General Non-Fiction posted July 23, 2020

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Facing up to fear

How I tamed my bully

by Brad Bennett

How Things Actually Went Down Contest Winner 



Well, actually, it wasn't me that tamed him, not at first. Instead, it was my mother grabbing me up by the collar and dragging me out of the house that set up the deed.

"Get in the car. NOW!" She yelled at me. I got in the car.

As we drove, I sat in the seat, shaking. I had just come home sporting a bloody nose and ran up to my room crying, quivering like a terrified rabbit on my bed. Then my mother soon came in.

"Alright, what happened?" She demanded.

I looked up, trying to project terrible agony in my voice. "A really bad kid just beat me up." I blubbered out, rubbing my reddened nose.

So that's how this sad story all began. I was hoping for solace and sympathy. But, instead, I found myself sitting in my mom's old Chevy, bouncing along the dirt road leading by the old horse barn where the sadistic attack occurred. She drove on until, up ahead, I spotted my antagonist walking along the roadway.

"Is that the kid?" My mother demanded.

"Yes, that's him," I answered meekly.

She pulled over and stopped. "Get out of the car and go over there and tell him to apologize, or you will kick his pathetic little ass."

I sat somewhat in shock. "What?" I gasped. "You want me to go over and have him beat me up again? Mom, no, no! He's bigger than me, and he's mean. He'll hurt me bad this time."

My mother's face suddenly turned flaming red, her voice becoming as strong and forceful as I had ever heard her. "You go over there now and do as you're told, or you will face me, do you understand?"

I got out of the car and stood shaking in the road. "GO!" She yelled at me.

I started walking nervously over to the other kid, who by now had stopped in the road, watching me somewhat puzzled. But, in truth, I was now more scared of my mother than I was of him. She had given me a good whipping once, and I hadn't forgotten it. So my fear of him began evaporating as I weighed the consequences.

He stood there staring back at me, but as I drew nearer, on his face appeared that same stupid, vapid grin as before. That smirking, mocking, tormenting face did it! Anger fired up in my gut, fueling my fevered little brain like a runaway brush fire. I forgot about the frick'en apology.

Now I was a frothing, maddened beast. I charged into him, yelling incoherently, babbling spittle flew from my mouth. I didn't know any appropriate cuss words—all I could bring up was some dialogue I'd heard in an old Gene Autry movie.

"You, Bush Smacking, Coyote Mongering, Snake Winder!" I screamed, flying into him like a rabid animal. Or something like that?

I swung my arms wildly, trying to hit him. He tried to fight back, but I was flaying my arms like the whirling propeller of a diving P38 fighter plane. Then, to my shocking surprise, he turned and took off running down the road. I stood there dumbfounded as he disappeared in the distance. Now I suddenly realized I had won. The victory was mine—well, sort of, I hadn't landed a single blow.

I got back into the car, but my mother said nothing to me as we drove back to the house. When we parked out front, she looked over at me. Her voice was now calm, reassuring.

"See what a bully does when you fight back." She scolded me. "Don't you ever, ever forget that! I never want to see you come home afraid of another kid again."

For the rest of the day, I wondered what had just happened? Would bullies just pull back and run if I stood up to them? Well, doubtful, but I'd found some retribution. My somewhat awkward but actual act of daring had taught me a valuable lesson. Always stand up for yourself, win, or lose.

The next day at school, I faced yet another bully who constantly terrorized the playground kids during recess. He was a heavy, sweaty, older kid who had been set back a grade. He liked to grab you and sit on you while you gasped for air. Then he'd steal whatever candy you had hidden.

He sat on me again that day, but I had talked back to him. Gave him the bad mouth, told him what I thought of him. Victorious? No. But somehow, my battered ego held a sense of victory, and it filled my spirit.

I lost my Sugar Babies that day, but life seemed a little brighter. In my mind, I had tamed him too.


How Things Actually Went Down
Contest Winner


Sometimes being brave has its own reward no matter how humiliating.
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