“You need to learn
the value of a dollar,”
said my parents when 
the concept of allowance 
was introduced
one night at dinner

I was nine or ten
the money wasn’t much
two dollars a week
paid on Friday nights
before the family went
out to the mall

at first I squandered it
at the video arcade
me feeding quarters to
Ms. Pac Man and
Pole Position until 
nothing was left

but when I heard 
the Beastie Boys on
FM radio fighting for
my right to party
I saved my money
for weeks and weeks

cash in hand I knew 
what I was after
I strutted into Sam Goody
and plucked my copy
of Licensed to Ill from 
the wall of cassettes

“let’s see what you got,”
said my parents when
we got back home 
I popped the tape into 
my dad’s stereo and
cranked up the volume 

beefed-up drums blasted
through my dad’s speakers
drenched in reverb
my parents winced as 
MCA, Ad Rock, and Mike D
spit their verses 

two minutes into the
first song and that was it
“there will be no rhyming 
or stealing in this house,”
said my mom as she
she confiscated the tape

what I learned that night
wasn’t the value of a dollar
but the cruelty of
so-called authority figures
forcing their vision of
morality on everyone else

 J. Archer Avary (he/him) lives on a tiny island in the English Channel where he writes poems and stories. His work has appeared in the Daily Drunk, Rejection Letters, and Little Old Lady Comedy. Follow him on twitter: @j_archer_avary