When the Neo Geo Pocket system came out SNK released two games that were almost completely unsuited to the silly little thumb-stick it used for primary input: Crush Roller and Pac Man. These two games included a little plastic ring that prevented the user from hitting any diagonals, because the wobbly little stick made playing them intensely frustrating. To the point where a rational, thinking person would have decided nope, fuck it, this is stupid and just not released them. The little plastic ring was very tiny, the size of a thumb-tip, and you were guaranteed to lose one within days of buying it. So each game came with two of them.
I lost both of mine. Back in 1999 when the machine was new, they disappeared almost as soon as I opened the box. I barely remember using them, they disappeared so fast.
Fourteen years have passed. I moved house, I sold my game store, I moved to Japan. In five years there I moved house three times. Then I moved to Australia, and moved house five more times over eight more years. I never saw those little rings again, especially not after losing most of my gaming gear in the Queensland floods of 2011.
A few days ago, I found one of these little red rings in my driveway, covered in mud. It looked like the pull-tab from a carton of juice, but I recognized it immediately.
Where did it come from? How did it get there?
How the hell did it end up in my driveway, two continents and two countries and seven houses and damn near fifteen years later??