The Pee Puddle
I was standing behind the door of the locker room in the darkness, waiting with short shaky breaths to see if I’d be caught. I could see through the small crack between the open door and the door-frame as a means of getting a bit of a head’s up before the “monster” came into the room. My friends were all holed up in the lockers, tucking their small bodies one by one into the small spaces to avoid being seen. I was too claustrophobic to cram myself into those tiny boxes, so, last minute, I opted for hiding behind the door.
“Monster” was the best game we played in after school. Brian, the councilor who was in charge of the gym, would organize all of the 3rd and 4th graders into the center of the massive play space and explain the afternoon’s activities. Every time he would announce that we’d be playing “Monster” a massive cheer would erupt from the 30 grade schoolers as schemes and strategies were discussed excitedly before Brian would shut us up and carefully dictate the rules.
“Kids! So here’s the deal. I’ll be giving each of you a sock. If you throw the sock and miss, no points. If I see you, you go to jail, which is over here and you lose 5 points. If you hit me with the sock, then the round is over and you win 10 points. If you throw the sock and it bounces before hitting me, no dice. If by the end of the round you still have your sock, you win 5 points. You’ll all get 20 seconds to hide. I’ll count out loud and then, once the time is up, I’ll turn off the lights and I’ll come looking for you. You better hope to not get seen by me! Off to jail! You lose! Find a good hiding place! When the lights come on, then you’ll know the round is over and I want all of you back here in the center of the gym and we’ll do a roll-call. Got it? Now come get your sock.”
Then, as if by some Santa magic, Brian would hoist a massive canvas bag out of a closet. The bag must have weighed a ton because it was full to the brim with sock balls. These balls were about 6 or 7 socks crammed together into one and sewn shut. The perfect thing to throw at a monster. We’d all squabble over the best sock, which felt good in the hand, which one would get the best distance. Then, Brian would announce in a booming voice, that the count was going to begin.
I remember running for the Locker Room with my friends. We had agreed to hide there this round, as the other kids peeled off and scurried for holes and cravases behind mats, ropes, and equipment that ringed the walls of the gym. We were laughing and panting, as each of us rushed to find the best hiding places. I felt a panic once everyone had shut their locker doors and squeezed behind gym equipment. I stood in the center of the room trying to decide where to go, and then the lights went out. Jumping behind the Locker Room door I tried to calm my breathing so as to not give away my location.
Now, Brian was a big guy to all of us 8 year-olds. He looked like a tamer version of a Harley-Riding Devil’s Angels biker dude, just minus the tattoos and the mullet. He’d walk around the gym and laugh with a booming, shiver-inducing laugh that would scare the pants out of whoever was close enough to really hear it. He really was The Monster. He had eyes that could spot a kid all the way across the gym, in the dark, crouched behind a pile of mats. He could hear a kid from 20 feet away just from their ragged breath. He’d call out in a loud, horribly embarrassing voice “KYLE! I see you! Go to JAIL! Mwahahahahah!!!” Then, the poor victim would crawl out of their hiding place and slump off to the loser-bin to wait for the lights to turn back on. No one wanted to get caught. Generally, the kids in the jail were the girly-girls, the over zealous A.D.D. kids and the snot-nosed social outcasts. Getting caught was the coup de gras of your social life for the day.
So, there I was, hiding behind the door to the Locker Room, sweating bullets, as I fearfully looked through the crack into the hallway for any sign of movement from the “Monster.”
Then, I had to pee.
Ohhhh I had to pee really, really bad. Like, in the worst way possible. More than I had ever had to pee in my young life. Ever, ever! Oh, Oh my god. I had to go. I started to do a pee dance, wishing that the lights would come on and I could just run to the bathroom. The seconds ticked on like hours and I waited, wishing beyond hope to somehow transport the urine from my system. I got so distracted by the fact that I had to pee that when I heard Brian’s Booming “MWAHAHA!” right at the doorway to the Locker Room, practically right in my ear, I peed. I wet myself. I felt the hot water run down my leg, pool in my shoes and creep out along the floor. Screw Brian! Screw Jail! If anyone found out that I had just wet myself I’d be ruined! I’d be in the “Jail” of the social arena of my Life! I stood still, relieved that I had emptied my bladder, and then completely anxiety ridden. My Pants are probably soaked. I thought, assessing the situation. By that point, Brian had caught a small group of kids and was calling their names as they marched off to jail. I had a little bit of time. No one had shot the Monster yet. I stepped out of my pee-puddle and silently crammed myself into a locker. There were no witnesses.
What seemed like 10 minutes later, the lights went on. “EVERYONE COME OUT!” Brian bellowed. I made sure to wait a couple seconds so my friends could see me emerge from the lockers. “You hid in there after all, Natty?” My friend Michael asked as I climbed out. “Yeah.” I replied, as nonchalantly as I could. “Seemed smart.”
The kids gathered in the center again. I glanced down at my legs and saw the darker stains. I sat on the edge of the group, knees to my chest, and prayed no one would notice.
“Someone peed in the locker room!!!!” Screeched a female voice, as Erica, a co-counceller and “scout” went looking for any last stragglers. The room groaned. “Ewwwwww!!” I joined in, even chiming in with “That’s so gross.” Hoping my comments would leave me unnoticed.
“Guys.” Brain said, switching to an irritated tone. “We’re big kids here. Can we all just use the toilets, please? In fact, why don’t we all make a trip to the bathroom, so Erica can clean that up. Pee break!”
I was mortified. Absolutely unabashedly ashamed of myself. I had wet my pants. I had let the game catch me off guard and lost control. I just prayed no one would notice my damp pants.
A life lesson I learned the hard way: Don’t let the game catch you off guard. Keep focused. Keep strong. Despite the distractions, hold steady. No one likes a pee-covered kid. And also, don’t be the one who has to clean that puddle, because I think Erica was the real loser from that scenario…
September 8, 2012 at 8:03 pm by Natalie Allen