By the time I was 12 1/2, I had established myself as a great money maker in the babysitting community. I was responsible, reliable, precocious as fuck, and had a certain kinship with children. They respected me. I understood them. We weren't far apart, them and I. We still aren't. And the experience was genuinely rewarding. I got to act out fantastical play, which, for all and intents and purposes, I was supposed to have outgrown many years earlier. But one of the many hats I wear is filmmaker. So to me this was just directing scenes. And camera or not, this was fun as hell.
Word spread to my distant relatives about the magical family member that could get your damn wiener kids to take their poisons with sugar. My Mother's second cousin reached out for a last minute caregiving need. I hadn't seen them since before the first of their two sons were born. And that had been 6 years prior. They lived a bit of a distance away and would be out very late seeing their favorite band, so a plan was formed. I was to do my first sleepover job. I would crash on their couch, they would stumble in late and drunk as fuck, and not risk my life driving me home. Seemed reasonable AND I could charge them extra for the inconvenience. I could taste a new video purchase in my immediate future.
There are several things I did not know when accepting this job and a couple of things I was not prepared for. One of those things was that the oldest child/3rd cousin, or whatever relation he is to me, was autistic. And not the high-functioning, have-a-conversation-with kind. The frightening-mute-stare, violent-outburst, unsafely-run-out-of-the-house-into-the-street-and-almost-get-hit-by-a-car kind. Interesting that they waited to tell me this after I arrived at their house. I didn't have any experience caring for children with disabilities, being a child myself, but I hoped for the best.
The next thing was the bold recommendation... Both partners emerged from their respective dressing rooms for their big date at the same time. Dressed entirely in leather, chains, and dog collars, they moved past us giving their love and farewells. As he approaches me on the couch, he seamlessly leans down, and whispers to me, "269." This was as confusing to me as it is to you. They were on their way to see Godsmack at the local bar. This was pre-"Whatever" fame. Apparently these goofy faux metalheads were family friends.
Dinner was a disaster. I ordered pizza, thinking everyone loves pizza. Especially kids. Nope. The three-year-old peeled all of the cheese off of the crust, and put it on his head like Leatherface, all the while screaming that he was hungry like some existential black and white short film. The oldest just stood silently brooding in the corner. He wouldn't respond to his name or address the meal that was taking place. I asked the youngest what his brother liked to eat and he peed on me through his pants. It was bedtime.
The goodnight ritual went far more smoothly. Mostly because I just put them in their beds and closed the door without remorse. I didn't feel like a failure as much as I felt like I had been knocked down a peg. But what can I say? As much as I am a saint, I'm still a fucking asshole. I curmudgeonly sat my ass down in front of their tv with my cheeseless pizza. Something I noticed immediately was that this tv has a lot more channels than mine did. And we had the best package money could buy if you knew my parents. Upon further scientific and machine research, I realize that these people have a goddamn illegal black box. For those of you who are unaware, this is a "cable box", that allows you access to EVERY channel that exists. It became my mission to try to see every feature film that was playing.
I watched fractions of movies I hadn't seen in years and ones I'd never seen. But it was impossible to stick to one thing. I had to see what else was on. And it was endless. On one channel it could be the second act of Dazed and Confused, and on the next the end of ...Werewolf in London. But then something happened once I reached the 240s. I remembered something he said. 269. Did he mean channel? I pressed the buttons. And instantaneously, waiting for me there, in all of its glory and wonderment, was a giant cock being swallowed by a young woman. Spit was flying everywhere and the man screaming in pleasure. All at once my innocence was lost. Thanks to the The Spice Channel.
I no longer desired to see what else this device had to offer me. Instead I sat and stared at gonzo pornography for three straight hours. I didn't masturbate. This was more research for me than that. There were girls licking each others' vaginas until they splashed. Also, boys rubbing their penises over girls breasts until creamy fluid erupted from them onto the girls bodies. An insane amount of penetration of all kinds. Everything that I had imagined to be true about sexuality was being splayed out in front of me. I actually had to make myself turn it off, mostly out of fear that they would walk in and discover a pervert.
I went to their bathroom to get myself ready for bed.
I think staring at hardcore sex for long periods of time during young adolescence does something to you hormonally and chemically. Because as sat on their toilet, for my last pee of the day, I noticed that I had started my first period. I had an idea about this process due to my obsession with my mail-ordered starter pack. This included pads of all shapes, sizes, and absorbencies, along with a cute body story about two best friends' journey through the first change. But without my preparation pack, I needed to rummage through this old goth's supplies. Lord help me that she doesn't catch her flow with pointy knives.
Fortunately she was well stocked with tampons, through which I had no idea how to use, or insert. Such a gross word: insert. But on the bright side, the box came with a tiny little instruction guide complete with diagram. I laid down on their pube- and soap scum-covered bathroom floor and readied myself for, what I can only imagine was, taking my own virginity. Operation plug-it-up is a success. And I go to bed, nowhere near the same person I was several hours before.
As I drift off to sleep, I'm left wondering, why did my Mother's second cousin tell me, a kid, his children's babysitter, and a family member to boot, to watch porn? I still don't know. It's super fucked up and really gross if you dwell on it too hard. He probably knows I did watch it. But despite all of the weirdness of this experience, I still love porn. Watching people fuck is fun and exciting. And that's a pretty damn good reason to be alive. I think my body became more alive that day. Thank you Spice Channel for showing me that girls can Squirt.