"Thomas Gommal Learns about Bullying"

Chapter 1
Thomas Gomel Learns About Bullying

By Shirley McLain

Chapter 1
Thomas sensed his body trying its best to keep him in bed. I don't want to get up. She doesn't realize what she is starting.
His mother yelled at him twice trying to get him out of bed. Today is the first day of school He can’t make himself move. He felt fear and anxiety filling his body, but he couldn’t show it. He wanted no one to see his real feelings. He's an excellent actor at twelve years of age because his mother never noticed his stress. He is rather proud of himself.
Thomas and his family lived in Gomelton.  His family was the descendants of the original Gomel's who found and built the town. His mother showed how proud she was to be the wife of the Great-Great Grandson of the founding Gomel.
A large picture hangs over the fireplace of Great-Great Grandfather, Silas Gomel. Entering the house, one noticed the painting well-lit and looked out of place because of its size. Visitors and family thought Thomas and his third Great Grandfather strikingly resembled one another. It's hard to understand how two relatives so far apart in years could resemble each other so closely. 
Thomas's dad, Charles, told everyone they were identical twins except, one of them was 100 years older, give or take a few years.  Everyone laughed at his overused joke, but Thomas never laughed. He tried his best to smile so he didn’t hurt his father's feelings.
When Thomas heard his mother call his entire name for the third time, he no longer had a choice. He climbed out of bed, going straight to the bathroom to brush his teeth and dress. 
 As a twelve-year-old boy, he didn’t care what he wore, as long as it was jeans and a tee-shirt. He looked in the mirror and saw this geeky boy wearing glasses, with a body like a stick and no muscles. No wonder I'm the one Crusher picks on the most. Thomas, you're the biggest nerd in school.
The school put restrictions on what shirts the boys wear because of all the gang violence going on in the bigger cities. Gomelton never had a real gang problem with violence, but they wanted to prevent it if they could.
His mother does her best to make his first day of school a happy event. Needed clothes and supplies were plentiful and up to date. She's was so proud of her son and wanted him to have the best they could afford.
Every Monday morning during school, she handed him lunch money and told him not to spend it all in one place and laughed like it's the greatest joke in the world.  He thought it was corny but did his best to show her how much he loved her and what she did for him. He stepped in front of her and placed his arms around her middle hugging her for a long time. Tears sprung to her eyes because of the tenderness her son demonstrated.
 Thomas' heart pounded in his chest because of his anxiety. Crusher was a secret from his parents. The one boy in school who made life hell for any kid he came across.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               
The closer Thomas got to the school the slower he walked, thanks to Peter Cusher.
Everyone at school called him the same name including the teachers, "Crusher." He looked fourteen or fifteen years old instead of the same age as Thomas. His muscles were more than Thomas has seen on a 12-year-old.  He knew he had a work out gym at home.
Crusher's build filled Thomas with self-loathing and fear when he was around. The teachers thought him the perfect student because his family had money and his speech was polite around them. But out of the teachers' sight, every kid younger than Crusher was a potential target.
Walking down the street with his book bag in hand, Thomas noticed the roadside full of trees and flower gardens. The sweet scent could almost make him forget his fears. He's noticed what a pretty street he lived on. You're being a nerd again, Thomas, his mind told him. He cringed and felt his shoulders slouch.
Occasionally, his mind flashed back to Crusher and the year before. I want Crusher out of my mind. He forced his mind back to the neighborhood with the birds in the trees singing, the wonderful smelling rose hedge. Anything to keep Crusher out of his head. This year will be the same as the last and the one before. Life at school is total misery.



Author Notes Bullying is a nationwide and possibly a worldwide epidemic in schools among male and females. This book is appropriate for ages 10 and above to help them understand and learn ways to deal with bullying. Please feel free to make any suggestions. I want this short book to be a learning tool as well as a fictional story to enjoy.

Chapter 2
Lunch Money

By Shirley McLain

Chapter 2
A group of boys hung out with Crusher. He's never alone. They are his cheerleaders. You know the types always telling him how tough he is, and how whatever he says or does is right. Once you are on the school grounds it doesn't take long to figure out his word is law. If he says, "don't talk," everyone around him didn’t make a sound.
Thomas remembered back last spring when a new kid came to the school. Crusher groomed him for the group. Crusher told everyone to be quiet so he could think. The noise stopped immediately around his table. The new kid mistakenly asked Crusher a question. Crusher turned, not saying a word and hit the boy in the nose. Before the new kid could register his thoughts, he's on the ground with blood running over his chin. "I told you to be quiet, didn't I."
The kid nodded his head, never said a word because he knew the rules because others in the group told him what they were, within fifteen minutes of joining. Crusher's first rule, "Tell newcomers the rules."
If a teacher noticed the kids swollen nose and asked what happened, the kid made up a story as if he were playing and ran into a tree. What the kid said the teacher accepted without asking questions.
Thomas got to the school grounds and prayed his friends were out front. He wasn’t that lucky. There Crusher stood by the front door. Thomas looked around for a teacher, but as usual, there wasn’t one. He ducked his head, pressing his chin to his chest and attempted to walk past Crusher and his gang.
"Oh, look, boys, it's Four Eyes Gobbler. Glad you're at school today. Did you bring your lunch money for the week?" Thomas reached for the door. One of the gang stopped him.
"Leave me alone, Crusher. I don't want any problems with you." Thomas kept his head down and spoke almost in a whisper.
"Well, I have a problem with you, Mr. Four Eyes. You think you're better than everyone else because the town was named after your family. Isn't that right Mr. Gobbler?" Crusher said as he looked around to make sure there weren't any teachers around.
"No, I don't. I'm like everyone else here," Thomas said in a soft-spoken voice.
Crusher smiled his best smile and said, "Oh no, Mr. Four Eyes Gobbler, you aren't like everyone else, and you're going to pay for it. I want your lunch money."
"Well, you can't have it. It's mine, not yours. Leave me alone," Thomas said, in an agitated voice.
"Hey Fellows, guess what? Mr. Four Eyes said the lunch money is his. It looks like we'll be seeing him later."
"What do you mean, Crusher?" Thomas asked.
"I mean you're going to pay for not handing over your money. Me and the boys will take a pound of flesh instead of the money. You'll leave this school when the classes are over. We'll be waiting for you somewhere on your way home. Is my meaning clear enough, Mr. Gobbler?" The other boys laughed, and Crusher put a big grin on his face. His intense black eyes let Thomas know he meant every word.
Thomas's brain flashed a big red "trouble" before his eyes. He reached into his pocket and pulled out the money his mom gave him for his meals. All the while his mind screamed, "besides being a geek, you’re a coward!" He shoved the money at Crusher and said, "here, now leave me alone."
"Thanks, buddy, I'll see you around. Come on fellas we got someone to visit." Crusher and his boys walked away laughing.
Thomas opened the door to the school and went inside before Crusher could think of anything else to do to him. He didn't know how often Crusher took his money over the past two years, but he knew in his heart once was to many.
"Hi Mom, is there anything to eat?" Thomas asked.
"There's some chocolate chip cookies on the counter. Pour yourself a glass of milk. How was school today? Do you like your new teacher?"
Always a thousand questions. I wish she wouldn't ask so many. Everything remains the same. "School is fine and so is the teacher. We didn't do much today except get our books and find out what we’ll be doing all year. Oh, of course, we found out about all of the rules the school put in place."
"Anything new happening?"
Thomas thought about telling his mother about Crusher, but couldn't bring his self to do it, so he said: "No, there is nothing new."
"Mom, can I go over to Andy's after dinner? I want to tell him about school."
"No, you can't. Andy is still running a fever, and Noreen told me today he isn't feeling well at all."
"Please Mom, you told me I couldn't get the pox since I've already had it."
"Thomas, I said no, and don't ask me again. Get your homework done."
"I need to talk to him about something," Thomas said in his most imploring voice.
"I'm not too busy now to talk, can I help you with something?"
"No, but thanks, mom. This is just boy stuff. But I do need some more lunch money."
Thomas's mother stopped what she was doing and walked over and sat down at the table. "Thomas, come and sit with me."
Thomas pulled out his usual chair and sat down. "Now tell me what's going on and why do you need more lunch money?" His mother asked in a concerned voice.
"Nothin's going on Mom; I need more money because I lost mine. I didn't eat lunch today. I went to pay for it this morning, and it wasn't in my pocket. I must have lost it on the way to school."
"You are usually incredibly careful with your money, but I do remember a few times you lost your lunch money last school year. You need to learn to be more careful. I'll give it to you in the morning before you leave for school and don't lose it."
"I won't Mom. Thanks, and I'm sorry. I'm going to do my homework now. Are you sure I can't go to Andy's house?"
A mischievous grin spread across his face as his mother drew back to throw the dishcloth at him. He made a mad dash for the door ducking so the wet rag wouldn’t hit him.

His mother smiled as she puts her arm down from the intended throw. She realized Thomas volunteered to do his homework without being told for two hours to do it. "Something is going on for sure," speaking out loud as if someone else were in the kitchen.

Author Notes Bullying is a nationwide and possibly a worldwide epidemic in schools among male and females. This book is appropriate for ages 10 and above to help them understand and learn ways to deal with bullying. Please feel free to make any suggestions. I want this short book to be a learning tool as well as a fictional story to enjoy.

Chapter 3
A Plan is Started

By Shirley McLain

Chapter 3

Thomas’s mother continued to worry. She had to talk to Charles when he got home from work, which should be any minute.  She barely got the thought out when Charles walked through the door.

“I’m home,” Charles yelled, heading for the kitchen. He never entered the house without seeking out his wife to show her how much he missed her by giving her a kiss and a hug.

“Hi darlin', I’m glad you're home. Supper will be ready soon.  How was your day?” Emily asks.

“It was a usual day of work. Nothing big happened. I have nothing to complain about,” Charles says.

“I need to talk to you about Thomas. He volunteered to do his homework.” 

“Charles' eyes open wide. Really? Is he sick?”

“No, he’s not sick. I think something is happening at school.  He won’t talk to me about it. I know both of you very well, and you two tend to be abrasive to each other when you talk.   I have an idea of a way to get him to talk.”

“Why do you think there’s a problem with school?” Charles asks.

“Because he won’t talk about it and he asked me for more lunch money today. He told me he lost it on the way to school. I can always tell when Thomas isn’t telling the truth. It shows in his face when he is trying to lie.” 
“What idea do you have?” Charles asks.

 Emily looked her husband in the eyes as she spoke. “I want you to ask Mike, to talk to him.  Thomas thinks Mike does no wrongs and knows everything.”

“That’s true,” Charles said. “Mike will find out what the problem is.  I'll give him a call after Thomas goes to bed tonight.”

Emily hugged and kissed her husband again. “That’s great. It at least gives us a place to start.   Go wash up for supper and tell Thomas supper is on the table.”                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               
 Thomas made it through the week. He dodged Crusher and his gang by ducking around corners and walls and flat out hiding, but he is their chosen victim. They will take advantage of any situation to be able to do their bullying. It's bad because of Crusher and his gang following him around that sometimes he can’t go into the boys' bathroom all day. That made him rush home and barely make it into the bathroom in time. Sometimes he didn’t make it which causes total mortification.

He tried to sneak around with his clothes to put them in the washing machine so his mom wouldn't see them. Thomas didn't realize his mom understood what he is was doing. She didn't want to embarrass him or cause him increased stress.
Friday afternoon there was a car sitting in front of his house he recognized immediately. Great my Uncle Mike is here. Maybe we can go to the batting cages or something.

“Where are you, Uncle Mike?” Thomas yelled as he came through the door. He headed straight for the kitchen because Mike is with his mom since his dad wasn’t home from work yet.  At this time of day, she is always in the kitchen.

As soon as Thomas saw Mike, he jumped on him so he could hug him. “Uncle Mike I didn’t know you were coming. Mom or Dad never mentioned it.”

Mike smiled, “they found out when I rang the doorbell. I wanted to come and spend the weekend with you. It’s been a long time since we’ve had boy time together.”

“It sure has been a long time.  I’m so glad you’re here.  What can we do first?” Thomas asked.

Mike laughed, “we will talk about it later. I’ll be here all weekend. Right now, I’m visiting with your Mom.  Do you have any homework you need to do this weekend? Now would be a great time to do it, so it doesn’t interfere with anything we want to do.  I’ll be here until Monday morning. I’ll go to work as you go to school.”

“That’s great, Uncle Mike.  I do have homework, and I’ll do it right now,” Thomas said. He let out an excited yell running up the stairs two at a time to his room.

“I’m so glad you're here, Mike. We're worried about Thomas. He's acting depressed. He doesn’t talk about school at all.  I even called the school and spoke with his teacher. She told me he doesn’t participate in class. He’s also changed his desk to the back of the room. If your brother or I ask him any questions, he only says everything is all right.   He considers parents necessary to provide everything for him, but at the same time, we’re not to realize anything that happens outside of the house. That’s why I hoped you could help,” Emily said.

“I’ll give it my best try. Since you said you thought it might be bullying, I was bullied in middle school also, and I remember it as if it was yesterday. It's traumatizing for anyone."

"This is the first time I've heard anything about you being bullied," Emily commented

"It was a long time ago, and it tends to get pushed to the back of the mind. I don't think of it often, but it never really goes away.  Mine happened because I was the new kid in the class.  I wore glasses and didn't participate in sports activities. Guys think if you'd rather read a book than play football there has to be something strange about you. Kids that are bullies tend to attack people they think are different."

"When you told me you thought Thomas was being bullied, I did some studying on Bullying in schools and picked up a few pointers.  How to get him to talk is the initial problem to overcome. It’s quite common for kids to try and deal with it themselves instead of talking to an adult about it. Isolation is one of the strongest emotions they experience.”

“We’d appreciate any help you can give Thomas and us. He’s our world and the thought of him hurting causes your brother, and I pain,” Emily's face. 

“Don’t worry, Emily all of us working together will get to the bottom of this and help Thomas.”

Author Notes Bullying is a nationwide and possibly a worldwide epidemic in schools among male and females. This book is appropriate for ages 10 and above to help them understand and learn ways to deal with bullying. Please feel free to make any suggestions. I want this short book to be a learning tool as well as a fictional story to enjoy.

Chapter 4
The Batting Cage

By Shirley McLain

Chapter 4

Thomas screamed from the kitchen, "Uncle Mike are you ready to go?"

"I'll be down in a minute," Mike yelled back.

"Mom, have you got our drinks and snacks ready to go?" Thomas yelled as he headed to the front door turned and came back into the kitchen.

"Young man stop yelling. There are none of us deaf in this household. I know you're anxious to get going, but you have lots of time."

Thomas said nothing back to his mother because he knew he'd be in trouble if he did. He paced around the kitchen picking up items on the counters. His mother looked at him and shook her head.

"You'd think you are heading somewhere important instead of the batting cages with your Uncle."

"I don't want to get there too late. The cages fill up fast and I know which one is the best one to use. Uncle Mike come on." Thomas yelled again.

"Wow boy, I'm right here. We're not on any kind of a timeline," Mike said.

"Yes, we are. Come on please," Thomas said.

Mike laughed as he hugged Emily. "I guess we're leaving now."

"You both have a good time." Emily waved as they drove away in Mike's car.

"Why are you in such a rush, Road Runner?" Mike asked as they pulled into the parking area of the batting cages.

"You haven't called me that in a long time. I've missed you, Uncle Mike. I'm in a hurry because everyone gets here early so you can lose the cage you want. If you get here late you can't get the lucky cage which also happens to be the best one at the park."

"Now I understand your rush. You should've told me last night. It's hard to read your mind about what I'm supposed to be doing." Mike laughed and roughed up Thomas's hair. Thomas jerked his head sideways and put a hat on and didn't say a word.

The two got out of the car and headed to cage #3 which was empty. Thomas ran to get his things into the cage so no one could claim it.

"Uncle Mike, you need to go to the park office and get us signed in. You know which one it is, don't you?" Thomas says teasingly.

"Yes, I know, I've only lived here my entire life. Nothing like being a wisecracker." Mike said, laughing as he walked away.

The batting cage was a long rectangular net enclosure. It has chain-link fencing on the outside of the netting to help prevent vandalism. It also has a pitching machine which was shoot loaded.

Thomas was busy loading balls into the shoot and wasn't paying attention to what's going on around him. He heard a voice that sent shivers down his spine. No, it can't be, not today.

"Hey boys, look who's here. It the four-eyed gobbler." Crusher exclaimed.

Everyone is having a good hardy laugh and they didn't see Mike standing behind them.

"Hi, fellas, is there something I can help you with?"

Crusher stopped laughing instantly along with his cronies. "No, sir, we are fine. Just laughing at a joke one of the guys told. Bye, Thomas, see you at school, Monday."

Crusher and his gang walked on down the sidewalk, but Thomas's demeanor isn't the same as when Mike left him. "You ready to hit some balls, Thomas?"

"You go first, Uncle Mike. The machine is loaded and ready to go." Thomas says.

Author Notes Bullying is a nationwide and possibly a worldwide epidemic in schools among male and females. This book is appropriate for ages 10 and above to help them understand and learn ways to deal with bullying. Please feel free to make any suggestions. I want this short book to be a learning tool as well as a fictional story to enjoy.

Chapter 5

By Shirley McLain

Chapter 5

Mike saw the demeanor change in Thomas. The fact Thomas didn't want to bat first was the first sign, and he was way too quiet. It's as if Thomas's sadness saturates the air.

"Thomas, are you doing okay?" Mike asked.

"Yeah, I'm okay."

"Are you ready to hit some balls? I'll bet I hit more balls than you do."

"That's not a fair bet, Uncle Mike, because you've been hitting balls a lot longer than I have."

Mike started the machine and waited for the first ball to come out. He took a swing and misses. The same happened with the second ball. He turned the auto pitcher off and walked back to Thomas.

"You should've made that bet. I couldn't hit two balls. Now let's see what you can do?" Mike said.

"Hey Thomas, what's going on with you? You're not the same kid I drove down here." Mike put the bat in the rack and walked back over to the table where Thomas was sitting. "You want to talk, Buddy? You know you can trust me, don't you?"

"Sure, I know Uncle Mike, but this is hard to talk about."

"How about I walk over to the vending machines and get us a snack and something to drink, and then we can do some talking. We can talk about what you are comfortable with. How does that sound?"

"It sounds okay." Thomas looked down at his shoes while Mike was talking.

Mike took off for the vending machines leaving Thomas waiting at the table. Thomas kept his eyes searching around the park to make sure Crusher and his gang were not close.

When Mike returned with their snacks and drinks He stood watching Thomas for a minute or so. I have to do something to get him out of this funk he's in. "We have a couple of choices, Thomas. Do you want the chips or popcorn? which do you want, Rootbeer or Orange Soda? Do you want the drink right now? Thomas looked around and pointed at the chips and Rootbeer. Mike didn't say a word, just handed Thomas his snacks.

Thomas took a drink and raised his eyes to Mike, "This is so cold and tastes so good. Thanks, Uncle Mike.   

"Any time kid.  Your my most favorite nephew," Mike said.

"Oh, that does make me feel special since I'm the only nephew you have." Thomas and Mike both had a good hearty laugh lightening Thomas's spirit.

  "Uncle Mike,  I have a big problem, and you've met him."

" I have?" Mike asked, "Tell me more."

"You remember that guy and his gang who was here a little bit ago?"

"Yeah, I remember."

"That was Crusher and the gang that runs with him. He bullies me. Besides me, it happens to other kids at school."

"Thomas, explain bullying to me, so I understand what you're telling me."

Wiping his hands on his jeans Thomas began to tell Mike his about being bullied. He tried to start talking twice but couldn't get the words to come out. Mike kept telling him to not worry and just take his time.  On the third try, he finally got started.

"Crusher is the main one who does it, but the other boys will if he tells them to."

"Does what, Thomas?"

"He shoves me around, throws my books in the dumpster, calls me names and takes my lunch money. He even hits other boys even some girls. Some of them he's hurt."

"Have you told your teacher, Thomas?"

"Sure, but no one believes us. Crusher never does anything if he thinks there will be a witness. And he's always polite and kind when someone is around. The kids who got hurt made up stories, so it's never Crushers fault. The grownups think he's too nice a boy to do something like that. they need to know what he's really like. I think we're all scared of him."

"What is this kids name?"

"His real name is Peter Cusher, but he only goes by Crusher at school. Even the teachers call him Crusher instead of his real name."

"Thomas, do you know what his dad's name is? I'm wondering if I know him."

"I think his name is Paul, yes Paul Cusher. He owns those two big car sales places on the freeway. I think they sell Cadillac and Jaguars. Do you know him?"

"I sure do," Mike said. "He graduated High School with your Dad."

"Uncle Mike, thanks for talking with me. I do feel better," Thomas said. Can we still hit balls?"

"Sure, We have a few minutes left before our time is up. Do you want to go first?

Author Notes Bullying is a nationwide and possibly a worldwide epidemic in schools among male and females. This book is appropriate for ages 10 and above to help them understand and learn ways to deal with bullying. Please feel free to make any suggestions. I want this short book to be a learning tool as well as a fictional story to enjoy.

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