Home > Other Works
The mysterious note tingled
inside my pocket.
I had found it smushed inside
my locker earlier in the day.
Jammed between my binder and math book, it flipped to the ground when I opened the door. It had been folded into a tri-angle, the kind some kids used to play paper football at lunch. I hated to hide it inside my pocket instead of reading it, but I didn’t want probing eyes to see. The note would have to wait till I got home.
The final bell rang.
Kids poured into the hallway. My nemesis, Will Tuffy, burst through the gym doors in a hurry to leave; his coppery-red hair spiked six inches straight up. Everyone who saw him smiled at the red-headed wonder. I ducked behind Bo Peak, hoping Will didn’t see me. Lucky for me, Bo is an offensive lineman on the school football team and could hide a house. A group of boys fell in around “The Tuffy,” a.k.a. coolest guy in school. I watched him chat up his friends. Naturally, everyone laughed at his stupid jokes.
I sighed. Being one of the shortest guys in eighth grade doesn’t stop the coolest guy in school from being a popular jerk. Truthfully, I think it’s made him who he is today. He has a per-sonality that fills up any room. And his appetite for attention is legendary.
He dips pencils in glue bottles and passes them out to clueless victims. He folds tests into paper airplanes and flies them into the teacher’s desk. He hiccups during silent reading, and burps nonstop in the library. He’s created special hand signals to talk to his friends in class, and he flirts with every female in school, including the teachers.
But, it’s the way he picks on my friends that really drives me crazy. He labels them “nerds,” as if that’s a bad thing, and then targets them for a bunch of his ridiculous pranks. Wyatt found his new binder super-glued to his desktop and Emily fell over backwards when Will pulled the chair out from under her.
And there was the time a love letter written to one of the cheerleaders ended up on the front page of the school newspaper. Unfortunately, it was a love letter penned by my friend Billy, only the shyest kid in school. Billy is the type to hide in the back of the crowd so no one sees him. When I asked Billy about the love letter, he turned beet red. After choking on his own words for ten minutes, he finally found his voice. Seems someone had stolen the letter from the back of his locker where he kept it hidden. Of course, that someone was the Tuffy.
Tuffy bullies all of my friends, but he couldn’t bully Temple. My best friend Temple was a total nerd, but Will didn’t dare give him a hard time. That’s because Temple was totally awesome, and the Tuffy knew when he was outmatched. Temple would have run circles around the Tuffy if he were still alive.
That word froze in my brain. A knot formed in my throat. A tear trickled down my cheek. I looked down. It rolled off the end of my chin and splash against the floor. My chest throbbed. The pain thumped inside. Thinking of Temple hurt so much I was afraid my heart would stop. I swallowed, trying hard not to cry. Not here, not now. Everyone would see.
It was a fight, but I finally stop the tears from clouding my sight. Pushing memories of Temple to the back of my brain took lots of practice. It seemed no matter how much I practiced, it didn’t get any easier. Wiping my eyes against the arm of my sleeve, I peeked around Bo’s back to see what was happening.
Will’s green eyes suddenly turned toward me. I freaked. Did he see me? I ducked behind Bo’s back again. They say the Tuffy’s eyes latch on to your soul like radar. If the eyes really are windows to the soul, he’d see what a mess I am inside.
Luckily, Bo started walking and I scooted along beside him hidden from view. The knot in my throat went away. I chuckled. Once again, the coolest guy in school didn’t know I was there. Will and his groupies rounded the corner. Safe from wandering eyes, I grabbed my things and headed for home.