Thirteen storeys high, but no time to be superstitious. I’m with mates, our av. age um, fifteen. The ‘um’s’ there because I’m recalling and relaying this story thirty years (and then some) on. We’re drinking beer in Jim Stewart’s parents’ flat; they’re absent, and we’re taking advantage of a warm place, for once, to illicitly ply ourselves with the amber nectar. We’re all cracking open six-packs, bought from Aldi with our pocket-money, only a few pfennigs per bottle too, cold beer in the cold war cost nowt. A five Deutschmarks allowance, in the time when Aldi was only known in Germany, was enough for a full-on alcoholic’s upkeep.
Back in the flat, some are breaking beer bottle tops off with lighters, one’s using his teeth. The more refined, which includes me, are using a utensil whose sole purpose is that job: namely a beer bottle opener to prise clear, to bend off, the lids from our gottles of gear. I’m being careful not to distort mine too much during their removal, wanting to preserve the ‘disc’ shape.
Because we’ve made a game that I want to excel at: that of flicking the tops from the vantage point of Jim Stewart’s parents’ flat’s balcony and watching them descend like baby flying saucers to the ground many, many metres below. I have a knack for this, keeping mine airborne longer, I can sometimes get the tops to get ‘flight’—saucer stylee—if I flick them away in a manner that requires me to contort my wrist and hand like I’m about to click my fingers. Bottle top wedged between pressured up index finger and thumb.
Attempt three sees a lid spin out with ’super spin’. Out into the high and wide world with a fleeting freedom. As its rotation slows though, and gravity gets a grip, it starts to descend. In an ever tighter spiral it corkscrews down and near disappears with distance. If we concentrate enough and track it, we can see where it lands.
And we can’t believe where it did. The lid has, against all odds, posted itself into a litter bin—way down at the entrance to the tower block. Not an open top bin, no, one with but a slit as wide as a hand cut into its side, in which to post one’s litter. Chances of that?
To take a double take, sees me leave the flat and grab the lift to the ground floor. There by the main door, the bin. There inside—proof positive of the Golden Lid of Fluke.