Friday, February 26, 2016

Stop Bullying!

The small toe on my left foot sits at a weird angle in relation to the other digits on that foot. This disfigurement happened to me during my ninth grade year. Myself and some of my high school classmates were being pursued after school one day by a fearsome character who haunted our lives almost daily. As I dashed around the corner of one of the buildings in our schoolyard, I drove that toe hard into an obstacle in my path dislocating it. The pain was riveting. The toe was never reset. Thus the lasting disfigurement… the result of my attempt to survive the threats of a vile human being.
This predator would come to our school yard almost daily, armed with a ratchet knife which he kept in full view…swinging it by its ring on his right index finger. I still remember the sneer he wore on his face as he forced pain upon us through the following sick ritual. At the end of the school day he would sit close to a point where he knew we would exit. There he would stoop with a large, heavy stone in front of him. As we passed he demanded, as kind of a tribute to his cruelty, that we each lift this rough heavy rock to our chests and return it to the ground in front of him. With his ratchet knife swinging threateningly around that finger of his, he would dare us to disobey him.
One day a boy in my class, tired of the intimidation, refused to lift that stone. Tired of being bullied, he folded his arms across his chest and stood there in angry defiance. That character, without blinking, flashed open that stainless steel blade and slashed my classmate a bloody curve from the lower lobe of his left ear to the corner of his mouth. For a moment we stood frozen in wide-eyed horror and disbelief. Then we took off running for our lives. About two weeks later this evil menace was involved in a violent confrontation with the police who were investigating the incident. He was shot and killed. This brought an abrupt end to his reign of terror among us.

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