Children Are God’s Way of Punishing Us for the Things We Do That No One Finds Out About–Including Having Illegitimate Children (Sorry 2 the Girl I Met by the Port-A-Potties at ACL).

3 Oct

I started a new job Monday. It’s a job where I work with children. I’ve had a couple of posts detailing my adventures working with America’s youths, but those have all been high school youths, not child youths, so you can pump the brakes on writing this post off as a re-hashing of another post or some kind of creative cry for help from a desperate and dried up internet pseudo-writer.

I work for an after school program in a city just south of my beautiful Denton, Texas.

I stand in the gymnasium. To me, the gymnasium is small, but I imagine that if I were the size of a child, the gym would seem quite large.

“A house of horrors,” I say to myself as I scan the multicolored tiles and the heavy, silver insulation that hangs exposed on the ceiling. For no apparent reason at all, I imagine a hundred monkeys hanging from the rafters.

“Kyle?” a woman calls from behind me. I laugh to myself and shake my head, reflecting that usually it’s me standing behind the woman screaming my own name.

I turn to see who it is. It’s a woman–another teacher–the teacher I’ve been assigned to work with. Her appearance is like that of  sick pet. You appreciate the animal, you really do, but you’d rather just have it out of the room while you’re around.

“Hello, Kyle!” she says. Her hair is dark and stringy–unkempt. I mentally place her in a shoe box, light it ablaze, and push it down a river.

“Hello, Caroline,” I respond.

“You ready for these kids?” she asks, putting her hands on her hips. Silently, my mind drifts to the image of the woman being swept away by a great tide.

“Wait, there are kids involved?” I ask, trying to make a joke. I immediately regret this decision, however, as the woman’s smile is like a sign post or terrible omen, reminding me of the imminent end of all things. I cringe slightly.

“Is everything okay?” she asks.

“Everything’s fine,” I respond.

A door slams open and children begin pouring into the room with the same rapid, voracious motion of a flame dancing across a trail of gasoline. Dozens of tiny, screaming children run about me. It’s like standing in the middle of a bee hive if all the bees had terrible B.O. and were entirely unaware of it.

The gym, once silent, is now full of the cacophonous, tittering sound of children giggling, screaming, some crying, many crying. Most of them are crying.

“All right, everybody! Get in a line on this l\ine!” I command, referring to a blue line on the gym floor. “Get in a line on this line!” The children seem a bit confused. “Get on a line that is in the same shape on top of this line–sit on it!” A few kids begin to hit one another and another flops to the ground and yells something at me in Spanish. “We’re going to go do some activities!” I say.

Almost instantly–and I mean that, almost instantly–two students are clawing at the leg of my pants. Their faces beaming with the appearance child-like exuberance. Child like exuberance or an almost crippling lack of attention at home.

“Wait, wait,” I say benevolently. “I’ll fill the gaps your parents have left in your hearts as soon as I finish telling you all the instructions!”

The gym goes silent.

A thousand creatures all wide-eyed and waiting.

My supervisor approaches me.

“What did you just tell these kids?” she asks me in a tone that is soft yet forceful–a kind of whisper yelling.

“I told them that I’d fill the gaps that their par–”

“–That’s what I thought. You can stop right there,” she snaps.

We talk for several minutes in her office about the merits of being emotionally sensitive and not calling kids out on having negligent parents/no parents at all. I learn things. I feel smarter as I leave the office. I feel more well rounded as an educator.

As we enter the gym, Juan Cartez throws a kickball to me. I’m not paying attention and it strikes me in the temple.

“GOD JESUS YOU STUPID FATHERLESS INFANT!” I scream. Damn it.

“Mr. Irion!” my supervisor screams.

“I was talking to that ball. The ball. Balls don’t have dads.” I wink at Juan. He smiles impishly and returns to the swarm. “Kids love jokes about nuts,” I say to my supervisor, who seems to have become much sweatier and scarier looking. She holds up one finger as if to tell me to wait for something, then walks out of the gymnasium, pulling her phone from her pocket.

“All right kids!” I call. “Who likes snacks?!” An explosion of sound not unlike the detonation of a bomb. “Get in line and we’ll go get snacks!” They can’t hear my commands. The snacks are in another room, but they don’t know this–can’t know this–unless they hear my commands. The mob becomes angry. They begin picketing and burning me in effigy. I’m lost and scared and impressed with the students’ ability to organize so quickly.

“THAT IS ENOUGH!” My assistant screams, stomping her foot. Her feminine voice cuts like a knife through the wall of screaming. They become silent–docile. “Now all of you need to get in a straight line right now! And be quiet!’ I smile quietly as my pants begin to rise.

“Yea,” I say wistfully. “Let’s go get a god damn snack.” The line sets into motion–slowly at first, like the departure of a train.

The End.

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