Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Like a Fish at a Fairground

We two, up to our ten year old elbows in my best friend’s sink, a myriad of pastes and blue coloured gloop strewn around his mother’s pristine bathroom. We worked studiously, as wizards of old, adding a touch of this and a slug of that, allowing our imaginations to suppose that we had created a puff of smoke or a bubble.

T-shirt splattered conspicuously with all manner of ingredients, I crept downstairs, past the mothers’ voices and the smell of coffee emulating from the front room, slipped out of the back door, past the slide, springing over the rockery to our vegetable patch and to our pièce de résistance. It lay there, staring placidly, legs akimbo – frozen, lifeless, perfect.

Pocketing the frog, I flew back upstairs, heart beating in my head, back to our white tiled cauldron to find our potion was ready. He had already poured it lovingly into the Magical Sack of Disappearance which was to be its home. The colour was more violet now than blue, the smell now more talcum powder than Chanel No 5.

We tussled over the frog for a second. I’d been to get it – it should be me to put it in. He won. Boys always did. I held the Magical Sack whilst he ceremoniously lowered our prize, nose first, into the cloudy liquid. And with a splash, it was gone. We stood, twisting the bag, transfixed, craning, wondering. An eye bulged out of the murk. Like a fish at a fairground.

Undeterred, we hastily sealed the Sack and said the magic words before scampering to the best hiding place we knew. Pushing the concoction under his parents’ wardrobe, we grinned at one another. All we had to do was leave the potion there to brew for a week or two.

Three years later, my best friend’s mother decided that her bedroom could do with a full spring clean.

Three years later, some rather sheepish teenagers tried to unsuccessfully deny all knowledge of why, under the wardrobe, lay a rotting frog surrounded by browny green sludge, encased in a plastic sandwich bag.

Please, feel free to share your vivid childhood memories.

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