Den of the Beastly Bear
Back in the bygone days of yore when I was not gainfully employed in any significant manner, I sold my soul into the bondage of babysitting...or more to the point Demon sitting!
You see, there lived in our hamlet a single Mother named Maria, who was a Nurse by trade. Divorced, she had custody of her children Carl 6, and Lisa 8. Such sweet looking children...little would you have known that they were, in fact...demon possessed.
I came to be lured into this Faustian bargain as every single female in the neighborhood of child watching age had been approached and run screaming when asked. Citing previous hellish encounters, those that didn't flee sat gibbering nonsensically to themselves as they rocked, hollow-eyed and trembling.
Having a date, and at her wits end Maria asked me if I'd be interested. I was skeptical at first, but the lure of $15 for about 3-4 hours work was to my '70s era mind the deciding factor.
I was 14 at the time, not tall but big for my age and frequent visitor to our schools weight room during gym class. What had I to fear?!?
That first time was the sweet-spot, that made me think how foolish these girls had been to turn down such easy money. Perhaps it was that they were not familiar with me that kept them at their best behavior. They listened, ate dinner and went to bed with absolutely zero problems. They were polite and well behaved, the picture of contrite compliance.
It was not to last...
When asked if I'd be willing to do it again, I was quick to say I would. Remember now, the minimum wage was $2.35 at the time.
This should have been a clue.
From the start Maria had told me, in front of her kids even, that should they require it...she was more than ok with me paddling their asses. I assured her that I didn't think that would be necessary, and turning to the monsters...I mean children said, "Right guys?"
I got open-mouthed, wide-eyed nods.
As our times together progressed, and they became more familiar with me they started acting out. Not in big ways, but subtly pushing boundaries.
Finally, the masks came off and I learned just why I was the only one brave, nay foolish enough to watch them.
They had a slightly older cousin, a toe-headed little blond child of the corn that I sometimes watched with them for an extra $5. I can't recall her name but things were always more of a problem when she was there.
One night things were quiet, the kids were playing in the playroom...soft talking and giggles were all I heard. I was in the living room looking at Maria's new coffee table book, "The Treasures of King Tut". The exhibit was making it's U.S. debut and was all the rage. The Bee Gee's were softly singing "More than a Woman to Me" off the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack when I heard a "Smack" followed by an ear-splitting shriek!!!
I sprang off the couch and was almost to the playroom when Lisa shot out the door and down the hallway perpendicular to the one I was in, screaming like the devil himself were after her...and he was. Carl, hockey stick over his head like an irate Samurai was hot on her heals. I glanced into the playroom where the cousin was cradling her arm and crying.
I backtracked, heading them off as they came up the other hallway.
I turned sideways to let Lisa shoot past me, then turned full on filling the opening and blocking Carls path. He showed no signs of slowing down even as I reached out and snatched the hockey stick from his grip. This brought him up short, and he looked up at me with a perplexed expression on his face for a heartbeat...before drilling me right in the nuts!!!
He was at the perfect height, and his straight-armed shot could not have been more effective had it been delivered by Muhammad Ali.
He put everything he had into it.
Air left my lungs, my knees buckled and my vision dimmed...and then the little shit laughed.
You know the saying "Don't poke the bear"? There is a reason it remains in our common vernacular.
Surprise and pain gave way to anger, and as I straightened up...Carl knew. As he tried to back away I snatched him up by a handful of Scooby doo T-shirt, brought him to eye level and said "ENOUGH!"
I carried him that way for the 5 or so steps to his room, opened the door and tossed him on his bed.
"You come out of this bedroom for anything other than the bathroom for the rest of the night and you won't sit right for a WEEK! Got me???"
He nodded and I slammed the door like a thunderclap.
Pictures bouncing, but not falling off the walls.
Lisa, who had seen my handling of Carl was frozen to the spot.
I knelt down and quietly asked her if she was ok, did Carl hit her with the stick too? She shook her head and the tears started, I scooped her up and she clung to my neck as we went to check on the cousin.
She was still crying and had a nasty welt on her forearm so I moistened a dish towel and filled it with ice. I cracked it against the counter a couple of times to break it up into smaller pieces then applied it to her arm.
There were no VCR's or cartoons to watch so the two of them ended up on my lap looking at the book with me.
Carl came out only once, to use the bathroom and apologize, then started crying when I made him go back to bed. I told him he could have seriously hurt the girls, maybe broken his cousin's arm. His excuse was "They wouldn't play with me..."
My response was "Well, who's playing with you now???"
When Maria got home I told her everything, she listened intently, asked if I was ok and...was I free next Saturday?
I came to dread watching them, it was something every damn time.
Finally, I got a part-time job at the sporting goods store and was able to buy back my soul...it just wasn't worth it.
Let's hope your experiences were better than mine!
Be Well Folks,