The Fight

The stranger entered the town one night, unnoticed. The people of this city, normally acutely perspicacious in dealings of new citizens, were unaware of the rogue which was now in our midst. I, also, was caught by surprise when I heard that Ben Harmouth was seen roaming the shops of a nearby street. Ben was the school bully back in my hometown not ten kilometres from this steel burgh in which I now reside. I was fourteen when I was at the receiving end of Ben's worst abuse. I can still recall, in vivid detail, the day that I fought back...

...It was a November morning not unlike this, and I was en route to school, which was situated in one of the poorer precincts of my town. Coincidentally, a young man of fifteen named Ben Harmouth shared my walk to school. He never really took notice of me before, assuming that I was as poor as the next kid. I was thankful of his ignorance of my wealth, for every kid in the school was aware of Ben's caustic temper. On this day in mention, Ben came off the road perpendicular to the one on which I was walking, and started walking about ten feet behind me. I made the grave mistake of turning my head around to see where he was in relation to myself. "Hey, grommet," he said inarticulately, "You lookin' at somethin'?" "No, nuthin." I replied, trying to utilize the most sterile language I could, in order not to rile his temperament. "I think ya' are." he said, quickly catching up to me. "Gimme all ya' got in yer pockets." "I don't have anything in there." I said, reaching my hands near the opening of the pockets. He intercepted my hands, and emptied my pockets out for me. Inside he found twenty-five dollars: my allowance for the week. "Oh, yeah? What's this?" he asked, grasping the wad. "Give that back!" I yelled angrily, "Give it now!" My virtuous nature had been overridden by a fiery rage, the feeling people get when they are mistreated and are powerless at the time.

"What was that you said?" demanded Ben. He picked me up by the collar and said: "I'll keep this dough. Don't try nothin, runt!" Ben grinned, bearing his dulled canines to me. He then walked away. I was incensed, and threw my textbook at him, which hit him squarely in the back. He rushed at me with all his force, and knocked me down hard on to the gravel road. I was trapped under his immense body, while he threw several kidney punches to my side. I kneed him in the groin in an attempt to subdue him, but that only magnified his pugilistic fervor. He landed several knocks to my jaw, while I thrust my fists into his hard girth. He then hit me in the nose, over, and over, and over again, until my face was too slippery to warrant any further beating.

I despised Ben for the remainder of my schooling, but I forgot (or chose to forget) all about him until this day, when I heard that he was in town. I thanked my stars for this divine intervention, in which I may now exact my revenge. I grabbed a baseball bat and a coat, and left in search of Ben Harmouth. I passed through about five city blocks before I spotted a man of considerable bulk, about fifty feet away. I raised my bat and began approaching him. Each quickened step I took spurred latent memories of Ben's beating me. As I drew nearer, Ben's features became clearer. He had the same facial structure of his fifteen year-old counterpart, but his hair was a little darker, a little dirtier. When Ben was in close proximity, I could see a thick layer of stubble on his face, accentuated by the accompanying layer of dirt. He was wearing a green toque, which covered his forehead and ears; a dark yellow coat; dark green pants; and he was pushing a shopping cart full of plastic bags. I stopped in my path. Here he was, the venerable and feared school bully, now a pitiful transient on the city's streets. I stopped and stared at his pathetic figure trudge past me. He noticed this and spat out: "You lookin' at somethin'?" "No, nuthin." I replied.

And smiled.

--Grade 12


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