A Sticky Situation


The beginning of this story starts where most of my stories do — a long, long time ago on that old familiar street not so far away called Flamingo … well, almost. This story really has its origins on the dusty playground in the back of Mt. Olive Elementary School.

Right after lunch, all us kids in Old Ms. Crabtree’s third grade class covered the playground like ants crawling over a piece of candy dropped on top of their ant hill. Most of the girls either skipped rope or swung on swings, while us boys either played dodge ball or lined up waiting for our turn traversing the mighty monkey bars. For me, today was a monkey bar day.

Running to the monkey bars, I was first in line with five other kids waiting behind me. Today was gonna be the day that a kid would finally make the round trip down and back the ten-foot span of green metal. I was determined that that kid was gonna be me. Climbing up, I grabbed the first bar with both hands, held on tightly and took a deep breath as I started to swing out over the open dusty ground three feet below.

Never before was the swinging of my legs and the grabbing and releasing of my hand grip on the bars been so perfectly timed. I’d made it down to the end, turned around, and was making it halfway back faster than anyone else had done it that entire spring! The third-grade school record for a monkey bar round trip was in sight. The other kids waiting their turn started to cheer me on as I made a grab for the next to last bar.

I never made it.

Suddenly the clear blue sky disappeared and was replaced with light green. Instantly, I realized two things. First, a clear blue sky can’t turn into a light green sky. It wasn’t possible. Second, the light green sky was now stuck to my face. With this realization, and the fact I could no longer see, I fell to the ground. With my dusty thud, all the cheering quickly turned into laughter. Almost breaking the monkey bar record, falling to the ground, and everyone laughing at me was bad enough. Certainly, things couldn’t get any worse.

Boy, was I ever wrong.

Jumping up, I started running around, screaming, and trying to get whatever was stuck on my face off! Seeing nothing but green, I bumped into the monkey bars and other laughing kids. After tripping over the seesaw, knocking the thing off my face, and falling to the ground a second time, I stood up and was surprised to see everyone still pointing and laughing at me. Quickly I realized why. The green thing was now stuck to my ear!

I, for one, didn’t think this was funny at all.

Running around as I swatted the thing now stuck on my ear, the other kids on the playground started to run over to see what was going on. Finally, I grabbed the green menace and flung it ten feet through the air. Where it landed, I didn’t really care. It was off me. But where the green thing landed couldn’t have been a better place.

Right on Bully Brad’s face.

Come back here next week, Dear Reader, to find out how the green thing defeated the bully from Flamingo Street — and how it has followed me for the last fifty-six years, still causing mayhem to this very day.

[Rick Ryckeley has been writing stories weekly in The Citizen since 2001.]