If anyone were to ask his gym teachers, they would say that Jerry wasn’t much of a physical kid. He was a small for his age, and didn’t play sports. He participated in Physical Education class, but seemed to only do the bare minimum, or perhaps, that was all he could do.
Jerry was a 15 year-old boy, with short hair and a keen pair of glasses. Unlike some of the kids in his class, he actually needed the glasses; it wasn’t a fashion statement for him. His mother had scuffed at the optometrist’s suggestion for glasses, bellowing that she didn’t have money for glasses. But, through a system of his own, Jerry had been able to afford a pair of glasses for himself. A pair, in fact, that Laura found, and I quote, “hot”.
The lunch hour was a boring one today. Laura was away at a science fair, something she had teamed up with Sari and Thomas to do. That left Jerry at a table by himself, which suited him fine, as it gave him time to read his latest novel. The Pages of Sin by Albert Ross. It was the first in a series, but Jerry had made the mistake of reading the seventh book first. Now, he restarted his love of the characters, seeing their begins. I mean, come on: who wouldn’t love a librarian who becomes a consultant for the…
A sudden pain wrapped Jerry’s head. There was moisture, something sliding under his shirt, and down his back, and something left atop his head. Someone had thrown their spaghetti at him. Jerry spun around, enraged. That was quickly quenched, as he found himself staring down Chuck Hall, the school bully.
This had gone on for years. Whenever Jerry was alone, alone in a crowd that is, Chuck would pull out all the stops to make Jerry’s life miserable. Six books destroyed, three bloody noses and one torn pair of underwear from an excruciating wedgie. Jerry’s mind raced to find a quick escape, but Chuck was closing in.
“Well, well, well,” Chuck prattled, smirking as he walked up.
Jerry looked up, over his glasses, trying to rise, “Hello, Chuck.”
Chuck placed his hand on Jerry’s shoulder and slammed him back into his seat. “All alone, Jerry? You should know better by now.”
Jerry quickly scanned the cafeteria. Why were there never teachers around when things like this happened? They really need to stagger their breaks better.
Chuck began to reach around Jerry. He had noticed the new book. “No!” shouted Jerry. He pushed Chuck’s hand away, to the astonishment and gasps of all those around. “Not today, Chuck. Leave me alone.”
Chuck, along with Jerry, had no idea where this sudden boldness came from. Chuck could not allow it. “What was that, Jerry?” He asked. But, before Jerry could answer, Chuck swung his fist into the sides of Jerry’s face. Jerry fell from the chair, his glasses clattering to the ground. A few cheers rose from Chuck’s supporters. “You shouldn’t talk back, Jerry. I would have thought your mother would have taught you that by now.”
Jerry’s eyes grew wide. Few people knew about Jerry’s home life. Please, God, please. Don’t let go him know. Jerry turned slowly, his blurry vision making out the idiotic grin on Chuck’s face, and Jerry’s novel in Chuck’s hand.
“I mean, come on,” Chuck taunted. “Your mom smacks you around.” Gasps from the crowd, a few chucks. Even with his impaired vision, Jerry could tell everyone was suddenly looking at him, either with shame or disgust.
“Don’t talk back, or I’ll tell your mommy!” Chuck laughed, drawing more laughter from the room. Jerry’s hand formed into a fist. He breathed deeply, trying to control himself.
Chuck leaned in, speaking slyly. “Don’t do it Jerry. You know you don’t have it in you. You’re just a little bi…”
And with that, for the first time in his life, Jerry punched someone square in the face