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The Weapon

Updated on June 4, 2016
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Chris has written more than 100 flash fiction/short stories.Working Vacation took 21st out of 6,700 in the 2016 Writer's Digest competition.

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I stand outside the school building and look in, a metaphor of my life, never quite belonging. This has to stop or I’ll go crazy, that’s assuming I haven’t already. Chess club, drama club, the school newspaper, even going to football games, have lost their appeal. Sometimes I don’t want to live. At other times I want to kill him.

We’ve each been labeled by the school, by our parents, by the other students. He has a power label. Mine is made of milk toast. He’s big strong, athletic, good looking and arrogant. All the literature calls him a bully. The principal, teachers and my parents agree that he’s a bully with a capital B. Look at me. I’m weak, skinny, nerdy, shy, clumsy, a victim with a capital V.

Most can’t do anything about it, and those who can, won’t. The bystanders who laugh at how he treats me are as bad as he is. They’re the pump behind the water, the fuel on the fire, the salt in the wound when he trips me in the hall or calls me sissy and gay.

I’ve talked until I’m weary of talking. Nobody listens. Nobody does anything. So I will. It’s taken planning and guts, and today I’ve brought my weapon with me to school. I intend to use it. It’s in my book bag, the bag he teases me for carrying. He says it looks like a girl’s purse.

There he is, as usual, surrounded by a throng of worshippers who try to impress him, to make him notice them. He eats the attention up.

I walk straight toward him, and the Red Sea parts. Moses approaches Pharaoh to let him know that today, everything is different. Some laugh, but most are silenced by my boldness. The smirk on his face tells me he’s amused.

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“Well, if it isn’t the school’s number one sissy.” He laughs and the others join in.

“Your right,” I say. “I’m skinny and weak. I couldn’t win an arm wrestling match against a wet noodle. I admire you because you’re strong. I was at the football game Friday night and saw you catch that pass in the end zone. You won the game with that reception, and you also won the conference title for the school.”

“Yeah? So? Lots of people saw me make that catch.”

“You know, I really like football,” I say. “I follow all the college teams in the paper and on TV. You’ll probably be playing for one of my favorite schools next year when you go to college.”

“You like football?” His eyebrows raise in genuine amazement.

My hand slips into the book bag and grasps the weapon. I pull it out and extend my arm directly at him. No one is laughing now.

“What’s that?” His amazement becomes the furrowed brow of concern and confusion.

“It’s the program from the conference game. You won it for us, and when you make it big in college football, I want to have your autograph on this piece of paper.”

He licks his lips as if it’s his mouth that has gone dry this time. He takes the program and the pen I offer and scribbles on the cover.

#

I’m sitting alone at a lunch table. From the hush that swept over the room and from the faces staring in my direction, I know he’s behind me. Something slides onto the table beside my tray.

“What’s this?” I say.

“It’s a copy of the school newspaper. I actually read your article this month. It’s good. When you make it big as a writer, I want to have your signature on that page.”

I accept the pen he offers and scribble beside the article’s title. The paper slides away, and it’s my turn to utilize the raised eyebrow of amazement.

“Peace,” he says and walks away.

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    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 13 months ago from Central Florida

      Excellent story, Chris! Kill 'em with kindness. Or at least kill the attitude.

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 13 months ago from london

      Wow! It's very rare that I lose my cool in life. When I do, it's always with people who seem to be in need of a life. and yes, somehow they become my friends afterwards, like your man did. Interesting, isn't it? This kind of human dynamics.

      Great writing!

    • cam8510 profile image
      Author

      Chris Mills 13 months ago from St. Louis, MO until the end of June, 2017

      Deb, well said. Thank you for stopping by.

    • profile image

      Deb Hirt 13 months ago

      A pen is a most powerful weapon and always has been. One can make or break a life with what is sometimes written in the media.

    • cam8510 profile image
      Author

      Chris Mills 13 months ago from St. Louis, MO until the end of June, 2017

      Genna, I appreciate your comment and that you were able to connect with this story on such a deep, emotional level. This is one of my favorites as well, but I say that about a lot of my stories. They are like children in that way. Thank you for the visit.

    • cam8510 profile image
      Author

      Chris Mills 13 months ago from St. Louis, MO until the end of June, 2017

      Blossom, sorry to have missed your comment. Thank you for being here.

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 13 months ago from Massachusetts, USA

      "Most can’t do anything about it, and those who can, won’t. The bystanders who laugh at how he treats me are as bad as he is. They’re the pump behind the water, the fuel on the fire, the salt in the wound when he trips me in the hall or calls me sissy and gay." This kind of hatred and prejudice, sadly, does not exist in a vacuum. The moral of this story, the hatred met with peace, brought tears to my eyes. This is one of the best flash fiction stories I've ever read. Thank you.

    • BlossomSB profile image

      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 13 months ago from Victoria, Australia

      Such a good story. I hope it might encourage some victims to realise how good they are, and some bullies to wake up to what they are doing.

    • cam8510 profile image
      Author

      Chris Mills 13 months ago from St. Louis, MO until the end of June, 2017

      Larry, thanks for reading and I appreciate your perspective. My late wife was also a public school teacher with eighth graders. She saw a lot of this. This, I think, might work with reasonable and relatively emotionally healthy individuals. On the extremes of emotional illness, I don't think so. But the concept of doing good to those who abuse you may pay off in many circumstances.

    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 13 months ago from Oklahoma

      As a former public school teacher, I'm in tune with the bullying issue. It is a complex one. You have some kids who are just cruel, but you see a lot of kids that just tease a little too hard and don't realize know they're over doing it. You also have some kids that just aren't emotionally equipped to deal with any teasing.

      Like the concept, our main character using his social skills to try to mend this stressful situation.

      Great read.

    • Venkatachari M profile image

      Venkatachari M 13 months ago from Hyderabad, India

      Great story with an inspiring message. One should not consider himself to be weak. He should realise his own sphere of talents and utilise them correctly.

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image

      Shyron E Shenko 13 months ago from Texas

      That was really good Cam. I really enjoyed this. A wonderful story about learning that each of us are important in our own way.

      Blessings my friend.

    • cam8510 profile image
      Author

      Chris Mills 13 months ago from St. Louis, MO until the end of June, 2017

      Ruby, nice to see you. What these introverted souls fail to recognize is that they are likely to go on to be the Bill Gates' of the world. Or at least very successful. I've seen that in my own high school class.

    • cam8510 profile image
      Author

      Chris Mills 13 months ago from St. Louis, MO until the end of June, 2017

      Eric, First, I'm glad the twist caught you. I could make more of the "weapon," but in these days of school shootings, I didn't want to push it so hard.

      Nice to see you today.

    • cam8510 profile image
      Author

      Chris Mills 13 months ago from St. Louis, MO until the end of June, 2017

      Stella. Glad you liked it. I don't think all could end this way or even most, but responding in the least expected way can be disarming.Thanks for visiting

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 13 months ago from Southern Illinois

      This was great! Everyone has a talent, be gay or straight, muscular or skinny. We all can shine, if given the chance.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 13 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Just a wonderful story. Perhaps there is some good in everyone, we just need to find a way to draw it out. (you sure got me on this one, great set up for the twist)

    • Stella Kaye profile image

      Stella Kaye 13 months ago

      Good story. If only bullying incidents always ended that way!

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