Trust the Gene Genie

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Those three little words

Thom G.'s a pro at this. I'm not. But here we go anyway, my contribution to three word Wednesday. The words this week are Avoid, Class and Sticky.

I looked around the classroom and immediately saw him: John Armijo, pronounced "Ar-ME-hoe." His dad was Mexican, his mom was Czech and he was all bully. Our class bully. A world-class jerk, thanks to his international heritage.

I managed to avoid him most days. Whether it was by ducking behind the temp next to the playground when recess started and ended or by waiting until lunch was just about over to enter the cafeteria. If I didn't make eye contact with him during class, he usually left me alone.

Today, I wasn't so lucky. It was Tuesday, the day our class spends the hour after lunch in the library. John hated most everything about school, but hated the library especially. Who could blame him, really. It was full of books and everyone knew he couldn't read. And he knew that everyone knew. So, as if to prove his worth to the world at large, he picked on kids the worst at the library.

And I'll admit to not always playing nice. Living under the constant threat of an attack by John was exhausting. Sometimes, me, the quiet kid who usually just minded his own business, I would make a snide comment under my breath as he walked by. Most of the time it was the garden-variety schoolroom insults. You know, "John's so fat because he was born under a La-Z-boy recliner." We were fourth-graders, it was the best we could come up with.

But today, in the library, I was tired. I was mad at John and ready to be done with him. Why couldn't he go to some other school or find some other class to terrorize? I sat on a bean bag with a copy of "Where the Sidewalk Ends" flipping through trying to find my favorite poems. And John walked by.

I watched him, careful to keep my eyes on his knees and feet and not make eye contact. And before I could stop myself, before I really even felt my mouth move and my vocal chords tighten, I said aloud, "Keep looking, John, all these books have words."

He stopped and for a second just looked at me. As though he was processing what I said or simply couldn't believe he heard it. Then, faster than I'd ever seen him move, he snapped his arm out and slapped the back of "Where the Sidewalk Ends." My hands still gripped the edges of the book, tightened by reflex-contracted muscles when the Shel Silverstein classic hit me full in the face. I actually heard my nose crack and felt the blood quickly run down my face.

I tried tackling him but it did no good. It was like a monkey wrestling a gorilla. He kicked me in the gut and pushed me to the ground. He was getting ready to sit on me and, I presume, begin pounding my face when our teacher walked over and pulled him off. I'm not sure how long she had been watching.

We were both sent to the office. John glowering and sullen; me smiling, bloody-faced and sticky.


pjd said...

This was good. I like the first paragraph best. Clean.

ThomG said...

See, I knew you'd turn out something good. Welcome to 3WW. It's addictive.

gautami tripathy said...

THis is very good. Welcome to 3WW!

Practice makes pleasure profitable

TC said...

Welcome to 3WW! :)

I liked the story... even if I felt every bit as sorry for John at the end...

Lucy said...

This is your first 3ww? Wow! welcome! great job! You wrote it so well it leaves me wondering..
Was this fiction Rob, Or have you really encountered this bully?? Poor John... they say Bullies are usually being bullied by someone too.

Gunderstruck! said...

I think you got what you deserved!!!

(I'm kidding. This was brilliant.)

scalder said...

Beat up by "Where the Sidewalk Ends?" Oh dear, I'm disturbed. And, which was your favorite poem in there, dear writer?

TheRobRogers said...

I don't think I could name a single poem in there now. No, while there really was a John Armijo in the fourth grade, we never fought in the library. We got along most of the time.

Scott's Blog said...

Bravo! I was so hoping that the story was true. Scrappy Rob taking it to the bully.

ThomG said...

Hey, where's this week's 3WW? Even AW turned one in (his first).

Nik said...

Ah, where is The Rob Rogers?

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