Wrapped around his finger

Abraham Holland was a weird kid. He had a Muppet-like voice that made him sound like he was always screaming. His mop of orange curls looked like someone had dumped a can of Spaghetti-Os on his head. He had a perpetually runny nose, and the zipper on his backpack usually didn’t work; whether you saw him coming or going you saw a lot of detritus falling out. He wasn’t a bad kid, but he was an unfortunate combination of outgoing and awkward.

As you might imagine, Abraham was the target of bullies on our school bus.

Frank Powell delighted in flicking the back of Abraham’s ear and spitting down the collar of his shirt. Andy Johnson liked to speculate loudly about Abraham’s sexuality. Even the kindergarteners knew that on the great totem pole of life, Abraham was as the bottom.

Abraham might have escaped the wrath of Megan Morris, who was considerably older, but bullies, like sharks, frenzy when there’s blood in the water.

My sister Annie was a scrappy kid with an inflated sense of justice, and she often tried to defend her friend. But a dork and a scrapper are no match for a horde of older kids with murder in their hearts.

Though Annie’s furious scrawny arms couldn’t protect them, it turned out Abraham’s allergies could. One morning, Abraham found himself smooshed in a seat with Megan and her best friend, Hannah Connor.

It started out benignly enough. Abraham was reading a “Choose Your Own Adventure” book while Megan and Hannah gossiped about boys.

But when talk of lovers got boring, as it always did, Megan started throwing elbows. Oh, not in an obvious way. That wasn’t Megan’s style. She was one of those accidentally-on-purpose kind of girls, but the latter part was always more obvious than the former.

“Hey, stop that,” Abraham said in his nasal wail.

“Hey, stop that,” Hannah parroted.

Megan laughed.

“What’s the matter, Abraham?” she said.

At that moment, the bus came to a stop, and she took the opportunity to thrust another elbow into Abraham’s face.

“Hey, Denny! You need to get the brakes on this thing fixed,” she shouted to the bus driver.

“You’re doing that on purpose,” Abraham said.

“You’re doing that on purpose,” Hannah said.

“What makes you say that?” Megan said.

The last kid on that stop boarded, and the bus lurched forward. Again, Megan dropped an elbow into Abraham’s face.

“That wasn’t on accident,” Abraham said.

“That wasn’t on accident,” Hannah said.

“It sounds like you have a personal problem. Shut up and read your stupid little book,” Megan said.

It wasn’t like he had a choice, so Abraham turned his back to the girls as much as he could. But Megan continued to take jabs at Abraham.

“I really wish you’d stop that,” Abraham said.

“I really wish you’d stop that,” Hannah said.

“I mean it. I want you to stop that.”

“I mean it. I want you to stop that.”

It took all he had in him not to cry. He shut his eyes against the tears that pounded against the back of his eyelids. But if his eyes wouldn’t give him away, his nose would.

A globule of thick green snot bubbled from his nostril, popping and sliding down the cleft of his lip.

“Ew! Boogers! Look, everyone, he has boogers!” Megan howled.

Shamed, Abraham turned his head and wiped his nose on his sleeve.

“Oh my god! Oh my god! He’s picking his nose!” Megan cried.

“I’m not picking my nose.”

“He’s picking his nose! He’s picking his nose!”

“I’m not picking my nose.”

“He’s picking his nose!”

“I’m not picking my nose. But, maybe I’ll pick your nose!”

With that, Abraham stuck his snot-smeared fingers into Megan’s snout.

“Ohhh! Boogers!” he said.

“You are such a freak!” Hannah cried.

“And maybe I’ll pick your nose!” Abraham said, extracting his finger from Megan’s nose and lobster clawing his hand toward Hannah’s face.

The girls found new seats. Abraham didn’t become a hero. He didn’t even become cool with fringe groups. But, the girls gave Abraham a considerably berth from then on.

About Carrie

Writer by day, writer by night. Urban farmer/dog mama/baby mama/bicycle enthusiast/oenophile the rest of the time.
This entry was posted in People, Revenge, School. Bookmark the permalink.

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