The wooden bench in the hallway outside the headmaster's office was hard. It made you squirm. But once you'd sat on it, you daren't wriggle to relieve the creeping pins and needles. Because if you did, old Heavy-Handed Hamilton would look up through his glass office door and note your fidgeting.
It's a warm, sunny day and I'm strolling along Brighton Promenade during my lunch break. Seagulls are circling and squawking, and sunlight shimmers on the blue-green English Channel. I look away from the bright horizon, and see her walking towards me. Twenty metres and twenty years separate us.
My class had a lesson on "conservation" at school today. Miss said it's where people reuse old things or use new things more thoughtfully. Or do stuff differently to stop using up the Earth's resources. She said conservation is important because our planet is sick, and we need to help make it healthy again.
"And now the piece de resistance," the old Colonel announced, leading his younger guest to a sunlit garden. "What do you think?" he enquired, waving his walking stick at the garden's centrepiece. There stood a life-size marble sculpture of a man and woman, hands caressing each other, lips fused in a kiss.
I had borne guilt and despair about the fate of our over-populated and polluted planet for many years. Then in a waking moment, I saw how I, a lowly middle-aged nobody, could save the Earth, her people and all her precious life.
It's the grand final, and the siren is due any moment. My team kick the ball, and it tumbles towards our goals. Our supporters cheer and roar, willing the ball to be straight and true, though some, like me, hold our breaths. A goal will win the game for our team. And we will be the champions.