Home | Short Stories | Nº 39 – June, the 13th

Nº 39 – June, the 13th

Saturday, June 13th, 2020

Well, I used to wear a woollen hat. It was one of those times when I became interested in science fiction. I thought it was cool. Every Saturday, I watched Star Trek on TV and, at some point, I felt it was time for a change. Through the power of my thoughts, I just said goodbye to my daily routine and beamed myself away. Scotty was my great role model. Beaming was a totally cool thing. You just didn’t want to be part of things anymore when it was getting boring, or when it was getting embarrassing. My parents drove a Fiat Uno at that time. It was really bad. They drove me to school in it every day. And all the other students pointed their fingers at me. Here comes the guy in the white egg box. That’s the first time I orbed out. I just wasn’t there anymore, through the power of my thoughts. It was fantastic. Then one of them snapped his fingers and disappeared and reappeared somewhere else: poof, poof, where did the rocket go to?

That was the time when a blond guy in short trousers and with long hair, stupid Donald, was tied to his chair from behind during class without his noticing. He used to eat worms and wanted to get into big business, to be a real entrepreneur. That day we were asked by our class teacher what kind of career we wanted. And when the lesson finally ended and the bell rang, someone had tied Donald to his chair, with a rattling tin with a string tied to it. We were somewhere between funny and weird, but always cool.

When it got boring in school, Maths lessons were the worst. At some point I took off my woollen hat and calmly unpacked an aluminium roll. That was the fatal blow. Everybody looked at me and asked me what I was doing. I took the beginning of the roll and tied it around my head. And then I rolled myself up in this aluminium stuff and made my own personal aluminium hat out of it. Someone then came up with the idea that it was good protection against radiation from outer space. No, said my friend Jonathan, it also protects you against exhaust fumes from planes and cars. And against hay fever. Everyone laughed. We laughed a lot in those days. Woollen hats went out of fashion and aluminium hats became the big thing. Until today.

There were 33 of us in my class: 20 girls and 13 boys. Boys were in short supply, there were always too few boys. One day, the girls locked the Maths teacher in the cupboard where the chalk and paper were kept for the Art lessons. He was one of those guys that would stand behind you to look down the girls’ necks. Nothing was the same after that. All of us – each of us –brought an aluminium roll to school from that day on and we all rolled ourselves up with the aluminium in Art lessons. It became a craze, pure fashion. Our Art teacher thought it was good at the beginning. Really cool, she said appreciatively! But, at some point, she wanted to continue with Art, and we didn’t. We discussed whether we should leave a slit in our field of vision so that we didn’t run into the cupboard, with the Maths teacher sitting there like a prisoner in a cell. The headmaster freed him after the lesson in the big break. Someone had noticed that he hadn’t turned up for coffee. They went looking for him.

That was when science fiction became reality. Someone had the bright idea to say that a virus was coming to visit us from China. Nonsense, we thought, you don’t always have to exaggerate like that. You have your aluminium hats, they also help against viruses from China, said John, our young History teacher, and he told us about his greatgrandfather, who didn’t know anything about aluminium hats at that time and had to fight the Spanish flu and the Americans. The game was called War and Peace. The little animal that somehow hatched on a chicken farm somewhere in Kansas over in the States came to Europe and killed a hundred million people. The American flu, which they turned into Spanish flu in the Pentagon. That’s life, sometimes it’s dull and boring. But we always had fun with the aluminium hats. Until today.

One day, we arranged to meet at two in the morning and Alex brought some bricks from home, together with some sand and cement. His father was a builder. We fetched a few buckets of water and worked hard for an hour bricking up the main entrance to the school. We were practically at the end of our time at school. Then we hid behind some bushes and filmed the caretaker hammering the wall down again. It was a wild time, cool and full of adventure. But, at some point, when it got boring, we just beamed ourselves away and reappeared somewhere else, of course with our aluminium hats on and the slit in it for the eyes, the nose, the mouth. We shouted Corona! whenever someone was about to sneeze. One thing was certain, woollen hats were never in demand after that.

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