Since the time of the "incident" I find myself wracked with guilt. It's not constant, it just comes and goes whenever I see a child in a karate outfit or a brown beer bottle. I was too young at the time to really know what to do or say, so I just didn't say anything...(my eyes cloud over as I remember the particulars of that night).
I was about 12 years old, I thought I knew everything but I was mistaken. I've always been the type of person to ignore an uncomfortable situation, I figure if I don't acknowledge it then it doesn't exist.
A lady at my church had some friends who were looking for a baby-sitter for their two kids. They were looking for someone they could trust to be a permanent sitter. I was the one for the job. "Trust" was my middle name; even though after that night, my fleeting employers probably suspected that my middle name was really "Lush."
I arrived and met the two cute little kids I would be sitting. A boy about 7 who we will call Bucky and a 4 year old girl that we'll call Wilma. Bucky was dressed in a karate outfit and spent a lot of the night showing off karate moves that would render an enemy unconscious. You can imagine the effectiveness of a 7 year old teaching a skinny 12 year old karate.
It was a very enjoyable sitting job. We all had fun playing games and pretending we were ninjas out to save the world. After we had won our battle and released all the prisoners from their cages we decided we were thirsty.
Bucky grabbed a brown bottle from the pantry and asked if he could drink it. He said that his dad and mom let them drink it sometimes. Keep in mind that my folks don't drink. I didn't know what alcohol looked like, smelled and apparently I didn't know how to spell alcohol, I figured "Dick's Pale Ale" was probably a wonderful new root beer that I'd never heard of before. I excitedly grabbed myself a bottle then proceeded to pour the kids a glass of Dick's famous root beer.
We toasted our recent victory and I threw my head back, closed my eyes and let the root beer fill my mouth. Immediately my eyes popped open, something wasn't right. I didn't know what it was this tasted like no root beer I'd had before (and I considered myself a connoisseur of root beer, even at the young age of 12). I spit out Dick's Pale Ale all over the kitchen and startled faces of my charges. "Don't drink the root beer, the root beer has gone bad!" I yelled. I quickly grabbed the cups of nastiness away from the innocent children (before they had taken a drink) and poured it all down the sink. I then threw the two empty beer bottles in the kitchen trash.
When the parents came home I didn't say a word about the incident. I was too embarrassed at my lack of alcoholic knowledge to admit that I almost started their kids drinking at the ages of 7 and 4.
I was never asked to baby-sit again. I can only assume that they found the two empty beer bottles in the trash and couldn't trust their children with a 12 year old ninja alcoholic. What kills me is that I never said anything, I never explained what had happened. Had I said something I probably would be a multi-millionaire still baby-sitting for them.
The moral of the story is to never drink Dick's Pale Ale while you're baby-sitting...oh, and being a ninja is awesome.