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Family Circus, 10/9/04

This has to be the meanest thing I’ve ever seen in the Family Circus. Dad smiles at his own cruel taunt, but little Billy’s face, contorted in a rictus of rage, shows that he’s now at the age where such make-believe games no longer soothe the sting of forced child labor. You can’t spend leaves at the store, Dad, and I’m guessing you’re not coughing up any real money at the end of this chore, either. Decades from now, someone’s going to be describing this moment to a therapist.

Comics sweatshop watch: no doubt the hapless soul who did the coloring for this strip is shackled to a drafting table somewhere in the steamy tropics, and can therefore be forgiven for making those fallen leaves a vibrant, mid-summer green.