By Lirot Comma Brian
I glide across the rainy road as the darkness turns grey. A regretful high-pitched tone beats the drums of my ear due to the trials and tribulations of the recent hours past. I cannot go into work without a shower…no way. I fold down the passenger side sun visor to see my brown hair laying above my greasy forehead in clumps.
Six hours slide by, and just like that, the adventure’s over. As soon as David pulls into the driveway of my parents’ house, I swing the door open before he can get the chance to park.
“Thanks for doing that, Mike.” David hollers as I grab my backpack from the trunk.
“Anytime homie.” I respond as I speed walk up to the garage door. “I’m always down for whatever.”
Ten minutes until I have to be showered, shaved, changed, and clocked into my new job at a community center twenty minutes away. Looks like I’m not showering…
I slip on my neon green shirt that reads “STAFF” on the back in white letters and sprint through the front door. My tummy tumbles as I pass Santa’s Freezer, everyone’s favorite ice cream shop. Without a second’s notice, a mouthful of vomit nestles around my tongue and teeth as I try my hardest to hold it in until I can pull over. I swing the door open just as another round of barf barges through my lips and onto the pavement…fuck…
After the sickness subsides, I assess the situation in order to see if there’re any chunks in places that they shouldn’t be. Luckily, I managed to hold my own until the perfect timing because the only residue left over is either stuck between my teeth or clogged in my nostrils…damn I’m good.
I step through the door of the classroom for the first time to see a slew of six to eight year olds playing together in hopeful harmony. I look over my shoulder to see the other three counselors gabbing about something that I’m not quite sure of. The head counselor, Kristen, notices my arrival and smiles.
“Good morning, Michael!” she chirps happily. It sure isn’t…
“Good morning.” I respond. “How’s everyone doing?”
“Tired, but I just drank a Five-Hour Energy so that shouldn’t be a problem much longer.” Kristen answers without breaking her smile. “What about you?”
“Same here, but I didn’t have time to drink any coffee this morning, so I might be riding the struggle bus today.” My fellow counselors laugh at my corny joke before Kristen walks to the center of the room to make an announcement.
“Five more minutes boys and girls!”
A chorus of disappointment rings back at her from the four little boys playing with Legos in the back corner.
“Who’re you?” A raspy little voice asks from the table next to me. I look down to see two rambunctious boys playing a card game. One of them has a white baseball cap on with a pair of slick sunglasses to compliment. The other boy’s competitive nature seems to have consumed his mind since he hasn’t looked up from the game a single time.
“I’m Michael.” I say as I sit down beside them. “What’re you guys playing?” I ask them timidly.
“War.” The boy with the sunglasses responds.
“Yeah, I’m winning!” the other boy declares.
“What’re your names?” I ask them.
“Jesse.” The boy with the sunglasses says.
“Brody.” The other echoes.
“Well, it’s nice to meet you guys.” They both pause their game and give me a funny look.
“Can we play with the silent ball?” Brody asks.
“Where is it?”
“In the teacher’s room.” Jesse answers.
“Yeah sure, I’ll go get it.”
I stand up from the table and walk over to the “teacher’s room”. Inside the room are various supplies for the day, a bag of suckers, and a bright yellow ball made out of foam. I wonder why they call it a silent ball…I turn around to see Brody and Jesse standing directly behind me waiting impatiently for the ball. I grab the ball only to have it immediately snagged from my hand by Jesse before they skip out of the room in utter happiness.
“Hey!” Kristen sneers at the two boys as soon as they leave the room. “I just told you two that we weren’t playing with that today!”
“But Mr. Michael said we could!” Brody protests. Wow, fuck this guy…
“I don’t care, he wasn’t here when I took it away so put it back!”
“Noooo!” Jesse whines.
“Give me the ball and go move your pins down…you two know better.” Kristen lashes one last time before they submit. Brody chucks the ball across the room and stampers over to a chart on the wall by the door that has seven colors and thirty-two labeled clothespins on it. The two boys reluctantly take the pins containing their names and move them down from green to yellow. Kristen smiles as I silently mouth an apology to her. She then steps to the middle of the room and tells the kids to clean up for snack time. They instantaneously begin to clean up the entire room like a bunch of Polish women, and before long, the class is spotless.
“Okay! For those of you who’re new this year, I’m Ms. Kristen.”
“I’m Ms. Elaine.” The tall, blonde girl to her right continues.
“I’m Ms. Hannah.” An Amazonian-esque girl says from the other side of the room.
“And I’m Mr. Michael.” God, that sounds weird. Ms. Kristen scans the room dutifully before reclaiming the spotlight.
“So right now we’re going to play a game called Two Truths and a Lie.” A volley of whispers from the kids blows across the room. “Who’s played this before?” A handful of arms jolt to the air. Kristen spots a kid in the back and points at him.
“Austin!” A bug-eyed blonde kid begins to glow. “Can you tell us how to play?”
“Umm…” He begins to fold under pressure due to the sudden overload of attention. Austin goes silent and doesn’t move.
“Did you forget?” Ms. Kristen asks affectionately. Austin shakes his head yes. “Okay, well if you remember, we’ll come back to you. Ms. Elaine, can you tell us how to play Two Truths and a Lie?”
“When it’s your turn, you tell the class two truths and one lie, then we have to guess which is the lie.” Elaine happily explains.
I begin to tune the class out after a whiff of shit overcomes my focus. I look over at Austin sitting motionlessly in his seat, so I walk over to investigate. The smell gets stronger and stronger as I approach the poor kid. We have ourselves a culprit. I immediately spin around and walk over to Elaine as the class continues.
“Hey, I think Austin pooped his pants.” I whisper to her. She looks over and smiles at me.
“I think Austin pooped his pants.” She makes me repeat.
“Oh.” She begins to laugh. “What should we do?” How the fuck should I know?
“I don’t know, should we call his parents and have them drop off a change of clothes?”
“Yeah that could work, I’ll go get his emergency card.” She whispers before walking into the teacher’s room.
I can only imagine how this phone call is going to go. I think to myself nervously. “Yeah hello, Mrs. Austin’s Mom, I think your son may have shit himself.”
“Michael.” Elaine calls from the teacher’s room while holding up a bright orange card. I walk over to the room and close the door behind me. “Okay, so here’s all his information. We usually have the girl counselors call the girl camper parents and vice versa sooo…sorry!” She chuckles and walks out of the room. I look down and read the card. His name is Austin Wheeler. No way…I quickly glance over to realize that this is one of my customer’s kid. Nick Wheeler had him while we were in high school together. I open the door and look over at Austin and begin to notice the resemblance. This is going to be hilarious. I take my phone out and find Nick’s number.
“What’s up Michael?” Nick answers enthusiastically.
“Not much buddy, how’re you doing? Long time no see.”
“Yeah man, too long. I’ve actually been meaning to call you about scorin’ some goodies, so this works out. What’re you doing at around 6?”
“I’ll be leaving work, which reminds me…I’m a camp counselor at the summer camp that you send your kid to and he just shit himself.” I say as bluntly as possible for some added shock value.
“I wish I was.” I crack my composure and begin to laugh.
“Well do you want me to come get him?”
“You can, or you can just drop off a change of clothes.”
“Oh perfect, yeah, I’ll come do that.” An awkward pause settles. “Can I just grab that now then?”
“Yeah homie, what’re you looking for?” I smile.
“An eighth would do me wonders.”
“Sounds good man, just text me when you’re here and I’ll run out.”
“Perfect, see you soon.” Nick says before hanging up.
I laugh to myself quietly as I step out of the teacher’s room. The three other counselors look over at me and giggle to each other. I flash an okay sign with my fingers while walking over to tell them the scoop.
“Dad is coming to drop off a change of clothes.”
To be continued…