The vending machines at work now sell Fresca. I hadn’t seen Fresca for years and years, so I thought I would give it a try. Crisp, refreshing citrus sensations, and zero calories. I took one sip and was immediately transported back in time to 1974.
I was ten years old. Five friends and I sat in the top floor of our incredible five story fort, eating Jiffy Pop popcorn and passing around a couple of cans of Fresca. The fort was less than a week old. All the neighborhood boys had worked on it together and each floor was designated for different groups of boys based on social status, determined by our age to forehead size ratio.
John and Danny were on the first floor. Richard was on the second floor. Tom and I were on the third floor.
None of us were permitted on the top floor. But the older boys were away, so there we were, deviously crowded into the enclosed box, high off the ground, enjoying a can of Fresca, and laughing about Planet of the Apes and Wacky Packages. The room was large enough for five small boys to sit, but too small to stand up or wiggle around very much. We were definitely wiggling.
Suddenly, the top two floors toppled off the fort, did a summersault, and stopped with a thud. We all screamed. We were now sideways, twisted up around one another, and Tom asked, “Is everyone okay?”
I was lying by the door and looked outside. I was startled by what I saw. “Uh, guys, nobody move,” I warned.
But it was too late. The tree branch we had landed on broke with a snap and we dropped like a rock another five feet, smashing onto the hard ground. The wood around us splintered and split into all kinds of jagged fragments. Nails jutted out around our heads. Dust filled the air and we coughed and choked as we emerged from the mess. Mrs. Wray came running out of her house screaming. But somehow, none of us were injured, although I remember my legs felt like rubber bands.
And I was covered in Fresca.
So, now, anytime I want to relive the perils of my childhood, I can wander down to the vending machines and buy a Fresca, which now comes in peach and black cherry flavors as well. The new flavors are quite tasty, but they don’t invoke the same vivid memories as the original.