Kenny Knox, playing on an old discarded sofa, was stung by a hornet who had taken up residence in the cushion on the couch. Kenny yelped for half an hour; jumping and shaking his right hand, shouting like a banshee for the whole neighborhood to hear.
âStop acting so foolish, Kenny,â I said taking him by the shoulders and shaking him.
âI canât; it hurts too muchâŠowww!â
âSee that mud puddle over there?â
âGo over there and put some mud on the sting, the paste will draw out the poison.â I didnât know if that was true or not, I just wanted him to stop his yelling.
âHey, Binky, it worked.â I was more surprised than him. I had heard someone say that mud was the cure for a bee sting, but had never had the opportunity, until now, to try these hypotheses.
âGood, Kenny, didnât I tell you it would?â
âYou sure are smart, Binky. You know about everything.â I am only thirteen so that precludes any notion, I am all-knowing.
If you ask most of my classmates, they will say, I am a quiet, easy-going person, except for Johnny Shackford; he thinks I am stupid. I am his favorite target at school; he is the schoolâs only bully.
I am a thirteen-year-old middle school student who lives with my parents in Bickford, Maine. Call me a nerd; I love school and enjoy studying. I have fun most days at Bickford Middle School; however, there are times when Johnny Shackford likes to show off his strength and the power he has over the student body. Johnny is a large boy for his age, five-feet-ten-inches tall and one-hundred-ninety-five pounds. He is the quintessential school bully. Believe me, I know this first hand.
âBernard, come down to supper,â my mother hollered up to my room where I was studying for a quiz in history class tomorrow.
âBe right down, mother.â My mother and father are the only people in the whole world who call me, Bernard, my given name. Most everyone else calls me Binky except Johnny Shackford, he calls me stupid, and sissy and refers to me as Hockersworth because, he says, if I were an item in a hock shop, Iâd be worth nothing. Johnny is the stereotypical bully, the one who takes the weaker kidâs lunch money. I calculated; Johnny has taken from me alone, twenty-four dollars and seventy-five cents since second grade, and I have gone without lunch for that same amount of time. The only respite I get is when he is absent from school. School lunches are not the same as five-star restaurant meals; they lack taste and decorative garnishment, but they do fill the hunger I feel when I go without lunch. I really enjoy it when Johnny is absent on pizza days; I love the schoolâs version of pepperoni pizza.
âOkay, Hockersworth,â Johnny said. My last name is Cookson. âHand it over.â He held out his hand for my lunch money. I placed it in his large, ham-hock of a mitt.
âAre you holdinâ out on me, Hockersworth? Whereâs the rest of it?â
âThatâs it, Johnny. My mother didnât have anymore change this morning.â
âYou wonât mind if I search you, will ya?â He picked me up, turned me upside down and shook me violently until the dime I had hidden in my pocket clanged to the sidewalk.
âIf you ever hold out on me again, Iâll give you this in the kisser; ya got it?â He turned me right-side up and shook that ham-hock in my face.Â One day, Iâm going to stand up to that bully; someday when I gain thirty-pounds of muscle to add to my hundred and seventeen-pound frame.
âAll right, students,â Miss Abbot, our history teacher droned in her monotonous tone, âopen your books to page ninety-four and read chapter fourteen. There will be a test when you finish. You have thirty-minutes to read this small chapter.â
Thirty minutes passed and Miss Abbot said, âOkay, close your books.â She passed out yellow lined paper which always signifies it is a test and not a real quiz. Real quizzes the class gets white lined paper, and we have to use a pen not a pencil.
âHey, Hockersworth.â It was Johnny Shackfordâs whispering voice. âIf you are smart, youâll turn your paper, so I can see the answers.â I donât believe in cheating, and I was not about to be a party to someone else cheating on this test. I pretended I didnât hear him.
âHockersworth, you heard me, turn that paper around.â
âJonathan,â Miss Abbot said, âplease pay attention to what you are doing and stop your talking. I wonât have it in my class.â
âYes Miss Abbot.â He had Sheila Green tap me on the shoulder and pass me a note. YOU BETA TERN, THAT PAPER OR YOUâLL BE SORRY. I wrinkled the paper and put it in my desk.
âIâll take that note, Bernard,â Miss Abbot stood holding out her hand. If I place the note in her hand, Johnny will get in trouble and if Johnny is in trouble, so am I. Heâll beat me senseless after school. What should I do?
âHurry Bernard, that note please. I saw you put it in your desk.â I could not avoid giving the note to Miss Abbot. I opened my desk and passed her the crumpled note Johnny had given me. I looked over my shoulder and saw Johnny making a fist and shaking it at me.
âJonathan, you will come up front.â
âYes, Miss Abbot.â He rose and went up front where Miss Abbot sat him down in front of her desk.
âIs this note a warning to Bernard? Are you threatening him if he doesnât show you the answers to the test, Jonathan?â
From that day forward, Jonathan Shackford and I became best friends, and he stopped bullying kids, taking their lunch money. Every student in BMS became rich that day, and they got to eat their lunches once more.
Johnny Shackford grew up and became sheriff of Bickford County. Thatâs right, the school bully became the law in town. I went to law school and became Bickfordâs only attorney. Johnny and I stay in touch with each other, and I often see him in court.
We try to have lunch once a month and use the time to reminisce. We also are involved in youth ministry at our churches. We teach the kids how to get along and how to handle bullies. After all, who has more experience in bullying than Johnny and I?