THE OLD GREASY BAG

BEE'S KNEES ENGLISH

THE OLD GREASY BAG
This happened nearly a quarter century ago. I as or!ing d"ring #he s"$$er as a %a$p %o"nselor at a day %a$p at a lo%al #hea#er. There ere &o"r o#her %o"nselors and $ay'e () !ids and #hey ere divided among "s. The only !id I can recall as a 'londe*haired 'oy named +"s#in ,"r#is. I ha#ed hi$. I couldn't stand the sight of hi$. I would dri-e #o #he #hea#er hoping #ha# he o"ldn'# 'e #here #ha# day. #ha# he go# si%!. and I'd curse out loud hen I sa hi$.

I a%#"ally #ried #o trade hi$ &or / o#her !ids at one point. Didn'# or!. I came up with -ario"s ways to ge# rid o& hi$. I got hi$ to r"' "p against !ids ho ere si%!. !ids ho ere %o"ghing and ho had sno# slo ly dripping o"# o& #heir noses. B"# +"s#in wasn't going anywhere. And boy, was #ha# !id annoying. He wouldn't s#and still. o"ldn'# pay attention and o"ld pin%h #he o#her !ids #o distract #he$. hi%h I al ays ended up getting blamed for.

I# got to the point here I couldn't take it anymore. One day hen e-eryone else as pain#ing or rehearsing a play. I dragged +"s#in o"#side and had him run aro"nd #he #hea#er. I did i# without explaining to him ha# e0a%#ly he was being punished for and strangely. he didn'# as!. I made him do #his # o #i$es. Then #hree #i$es. 1i-e #i$es. Ten #i$es. Long story short. I de%ided #o make that kid's life a living hell. I o"ld bring hi$ o"# hen it was pouring down rain and #here as ligh#ning and #h"nder and I $ade hi$ r"n. And yeah. I s#ood "nder an "$'rella the whole time a#%hing hi$.

One time so$eone no#i%ed #ha# a 2%Donald's 'ag kept turning up day after day among #he !ids' l"n%h'o0es. At first. no one did any#hing about i#. '"# #hen one o& #he %o"nselors got tired of seeing i# and #hre i# in the trash. +"s#in freaked out. I'd ne-er heard a !id s%rea$ so lo"d or &or so long and s#ill $anage #o r"n aro"nd a roo$ tearing dra ings off #he all. shoving !ids all over the place. #hro ing %hairs across #he roo$. I# as awesome. And #he #ears. Oh #he #ears. You'd have thought e'd !illed and ea#en his pe# dog. A &e ho"rs a&#er +"s#in's temper tantrum I as straightening up #he roo$. hen o"r s"per-isor %a$e in and #old $e #o %o$e o"#side. hich is how I $e# +"s#in's grandparen#s. #he # o ni%es#. sweetest people I ha-e e-er $e#. I stuck $y hand o"# '"# #hey brushed it aside and ga-e $e a 'ear h"g. They #han!ed $e for what I as doing i#h +"s#in and ho he didn'# #al! a'o"# any#hing else but $e. !eanwhile I'$

THE OLD GREASY BAG

BEE'S KNEES ENGLISH

s#anding #here all confused. I $ean. is #his so$e !ind o& a 3o!e4 Then Grandpa #a!es $e aside. He has so$e#hing #o #ell $e.

5ell. I# turned out #ha# +"s#in's paren#s ere in the middle of a horri'le di-or%e and ere "sing +"s#in as a pa n #o get back at each other. They o"ld #a!e +"s#in &or #he ee!end and #hen leave hi$ by himself #he hole #i$e. 1inally #he grandparen#s came by one day and #oo! +"s#in o"# #o 2%Donald's and as!ed so$e 6"es#ions and it all came pouring out. The grandparen#s ended "p #elling +"s#in over and over again #ha# i# as o!ay. #ha# #hey ere going #o make sure #ha# ne-er happened #o hi$ again 'e%a"se he as going #o li-e i#h #he$ and #hey'd take good care of hi$. They got so$e e0#ra &ood &ro$ #he 2%Donald's #ha# day in a 'ag and i# as #ha# greasy 2%Donald's 'ag #ha# as +"s#in's li&eline &or #he pas# year. He carried it with him e-ery here he en#. He slep# i#h i#. He a%#"ally #ried #o ash i# a# one poin#. "n#il his grandparen#s e0plained #ha# #ha# may not be a good idea. The 'ag was what kept "ustin going. I# as all he had. And e were going to #a!e i# away from hi$. I s#ood #here i#h $y $o"#h open. #rying #o think of so$e#hing #o say. I as!ed i& #hey had considered #herapy and Grandpa e0plained #ha# #hey ere pre##y poor. so #ha# idea as off the table. 5hi%h made me feel e-en $ore guilty. I s#ar#ed %rying and apologi7ing &or all #he horri'le s#"&& I had put #he !id through. Ins#ead o& yelling at $e. Grandpa la"ghed and h"gged $e and patted $e on #he 'a%! and said. 8I#'s o!ay. i#'s all righ#.8 in #ha# $agi%al ay #ha# only grandparen#s ha-e. 5hen I was done crying. Grandpa e0plained #ha# he and Grand$a !ne a'o"# all #he r"nning in #he rain. #n fact. #hey an#ed #o #han! $e for making +"s#in r"n aro"nd #he #hea#er. Apparently. +"s#in lo-ed every minute of i#. $he way he saw it. he as #he only !id a# %a$p ho got to do i#. I# made him feel li!e he as ge##ing so$e !ind o& special treatment. I# asn'# #ha# he didn'# li!e pain#ing or dra ing. '"# he liked this the best.

5e en# 'a%! and one o& #he %o"nselors brought #he 2%Donald's 'ag o"# and ga-e i# #o +"s#in. ho h"gged i# and #he loo! o& relief on his &a%e. $an I wish you could have seen i#. I# as pure %oy. I !no i# $igh# so"nd a li##le creepy and gross and $ay'e ridiculous. '"# in &a%# i# as none o& #hose #hings. I# as heartwarming and uplifting and i# #o#ally choked me up. I excused myself and en# #o #he 'a#hroo$ and cried my eyes out. I spent #he res# o& %a$p #rying #o make it all up to +"s#in. I& #here's any %ustice in #his orld. #ha# !id ne-er had anything bad happen #o hi$ &or #he res# o& his li&e. &ere's hoping #ha# li&e is treating hi$ ell.