Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Mud on Your Face

             Leonard woke up in a puddle of mud. His pants were pulled down to his ankles. In the ever growing consciousness he could hear the tinkling of laughter.  He opened his eyes behind one shattered eyeglass lens and one clear. He could feel the sun on his bare legs and could smell the bloody metallic odor of a busted top lip. He tried to push himself up but discovered there was an immense weight on his back.

             “Tryna get up nerd? Get up nerd! Why don’t you get up nerd,” said Carl Phlagerstrom, whom the other kids had nicknamed Phlegm. He pushed his weight down on Leonard’s back. Leonard tried to gasp for air and had a serious worry that the mud puddle would fill his lungs and he might drown.

             “Get up nerd. NERD,” shouted Phlegm.

             The crowd around them in the playground laughed and pointed as Leonard struggled to push the weight of Phlegm off his back. Leonard started to question the wisdom of standing up for him-self. Carl “Phlegm” Phlagerstrom was the biggest, acne ridden, halitosis breathing, booger dripping bully in all of Park Hills and everyone was afraid of him. Even the teachers at school and adults in the community were scared of Phlegm. It seemed that only Leonard was brave enough to deny Phlegm his lunch money.

            “Get off me,” shouted Leonard.
            “What’s that nerd? You want your mommy,” said Phlegm.
            “Get OFF ME,” yelled Leonard.
            “Give me your money. Not just your lunch money, all your money. I want you to take me to your piggy bank at your house and give me everything that you have,” said Phlegm.
            “No,” questioned Phlegm.

             Phlegm started spanking Leonard’s exposed butt. Leonard squealed in pain and tried to throw Phlegm off his back but Phlegm was just too heavy. He was a great big fat kid and Leonard was only a healthy 89 pounds. His eyes were streaming with tears as Phlegm continued to smack him on his bare ass.

            “Stop it, stop it, stop it, stop it, stop it,” cried Leonard.
            “Are you going to give me your money,” asked Phlegm.
            “NO,” shouted Leonard through his tears.
            “Maybe your Mommy will give me some money, after I do her,” snarled Phlegm.

             The crowd around them had stopped laughing. They were silent. It was a level of violence they weren’t used to seeing. It was something unusual yet they could look away or even help. They were stunned, like watching a hyena dig into some rotting carrion after the lions had their fill.

             Leonard felt a rage in him. A fire started to boil in his depths. He felt his face burning and a new sense of power surge through his arms. He pushed himself up with a mighty scream. A pre-teen, pre—puberty scream that only young men can muster. He pushed himself up, the hardest push-up he could and would ever perform and launched Phlegm off his back. Phlegm fell into the mud puddle beside Leonard. Leonard roared and got to his feet. He pulled his pants up and then stood over Phlegm. Leonard’s instinct had taken over. His fight or flight response had taken control. It had chosen fight.

             Phlegm tried to scramble to his feet but Leonard wouldn’t have it. With his hands clutching the remains of his pants waistband he jumped onto Phlegm, sticking his knee on Phlegm’s neck and he started to push. The rage and terror of the unrelenting bullying over the course of the last three years had finally reach boiling point. Leonard applied more pressure on Phlegm’s neck and he could see Phlegm’s eyes start to fill with panic and fear. Phlegm tried to kick Leonard with his sprawled legs but he couldn’t affect Leonard. The blows went unfelt.

             Leonard applied more weight and the crowd of children started to disperse and run away. Phlegm started to gasp and claw at Leonard’s knee and hip. Leonard started to feel a sense of calm come over him. His adrenaline started to wane. He lifted some of the pressure on Phlegm’s neck but leaned down close to him.

             “If. You. Ever. Touch. Me. Again. I. Will. Kill. You.” said Leonard.

             Phlegm nodded weakly and Leonard lifted his knee off his neck. Phlegm rolled over on his side and gasped and groaned. He heaved and coughed. Leonard fixed his glasses on his nose and pulled up his broken pants. He started for home.

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