Brains and Bullies

Bullying is a disgusting topic. When I came up with the idea for my story "Brains," I knew the tale had to be nasty but in a palatable way. There was a message I hoped to get across, somewhere in between the gross-out teenage pranks. 

Truth be told, I've never lit up a paper bag full of crap, left it on a neighbor's doorstep, and then doorbell-ditched. I may have done some doorbell-ditching from time to time as a mischievous lad, but there was never a flaming bag of crap involved. 

But I have seen kids bullied. In first grade, I was one of them. A neighbor boy was a real piece of work, and he never left me alone. I took it and took it until I couldn't take it anymore. When I exploded, I remember there was snow on the ground, and I drove his face into the dirt underneath until he couldn't breathe. I remember wondering how he could be so weak, this kid who'd tormented me for so long. I barely recognized the cowering, sniveling mess he melted into. Fury made me fierce that day, and it didn't matter that he was older and bigger and stronger than me. I'd had enough.

There were consequences, of course. His brother and I had been best friends until that fight in my front yard. Suddenly we weren't allowed to play together anymore. His mom said I couldn't come over ever again. For a few days, the neighbor kids kept their distance. Probably thought I was a loose cannon. Eventually, things got back to normal, except I wasn't bullied again. I think it had something to do with a first grader beating a third grader. He gave me dirty looks from then on, but he kept his big mouth shut. 

Bullies need to be put in their place. Deep down, they're nothing but wimps with low self-esteem. There was probably a better way to handle my situation, but I was just a little guy at the time, and I'd reached the end of my rope. It never happened again.

In "Brains," Jerome faces a similar dilemma. But fair warning: it's kind of gross.
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