Peeing Out the Window of Karen Smith’s Car

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peeing statues

In high school, I was notorious:

Always up for a dare.

Always up for a brawl.

Ditch a class? Steal a car?

Sure… why not.

I was bored.

Diabolical.

A punk rock gangster trapped in the “gifted”  program with a bunch of other Mensa maniacs.

But I swear… there was one girl that I HATED to stand up to and that was my friend; Karen Smith.

It was no surprise that Karen and I became friends: she was street-smart, a brawler, a trouble-maker, a punk rock All-American beauty.

Captain of the Girl’s Swim Team.

On the record board for her stellar backstroke time (a record that actually stood well into the 90’s).

Great at just about everything.

She had giant shoulders, a big blonde high school Rosie the Riveter.

When a girl tried to stand up to Karen, she knocked them down without a second thought.

She looked so sweet: her big blue eyes, her tanned skin, sprinkle of freckles across her nose and then she laid them out: A cherubic angel with a bad ass right hook.

It was terrifying.

I never got into it with Karen.

Smart enough to make her think I wouldn’t fold.

Smart enough to always play it cool.

And although she was more brawn than brain, she knew enough to know that she shouldn’t underestimate my abilities as a worthy adversary…

I stayed a bit standoffish… and acted worldly… as we formed a bond of understanding and silent admiration that was dusted with a fine layer of mutal fear.

She would push me every once in awhile, usually to beat someone up for some ridiculous reason:

She stepped on your shoe… beat the shit out of her.

Or…

You gonna let her walk in front of you like that? Punch her in the back of the neck.

I got in the habit of rolling my eyes, shaking my head, acting as if I was way too cool to waste my time on something so trivial but I knew there would be a moment when I would have to stand up or she would see it as a weakness and might use it to take me down from an equal to a follower.

I had no idea at that time, that I would win the war by peeing out of her car window.

We were driving home from a gig one night: Karen and me, driver and shotgun, and three other girls wedged tightly into the back seat of her small fastback puke green Datsun.

We were a bit giddy really… stoked that our horrific fake ID’s had served us well once again and got us into a 21 and over show for The Damned, one of our all-time favorite bands.

We were full of stories about our night out… laughing, happy, ready to make it to the closest Naugles for a late night order of greasy nachos.

Karen was driving like a maniac down the empty street, probably trying to scare us all with her wicked show of speed, when I asked her to pull over so that I could go pee.

“I’m not stopping,” she said as she flipped a glare at me and accelerated the car.

“Karen, come on,” I laughed. “It’s still like fifteen minutes to Naugles. Pull over so I can go pee.”

She accelerated again.

“You have to pee so fucking bad,” she said. “Then hang your ass out of the window and go.”

The girls in the backseat stopped giggling.

The car grew silent.

Anyone with half a brain could see there was a brawl about to go down.

If I gave in… pathetically sitting in the car with my legs crossed… waiting to go to the bathroom… Karen would win.

I would be nothing more to her than one of her other flunkies currently sitting in the backseat.

And so… I did what I had to do: I took her dare, rolled down the window, lifted up my skirt, pulled down my panties, and hung my bare white ass out of the car.

I heard the girls cackling at me from the backseat… sure that Karen had just thought up the best way to humiliate me and anxious to show their loyalty as minions in her army.

Little did they know… none of them would be laughing for long.

I felt the ice cold wind blow against my naked butt cheeks and thought for a moment that I wouldn’t be able to make myself go… but then I adjusted to the night air, and felt the urgency to urinate return with a vengeance.

I smiled a sinister smile at Karen who was looking smug in her warm driver’s seat as she tapped the gas and the brake intermittently to see if she could shake my concentration or scare me into giving up.

It didn’t work.

I knew then that all of my years in the gifted program were about to pay off.

That today…. brain would really win out over brawn and that this would be a lesson Karen would never forget.

I released my bladder completely and watched as the aerodynamic lift of the wind blew the hot stream of urine back into the window and throughout the entire car, saturating all of the girls in the back seat whose giggles soon turned to screams of disgust, hands over their faces, knees pulled up to their chests, as they begged me to stop peeing on them.

I giggled as I continued my work… happy from my little perch on the window’s edge.

I watched, as they became drenched in it and Karen’s face change from one of smug self-righteousness to one of total shock: stunned that she had been stupid enough to set up her adversary for a chance at her total public annihilation.

She raced to roll down the driver’s side window in hopes that she could beat the speed of the urine.

I looked at her and laughed with glee, still peeing away.

She cranked that window as if she was trying to complete a 50 meter butterfly in under 20 seconds.

It was beautiful to behold.

I watched as my urine exited the car, out the other side, but not before a brilliant splash of gold nipped at Karen’s cheek.

It was just enough for me to see… not enough for the toadies in the backseat to witness… but Karen glanced over at me… worried that I had caught the humiliating moment from my perch and I had.

I smiled at her with a steely knowing grin… it was enough of a “look” to let her know she had been conquered.

It was up to me now to decide if I would push my hand… make her pay… demean her in front of the others.

I took my time.

I finished peeing and waited a moment longer as the wind dried my ass before pulling up my panties, pulling down my skirt, and dropping back down into the passenger seat.

I turned up the tape player and listened as The Damned’s “Smash It Up” blasted through the car.

I hummed along to the words enjoying the moans of disgust from the backseat and Karen’s total silence as she continued on to the Naugle’s hoping that I wouldn’t rat her out.

I let her sweat it all the way there.

We were just about to order from the drive-thru when I watched Karen break.

“That was fucking funny,” she said. “You guys are so bummed. I’m so glad I was in the front seat. Right D.D.?”

I looked at her… she looked at me… the pause was immense in it’s intensity…

If I outed her now… it would mean full scale war.

If I let her keep this bit of power… I would always have a hardcore brawler as my second-in-command.

“Yep,” I said, big smile on my face. “bumming.”

We ordered our food.

The girls in the back clamoring for extra napkins at the drive-thru window, Karen gabbing away excitedly as she told the story for the rest of the ride home… again and again, and me now smug in my own self-righteousness, blissfully content and urine free.

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Kicking Joe’s Big Toenail Off: A Lobster Tale

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Lobster

I have always been… what you would call… a troubled sleeper.

It wasn’t like Joe, my now ex-husband, didn’t know this going into the marriage: He’d already been quite at home in my bed for several years.

He knew about my walking through the house in the middle of the night for no apparent reason, talking about someone in my sleep whose name was “Mr. Pig.”

He tolerated my hitting, slapping, biting as I slumbered… but I guess when I kicked off his big toenail during the lobster incident…it really was the final straw in our night time sleeping routine and maybe… actually the catalyst of our marital collapse.

We were living in our apartment at the time, and I had just watched a National Geographic special about lobster migration.

I didn’t even know that lobsters migrated and Joe, already queeeeezed out by the large numbers of lobsters migrating across the bottom of the mid-Atlantic ridge, via our TV screen, begged me to change the channel before he totally freaked.

My mean streak however, caused me to hedge a few moments longer, enjoying watching him squirm, before giving in… but I have to admit… it really was an odd and seriously disturbing sight.

There were thousands of giant lobsters, piled together like bright red cockroaches of the sea, propelling themselves backwards at an alarming rate, towards God knows where, their tails flapping rapidly, pinchers acting as flippers, as the line crossed miles and miles of ocean floor.

It was creepy.

I shut the TV off and went into the bedroom to read.

Now, I’m not really sure when exactly I dozed off, but when I woke, I sat up in bed and stared at the giant lobster sitting at the bottom left hand corner of the mattress.

He was startling in size.

His beady black eyes glaring at me.

He seemed to be daring me to make a move, to put up a fight, his pinchers pulsating in-and-out ready to snap off my finger if I even tried to take him.

I knew what I had to do.

I gently pulled my foot out from under the covers and swung my hardest kick right to the lobster’s face.

He screamed as if I had just thrown him into a boiling pot of hot water to be cooked before I heard his body make a large “thump” and land at the foot of the bed.

I was ecstatic!

I had saved my husband from the lobster’s inevitable wrath!

I was Queen of the Bed!

Queen of the World!

And so…unable to separate my sleep disorder from real life, I woke completely to find Joe, writhing on the floor, screaming in absolute pain, confused and alarmed.

I turned on the bedside light and looked at his face: He was bewildered, eyes the size of saucers.

“My toe!” He screamed. “My God my big toe! What the hell was it? What the hell happened?”

How do you look at your spouse and tell them the honest to God truth?

I tell you… it isn’t easy.

I looked at him with my best pouty face and said in my littlest voice, “There was this giant lobster migrating across the bed and…”

His face changed from one of total confusion to downright anger.

“Fuck you!” He screamed. “Seriously D.D. fuck you!”

“But Joe,” I tried to explain as I pulled back the cover and crawled out of the bed to help him, “It was…”

I stopped.

I knew that what I had just seen was about to escalate this incident to about ten-fold in a matter of seconds and I was preparing myself for it.

“Joe,” I said calmly. “Um, I think we need to go to the hospital.”

Joe ‘s face went from anger to total panic.

He looked down and began screaming. “You’ve kicked it off! The whole fucking thing! Oh my God! You Mother Fucker! My toenail is gone! It’s gone!”

Blood was everywhere.

I began circling the floor as if I were Jackie O. trying to find JFK’s piece of head and stick it back on.

“Joe,” I cried, “I’m gonna find it. I’m gonna put it back on. It was the lobster… I swear I was saving you and…”

“YOU CAN’T PUT IT BACK ON!” He screamed as he rolled into the bathroom and kicked the door closed with his good foot. “FUCK YOU!”

It was actually the most “fuck yous” ever used towards me at one period of time in my life.

If I hadn’t been worried that Joe was gonna come out of the bathroom and shank me with the toilet plunger or the nose hair trimmers, I swear I probably would have chided him on his lack of vernacular.

I sat on the bed in silence… listening to my husband moaning in the bathroom.

I waited patiently until he came out, towel wrapped around his foot, one flip flop on the other, a pair of old athletic shorts and a t-shirt that read “Eddie Would Go” hanging loosely from his tattooed frame.

I watched as he grabbed his wallet and car keys.

“Do you want me to go with you?” I asked sweetly.

“Fuck no,” he said as he stomped across the living room, kicking baby Dylan’s Mr. Magoo car with his bad toe, which resulted in another slew of curse words and a wild swinging of both arms, before he reached for the door, walked out, and slammed it behind him.

It was two hours later before he returned: big toe swaddled in bandages, bottle of extra strength Tylenol in his hand and it was two months before I was forgiven for the incident and to be honest… I really don’t think I ever was.

It’s been over fifteen years since I tried to save my husband from the giant lobster on our bed and yet it was just three weeks ago that Joe reminded me, how I ruined FOREVER… his absolutely perfect toe.

The 6th Grade Boat Trip or… Why We Don’t Eat Flamin’ Hot Cheetos During Large Swells

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411ab_cheetossingle

Before I was a beloved high school teacher… I was a beloved middle school teacher.

I loved middle school because my students were excited about so many silly little things:

Pokemon cards.

Pogs.

Spongebob stickers and Mojo-jojo drawings.

Field trips.

And Flamin’ Hot Cheetos.

Yes Flamin’ Hot Cheetos.

1994, the year of the 6th grade boat trip incident, the first year Flamin’ Hot Cheetos came out on the market, and they were a VERY big deal in middle school.

In fact, if you didn’t show up to middle school with at least a snack sized bag of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos… you were nothing… you were no one… and because I remembered my own scandal in 1976… when I rode on my Schwinn banana seat to every liquor store within a 10 mile vicinity of my house because I had bragged and told EVERYONE at school that I had the first pack of Bubble Yum to be delivered in Long Beach (which of course I didn’t)… and then showed up at school to be shamed for weeks… I let everyone, all of my students, eat Flamin’ Hot Cheetos in my class. I even brought extra bags to hide in my desk (for anyone that was feeling left out of the game) and generally just spoiled the kids rotten with snacks to make up for my own middle school failings.

Now during this time period, we had been offered a special school field trip from the marine biologists at Cal State Long Beach.

My students were invited to go out on one of the CSULB oceanographic research boats to study the water and learn about the fish and marine mammals in our area.

The kids were more than excited.

A field trip meant a day away from school.

A field trip meant a rowdy bus ride to wherever.

A field trip meant sack lunches full of yummy treats and of course….

EVERYONE WOULD BE PACKING FLAMIN HOT CHEETOS!

HOORAY!

I was more than happy to take the kids on the trip and convinced my young teaching partner, Mr. Eldridge to be my fellow chaperone.

Mr. Eldridge was a lovely man: An idealistic young conservative Christian sure that he could make a difference in the world.

Those of us with more teaching and parenting experience, took bets in the Teacher’s Lounge daily to see which little hooligan would finally break him.

As the science and math counterpart to my English and history teaching, he was really excited at the prospect of taking the kids out to study science first hand.

So when the day finally came for us to go on our field trip, it was no surprise that he was the first one on the bus, face shiny with idealistic expectations.

I smiled at him as I counted each and every little prepubescent head that boarded the bus: once as they entered the bi-fold door and once as they sat, three to a seat, wiggly with excitement, and then went to sit next to him as he babbled on about the joys of science for the entire bus ride: Bless his little heart.

The short fifteen minute trip to the port seemed like an eternity for me and the children. I spent my time trying to seem enthused about Mr. Eldridge’s impromptu lecture on Red Tide and the fate of dinoflagellates and the students spent their time comparing the size of their Flamin’ Hot Cheeto bags.

From the murmured whispers of envy that were circulating throughout the bus, I was able to gather that Treshawn and Jushay had brought family size bags of hot cheetos and were already in a heated competition to prove that THEY would out eat each other at lunch time.

I snapped my fingers and watched as all of the students quieted in their seats but not before I caught a brief exchange between the two boys… both eyeballing the other… with a “just you wait” stare down: It was quite impressive.

We arrived at the CSULB Marine station where we were told that one group of students would go out on the boat in the morning… while the other group stayed at the Marine Station and worked in the classroom.  Then… in the afternoon… the groups would switch.

Now, you would think that a smart young teacher, skilled in science, would be the first to figure out why I would want to be in the group that went out on the boat in the morning, and ended up in the classroom by the afternoon but, Eldridge didn’t even catch it… although he knew science, he had not yet learned children, let alone had any of his own.

This was his first group of students.

His first year of teaching.

But I had learned long ago to be hard on the “newcomers.”

It is best to baptize new teachers by fire and so… I looked at this moment as a necessary initiation.

Mr. Eldridge would learn today… this very moment… why you always take the first boat.

My group of students were furious with me.

“We don’t want the first boat!” they screamed.

“That means we have to spend the WHOLE afternoon in the Marine classroom!” they moaned.

“Please Ms. Wood, please,” they begged. “LET US GO LAST.”

My answer?

“No.”

They all fussed and mumbled “I hate you” under their breath as they trudged up the gangplank and stomped onto the boat.

I smiled to myself, sure in my decision.

We waved goodbye to Mr. Eldridge and his group and went off to have a lovely time on the early morning ocean.

The sea was calm.

The boat barely moving when we stopped to take water samples or dredge the bottom of the shallows.

It was a lovely time… the children forgot their troubles, happy now that I had let them go out first.

We returned to the dock close to 11 where they skipped off the boat to meet up with the other group and share their lunches.

I watched as the bags of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos were pulled out of the brown paper sacks.

Treshawn and Jushay were mowing down cheetos and gulping down coca-cola as the other students cheered them on and it was difficult for me not to snicker…. to hide the impish grin that continued to appear on my face as I watched Mr. Eldridge, who sat eating his PBJ, in complete ignorance, of what would be his total and inevitable downfall.

The students finished gorging themselves on trash food, and so I herded my group into the Marine classroom before turning to wave at Mr. Eldridge, Treshawn, Jushay, and the rest of the group as they ran happily to the boat.

“This is going to be the best trip ever!” Mr. Eldridge shouted with gusto and his students jumped and shouted and screamed with joy.

I took about fifteen minutes to settle my students with their CSULB mentors, before walking back outside to sit on the bench at the dock and wait for Eldridge’s return.

The wind had picked up in the afternoon, the sea had grown choppy.

I could just imagine the size of the swells, the depth between each crest, the rocking of the boat from side to side and end to end, and I wondered just how long it would take.

I thought of my own first years of teaching… my baptism into the reality of the world:

The time I let the kids help paint murals in the classroom and ended up with thirty-five students covered in acrylic paint and about fifty phone calls from angry parents when they realized it couldn’t be removed from their school clothing.

The time I saved the seagull on the school playground and ended up being attacked by it in the teacher’s parking lot when trying to release it, while all of the students laughed at me from the classroom windows and the veteran teachers stood and shook their heads in disgust.

The time I cut the tip of my finger off at the school dance, while cutting ribbon with a razor to tie up hundreds of helium balloons, resulting in large squirts of blood across the dance floor, numerous children screaming hysterically, and the ruining of the big hit line dance “HEY Macarena!” as I was ordered by my principal to take my fingertip and leave for the nearest hospital before the children began to faint.

Yep.

I was doing this guy a favor.

He should be thanking me for bringing him this moment of teaching perspective.

This trial was nothing compared to the ones I had gone through.

I checked my wrist watch.

It had been 45 minutes since they had left the dock.

If my calculations were correct… they would be rolling back in within the next five and sure enough… they did.

I could see the boat approaching.

It was chugging at a slow pace and soon the sobs and wailing caught up in the wind and rang in my ears.

I stood and ran to the edge of the dock to get a better look.

Mr. Eldridge was standing on the bow, his face miserable, his stance one of defeat.

The children were scattered about the boat: hanging over the railings, lying on the lower and upper deck, large red vomit streaks of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos everywhere.

It was a mess.

It looked like someone had bombed the boat with large jars of Prego spaghetti sauce.

I waited patiently as they lined up to the dock, the crew already hosing down the decks, Mr. Eldridge and his group gathering themselves together and exiting the boat solemnly.

Jushay and Treshawn sat down on the dock bench and put their heads down in their hands.

I directed the other children to go lie down in the patio area while I waited for Mr. Eldridge to come and stand next to me.

“Treshawn, Jushay,” I said. “What did we learn today about being greedy with our Flamin’ Hot Cheetos?”

“That we will throw them up on the boat?” Jushay said miserably.

“Yes,” I said. “Next time you go out on a boat, eat a light meal first to see if you can handle the sea. Do you understand?”

Both boys nodded their heads slowly before I gathered them up and sent them to the patio.

I turned and looked at Mr. Eldridge and said, “And what did you learn today Mr. Eldridge?”

He looked at me as if he wanted to give me a hard slap… but his loyalty to Jesus wouldn’t allow it.

“I learned to always take the first boat. Before the kids eat lunch.”

“Good man,” I said with an authoritatively triumphant tone as I patted him on the back.

He grabbed my hand and pushed it away from his shoulders. “And to never go on a field trip with you again,” he said as he walked away from me disgusted with my lessons.

“See?” I shouted after him. “You’re a pro already.”

Unlike the students, Mr. Eldridge did not whisper “I hate you” under his breath… but I knew… at the time… he was thinking it.

And rightfully so.

Amen.

The Bran Muffin Incident: Or, How I Learned Not to Shit Myself During a School Day

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Bran Muffin 5

I can’t even imagine what people “think” teachers talk about:

What a jerk little Johnny was today at school?

How Flora cheated on her history test and she was really gonna get “what for” on Monday?

How to improve the test scores of an entire class so that we can win Teacher-of-the-Month or meet our district’s API goal for the year?

Nope.

Sorry.

We don’t have time to waste on slandering the Youth of America or panicking on a daily basis about our district API score.

We care about one thing… and one thing only:

How to stay regular during a busy school week.

Yes… that’s right.

We like to talk about shit.

Bowel movements.

Bowel movements are very important to teachers.

Now, when I first started teaching… I was teaching at a school that I had attended during my junior high years. Several of my close colleagues were teachers that I had actually had, when I was a student, and if I knew then… what I knew now… that I was NOT in fact the center of their universe and that the idle conversation in the Teacher’s Lounge…  yes… while eating… was on how to have a healthy crap, one that came out long and smooth, and actually didn’t even need toilet paper to finish it off, I would have never believed it.

Please.

Teachers are serious.

Teachers are intelligent.

Teachers MUST be grading papers during their thirty minute lunches and coming up with ways to punish us repeatedly.

Nope.

Sorry children.

Hate to burst your little bubble.

We just wanna talk shit.

So it was during one of these many conversations where our arguments grew into almost a fervor of what was the “best” remedy for keeping your bowels regular during a school week, I showed up, mid-conversation, constipated as all hell, and sat down to hear from my former teachers, now my mentors in crap, how to best get my ass on a proper schedule.

“Stewed cooked apricots every morning” Mr. Myers said as he unwrapped his sandwich.

“No, Chuck,” My former P.E. teacher Ms. Hillard said, “You’re risking it having those every morning. You could end up too loose and then what would you do. Leave your students unattended while you run to the shitter?” She turned to me and placed her hand on my arm. “I find a nice glass of warm water and Metamucil each night before bed produces the desired result by 6 am” She turned and gave Mr. Myers a smug smile. “Seriously Charles,” she said. “Sometimes I don’t even know how you became a science teacher.”

Myers, put his head down and ate his peanut butter and jelly sandwich with a vengeance.

I looked at him and then back at Ms. H who was daintily sipping her lite chicken soup from a small plastic Tupperware container with her large silver spoon.

Damn.

I was shocked.

I’d never seen Myers take a beating from anyone.

This was the man that would make me stand against the back wall of his classroom for an entire period just because I couldn’t stop, according to him, ‘Yak, Yak, Yakking.”

I couldn’t imagine that he was Ms. Hillard’s bitch but shock of shocks… he was.

Mr. Foster my former math teacher, and the first African-American man to wear a LARGE teardrop shaped AFRO circa 1976 at my middle school, put down his fork, pointed his finger in my face, and jumped in.

Wow, it felt like 7th grade algebra all over again.

My first “C” ever was in this man’s class and he had NEVER let me live it down.

Now as colleagues, we would be tutoring together after school in the library and I would actually hear him say to students, “Look here! You need help with English? You go over to that table and see Ms. Wood. You need help with math, you stay right here. Ms. Wood knows nothing about math. Nothing. Do you hear me? Never did. Never will.”

I took it… out of respect… but I often felt like throwing the library’s large Webster’s hardbound dictionary at his now shortly cropped head of hair, and shouting, “LOOK here Mr. Foster! See how much those English words hurt when they hit you on the back of the head?”

But I was still afraid of his punishments: He could write a referral faster than he could give you the formula for finding the area and surface of a rectangle.

For a moment, I thought he might pull a piece of chalk out of his pocket, and actually draw me a formula on how to take the perfect shit, but he didn’t.

He waved his finger in my face and said, “Look here, D.D. It’s logical.” He paused for emphasis waiting for Mr. M to finish his sandwich and Ms. H to put down her spoon.

“You don’t shit during the week,” he said calmly. “You hold it all in. Then on Friday, you go home, you have a couple cocktails, loosen that ass up, and let it go.” He picked his fork back up and stabbed a small grape tomato on his plate.

He waited a moment, and then pointed his fork, tomato attached, in my face. “Let it go,” he repeated. “You got to be at home, relaxed, no bells, Saturday and Sunday, to free that shit up.”

I wanted to say, “No pun intended right?” But I was sitting in a room with a science teacher, a math teacher, a P.E. teacher and therefore I let my stupid little English joke slide.

Suddenly, the teacher’s bathroom door opened, and we all turned to look, at Mr. Gilmore, 8th grade biology, as he appeared from inside the small enclosed bathroom. “Bran muffin,” he said, then pulled the bathroom door closed behind him and turned to leave the lounge. “Don’t go in there,” he added sternly as he opened the door to the hall and exited the room.

“Mmmmmmmm,” the collective nodded and concurred and so I threw my lunch trash away and made a mental note to stop by Hof’s Hut that evening, and grab one of their large bran muffins and eat it as a “special” type of dessert before bed.

And so… I did… and when I arrived at school the next morning, still well into my constipation, no bran muffin bowel movement to start the day off right, I was rather annoyed.

These people were supposed to know what the fuck they were talking about.

They’d spent years working on the science of teaching and crapping.

God damn it.

If I couldn’t count on them who the hell could I count on?

I set up my classroom for the day and waited for my students to arrive.

8 am: all was fine. I was a bit uncomfortable from being bound up but that was nothing new.

9 am: the kids were all doodling on their work folders, listening to music, happy that snack break was just minutes away.

9:15 am: the kids left for Nutrition break and I barely made it to the bathroom across the hall.

My bran muffin had kicked in with a fury.

I sat in the small tiled bathroom, and stared up towards the miniscule window… there only for light… no ventilation and thought, “Please God, please. Don’t let anyone come in while I’m in here.”

I was in so much pain, the cork of my constipation now being pressure popped by the large amount of smooth move behind it that I thought I was going to die.

I was cramping, actually holding on to the sides of the toilet or pressing my hands against the walls, trying to keep myself steady and right during the pain.

Ten minutes later, I was sweaty, worn, but blissfully free.

I put myself back together, and walked confidently to my room. I was already making mental calculations on how tonight, I would eat my bran muffin three hours earlier and in that way, set myself up to crap at 6 o’clock am at home instead of trapped in the small 1950’s bathroom, praying that no one would disturb me.

I waved at Ms. Anderson across the hall, another veteran savvy in the ways of ending constipation.

Her means of choice?

A bit of ex-lax mixed with her hot fudge sundae every Saturday night. “Works like a charm” she said with a smile one day while I was waiting my turn for the xerox machine. “Like a charm!” she had repeated as she grabbed her copies and walked off somewhere down the hall.

Today, she nodded briskly from her desk, before looking back at the stack of papers she was currently grading during her conference period.

Two minutes later, the kids were filing into the room and I was leaning against the podium unable to stand upright.

Ms. A saw me from across the hall and said, “Do you need me to watch the kids for a minute?”

I nodded and hurried to the bathroom where I barely made it before my ass fired off round two in a rapid succession.

It was horrific.

I couldn’t stop it if I wanted to.

By the time I was done it felt as if my butt had just let loose a fiery stream of lava.

It was raw and worn and I was about to cry from the pain.

I would have sold my soul for a tube of Desitin at that very moment but I had to make do with toilet paper dampened under cool tap water, as I dabbed my butt gently, before pulling up my pants and heading back to class.

“Are you okay?” Ms. Anderson asked as I walked back into the room. “You look horrible.”

I wiped a hand across my sweaty brow and nodded. “I’m fine.”

I went about my teaching for exactly five minutes before I felt my bowels about to give way again.

“Oh sweet God,” I whispered.

“What Ms. Wood?” A chubby sweet faced sixth grader asked me as I rushed towards the back door of the classroom. “I’ll be right back.” I smiled at all of them. “Draw me some really great pictures of Sponge Bob while I check the xerox machine.”

I ran across the hall too embarrassed to ask Ms. Anderson for help… too embarrassed to tell my students that I was having a major break down in bowel function, and Ms. Hillard’s lunch time scolding of Mr. Myers ringing out in my head, You’re risking it having those every morning. You could end up too loose and then what would you do. Leave your students unattended while you run to the shitter? Seriously Charles, sometimes I don’t even know how you became a science teacher.”

God damn it.

Now I was going to be Ms. Hillard’s bitch.

I threw myself into the bathroom, locked the door and dropped my pants to the floor: I must have shit myself a total of ten times in that 45 minute class period.

And my students?

They were so happy drawing their little Sponge Bob pictures, listening to music and enjoying their free time, that they barely noticed my absence.

By the time the lunch bell rang and the kids had exited the classroom, I was face down lying on top of a string of desks that I had pushed together… my warm sweaty cheek pressed against one of the cool formica sandstone desk tops. My butt cheeks tender and throbbing from the day’s events.

“Jesus,” Mr. Gilmore said as he passed by on the way to the lunch room. “What the hell happened to you?” He asked.

If I had any energy left, I swear I would have stood up, found a knife and shanked that old bastard.

“Bran muffin,” I said, my eyes vicious. “I ate the bran muffin. Just like you suggested.”

His eyes jumped with surprise.

“I said never on a school day.” He walked over, leaned down and stared at me. “Do you hear me? I said never on a school day. Only on a weekend.”

“No you didn’t,” I moaned. “Mr. Ferguson said never on a school day not you.” My tone was accusatory.

Mr. Gilmore paused a minute, typical science teacher, he was going to re-calculate the entire conversation before giving me the damn answer to his hypothesis.

“Well,” he said, “I meant never on a school day.” He walked out of the room, down the hall, and then peeked his head in the back door.

“Do you want me to find someone to cover your class for the rest of the day?”

“Fuck you,” I barked roughly. “Fuck you Mr. Gilmore.”

I closed my eyes and waited, ready to get the lecture of my life from my former science teacher or some big old hand of God to come down and smite me for cussing him out.

He sighed, completely calm. “I understand,” he said before I heard him head off down the hall and return ten minutes later with Mr. Foster.

“Look here, D.D.” Mr. Foster said. Obviously no pity for my predicament at all.  “Never on a school day. Never on a school day. Are we clear? Do you understand us?”

I picked myself up off the desks, grabbed my things, threw my keys to Mr. Foster and walked out of the room.

“Did I ever tell you that girl knows nothing about math?” I heard him say to Mr. Gilmore as I started down the hall. I stopped, turned, and stomped back into the room.

“And fuck you too Mr. Foster,” I said with total annoyance. “I didn’t deserve that ‘C’ in math and you know it!”

Then I slammed open the glass door and left the building but not before I heard Mr. Gilmore laughing and Mr. Foster say, “Jesus, and she’s a teacher?”

I smiled as I dragged my worn ass home and soothed it with an entire tube of Desitin… my lesson learned: I would NEVER eat a God damn bran muffin on a school day EVER again.

Teaching Sharla a Lesson: Or How Sharla Learned to Always Let Me Hold the Bird

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Sharla

This is Sharla.

Sharla is one of my dearest friends and as you can see… quite a beauty.

And like most beautiful women, she tends to be a bit bratty every now and then… a life time of “getting away with murder” due to her exceptionally good looks.

And though her attitude has mellowed over the years… this brattiness… still appears on occasion.

This is me:

OLD NAVY DOG

Why ANY serious shopper would want to take me to a store is BEYOND my realm of thought.

I loathe shopping.

I hate it with a passion.

I will do ANYTHING to act up and act out when placed in a store or worse yet… a shopping mall but… Sharla seemed to really want me to come along… and because I actually like to go just about anywhere with my friends… even the garbage dump can be quite entertaining with the right person… I decided to join her on the outing.

So let me set up the scenario for you:

The scene: Michael’s Art and Craft store.

The players: Sharla Bafia and D.D. Wood

The conflict: The bird.

I had never been shopping with Sharla before, but since we spent most of our time together being totally inappropriate and usually lost in laughter and unable to breathe… I assumed that she could make shopping fun.

However, as soon as we entered the store, I watched Sharla change into a person I did not know.

She became what I could only describe as a militant mom: on a mission… on a deadline… and I seemed to be the “child” that was annoying her as she fought to complete her very important task at hand.

Suddenly, I was afraid I had made a terrible mistake.

We were barely five feet in the door when I went to pick up an item and Sharla said, “Don’t touch that. We don’t have time to look at non-Halloween specific items.”

I eyed her suspiciously… shocked by her tone… as I put down the plastic foam cone I had been fondling and remained silent.

My thoughts?

I wasn’t sure if I liked being the toadie on her little shopping trip.

I walked on behind her, shuffling my feet, a bit of a pout beginning to show on my face.

I reached for another item.

“What are you doing now?” Sharla snapped.

I stopped, and looked at the item I was now holding in my hand.

“What?” I gave her a dirty look. “I was just…”

“Put it down!” Sharla ordered before I even had a chance to finish the sentence. “God!” She rolled her eyes, “I’ve never seen you like this. Are you going to stop and touch everything in the entire God damn store?”

I looked at the ceramic Paint-A-Gnome art kit that I held in my hand.

By the time I looked up again, she was already ten paces ahead of me, furiously pushing her cart towards the Halloween aisle… sure in her knowledge that she was about to grab hold of the “Halloween Find of the Century” if I would just hurry the fuck up and stop dicking around.

I seriously felt like hurling the gnome across the store and blasting the back of her head with it… but I calmed myself down… sat the art kit gently back in the bin… and admitted to myself that I was obviously unwilling to harm a gnome to make a point.

I sauntered after her now, the rebelliousness in me coming out in my swagger, and found her admiring fake black crows in a large discount bin between aisle 9 and aisle 10.

Her eyes were glassy and glazed.

I knew an addict when I saw one.

She was jonzing for her fix and she had found it in the bin of birds.

“Aren’t they great?” Sharla said as she admired the bird she was holding. “Don’t you think I could really come up with something good with these guys?”

I reached over and took the bird from her hand to examine it.

“Yeah,” I said nodding in agreement.” These are super cool. You could…”

Sharla looked at me and snatched the bird out of my hand, her eyes burning into my core. “IDIOT,” she said. “You don’t get to hold the bird.”

She placed it in her cart as if she was placing the baby Jesus in his manager.

She was smug and self-satisfied and I had finally had enough.

I would teach her a lesson she would never forget.

I have no shame when it comes to acting the fool in public.

I will make a scene anywhere if I believe it will make a point or improve on a comic prank and so…

I did what only the best kind of friends do: I publicly shamed Sharla.

I turned away from her and began to pace furiously back-and-forth in a small neat pattern. I roughed my hair up with both hands before I took my open palm and banged it against the side of my head repeatedly while shouting at the top of my lungs to anyone and everyone in the crowded store that…

“SHARLA WON’T LET ME HOLD THE BIRD!”

At first, Sharla couldn’t understand what was happening.

She looked at me like I had lost my mind and she seemed genuinely concerned for my well-being.

But when she realized that my acting skills were impeccable… and that to every other shopper in the store I actually did look and sound like a person in the middle of an EXTREME psychotic break… she began to panic.

“Shut the fuck up,” she whispered.

I didn’t even acknowledge her.

I was in character.

I was the Robert DeNiro of the craft mart.

She had gone TOO far and now… she was gonna fucking pay.

“SHARLA WON’T LET ME HOLD THE BIRD!” I screamed again, banging my head fiercely as I pretended to cry and moan.

“Shame on you!” an older woman, holding a bag of pom-poms shouted from aisle 7. “Shame on YOU!” she repeated. “Let her hold that bird!”

“D.D. fucking stop it,” Sharla begged. I smirked at her as I continued my tirade.

“SHARLA WON’T LET ME HOLD THE BIRD!” I screamed and watched as a man walked up towards Sharla and said, “What the hell is wrong with you? Let her hold the bird for God’s sake.”

Sharla looked at him, tried to explain, but he wasn’t having it. “Give her the bird,” he repeated sternly.

“Give her the bird!” A couple shouted from the end of aisle 5.

Sharla confronted with a store load of DIY’ers…was afraid that they might just make their own torches, light them up, and chase her out of the store, where she would be banned for eternity, from Michael’s Art and Craft Mart, a WANTED poster of her bewildered face posted on each and every craft store wall for the remainder of her life.

She reached into the basket and thrust the bird towards me. “You are such a fucking bitch,” she said as she rushed away from the scene, her cart bobbing wildly as the speed caused the wheels to wobble and bend.

I held the bird close to me, and began to rock gently back and forth whispering, “Sharla lets me hold the bird. Yes Sharla lets me hold the bird.”

The older woman from aisle 7 patted my back and said, “Yes. Isn’t that nice? Sharla lets you hold the bird.”

She shot Sharla a vicious smile and I watched as Sharla stood at the checkstand, pretending not to see it, pretending not to know me, praying that the line would hurry up and move, so that she could pay for her birds and leave the store as quickly as possible.

I looked over at Sharla; my head tucked low, cuddling my bird, wicked smile on my face so that she would know that I had won.

I finished my scene for the shoppers, they all felt content with their good deed for the day, helping a psychotic person hold a fake bird, before heading off down God knows what aisle in search of the perfect glue stick or shiny, sparkly Bedazzler.

I walked towards the front of the store, ditching the bird somewhere around aisle 13, before making my way to the exit where I walked over to the car, leaned against the passenger side door, arms crossed in front of my chest, triumphant smile on my face and watched as Sharla headed towards me.

“I hate you,” she said. “I so totally hate you.”

I watched as she put her bags in the car.

“Are you going to let me hold one of those birds?” I asked.

She pulled one from the bag, and placed it in my hands.

“Fucker,” she laughed hysterically. “I can’t believe you did that to me. I’m never taking you to Michael’s again.”

“Good,” I said. “I hate that fucking place anyways.”

Then I climbed into the passenger seat and held my bird all the way home.