This is a story about bullies and those who are bullied. Sometimes a bully gets his.
The first four and a half years of my life were spent
on Air Force bases in Bangor, Fort Worth and Austin.
When we moved to Bergstrom I was big enough
to wander off by myself when I pleased.
We lived in officer’s quarters but since my father
was only a Warrant Officer our bungalow for six
was bounded behind by a big drainage ditch
and the Non-Com families’ duplexes.
There was a big kid that lived directly behind me.
For some reason he didn't attend school with the other kids.
He was seven but could throw a rock with dread accuracy
from a hundred feet.
He probably turned out to be a serial killer or a major league pitcher.
"He" would wait for me to come out my back door and
"He" would nail me with a rock.
Needless to say I learned to get out of the house and
into the neighborhood to play without him knowing.
One fine October day my mother sent me to the park with
a special treat for a mini picnic.
The sky was the kind of thin blue sky with a crisp dryness
that makes Austin so attractive.
That morning she had baked bread and roasted fresh peanuts.
Then she made her special peanut butter.
The kind of peanut butter that dwarfs duct tape in stickabilty.
You had to be very careful with her peanut butter and eat it slowly.
It would choke a whale if eaten too fast.
So there I was, carefully balancing a slab sandwich
topped with at least a half inch of the best damn peanut butter
you have ever eaten, walking to the swing set park at the end of the row.
The slab sandwich was relatively the size of
a bed pillow in my small hand.
I had just taken a seat on a swing and was formulating the
logistics of eating such a formidable treat when
there "He" was, coming down the ditch, hurling threats and curses.
Sort of like the Jabberwocky in Lewis Carroll’s poem
but armed with a big tree branch that had been
trimmed along the ditch the day before.
I knew I couldn't out run him and fighting an armed
thug twice my size without a weapon of my own
was suicide so I stood my ground,
armed with an open faced peanut butter sandwich.
I was only four but already battle hardened.
A war movie I had seen once came to my mind
with the Officer ordering his men "HOLD, HOLD, FIRE!"
As he raised his arms to deliver a blow with the branch,
I closed ground and delivered an open palm strike with my right hand.
A hand that was filled with perhaps the stickiest substance on earth.
The instantaneousness of the results was amazing.
The branch dropped from his grip as if God Himself had swatted it away.
He stumbled backwards like a dog that had suddenly gotten a box stuck over its face.
(That’s another story)
There was a long second before he realized what had happened.
His hands began to tear at his face in a futile attempt to
remove the deadly mask of whale choking peanut butter.
The peanut butter had filled his mouth, nose and
glued his eyes open but covered.
He finally got a part of his mouth free and was able to get a little breath.
The low but growing wail that came from that small hole
caused the dogs in the vicinity bark furiously.
After he had drawn another small breath there was a pause,
then a scream so blood curdling that it could be used as a torture device.
He then began to scream "I'm Blind! I'm Blind!"
Wives and Mothers ran to the ditch to see what had happened
and there "He" was.
Smeared peanut butter and torn chunks of home baked bread
covering his face and hands.
My mother helped the hysterically sobbing "him"
get home and 'he' never bothered me again.
The word got around.
The other bullies never bothered me again either.
The Poetry Of Beto Ochoa~ Prose from a spiritual warrior
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