Memories, long forgotten, surface as my fingers caress a small blue cap I find in my storage unit. Above the peak is a large ‘H’ and the motto ‘carpe diem’. I hold it up and smile. Howlands School, 1967. Did that really fit me then?!
I stand at the school gates, notebook and pen in hand, ready for anyone arriving late for school. A small boy, red-faced, approaches.
“What’s your name? You’re late!” I say gleefully. His face crumples and tears run down his cheeks.
I exit a shed with a container full of dangerous chemical. I am a trusted ‘pool boy’. Proudly, I tip just the right amount of chlorine in. It forms a yellow smoke underwater, as if someone just secretly urinated.
I jump over a long skipping rope, whirled over my head by two friends. “Have you heard Mellow Yellow?” one asks. Our local hero is Donovan.
“No, we’re not allowed to listen to pop music. But let’s form a pop group!”
I put the cap back into the box, which also holds my green ‘Cub’ cap. “Akela we’ll do our best, dib dib dib, dob dob dob!”
My phone bleeps and I return to 2016.
Featured in the book, To Cut a Short Story Short: 111 Little Stories
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