So it’s another day at the daycare and the kids are outside.
See, we keep all the kids in one location so we don’t have to split our resources as counselors. If we have a buncha kids over there and another buncha kids over here, the ratio of kids to counselors might get out of balance and if a Children’s Services agent sees something like that, your daycare gets written up.
(One time, when I was 16, I had 200 kids to myself. I’m not good with numbers, but I think that was a little out of whack.)
Anyway, like I said, the kids are all outside. I’m on the building’s door duty. That is, I’m the monitor working the open door, allowing kids to go into the bathroom and making sure they hie their asses back outside when they’re done. Kids are dashing all around the playground, games are being played, boys taunt girls and thug kids brawl. All is well in my realm, for all are outside.
All except for one, and you know who I’m talking about. Fathead. My wee arch-nemesis. He’s inside and he won’t get out. I can’t leave the door to chase him because the door locks from the inside, and if I leave it unattended and, like, a horde of African Killer Bees descends upon the playground, it’s me who left all those other people outside to meet stinging death.
The interior of the daycare is big, shaped somewhat like a huge barn. An open area with vaulted ceiling over the center. It’s split laterally in two, the concrete side and the carpeted side. The concrete side is painted up with all sorts of game markings: a line dividing it again in half so you can play games involving "sides" (like dodgeball), circles for "monkey in the middle" games, hopscotch, etc.
Shit, that reminds me. You remember those playground balls made of that pliant red rubber? The ones that left huge welts on you if they hit you? Those were the greatest playground balls ever. They were a little too heavy to be genuinely safe. I mean, a kid weighs, like, what? Eighty pounds? So, maybe 36 kilos? If that playground ball weighs one pound, that’s half a kilo, and if I can throw it 30 miles per hour at a kid… fuck, I don’t know. But I do know that if you hit a kid’s legs just right, you could knock his legs out from under him and he’d go down like a sack of bricks, occasionally even spinning in the air. That ruled.
Okay, so the carpeted side had a variety of entertainments to recommend it. The stereo was over there (I made up a dance called the "Rock Lobster" and forced all the kids learn it one summer while blaring some tune out of the stereo. Come to think of it, I think it was "Strangelove" by Depeche Mode or "Bizarre Love Triangle" by New Order. Actually, I ripped off the "Rock Lobster" from some Yo! MTV Raps videos. But I still made those kids learn it. Parts of it were lewd. Man, some of those kids must be really fucked up by now.)
Gotta quit sidetracking myself.
The carpeted side also had a trampoline at "ground level," as it was built into a pit in the ground, and a rope swing that hung from the beam some 40 feet in the air. It was pretty cool.
With all these things to make the inside of the building so rad, and the only things outside being the fiendish Texas heat, some discarded tires and a busted swingset, it was no wonder that Fathead wanted to stay inside.
But that shit didn’t fly. See, the kids were outside. We didn’t have the staff to justify a one-kid-to-one-counselor ratio.
"Fathead, get outside."
"Fathead, you gotta get outside, man."
"Fathead, you test my patience. I’m going to count to three and then I’m going to come take you outside."
Fathead’s bouncing on the trampoline, now.
"I’m not going outside!"
And I fucking sprinted. I don’t think I ever ran so fast. The trampoline was maybe 50 feet from the door, so I knew I had to be fast, lest Fathead take advantage of the considerable distance and elude my hunter-killer capabilities.
He saw me bolt on three and had two extra bounces on the trampoline in the time it took me to get there.
That second bounce, however, had all the power. Fathead launched himself away from me, I guess hoping to spring on the other side of the trampoline and land in the middle of a run. Sensible, but that wasn’t what invoked the power.
As Fathead jumped, knowing he was in trouble combined with my volatile temper and rent a rift in his brain. As he arced through the air, he let loose with an execrative torrent of every curse word he knew. And he didn’t just curse, he shouted that shit, so this litany of vulgarity flew through the air at peak volume. From bounce two until the time he hit the floor, he managed to spout:
MOTHERFUCK ME SHITTER SUCK BALLS!
It made no sense. It was just random curses. And yet, the lack of any context or meaning gave those words a sort of reverse gravity. It was as if they were the greatest curses Fathead knew, but stripped of all meaning they became absurd, and then in that vacuum of absurdity somehow became infused once again with the power of the cuss.
Further, I could veritably see the words as they left his mouth, and they traveled in the same arc that he and his bulbous head did as he launched himself from the trampoline. It looked like this:
I admit it. Fathead escaped. He managed to bolt out the second door while I had been incapacitated with paroxysms of hysteria. That’s fine, though. I’ll gladly take it on the chin for a memory that amuses me as much as this one.