“Gum-Gum, Dum-Dum,” the kids started in a whisper.
The chant grew louder and louder, ratcheting up until it reached an ear-splitting crescendo, “GUM-GUM, DUM-DUM!”
Upon completion of the chant, Bobbie, the new kid, knelt to tighten her shoelaces. Then she wrenched the gooey glob of Strawberry Hubba Bubba chewing gum from her mouth and crouched into a tight-knit ball, suddenly launching herself upwards.
Her form grew smaller and smaller until she was but a pinprick set alongside a pale morning moon, hovering in a cloudless azure sky.
Her descent was rapid, her pace momentarily pausing so she could slap the wad of chewed bubble gum at the apex of the traffic sign. The placement of the pink blob was at the highest point ever achieved in the history of the third grade Dum-Dum Club, thus sealing the first-ever ‘icky girl’s’ admittance.
The grubby boys encircled Bobbie (and the defaced speed limit sign), cheering and giving fist-bumps and high-fives all around. One-by-one, they clapped her on the back before running to line up in front of the side door before the blare of the end-of-recess bell resounded, effectively ending their fun.
The boys fidgeted in line—casting sideways glances at their newest member—while they covertly wiped ‘girl cooties’ from their hands.
NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR:
The picture of the defaced traffic sign, situated alongside the public intermediate school, was taken by the author on one of her early evening walks. It brought back memories of her early years when chewing gum in school was forbidden. Obviously, the underside of each desk was a sea of dried gum-wads.
Growing up, my family moved around—a lot. I attended a total of nine schools-in six cities-in four states before my first year of college. My first attempts at writing became a series of short stories inspired by the antics involved in making those numerous moves—from north to south and east to west—with my oddball family. Two local newspapers picked them up; running one story per month in a humorous memoirs column for a couple of years and that had me hooked. I continued to write, entering contests and submitting stories to a popular local news blog. Most recently, I have completed my first book, a compilation of letters to my sister-in-law describing my first year as a new-hire flight attendant in Boston called, "Dear Melinda, How I Met Your Brother." Now the hard part, finding a publisher. I have two children (now in their 30's) and reside in North Texas with three rescue dogs and a WFH job as an environmental compliance manager. I am continuing to write part two of my book, Dear Melinda, How I Married Your Brother. You can read more of my work on my website - Lisa H. Owens.