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ALL ALONE

DO I KNOW SOMETHING THE WORLD NEEDS TO KNOW?


DO I KNOW SOMETHING THE WORLD NEEDS TO KNOW?

I was 6 years old when I wet my pants for the first time at school. Mainly, because the orphanage had always forbidden us to use the bathroom, except when "they" thought it was necessary. I was afraid to ask my first grade teacher to allow me to use the little boy's room.

I just sat at my desk shaking my little legs back and forth, hoping that I could hold it until the bell rang. But this time, I was not so lucky; the pain was so severe and my little stomach hurt so badly. I tried to release just a little bit at a time, so the pain would go away. I didnít want to start crying or become embarrassed in front of the entire class. But once it started coming out, I could not stop it and the pain just got worse and worse. Several of the boys, who were sitting behind me, started laughing rather loudly. Then the entire classroom realized what had happened and they all laughed at me.

The teacher motioned for me to come up in front of the classroom and handed me some newspaper. I was told to get down on my hands and knees, and wipe up the water, which had run under several of the desks. I tried to laugh along with the other children, but I was so ashamed that I did not know what to do or say, or how to act. Therefore, I just got onto my knees and wiped very slowly, hoping that the bell would ring. That way, I would not have to look any of the other kids in the face and my embarrassment would end.

Finally, the bell rang and the kids ran out for recess, calling me names as they went by my desk. The teacher stood over me and told me that I should be very ashamed of myself. She said when the class resumed that I was to stand with my face in the corner for the remainder of the day. After I cleaned up after myself, I walked out into the hallway and just stood there, too embarrassed to go join the other children on the schoolyard. When the school bell rang again, the children started to file back into the classroom. I quickly ducked into the bathroom and hid in one of the stalls with my feet up on the toilet seat, until everything became quiet. Then I ran out of the bathroom, down the long hallway and left the school building as quickly as I could.

I knew that the teacher would call the orphanage and that I would be beaten or switched when I returned later that afternoon, so I decided I would run away and never come back.

I wandered around, until I happened across a house whose owners had left their garage door open. Leaning against the wall was a large rifle. Very slowly, I walked up to the building. No one was around, so I grabbed the rifle. Then I ran as fast as I could back down Spring Park Road toward the school building. I stopped and crouched behind a large bush. From there, I could see the children moving around in my classroom. I opened the rifle to make sure there was plenty of ammunition and found it was completely full.

At that point, I did not know what to do, where to go or whom to turn to. I only knew that I could never return to school or to the orphanage. I wanted my revenge from everyone for laughing at me. I stood there for five minutes or so, listening to the sounds of the passing cars and the birds singing in the large bush. Slowly, I raised the rifle, looked down the barrel and pointed the gun toward the school window.

I scoped from child to child and from child to teacher. Then I directed my aim at several of the passing cars and the people driving them. I finally made my decision. I pointed the rifle toward the school building and carefully placed my finger on the trigger. Holding my breath, I closed my eyes tightly. Slowly, without moving, I pulled the trigger, until the long rifle jerked and fired with a bang. I just stood there for a moment and then let the rifle fall to the ground.

I felt something wet on my head, so I quickly took off my undershirt, and wiped my face and eyes. I felt rather sick to my stomach, as I slowly picked myself up off the ground. After about a minute or so, I pulled myself together and walked very slowly back toward the large bush where I had been standing when I fired the weapon. I just stood there, motionless, looking at what I had done. I saw all this blood. I could not believe this was really happening or that I had done something so terrible.

I reached out and touched the blood with my finger. I immediately dropped to my knees, falling onto my face and stomach in the dirt and just lied there, crying pitifully. Then I rolled over onto my back and looked up at the beautiful blue sky and the puffy white clouds. Then I slowly lowered my head back down into the dirt. I lied there for the longest time, looking at the most beautiful orange and black colors lying next to my head.

When I finally managed to get up enough nerve to touch the injured area, it was still very warm. I will never forget that limp, lifeless, broken neck and the warm, motionless body of the only thing - a red-winged blackbird - that I ever killed in my whole life. I now thank God that it was only a BB rifle, which I returned to the house from where I had stolen it.

Yes, I did receive one hell of a beating when I returned to the orphanage later that evening. But it was a beating that this 6-year-old killer did not mind taking. I stood in the sewing room through the entire beating, with my head hung in shame.

As a child in the orphanage, I had always thought there was nothing worse than being an orphan without parents or anyone to love me. Second to that, would be other children laughing at me, because I had big ears. And thirdly, having the children laugh when I wet my pants at school, because I was afraid to ask to go to the bathroom.

When I returned to school the next day, the children were still laughing and making fun of me. I had already learned a very important lesson about life itself. I then knew in my heart, there was an even more horrible feeling - one far worse than not being loved as a little boy. It was to hold in the palm of my hand something warm, dead and lifeless. And it was something that I had selfishly killed with a gun. Something precious, that was no longer to be. It was just an innocent creature that had dropped by to sing to me, because I was sad and all alone.

Now, as a man, I look back and wonder if that red-winged blackbird gave its own life to save the lives of others later. Roger Dean Kiser, Sr.



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