“The Bully” is one of the outstanding stories of the first biannual International Short Story Contest 2018 written by Tracy Gokool, Vistabella Presbyterian Primary School, Trinidad, West Indies.
Max was known as the school bully. His nickname was ‘Mad-Max`. He stood like a giant over both the older and younger kids of the school. Everyone knew when he was approaching as the odor of onion whiff to your nostrils. Yellow, grimy teeth would always accompany his unpleasant smile. From the back, you would really think that he was a girl as his hair was long and always unkempt. The most frightening thing about him was his deep voice.
Mad Max would terrorize innocent pupils of the school for money and food. Infant children would run and scream at the sight of him and as they were afraid that he would take their small allowances and tasty snacks. Tripping random children on the stairs just excited him. Everyone knew that fighting was his favorite, he left children with black eyes, swollen lips and missing teeth. Rumor had it that he even flushed two or three children’s head in the toilet bowl.
On one Friday afternoon about half-way through the lunch break, while coming down the crowded stairs, Max just forced his waythrough, sending small infants to the ground, he came towards me and without knowing he just stumped on my foot and elbowed me in the face. I stood in disbelief in the cafeteria line.
I, as red as a tomato, took a deep breath and boldly said, “Go to the back of the line!”
He turned and shouted, “You better not be talking to me!”
“Huh!” the crowd of children gasped.
My jellied legs were shaking and beads of perspiration raced down my face and just by looking into Max’s eyes, my vision was blurry as I regretted standing up for myself. Out of nowhere my sweaty fist swung a one-eighty degree turn and hit Max in the face. Max angrily clenched his fist and aimed for my face, I, in full panic tilted my head an inch away from his hand. Without warning I received a hard punch to my jaw, feeling the blood oozing out of my gums I kicked Max in his right leg which gravitated him towards the ground.
Glancing around, I saw faces of shock, excitement, and fear. Then, the crowd of children outburst in a chorus of, “Tracy! Tracy!” and some shouted, “No more ‘Mad Max!” I too cheered on until we were all silenced by the bell. Everyone then proceeded to their respective classes. Surprisingly our teacher, Miss Dean had no idea of what had happen during the lunch break but she often had to quiet down the class as every single child was talking about the incident.
After school, while I was waiting for my mum, I saw Max sitting on the concrete bench. Filled with both sorrow and shame, I proceeded to talk to him. I started the conversation with an apology. He said that he only behaved in such manner because when he was five years his mum died and since then his dad was always aggressive to him. As a result, he thought fighting was always the answer. As he spoke, tears ran down his downcast face, he said that he would try to be a better person. We sat there and chatted for about ten minutes until I had to leave at the honk of the horn.
Turns out that he was a nice person who just needed a friend. From that day, the saying, “Never judge a book by its cover,” finally had a meaning to me, I also made a new friend. The next day, on arrival at school, I was surprised to see Max surrounded by a group of children talking and playing games. Everyone now saw him as a good person who meant well because of his change. He was now called Max.