Young Adult, 233 pages
Cover art by Pat Evans
Blurb: Dealing with bullies isn't an easy thing to do. My parents tell me to ignore or avoid them. But it seems if you ignore them, it gets under their skin and they want to bully you even more. And that makes it's even harder to avoid them. Does that make sense?
My teachers seem to be too busy with other things when it comes to bullies. I guess they have so many students they can't be bothered by it all. They say they want to treat everybody the same. I think I understand that but it doesn't always work out so well. I even wonder if some of the teachers aren't scared of bullies.
I'm not the only one who gets bullied. I have some friends who have to deal with bullies, too. Sometimes we hang out together in hopes that the bullies will leave us alone. It works most of the time unless there are some bullies together.
Several minutes later, he stood at the entrance to his office and motioned for me to come in. I picked up my backpack and went inside. Before sitting down, he asked me to shut the door.
"Well, I suppose you want to know why I called you in?" he asked.
"Uh, yes, sir," I said.
"It's about an altercation you had after school yesterday."
I nodded but didn't say anything.
"I think you know what I'm referring to."
"So do you want to explain to me the circumstances that led to the altercation?"
Mr. Bishop sat patiently behind his desk while I tried to tell what had happened. It would have been easier if he had asked some questions along the way. It was almost like he was trying to read my mind or wait for me to say other stuff. I was very uncomfortable.
When I finished, he informed me that Earl's mom had called about the fight. That surprised me a little because I thought that one of our classmates had told someone and then it had spread around school.
"I'm not sure what I should do about it," Mr. Bishop said as he rose from his chair. "You've been a very good student here and I don't quite know how you should be punished."
Now that did surprise me. I shook my head, "Punished?" I blurted out. "What did I do?"
"You just told me what you did," Mr. Bishop said.
"But I was helping a friend. They were fighting Sam. I was only…"
Mr. Bishop raised his hand to cut me off from finishing what I wanted to say. "You should have come to this office and reported what was going on," he said.
I didn't say a word. What could I say? Mr. Bishop seemed determined to punish me. But what about Earl and Freddie? I wonder what kind of story Earl's mom told him?
"I'm going to let you go home now, but next week I want you in detention for one hour after school each day. And I also want you to write me a paper on what you did and why you won't do it again."
"Yes, sir." I rose from the chair and lifted the backpack over my shoulder. I left his office feeling kinda empty. I didn't expect to be punished for what I did. It didn't seem fair.
Sam was waiting in the front lobby, staring out the door as if he was scouting the area. He turned when I came out of the principal's office.
"That took a long time," he said.
"Too long," I said.
"So is he going to suspend Earl and Freddie?"
"He's put me in detention next week. Mr. Bishop is blaming me for what happened."
"What?" Sam's eyes widened. "You've got to be kidding me."
"I'm serious," I said. We walked out the front door, down the steps and toward the bike rack at the side of the building.
As we were unlocking our bikes, we noticed Earl and Freddie across the street. They were both grinning. I also could see something shiny in Freddie's right hand.
"Oh, crap," Sam said. "What are we gonna do?"