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Mark Atwood
Mark's Stories. "Are you her bodyguard?"
Several months ago, at the start of the local public school system year, I was visiting some friends of mine who have schoolage kids. One of their kids was about to start attending a new elementary school in the neighborhood, and so they had to go sign up for the PTA, meet the teacher, and all that stuff.

They asked me to keep an eye on their other kid while they did so. Kouryou-chan is an energetic little monkey who loves junglegyms, and this new school building happened to have a nice big one. It was swarming with kids from about age 4 to age 10, and ringed about by adults who were very obviously members of the "parent club".

I kind of stood out in the crowd, being garbed head to foot in black, with a duster, workboots, and pigsuede hat. But the other adults there took it in stride, accepting my place there, without staring or comment.

I kept slowly circling the play area, keeping Kouryou in sight at all times.

Once, a boy, about 10 years old, fell off one of the platforms, and his friends gathered uselessly around him, and the other adults all seemed paralyzed with "someone else's problem". After a handful of seconds of seeing this kid gasping on his back, I waded on in. My looming presence and imposing style of dress opened a path for me thru the double circle of gawking boys.

While being careful not to actually touch him (stupid cultural fears parent paranoia etc), I checked him over.

He could focus his eyes? Yes. Is he breathing? Yes. Any blood, or anything at an odd angle? No.
"Does anything really hurt?"
"Can you move your feet? You hands?"
He wiggles a bit, "Yes..."
"Can you get up?" He climbs to his feet.
"Does anything really hurt now?"
"Go find your parents."
And his useless barely pre-adolescent friends scatter, and he walks off.

I went back to circling the playground, watching my charge.

Towards the end of the evening, after most of the other parents and their kids have left, a couple of boys approached me.

"Are you her bodyguard?", one of them asks me, pointing over at Kouryou.

I think for a moment. I'm not her parent, but I'm a guardian in every sense of the term. I watch her, I am to keep her safe from herself, from the local environment, and from others, but allow her the feeling of freedom in safety as she runs around. And if anyone tries to grab her or hurt her, I was ready and willing to open up an enormous can of whoop-ass to prevent it.

"Yes. Yes, I am."

Impressed and satisfied, the boys leave.

A little while later, we rejoined her parents, and we all had dinner together.


7 comments or Leave a comment
tonyawinter From: tonyawinter Date: July 6th, 2006 08:12 pm (UTC) (Link)
:) haha!
pr10n From: pr10n Date: July 6th, 2006 08:30 pm (UTC) (Link)
Awesome story.
gipsieee From: gipsieee Date: July 6th, 2006 08:59 pm (UTC) (Link)
broken_gizmo From: broken_gizmo Date: July 6th, 2006 10:20 pm (UTC) (Link)
That just rules.
tugrik From: tugrik Date: July 6th, 2006 11:12 pm (UTC) (Link)
Exceptional. :) Wish I could still pull 'that look' off too. Used to, back a decade ago.

Hey -- got time to drop me an email? What we're looking for (HL-S5687W) is out, and wanted to know if that offer of yours still stood...
intrepid_reason From: intrepid_reason Date: July 7th, 2006 01:00 am (UTC) (Link)
ROFL, I never heard about that...I love it!
also_huey From: also_huey Date: July 7th, 2006 01:51 am (UTC) (Link)
Towards the end of summer, while I was at college:

Most of my friends were a year ahead of me, and had graduated a few months earlier. I was- ...er, would have been a junior, had I not spent a lot more time worrying about important stuff like girls and beer than irrelevant shit like abstract algebra and diffie-Q homework. We all decided to drive back up to school on a Saturday morning. for our traditional saturday-morning-hangover breakfast. We get there, and Jerry, this freshman kid who had beaten Chris in a Tequilla-drinking contest, he says "I know where there's gonna be a great party". In a fit of "ha, I'm still young", everybody agrees to go. "Whose party is this?", we ask. "Some high-school kids", he tells us. "And where's it at?" we're kinda curious about. "Iowa", he says.

But we're still young. And, in fairness, by the end of breakfast, we were all about half-bent.

So we stopped at the liquor store next door, filled up the trunk of his car with beer, and were off to Iowa. Everybody grabs a couple cans of beer to drink while we're drivin', and as those get empty, we stop to communally piss off of bridge overpasses, and go to the trunk to get more beer.

In retrospect, it's a miracle we got there alive at all. My friend Mike the Sober Guy (he had an ulcer and didn't drink, but wasn't driving due to some kinda Drunk Logic or something) said "Y'know, I wasn't scared at all until I saw Huey put on his seatbelt. Then I was SURE that we were all going to die. But we did get there.

Hours later, at a four-keg bonfire outside some farm-kid's house in the middle of goddamn nowhere in Iowa, some cute little corn-fed high-school girl comes up to me and says "Hey! Aren't you Axl Rose?"

"Yes. Yes, I am."

I made it home three days later, but the rest of the story will not fit in this comment.
7 comments or Leave a comment