Thursday, June 18, 2009

Put Him in the P

Bobbie was a rough and tough girl who was in Special Ed. She didn’t mind being called retarded, either. In fact, I think she was happy with the attention that it garnered her. If the Special Ed class had a president, it was Bobbie. She didn't have groupies so much as she had unwilling draftees in her army. She scared me.

You could always hear Bobbie coming. She had a leg brace, and that foot was fitted with a specially made shoe that was attached to the brace. One of her legs was longer then the other, so when she walked it sounded like a herd of cattle moving in. She was also capable of stealth-mode, which I never really figured out.

If that wasn’t enough to announce that she was coming, she breathed loudly, and oftentimes slurped large amounts of slobber. I don’t know how old she was, and we often speculated that she had to be as old as the teachers.

And boy, was she ever mean and bossy. I guess when you had physical maladies working against you, you had to find a way to stand out in the crowd.

She terrified me something fierce, and it wasn’t because she was handicap and a little mentally off. She scared me because she didn’t hesitate to manhandle us younger kids, and I’m not so sure the teachers weren’t a little scared of her, too. Heck, she was almost as big and bossy as they were, and not nearly as nice.

Part of the time it was hard to understand what she was saying, and she preyed on the weakest of the herd. If you didn’t run fast enough, she’d grab you and pull you to the stage area in the gymnasium. Once in Bobbie’s clutches, you had to do her bidding. Employed by her, it was useless to try to get a teacher’s attention. They let her do what she wanted.

Usually her was request was to go get a boy, a certain boy, and bring him to her. I don’t know what she planned on doing with them, but I think she secretly enjoyed making us all come close to peeing our pants. Of course, boys were rascally, quick and sly, and to catch one meant getting the help of your friends.

One day, Bobbie got me. I couldn’t understand for nothing when she told me to go get Brad and put him in the pee. She reminded me of a cartoon pirate when she spoke. She was only missing a parrot and an eye patch. It would have been the perfect Halloween costume for her.

“Put him in the pee?” I asked. “What pee?”

“Put ‘em in da pee,” she slurred grabbing me harder by the arm. The teachers were just a few feet away, engrossed in talking about Ash Wednesday like it was something naughty.

“What pee?” Boy, I was getting nervous because her grip was like death on my arm.

“The P in the gym. The P over there,” she sputtered.

Except it didn’t sound like this at all. She rattled and sort of choked on her own spit, and she didn’t furnish towels with her showers.

She grabbed me by the neck of my dress, and did her Hunchback of Notre Dame walk over to the center of the gym. She pulled my collar tighter in her clutch until I thought I’d pass out from lack of getting air.

“I said, put him in the P,” and she pointed to the center of the gym floor. She didn’t mean pee, but the P in the PG, which stood for Poplar Grove. Not the G. Not in the middle of the P and the G, but she wanted Brad put precisely in the P. I got it, and it had nothing to do with toilets.

I had my orders. As luck would have it, recess had just started, so I would have to do as she wished. It never occurred to me that I might run away from her. And besides that, she might have been in Special Ed, but she didn’t forget when someone didn’t do what she wanted. She’d get me at the next recess.

Of course, I needed help. Some friends I had because they all suddenly remembered they had to play four square telling me they couldn’t help me. I was on my own. They were going to let me risk potential death on my own.

I scanned the gym, and I knew younger kids wouldn’t be of much help. Brad was tall for a boy, and I think he spent his time out of school just practicing running. He moved like lightning. Maybe this was something that Bobbie found intriguing about him. It could have been his red hair. I don’t know what it was, but she had set her sights on him in the P.

I did the only thing that made me think I stood a chance of living to make it home that day. I found a couple of other girls from the Special Ed class to help me out. If I was going to be bossed around, I was going to do some bossing myself.

“Bobbie wants you in the P,” I told Brad the first time the other girls caught him.

“What pee?” he asked, crinkling up his freckled nose.

“Not that kind of pee. The P in the PG.”

He ran off. Obviously, he wasn’t going to cooperate. The way I saw it, if would step into the P, my job would be complete, and I’d be off the hook. He probably had seen Bobbie in action enough to know things wouldn’t go smoothly for him. If Bobbie was rough with the girls, her special affinity for boys really made her true colors come out.

We still had fifteen minutes of recess left, and I stood on the G waiting for Brad to get tired. Those Special Ed girls didn’t show any signs of slowing down. Occasionally, when they ran past me, I’d attempt to snatch him. Bobbie watched from the sidelines, and after losing patience, she came at us, doing a near gallop, which was always the gait of her choice.

“I shed put’em in da peeh,” she crooned. By this point I guess she’d forgotten it was I who had gotten her assignment, and for this I was grateful.

Brad looked like he might pee his pants in the P. She grabbed him by the back of the neck and said what I assume was, “Boy, I shed git in that P and don’t yous moooove.”

And that’s what he did. He stood in the P, and he didn’t move because every time he did, she charged at him like a bull seeing red. There he stood for the rest of the recess while I silently prayed she would never have me put in the P.

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