Self Improvement Fiction posted May 31, 2014


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An Option For Handling Bullies

Hide Or Bluff

by michaelcahill

















 
Hide. That had to be the answer. The safe answer. The answer that would insure my survival. The others would have to fend for themselves. What was it that comedian used to say? Oh yeah, "It's not my job". Well, I'm not good with accents. Survival. That's what I'm good at. I'd rather be a live coward than a dead hero. I don't know who said that. I don't suppose they wished to be remembered for it. Not exactly "one life to give for my country" flare really. But, don't most of us feel that way, you know, inside where the truth of who we are lives?
 
High school is just a living hell. High school in my home town starts in the ninth grade. I still feel like a middle schooler. Why I have to go to it, I'll never know. And now, here I am behind these stinking dumpsters huddled down hearing footsteps running by. My heart is beating so damn loud. How can they not hear it? I look down at the pavement and wonder why in hell it can't, just this one time, open up and swallow me. I guess I can't spend my life kneeling behind these dumpsters. I suppose I have to make a decision right here, right now.
 
Will this be my lot in life, hiding behind stinking dumpsters trembling while boys my same age utilize a pack mentality to intimidate me? Intellectually, I have an awareness that joining a pack constitutes a predilection towards cowardice. So, I am more courageous by nature… in theory anyway. It does beg the question then, what am I doing quivering behind these dumpsters?
 
Well, though math doesn't land at the top of my favorite subject list, I still have a rudimentary proficiency in it. Seven to one, courage factor notwithstanding, doesn't bode well for me. What to do? I decide that I will test my theory of cowards running in packs out, and bluff. What's the worst that can happen? Shut up! I can't have that running through my head now. It's showtime!
 
"Hey. Why are you idiots running in circles? You lookin' for someone in particular. I hope to hell it's me. I'm just in a mood to be found. The days that you can scare anyone have come to an end. The tables have just turned. Which one of you punks is going to be the first to dance?"
 
A rather large one steps forward, "Are you crazy? No one is even gonna see us mess you up back here."
 
"I figured that it would be smart to get you punks off the main street and behind the businesses where we can have some privacy and get down to business. It proved to be easy as hell to draw you in. You're used to kids running."
 
His face becomes blank. I'm guessing that he hasn't heard that response before, and doesn't have a comeback for it. A few of the braver souls that were chased come out of hiding and stand behind me. That surprises the bullies. It surprises me even more. I step forward, as though anxious to get started.
 
There are seven of them. They come to a stop and all converge on me, each encouraged by the others' presence. They remain shoulder to shoulder. No one steps out in front of their group, as I have in front of mine. I stepp forward until I am in front of their group and nowhere near my own.
 
"As I was saying, it goes through me. You can step up and let the games begin, or we can all go home in one piece. Your choice." I can hear my heartbeat. I chose the largest one in the group and make eye contact. I'm guessing that he would have the least experience in being challenged. He averts his eyes.
 
He laughs and says, "I've got better things to do." He turns and walks slowly away. I can see his hands shaking.
 
One by one, they turn and leave. To this day, I wonder if I would've stood my ground had they not turned and left.

 


Recognized


Most bullies are cowards. It is especially true of bullies that hang out together in packs.
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