Children Fiction posted May 6, 2009 Chapters:  ...9 10 -11- 12... 

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Tanisha sets up bully #1 for his down fall.

A chapter in the book Ms. N.O.R.T.

Bully # One

by Deejharrington

Tanisha is a sixth grader who has recently lost her favorite teacher. When the new teacher shows up, she gets herself suspended from school. At the same time, a boy displaced because of Katrina arrive
Chapter Eleven: "Bully # One"

The next morning at breakfast, Big Mama and I began our negotiations.  I wanted phone time and she needed about a million chores done. We stared steely-eyed at each other.  She opened the bidding with five minutes on the phone for cleaning the garage and mowing the lawn.
It would take me longer than five minutes to explain to Brianna about Walter's problem, let alone get her to help us.  Plus the garage was home to the biggest spiders I've ever seen and Big Mama has an old fashioned hand mower.

"Come on now, do I look like I'm a baby?, I asked her. "Let's get for real here.  I'll mow the front lawn and sweep the garage for an hour on the phone." I said with both eyebrows pulled down in a scowl.

Big Mama had a poker face that'd scare those guys who play on T.V.  She "humphed" once, and said "Last, best offer, half-hour on the phone, you mow and weed the yard, sweep the garage, and haul the cans to the curb for the next two pick-up days."

Like I said Big Mama could  made a fortune play'en Texas Hold'em if she didn't believe it's a sin.  I knew I wouldn't do no better so I said "OK, you got a deal.  But I want to use the phone in your bedroom." I threw that in to see if she'd bite.

Big Mama gave me a look of appreciation and stuck out her hand. "It's done."

For the next four hours I worked harder, sweaty-er, grubby-er, and messy-er than I ever have in my life.  But by 3:30, I was done.  Big Mama looked over my work and gave an approving nod.

I ran for her upstairs bedroom.  I'd have a little privacy up there because I didn't know if Big Mama would think I was interfering in other people's business.  Maybe I was, but sometimes the right thing to do looks a whole lot like the wrong thing. I'm just saying.

I got Brianna on the phone in the first try. That was a shock.  I expected at least a couple voice mails and leaving messages all around town for her to get back to me.  Of course I couldn't text from Big Mama's old fashioned phone.  It had holes you had to spin with your finger. What's up with that? It belongs in a museum.  But Big Mama always says "don't fix what ain't broke."  While the phone was slower than dial-up, it worked just fine.  It probably would keep working for another 100 years.

Brianna spent my first ten minutes filling me in on all the gossip I'd missed; who was going with who, who was fighting who, the usual.  I finally got a word in so I explained what those three boys had done to Walter.  When I mentioned that Antoine was one of them, I had to put the phone about a foot from my ear or go deaf.

Then I watched ten more minutes tick away as I listened to Bri go on and on, complaining about Antoine.  I listened to how he was always after her to go out with him; to the skating rink, the mall, the movies, anywhere.  She was havin' none of it.  Bri's opinion of Antoine was as low as ant spit.  She thought he was conceited, stuck-up, big headed, a know-it-all, and thought he was God's gift to sixth grade girls.  Blah, Blah. Blah. I had to listen how she wouldn't go out with him if he had a million dollars, a limousine with a driver or personally knew Lil' Q (the next big thang in rappers).

When it felt like my ears were going to start bleeding, I interrupted her.  "So, Bri, would you like to help prank Antoine?"

I quickly moved the phone from my ear.  My grandma hadn't raised no dummy.  All I heard was "Girrrrl! I'm down witch' you on this one. Just tell me what, where,and when.  I got your back, I'm your girl...blah,blah,blah."

I cut her off again and told her what I planned.  It was a little mean and a lot funny.  But I wouldn't be able to see it happen.  To really make it work, it had to happen in front of  ev-er-y-body in the whole school. Bri and I agreed tomorrow during first lunch in the cafeteria. 

I hung up after she promised to call me after school with all the dets.  But Walter would be my real eyes and ears.  The most important part was that Walter needed to be a witness to what went down.

As I  walked back downstairs, Big Mama was just letting Walter in the front door.  She was fuss'in all over him like he was Obama comin' home after a hard day's work. I had to admit, it was kinda cute.  The way his ears turned neon red and he stammered like he forgot English.  I decided to rescue him, in a minute or two.  I sat on the bottom stair step, grinning at Walter, and miming Big Mama.  She had her back to me so I thought I was safe.  I forgot all about the glass in the front door.

It was a good thing Big Mama has a sense of humor.  My mama would have lit up my backside.  Big Mama just turned around real fast, lunged at me, and yelled "Gotta ya!"

I jumped 'bout two feet in the air and made a run for it through the kitchen.  I was laughing so hard when I reached the back door, I just about fell down the steps.  Walter followed me outside. He just smiled and shook his head.  We both sat down on the freshly cut grass, thanks to moi.  That means "I" in French.  Walter's been teachin' me a few words.

He was looking at me kinda like he was wishin' 'bout something.  I turned my head and asked him "What? what's the matter?"

Walter hesitated then said "Ah, nuthin' really, just the Washingtons got a letter from the Red Cross." Walter stopped talking and looked across the yard. 

I thought, Here we go again, pulling words like teeth. I pulled a handful grass, threw it at him and said, "Just spit it out, OK? I'm tie-erd!"

Walter started to talk then. "The Washingtons had been searching for my kin all along. But they never told me.  I guess they want to get rid of me real bad." Walter said it like it was a joke.  

It wasn't funny to him or me.  "Anyways, they get a response today. It looks like I got me an uncle or somethin'," he said with a frown.

I jumped up and yelled "An uncle? You think you got a uncle? Walter you gotta know if you got a uncle or not."

He looked a little ashamed as he explained ":My momma wasn't never around much or for very long.  The only thing I ever heard her say 'bout kin, was they wasn't good for nothin', cause they wouldn't loan her no more money. So maybe I got a uncle but maybe he don't want me." Walter said and his eyes got that wet look again.

I started firing questions at him.  If I could distract him, maybe he wouldn't, you know, cry. "What's this uncle's name and where has he been?  How did the Red Cross find him? Are you sure it's your ma's brother? Could it be your daddy's? Is he coming here?  What's he do for a living?  Is he married? Does he got kids? Do you gotta go live with him?"

That question stopped both of us.  I hadn't planned on askin' that, and I don't think Walter had even thought of that part yet.  We stared at each other like a couple of department store dummies. 

We both began talking at once.  "I don't ..."  "I hope ..."

Thank goodness, Big Mama saved us from anymore stupid by calling us in to supper.

Neither one of us mentioned the words "uncle" or "Red Cross" in front of Big Mama.  It was a quiet meal for once.  When we were done eating, I made a big deal of Big Mama leaving the clean up to Walter and me.  I needed to talk to Walter alone, so I could tell him what he needed to know about tomorrow.  I just about carried Big Mama into the living room and settled her in her chair.  I turned on Vanna and Pat, putting the volume on loud, and handed her the remote.  She got comfy and I high-tailed it back to the kitchen.

Walter was already clearing the table and putting away the left-overs.  I started to fill the sink and got out the towels.  While I waited for the water to get hot, I looked at Walter and said "Hey, Walt I need you to do somethin' for me."

He didn't even look up when he answered me "Sure, wha' do ya need?"

"Promise me you'll meet Brianna in the cafeteria for first lunch tomorrow, OK?" I asked him.

He glanced over at me then with a questioning look.  "Meet Bri at lunch? Why? What's up?"

I just shook my head and started washin' the glasses.  " Just make sure you're there, promise?", I repeated.

"Yeah, OK Tanisha.  I know somethin' is stinkin' here, but all right I'll be there," Walter said with a pretty decent eye roll.


Tanisha puts her plan for bully #1 into action with the help of her friend Brianna. Walter will be an unsuspecting witness to Antoine fall from grace.
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