watched.
It took him three days and his shoulder was still sore, but it was done.
He asked his parents to come in to his room and turn off the light.
Oscar’s whole room was full of stars. He had printed the names of the constellations in glow in the dark paint.
Oscar’s little sister had watched him paint and put up the stars and she pointed and yelled, “DAR!”
Oscar’s mother said, “It’s beautiful!
His father said, “You really wanted to have stars in your room!”
His baby sister said, “DAR!”