Pic @ The Saudis
I woke up yesterday morning to a phone call from my boss. His nanny was sick and he needed me to fill in looking after his four year old daughter, Emily. I was hesitant at first. I babysat a bit back in high school, but that was before I developed a casual alcohol dependency, the need to eat out of garbage bins and a circle of friends whom I can only describe as utterly repulsive human beings. As such, I find it slightly strange that my boss would request me for the job (I’m quite obviously unsuited), but when he offers me £50 I gladly overlook this. I assume he must be desperate. I hang up the phone and drag my hung over body out of bed. I look in the mirror to find I have a penis drawn onto my collarbone in black permanent marker.
I pick Emily up from school at 3pm. I’m wearing a turtleneck because even after fifteen minutes of scrubbing the penis won’t budge. After a few minutes I see Emily emerge from a mob of hysterical, snot-nosed kindergarteners, her blonde hair matching her yellow coat. I tell her we’re going to the Horniman Museum to see the aquarium. She asks me if Nemo is going to be there and I lie and say yes. She looks pleased.
We arrive at the museum and are greeted by a series of sidelong glances which make me think I shouldn’t have let Emily purchase the “Fag Hag” visor en route. My housemate Bunny meets us there. He’s been up all night taking acid and ketamine. He’s half dead and smells mysteriously of soil. I ask him why he doesn’t just go home to bed, to which he responds, “I can’t be alone right now.”
As we walk around the aquarium Bunny recounts details from last night, which he spent in a cemetery with his new friend—an art student who moonlights as a gay prostitute. Emily stops us every thirty seconds to ask where Nemo is. Bunny looks increasingly annoyed. I realize I should probably humor the kid, so I turn to her and ask, “Emily, what did you learn in school today?”
“I learned words beginning with S,” she beams, “like sand and salad and supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.” She turns to Bunny. “Do you know any words beginning with S?”
“Yeah,” he croaks, “shut-up.”
Emily stares at him in disbelief. “My mum says I’m not supposed to use that word,” she hits back.
“You’re right,” I tell her. “That’s not a nice word. Ignore the bad man.” I temporarily distract her by pointing at a multicolored school of fish. Bunny leans over the edge of the tank to get a closer look, causing his Oyster card to fall out of his shirt pocket into a blob of algae.
“Fucker!” he shouts, reaching into the water. “Life is so AIDS sometimes!”
“Watch your language in front of the K-I-D,” I say. Emily gazes at us suspiciously.
“Buuunnnnny…” she hums, coyly, “what’s AIDS?”
“Great,” I say. “Now look what you’ve done.”
“Well,” Bunny says, unfazed, “AIDS is basically like a really bad cold, but for gay people.” He smiles as though he’s just said something really clever.
“What’s gay?” she asks, increasingly intrigued.
“Gay is when two people of the same gender fall in love,” he explains. “Like if a boy gets married to another boy, that’s gay.”
“That’s silly,” she giggles.
“Well,” he shrugs, “gay people are pretty silly.” Again I attempt to divert Emily’s attention from the blabbering acid casualty, but he’s got her completely under his spell.
“Tell me more silly things” she continues, climbing up onto his lap.
“What? That gay people do?” he says, pushing her off. “Uh, I don’t know… smoke meth.”
“It’s a drug.”
“What’s a drug?”
“A drug is something you take to make yourself feel better.”
“Like medicine?” she asks.
“Yeah,” he nods, “like medicine. Only a lot more fun.”
“I want drugs!” she says, playfully. When he doesn’t respond she says it again, louder. “I want DRUGS!” she shouts, feet stomping. “I WANT DRUGS!” I drag her out of the aquarium by the arm, through a sea of evil glares from bourgeois parents with bad haircuts.
Back at Emily’s I make the three of us dinner—boxed mac and cheese which I somehow manage to burn. When it’s done I walk into the dining room to find Bunny deep in sermon.
“…so then the doctor sticks a giant needle into the fat person’s stomach, and shakes it around like scrambled eggs until they become skinny,” he’s saying. “And that’s liposuction.”
“That’s yucky,” cringes the kid.
“You say that now,” he says, “but just you wait.”
I tell Emily it’s time for bed. She says, “Goodnight gaywad,” I say “Where’d you learn that?” she says “I don’t know” I say “Never say that again.” When her parents arrive home they want details from the day. I tell them about the museum and about finding Nemo, leaving out the bits where I educated their daughter on narcotics, gay sex, plastic surgery and AIDS. I hope I don’t get fired…?