May 24, 2013


’”Hey beaver face, my pencil needs sharpened.  Come over here and chew on it for me and make it good and sharp again.  Ha Ha Ha.”

Was the sound of trouble ringing down the hall.

“Ron Crum and his gang of trouble makers.”  Thinking to myself.  “Thinking they own the school.  Where’s Canary?  Ron’s not so nasty when there’s a teacher around.  What a way to start a new class.  I’m here to learn how to draw houses and now I have to put up with him.”  Trying to get some other kid between Ron and myself.  “This isn’t going to be as much fun as I thought it was.”

As the bell rings, the loud mouth with the leather jacket waits by the door.  As I start to pass, he bumps me into the edge of the doorway.  My left shoulder hits the door jamb.  Knocking my books from my hands.  I inhale sharply against the pain, and try to act as if nothing has happened.  While trying to pick up the scattered papers and books, Canary looks up from his desk.  I must be beat red in the face, as I hear the snickers from the other kids.  My ears feel hot.

Getting to an open drafting table, I sneak a glance at Ron.  His greased hair combed straight back.   Spikes and chains all over his jacket and those square toed boots.  I quickly look away, when he slowly looks up at me with that nasty smile of his.  “I’m dead meat.”

All through class.  I got plugged with spit balls, erasers and paper clips.  Whenever Canary was not looking.  Twice I had to erase, big heavy scribble lines, when Ron bumped into my elbow.  Canary left the room once, Ron snuck up behind me.

“I’m going to get you bean pole, after school.”

I jumped and another line.

“I’m going to use you for a pipe cleaner on my cars exhaust pipe string bean.  It hasn’t had a good cleaning in a long time.”

The sweat feels like a rivers running down my face.  Hands starting to shake slightly.

Reaching around he knocks my pencil container off the table.  Canary returns as I’m picking up the lead that spilled out.

“What am I going to do?  There  ¸’s going to be five or six of his buddies with him!  Why me?  If I leave through the west exit, maybe I can avoid him.  Then he’ll really be mad!  Maybe . . . ”  A ringing breaks into my train of thought.  “The bell!  Class is over!  I’m dead.”

“I’ll be waiting bean pole.”  Knocking my books off the desk, snickering as he leaves to meet some of his friends.

I head for my next class.  “Only five more periods before the end of the world.  I should have stayed in bed.”

By the end of the day, my nerves had settled down.  I had almost completely forgotten about Ron.  Then again, with Ginny in most of my other classes, it was hard to think about anything else.  Too bad I’m too chicken to ask her for a date.

When school let out, I saw Ron leave by the west wing.  I left by the east.

The next day did not start out on a good note.  I woke up late.  Was late getting to the bus stop.  Banged my shin on the seat in front of me.  And my temper, which is extreme, by this time was on a short, very short fuse.

I had completely forgotten about Ron, and didn’t even see him until the drafting class.  I got to the classroom shortly after the first bell, and it was open.  As I entered the room Ron was waiting.  A couple of his friends, one on either side of the doorway.  It was just me and them in the room.

“You didn’t show up yesterday.  I was looking forward to some fun, and you made me look bad in front of my friends.  Now I’m going to have to trash you.”  Taking a step forward.

That was the match to the fuse.  “BACK OFF PUSS FACE”  my temper exploding.  If I’m going to get beat up, then it might as well be over something worth while.  “I’m in no mood to put up with your garbage!”  Standing my ground.  My knees starting to shake slightly.

“You think that your skinny butt can take me?  Look at the worm, Johnny.  He thinks he’s got a backbone!”

He lounges at me.  Arms out stretched to grab the front of my shirt.  I am six feet tall and weight one hundred pounds.  Ron stands a head shorter  and must weight around on  “e sixty.

Just before he reaches me, I drop my books.  Lean slightly to my left.  Grab his right wrist with booth hands.  Pivot to my right on my left foot, letting my right foot angle backwards and to my left.  Using my weight to guide his momentum, I spin him around and let go.  He stumbled backwards, tripping on his own feet, crashing into one of the drafting tables.  Ending up all tangled in the legs and cross members of the table.  The look of complete surprise on his face.  He just laid there.

Then, Canary speaks up.  “That will be enough!  Mr. Crumb, when you get out from under that table, we will take a little trip to the office.  Mr. Murry wants to see you, and. . .” he pauses a moment.  “I think he’ll be interested in this little stunt.”

Now I really start to shake.  I picked up my books and sit down, hard, on my stool.  “That Judo stuff works.  I thought that class was just something to do.  Mr. Soto was right.  Use your attackers weight and momentum against him.  I don’t believe it.”

“Hey Swem.” Ron asks, getting out from under the table.  “How did you do that?”

“Come along Crum, you have other problems to worry about.”  Canary takes Rons arm and they leave the classroom.  “Take your seats class and start your projects.  I’ll be back in a moment.”

Ron was suspended from school, for a week, for starting the fight.  After that he never gave me much trouble.  He would taunt and call names, but he never tried to start another fight.  And ALWAYS stayed out of arms reach.


(This story is based on true life back in the good old High School days. Names have of course been changed.)

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