Prompt 226-Bullied

Were you ever bullied as a child? Tell a story of a time you were bullied, or a time you observed someone being bullied.

Liam is smart, handsome, and polite with the teachers. He smiles and the girls swoon. He’s athletic and supportive of his teammates in all the sports he plays during the year. He is captain of the tennis team as a junior and student council vice president. He is well-liked by everybody. And for some reason, he has made it his purpose to make my life a living hell.

Four years he has tormented me. Ever since I came to this school, he decided he hated me. It started with small things. My pens or folders would go missing, or he and his friends would bump into me in the hallway and cause me to drop all my books. Then other kids’ things started appearing in my backpack or my locker. I didn’t suspect him at first, since he had friends to do the so-called “dirty work” for him, but people thought I was stealing their stuff and I was sent to the principal more than once.

Over the years the bullying has evolved. He has written love confessions to a dozen classmates and signed them with my name. Most of them rejected me even though I never knew their names. There were a handful of guys who received confessions from “me” too. Thankfully, only one threatened to beat me up. A couple of the girls returned my fake affections and I had to turn them down. They started calling me “Stinky Pete” after that.

The worst was when he sent my best friend Tommy a signed confession. Tommy was the first person to welcome me to this school. He really helped me to adjust to everything, despite Liam’s bizarre attitude towards me. He is also openly gay.

I never once suspected he might have had a crush on me, and I don’t know if Liam knew or just thought it would be funny to send my best friend a love confession from me, but I know it broke Tommy’s heart when I didn’t actually return his affections. I do love him, but in a brotherly sense, not a romantic one. It was a few months before Tommy could look me in the eyes again, but thankfully he’s still my best friend.

Eventually it caught on that I was not actually confessing my love for random classmates, though somehow they never connected it to Liam. My peculiar disinterest in romantic relationships became a full-fledged rumor mill and added fuel to the flame of my “Stinky Pete” reputation. I suspect Liam’s cronies had a hand in that.

Denied his psychological warfare, he returned to physical torment. The latest flavor involves them ambushing me on my way out of school and throwing my things wherever they please. Today, that’s the courtyard. They wrestle my backpack free of my arms and toss it into the fountain.

As I fish my bag out of the water, I finally summon the courage to stand up to him. “What did I ever do to you?”

Liam’s toadies snigger as he turns back to me. He looks down his nose and frowns. There is nothing malicious in his gaze, just the look of someone inspecting their shoe after stepping in dog shit. “You? As if you would ever do something against me.” He smirks. “You just happen to be fun to play with.”

“Fun?” I shout. I shake my dripping backpack in his direction. “Newsflash! This isn’t fun for me! This has never been fun for me! My books and homework are soaked now!”

Liam shrugs. “Not my problem.”

“Then what is your problem?” I keep my eyes on his goons. I want answers, but I don’t want them to jump me.

His eyes narrow. “What makes you think I have a problem? I said you’re fun to play with. What’s so hard to understand about that?”

“You don’t play with anyone else like this,” I snarl.

His brows furrow in confusion and he glances at his friends before he turns back to me. “Because they aren’t as fun as you.” His eyes plainly say he thinks I’m an idiot for not grasping this concept. “Really Pete, I can’t say it any simpler.”

His buddies cackle as they follow him out of the courtyard, leaving me gawking with my dripping backpack. He’s right about one thing. I do not understand one bit.

Notes: I decided to go with a bully who isn’t your typical troublemaker with a troubled past that causes them to lash out. Pete and Liam actually have quite a bit in common, though I’m not really sure why Liam is so hell-bent on bullying Pete specifically. Maybe I’ll revisit them in the future to figure out why Liam wants to “play” with Pete in this way.

I had a bully in middle school on the bus. My stop was the last stop so in the mornings the bus was usually pretty full and I had to find someone to sit with. There were usually a couple open seats but getting the kids in those seats to make room or pick up their bags was like pulling teeth. This one girl hated me for no reason I could discern, but she used to complain that I smelled bad. She said I smelled like fish and started calling me “fish girl.” And kids, being the mean tribal creatures they can be, a few of the others started doing it too. Eventually I started getting a ride in to school with my friend, but man middle schoolers are the worst.

What about you? Were you ever bullied as a kid? A teen? An adult? Bullies never really grow up, they’re there at every age. How did you handle it? Did you ever bully other people? Don’t forget to write these things down. You never know when they might come in handy for your writing!

That does it for me tonight. Hurray for hump day! The week is half over! Only two more days to go. Have a great night, I’ll see you tomorrow!

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2 thoughts on “Prompt 226-Bullied

  1. Oh yeah, bullied for years at school. Kids are very tribal. I think it’s basically a social hierarchy thing.. people sense weakness and they zoom in. We’re just pack animals with big brains.

    Like

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