The Badge

by Bob Hazlett

“Willy. The club members have voted, and we don’t want you as a member.”

I’m devastated. For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to be a member of the Warrington Avenue Warriors. They are the cool kids. They have a club house where they hold secret meetings to plan great adventures. When you are accepted for membership, you get a badge to let others know you are a member – one of the ‘in’ crowd. You must show the badge to get into the clubhouse. I don’t know what they do there, but it must be great.

I see all the neighborhood kids lined up at the door to enter after they have been notified by a secret sign that there is to be a meeting. ALL!! the neighborhood kids, except me that is. One thing they do at the meeting is to vote not to let me join. I must be the only kid in town who doesn’t belong. How can it be a secret club if everybody except one kid belongs? Why don’t they like me? I thought those kids were my friends.

When I feel bad, and I do feel bad today, I go to the library. There I go on my own adventure. I especially like to run with the pirates, but sometimes I go with Daniel Boone or Davy Crockett.

I have been a mountain man with Lewis and Clark, and I’ve explored the Hudson River Valley with Natty Bumppo and Chingachgook. I can’t get into their stupid clubhouse, but I’ve been invited to explore the universe with Captain Kirk on the starship Enterprise. I bet they’ve never done that.

They won’t let me attend their silly meeting, but I sat in the meeting where brave men signed the Declaration of Independence.

Where will I go today? Here’s a new book I haven’t seen before. Blank cover, no title or author, very thick.

Opening the book, Willy finds it is not a book but a compartment containing a badge and a stuffed rabbit. Touching the badge stings his fingers. Touching the rabbit animates the rabbit, and it delivers a message to Willy.

“Willy, you’ve been down on yourself but today is your magic day. Rub the badge and you will be transported to any time – past, present, or future – and any place – in this world or beyond – that you want to go. Now you have a badge, which you feel is so important, and the entire universe is your clubhouse. Rub the badge, Willy.”

With that, the rabbit disappears, but the badge does not. Laying in Willy’s hand, the badge does not sting now. Willy snaps back to reality.

What just happened? Did I have a dream? Couldn’t be, I still have the badge. If this is real, where should I go? How will I get back? Do I want to come back? Is this a one-off or can I use it over again?

“Rub the badge,” a voice whispers.

Should I do this? This can’t be real. Nothing will happen if I rub this badge.

“No guts, no glory,” says the voice.

Why am I scared? This is silly.

“Rub the badge Willy.”

Nothing will happ ….. POOF!

###

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