in a protract / d wonder i locK / d up my bmx , transfix / d by the whisKer thin spider web cracKs that sprawl / d through the flaKed red paint on the biKe racK , bemused as i recall / d the Keen jaggedness of the gravel , the exiguous color progression of each chip of barK mulch n how a morning zephyr in – between strides could oscillate a lone grasshalm .
i walK / d through the hallways liKe a lopsided pinball machine in tilt , bacKpacKs elbow / d , heels swiped n step / d on , caroming off unbreaKable chains of sniggering classmates n locKers , but no “ free round ” or “ extra play ” won by display of flashing lights , no chimes n no bells , but a single high – pitch / d “ eww ” rang from a girl w / squirmy wormlet lips n teeth of dry , splinter / d wood chips , cracK / d from chewing her thicKly pasted sparKly fingernails into dull n sanguinary nubs , hip w / a Kool – aid purple spotch in the center of her roll / d bangs , her bony soul – case balloon / d in a yellow n white striped romper .
“ get out of the way , nerd ” roar / d the Kid w / a blanK cast n an oversized plastic rendition of the nineteen eighty – five wwf hulK hogan championship belt .
all of a sudden , from the inside of some Kid ’ s locKer , i suss / d out that i was that nerd they were talKing to .
“ oh yeah , ” i mumble to myself , “ i have glasses , now . ”
i sat down at my desK n was greet / d w / a rubber band to the nape , a warning shot from the school drip , the same Kid who push / d me in a locKer . i twitch / d at the snap n shutter / d at the boosterish uproar of laughter from classmates who were my friends a mere seventeen hours ago .
i sunK through an hour n eight minutes of spitballs nesting in my side – part , pen lids piling pass / d my velcro sneaKers , patent whispers n grimaces of contempt from vicious classmates , liKe dooKie throwing primates .
then , a clump of flat chest / d girls in complementary acid wash / d oshKosh b ’ gosh overalls rally / d ‘ round the desK of the hallway wormlet girl , her hairy KnucKled tentacles rolling a snotball within her bejewel / d cootie catcher flaps , her pudgy chums giggling w / rubber necKs at my forlorn shell , stoop / d over a blanK page in my notebooK , as they promised rosy rewards of “ hangouts ” if she does it , yanKing at her chair , pressuring her to hurt me in an playful way – i could tell – taunting her uncertainty , those pre – teen vampirenes needing a surrogate through which to indirectly peel bacK my fresh scabs n absorb my debased vibrations .
she lurch / d over , shoved towards my desk w / her booger clump / d cootie catcher , her friends covering their mouths as they gasp / d in blameless shock , “ she ’ s actually going to do it ! ” her body scrunching , releasing , squeezing , loosening slowly , inching closer , transitory glances , her teeth creaKing on tenterhooKs .
“ no ” i mutter / d before she puff / d noise .
“ fine ” she stammer / d , not anticipating improvisations from her mental script , miff / d n vain n being watch / d by “ the cool girls ” she continued , “ then i ’ ll picK a number for you ; four . ”
as she count / d , time slow / d n my shrunKen heart pump / d toxic sludge , hate , adrenaline , the slush in my veins iced as suppress / d childhood put – downs n ridicule erupt / d , fingertips stab / d w / daggers , Kill or be Kill / d , synapses exploded , who i was lay unconscious as survival mode KicK / d in .
as the number four quiver / d off her slimy , slippery lips , her sucKers unfold / d my fortune n “ it says you ‘ re ug – ”
in that nanosecond before she finish / d her insult my heart blacKen / d in a falsetto w / her n i blurt / d , much louder , “ you ‘ re an ugly cunt . ” it was the latest insult i endear / d n didn ’ t thinK much of it until the classroom went silent n salty tears began to pour from wormlet ’ s hairy eyelids as mr . K ’ s jaw dislocated in shocK from my fifth grade choice of words , a word no one in his class had ever utter / d , until now , but i shrug / d as it was a daily toss – around slur at home .
“ robert ! go to the office right now ! ” barK / d mr . K , but i hesitated b / c to me , that word was a just a word . no biggie . then he scream / d my name , his frecKled sKin wash / d a blood orange n as i walK / d out of the classroom , the girl w / flat hair smirK / d , cracKing her chap / d lips .
i sat in a chair that i ’ d grow used to , trying to understand what happen / d . a few days ago , i was accept / d . now , i ’ m the target . i ’ ve never had to fight , lucKily ; i ’ m little . fucK .
that ’ s when i had the epiphany ; bruises heal , but words last forever …
i remember / d my father ’ s depressive couch – rants ; “ our entire lineage , your blood , is ruthlessly pierced w / deep gut / d insults that slash spiritual arteries . ” his fury of words harden / d my soft , child ’ s sKin , but only slightly . school was my refuge , but now i ’ m not safe here , either . when i came to school that morning w / glasses , no longer was laughing off last – night ’ s commercial – breaK tirade possible .
i had now also become my classmates punching bag ; the one who they taKe their lunchbox n discount / d shoe aggression out on , the one to ridicule to build self – confidence .
i still loved life , but Knew happiness is a vulnerability when you ’ re perceived as weaK .
from that day forward , i attacK / d first . twist / d my words deep into their psychological roots , shaKing their flaws n unspoKen truths loose n smushing them into the dirt .
the next day i was playing pinball in the cafeteria . unwisely , i was wearing umbro shorts w / the built in underwear . as i tap / d the side – buttons the Kid w / the wrestler ’ s belt pull / d down my shorts , ran bacKwards a step n announced it . as everyone began to laugh , i stood there , confidently n reply / d “ don ’ t be jealous my dicK is bigger than your dad ’ s welfare check . ”
the laughter turn / d to gasps .
all of a sudden , i was KnocK / d to the ground by the leg of a lunchroom chair that he toss / d that nearly blind / d me .
then , a group of my old sorta – but – not – quite roughnecK friends jump / d him , nearly Kill / d him , ran off n never came bacK to school , after that .
from that day forward i didn ’ t raise a finger , unless to push up my glasses .
i ’ d just flutter the lips , “ shh . ”
yowl / d is a collection of poetry, prose and short stories that follow a depressed mind as it wanders deep into the subconscious to pull out the moldy roots of hate and sadness, but gets tangled and stuck in the mucky abyss, struggling to crawl back out.