Schoolyards can be lethal testing grounds, especially if you’re different. Doesn’t much matter what or how, but if you’re a kid who’s not exactly like everybody else somebody is gonna challenge you. Bubba that found out in 3rd Grade.
His mom and dad both worked long hours and she got him up early enough to ride with her. Once in a while, if Scooter was out at the school bus stop, she’d take him along, but for such an active kid he liked to sleep as late as he could get away with so that didn’t happen very often.
Early in the new term, one of the dumber and meaner big kids decided Bubba was enjoying too much of a privileged existence with his mommy driving him to school every day. Dufus McStupid also decided it was his job to make Bubba’s life a little bit tougher and his own a little bit easier by demanding milk money every morning.
This went on for a couple of weeks because Bubba was too embarassed to tell anyone. He actually felt sorry for dumb Dufus because his parents were dirt poor and Dufus had a speech impediment lotsa kids laughed at. Besides, 50 cents didn’t hurt that much.
One morning, Dufus decided extortion wasn’t painful enough and added a few knuckle punches. It hurt so much Bubba’s eyes welled up and he didn’t see Scooter as they were heading for homeroom.
At the end of the day, Scooter’s loyalty and honor overcame the fact that Dufus was nearly a foot taller. He confronted the bully right in front of the school bus. Everybody watched Scooter knock the bigger boy down and order him never to touch his friend again.
McStupid’s punkass buddy, Douglas, saw it and came running towards Scooter to tackle him. But his best friend’s bravery had filled Bubba with a sense of righteous outrage and a big old jar of CAN DO attitude. As Douglas charged, Bubba stepped out in front and threw a shoulder right into his fat stomach. Punkass laid on the ground coughing, spitting, trying to catch his breath.
A bunch of the kids came over and gave Bubba congratulatory slaps on the back. His face turned red — but he was pleased.
The meaning of “got your back” became very real for both Scooter and Bubba. And that’s the way it was between them.
TO BE CONTINUED