My kindergarten class was at a daycare center called Children’s World. If you asked the staff they’d say I was well behaved. I participated in sing alongs even though I didn’t know what “eep eep eep eeples and beneneenes” were and why so many people liked to eat them. I raised two fingers in the air and put one over my lips when the counselors said “Signals on”. I marched in the single file line with everyone else. For the most part, with the exception of a few time outs, I was a good kid. That was all until the day I finally crossed the line.
Someone was making an awful mess in the bathroom. The culprit was fucking shit up everyday after lunch. Nothing was safe–the toilet bowl, the rim, the seat, the flushing handle, the toilet paper, the stall door, and the sink were all covered in pee. The more pee on the ground, the less likely anyone was going to wade their way to the stall to take a normal piss; the pee-on-floor factor was snowballing, and one of my fuckface classmates was starting it. It wasn’t me, though I did take a leak on the floor once to avoid stepping in urine.
One day the counselors decided not to clean it up. They left it out as evidence, showing us all the crime scene while trying to get a read on our faces. Unfortunately for them, six-year-olds are incapable of holding remorse.They stood still, waiting for the nervous, fidgety culprit to break down in tears and confess their guilt. They got nothing. We remained stoic, entering the bathroom in our single file line, careful not to touch anything like we were taking a tour through a museum.
When no one cracked the counselors got more aggressive . They pulled us aside one by one for interrogation. They dragged us into a tiny white room and made us sit down in a little wooden chair underneath a hot white light. They chained smoked cigarettes and put the butts out with the palms of their hands. Or maybe they just propped up a tiny metal folding chair in the corner and asked us questions individually. While waiting for my turn, I noticed a girl in the hot seat cause an uproar for “rolling her eyes.” The counselors threw up their arms in disbelief and threatened to put her on timeout for the rest of the day. “Do you think your Mom would like to hear about this?,” they asked rhetorically. Her eyes began to water. One of them kneeled down and started speaking in a softer diplomatic voice. Losing interest, I returned to my game of see-how-close-you-can-get-your-spit-to-the-ground-without-it-breaking. After sucking up a piece of drool that hung just inches away from the saliva stained spot on the carpet I was sitting in front of, I heard her get dismissed. She walked past me, sniffling.
They calmly said my name, and I sat down in the chair, expressionless. They asked if it was me who peed in the bathroom. It was okay if I did, they wouldn’t be mad, they just wanted to know. I told them no, but they seemed incredulous. Perhaps if my reasoning skills were more advanced I might have reasoned that they did not believe me to be a truthful person. I might have thought about the time I threw all the playground toys over a giant wall with the help of a few friends. I might have thought about the time shortly after this when I told the counselors I didn’t see what happened to the toys. Or the time after that when I told them I was pretty sure one of the bigger kids came by and stole them all.
Since my little brain couldn’t compute all this logic, I stared blankly at my swinging velcro shoes. My thoughts at that moment: ” This chair is orange. Sometimes chairs are blue. Someone peed wrong in the bathroom chair. Sometimes I pee wrong in the bathroom chair but not as bad as the person who peed wrong in the bathroom chair today. Counselor lady has black hair. Sometimes people have brown hair. Her hair is black.”
When they asked me a second time if I was sure it wasn’t me, I could tell they were starting to lose interest. Not wanting to give up the spotlight just yet, I decided to test out the eye-rolling thing. I lifted them up and to the left, told the counselors “No”, then rolled them over so dramatically my head moved too. A mass hysteria ensued. They started screaming and yelling at me, completely forgetting the bathroom problem. “Don’t you daaaarrree roll your eyes at us! You never roll your eyes at us, young man! You got that!” They shouted, pacing around in fits of rage. Never in my life could I imagine such a simple movement of the eyes could invoke such strong emotions from adults. It was a remarkable. I sat in awe of my new discovery. I felt like Big Bird when he found out he could dig his way to China.
When things finally cooled down, I figured it’d be a good time to try it out again. I cocked them up and to the left, waiting in anticipation. ” Don’t even think about it.” One said through clenched teeth. I rolled them from left to right, then down, then back up and all the way around again for a double roll. When I heard the screams I didn’t stop. I went around for a triple then quadruple roll until one of them shook my arm and stuck her face inches away from mine. I was forced to look at her. Any break in eye contact was considered a threat and swiftly met with a strong jolt, bringing my focus back. I apologized but it probably sounded as sincere as the time I told Danny I’d be his best friend if he let me play with his Optimus Prime action figure. I was seated in the designated time out chair where I remained for the duration of the afternoon. It was the longest sentence anyone had served to date. My mom picked me up over an hour later and acted displeased with the news of my recent behavior. We sat in silence on the drive home as I awaited my punishment, which consisted of absolutely nothing. She didn’t seem to care much that I disrespected the staff at Childrens World with my quadrulpe eye roll.
The next day at school after lunch, someone made an awful mess in the bathroom.