Hide and seek was an endearing game. In the summer we spent most of our time near the shores of the Mississippi, in the sun, listening to whatever story dad was telling. I remember one occasion when we were at the boat dock, me and my sisters and the other kids. It was hot as usual, and we thought it would be a good idea to play some hide and seek to pass the time.
Typically at the harbor we made paper airplanes or watched the adults drink until they were drunk. But today was different, we decided to play hide and seek instead. Things went off smoothly at first. Someone counted, the others went hiding. Us kids, we hid in various places; some hid in the parking lot between cars, others hid below the front deck in view of the gas pumps, and the smart ones hid in the gendered bathrooms.
It was as so: No boy could go into the girl’s bathroom! Accordingly, no girl could go in the boy’s bathroom! These were the life rules which everyone abided by, no question… This was younger times…
The bathroom was what started it all. I pretty much fucked myself because of ignorance; I was caught unawares of my surroundings. See, it was my turn to do the seeking, and I hated this. I liked better to be found. Being the tenth round or so, everyone was figuring elaborate hiding spots. I had not found anyone—time was ticking, but I could hear laughs and giggles coming from the ladies’ room.
Next to the bathroom were barrels just high enough for me to stand on and glimpse in through the window. I thought, perfect, I’ll be able to catch these fucks hiding in the ladies bathroom without going inside—a place a young boy was not allowed…
So, I jumped up on the blue 55-gallon drums and started peering, hands at my peripherals to block the sun. It was at this moment that I heard something which caused me a great deal of shock. In the time I had jumped onto the barrel, and started to view inside the coveted room, a squad car had pulled up, and two policemen stepped out. I heard the words and almost jumped, I was probably red as a tomato… they sound like, “Hey, boy, come here!”
I walked over to the officers in uniform. I was caught red-handed, I could feel the eyes of my peers and the drunks watching as I spoke with the authorities. I prayed no one saw this. They did. The cops asked me if I wanted to get arrested for being a peeping-tom. I could not explain to them the events which led me to this out of sheer embarrassment. I said nothing of the lame excuse of hide and seek.
That being said, they let me off with a warning and I walked back through the harbor shop and onto the deck. The game was over for me. I had a clear view of the river shining south. I wanted to not be there, be out of it. I felt almost sick at the ideas, or implications of my action. I sat there alone, away from my friends.
A man came up to me, a local proprietor of boat rentals, and called me “Erv the Perv”, I was probably 10 or 12 years-old, he was old and wrinkled, he was the perv! I felt like a criminal, ashamed, even by accident. I was innocent, yet pegged for guilty. To this day I fear playing hide and seek, and I always avoid women’s restrooms.
I don’t know the proper etiquette for catching a sneeze… I mean, do you do it in your hands, or in your shirt, or on your elbow? Sometimes I have this issue, and can’t remember. The sneeze comes on and it’s a split-second thought. Where does it go???
This morning while getting ready for work I sneezed into my shirt. As a child my father made a point of giving me certain misinformation as fact, I think to test me. He told me to cover my sneeze with my shirt, always—you don’t want to spread germs. Recently, I have been questioning this idea.
In school at times I will sneeze into my shirt. It happens so fast it appears as though the spray is caught by my hands, but this is just an illusion. I felt that my father’s misinformation about sneezing may have led me to not one, but many of my chest hairs becoming stuck—almost naturally glued to my shirt more than a couple times… It’s almost as cum down the leg, stuck in hairs. It’s been bad…
So, today, I was getting ready. I took a shower. I made coffee. I boiled water and made oatmeal. I was in the kitchen listening to jazz, when all of a sudden I felt it coming. I knew I had to sneeze. I was wearing my favorite blue v-neck t-shirt, the one with red stripes. I braced myself on the counter, pulled the neck of the shirt out and put my head down. Five gasping sneezes later—of the common cold variety, I finished.
You know, I don’t mind going back to school, but the thing that inevitably happens when I am around other people, younger more vulnerable people—who carry sickness and disease, is I get sick. I don’t mind being this kind of sick, though I do feel a bit like Typhoid Mary—Common Cold Terry (it has a ring), but it just gets to become a nuisance. Last night my throat was scratchy, I was grumpy, and I had a persistent dry cough…
The sneeze from breakfast was the last thing on my mind when I looked into the mirror during final preparation. I thought to myself, did I fucking spill coffee on the front of you! There in the middle of my shirt was a Rorschach test design spelled out in slime. I pondered how this had happened. Ten minutes later when the spots would not fade, or dissipate in anyway, I realized that my father had been playing a sick game on me when it came to catching sneezes.
Realizing this I tore my favorite shirt off and brushed my teeth topless, thinking about what I would put on as a backup shirt… I kept telling myself today wouldn’t be bad… I never think about what I will have to wear during the day, but I did want to wear this shirt—this now stained shirt, dried sneeze on the front, as cum. Alas, that’s how she goes… I need to start watching Trailer Park Boys again. I must say, thanks dad. You made this morning interesting.