If you weren’t sure you’d spent entirely too much time at work and needed confirmation that it’s time to go home, take a bathroom break. Then have the custodian’s autistic son walk in on you while you’re still in there. Larry doesn’t care that the door is closed. Larry doesn’t understand about “knocking” and he certainly doesn’t have time for “words”. Larry doesn’t care that you’ve done something that is probably outlawed by the Geneva Convention while in there; you’re between his stuffed shark and the sink and by God it’s bath time for Bongo and you’re in the damn way.
I Thought The Door Was Locked.
I’m washing my hands. I’m daydreaming about how great my job would be if I could take all the annoying people I deal with and ship them to The Phantom Zone (although, I’m not sure I could handle any one of them coming back and asking me to “Kneel before Zod”). I’ve been at work for 12 hours. In my reverie, I don’t notice as the door handle starts to turn. Before I can totally react, I’m suddenly accompanied in the bathroom by a twelve year old boy and his shark.
He tries to close the door. I wrench the door back open. He stares at me blankly while plaintively holding his shark out to me. Then he tries to close the door again. I yank it open while saying, “Excuse me! You need to wait…outside…” I have no idea how to handle this. I’ve heard rumors of this child’s existence. He tried to greet one of my fellow female coworkers by playing “motorboat” with her bosom.
Larry blinks at me. He tries to close the door again. I wonder where his dad is. His dad likes to wear headphones and a Walkman while he works. I don’t even know if he can hear that his son is invading my space. I’m at a loss as to what to do. I don’t want to lay hands on him; there’s liability issues to consider and I’m in a very enclosed space, on the off chance he twigs when touched. “Excuse me!!!” I shrill at the kid, “You need to go outside!” Larry stares up into my face. Somewhere in his brain, the hamster starts peddling – I’m not happy. They covered this in social skills class at the special school. If he tries real hard, it’ll come to him. His eyes widen and his body goes rigid. He looks me in the eye and his mouth forms an “O”. His hand flies to his face and, ultimately, he responds by making a popping noise as his hand smacks his open mouth, like some kind of mute Indian. His hand drops back to his side and he looks at me as though that should have cleared up our entire misunderstanding.
Deus Ex Patre
Finally, Larry’s dad appears. He springs into action. Larry is pulled roughly from the bathroom. “Sorry”, he says, “the door doesn’t lock. Usually, there’s no one here now. I didn’t know. He just wanted to give his shark a bath.”
As I sit here, sipping an excellent sake and dreaming about The Phantom Zone, I find it hard to be mad about the whole thing. If Larry had caught me with my pants down, it would probably be different. But, he didn’t. If the shark needs a bath, it needs a bath, God damn it. Who am I to get between a boy and his shark? Besides, the kid really wouldn’t be able to handle The Phantom Zone. He’s not Zod material. Non, maybe. And, Zod lets Non drive the spaceship slow on the driveway every Saturday. I know he does.