Karen was writhing and rolling around on the floor. The one hundred or so children sitting cross-legged before her stared.
"Ooooh, I'm Donald Duck! OOOOOH! I'm Goofy! Hyuck HYUCK!"
We were at Steck Elementary. I wore a headband and ran about in place in my doomed effort to seem interesting to second graders. At one point I bent over, huffing and panting, and told the packed room that I thought I was having a cardiac event. Kid crickets. Meanwhile Karen was rolling and writhing and stretching her face.
"Is she having a seizure?" a teacher whispered to me.
"Probably," I whispered back.
We were attempting to get the kids excited to do the Summer of Reading program. But the children remained very unexcited. It was hard to know if they really connected this crazy woman rolling around on the floor with registering for a reading program. It was the kind of syllogistic logic that would have driven Socrates mad, but given Aristotle a few chuckles.
"Kids!!" Karen looked over at me. I joined her in shouting: "GET READY GET SET... READ!!"
"Come on, clap!" Karen cried, doing her best Jeb! impersonation. "Come on! Get excited! Yaayy!"
Then we took questions. Numerous hands shot up.
"Um." Long pause as everyone turned and the tiny adult formulated her question. "Um. Um, can I read to my stuffed animals?"
"Of course you can!" Karen said. "As long as you're reading! WHEEE."
Another hand. "Um. Um. Um." This kid had a forelock dyed blue. (What happened to just normal kids with buzz cuts and repressed anger about daddy?) "Um, um, can my mom read and get a Elitch's?"
"Let me get this one, Karen," I said. "No. Next question?"
Hands shot up. "Um, um, um, um! What if... um... I write a title but how... um... do you know if I really... um... read it?"
"If you put down that you read War and Peace and you say it involved Russia, I'm going to ask that you expand on your answer. Sorry."
"Okay! We have time for just one more question! Ooh, you! What is your question?"
"Um, um, um, um. I won't be around this summer. I have a landscaping job with my dad. I'm making twenty dollars an hour."
"Hm, that's more than what I make," I said. "We'll talk after this."
The children filed out, waving. Karen then turned to me. Her face was ashen.
Just then crowds of new children filed into the school library. Karen groaned.
"Don't worry," I said. "I have 911 on speed dial."
Minutes later, Karen was rolling around on the floor...
On Sunday I went with Pat to see his new house on the west side of town where Reggie takes breaks from being a McMaitre'd and paints dog fights for money (look it up, people).
"What do you think?"
"It looks fine," I said as we walked around the small house. It was at the end of a cul de sac. Speaking of cul de sacs, Pat then told me about the next step he wanted to take.
"My bottom surgery," he said. "But my parents are backing out on paying for it. They're getting squeamish. Now that I want a dick, they're having second thoughts..."
"Mm," I said. "Hey, shall we go to this park and start our lesson?"
We walked down to the stream and crossed it to the park. There we were greeted by a Mexican toddler who, smiling, came over to me and flung sand in my face. Pat yelled at the kid in Spanish and he ran off.
"Are you okay?"
"Sure." I brushed off my shirt. "He must've thought I looked like Trump..."
Pat looked at me closely. "Yeah. Maybe."
Now who's really the man?
(Don't say Reggie.)
NEXT WEEK: Another school visit, and this time I'll remember to take a picture of my lameness