It was my 8th birthday. Yep, no typo, not 18, 8th. I ripped the wrapping paper off my biggest present to reveal the best gift ever, the Ghosbusters Ecto One! For those who don’t know, the Ecto One is the car that the Ghostbusters used to drive around town busting up ghosts in (pictured left). It was about the size of a shoe box, so all the Ghostbusters action figures could ride along in side. It was by far the coolest toy I had ever owned (and I once owned a My Pet Monster doll!).
I was so proud of my new car (toy) that I insisted on driving it (taking it) to school with me that day to show off. Show and Tell day or not, it would be shown! At the time, bringing your own toys to school was not encouraged. I guess they’d had some incidents of theft, breakage or choking or some such, but to hell with them! My ride would be seen!
My class mates were all a gasp at how cool my new wheels were (I was sure I’d be giving a girl a tour of the back seat later on). I was the coolest kid in the class. I couldn’t wait for recess to take it out and do doughnuts in the car park and impress my new found (albeit shallow) friends but as the recess bell sounded and I ran (drove) towards the door Mrs Smith (nothing ambiguous, she was just that simply named) insisted I not take it out into the yard in case I broke it, she didn’t want to be responsible. I reluctantly handed over the keys and went out to little lunch, all the time anxious to get back to my shiny new car.
When recess wrapped up I ran back into the room to claim back my pride & joy but was met with the thick smell of.. *sniff sniff* burning plastic?
My eyes locked onto the old school wall mounted gas heater in the corner. Mrs Smith had put it down on the heater while we were all out of the room. During the 20 minutes alone on the heater the car had melted into a unrecognizable white lump (ironically not unlike like the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man at the end of the first Ghosterbusters Movie). The two action figures inside, Peter and Egon, were melting out the car doors as if they had tried to flee. It was horrifying.
I’m not exactly sure what happened next, I think I must have blacked out from the shock and the fumes, but I awoke expecting it all to be some horrible dream and my car would be there waiting for me, I was the birthday boy after all, I was invincible. But alas, it was all too true. I had come to school with a beautiful white car and left with a lump of melted plastic.
Mrs Smith had tried to prevent me scratching my new ride and in the process had burned it out. She never did replace the car and I was left with my most empty & depressing birthday on record. I still well up every time I smell burning plastic.
PS Yes, my infant school uniform was brown & yellow…