Confronting a Childhood Bully

You’re out at restaurant and bump into a childhood bully who used to steal your lunch money. Confront the bully and give him or her a piece of your mind.

Post your response (500 words or less) in the comments below.

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57 thoughts on “Confronting a Childhood Bully

  1. laurentravian

    I was coming out of my favorite coffee shop when someone bumped into me. “Hey! That was a 5$ latte!” I yelled. The someone stopped, turned, and became my nightmare. “Hey, I remember you! Alé! You tormented me as a kid!” I said. I saw her eyebrows go up. “I think you’re mistaken.” “No, its you. I remember. People always thought I WAS you. Do you know how weird that was?” She shrugged. “I meant, I didn’t torment you.” I stared at her. “YES, you DID. You made elementary school a living hell! Example; you had your birthday party on my birthday. And then called to talk about it.” She waved her hand, and clutched her latte. I knocked it out of her hand. “We’re still not quite even.” I said. “You made up an imaginary girl to make me feel replaced in our group, and then made me look like an idiot. In front of another girl, who you said you were going to do the same thing to. I tried to help her, but then you got wind of it and called it off, blaming the nice girls in the group.” She glared at me. “So?” I slapped her, and went to go get another latte.

  2. catbr

    Bullies, what can one say about them. A nightmare in the shy soft-spoken child’s life. Why does life work out that way? You’d think kids would just leave the shy kids to themselves, let them hang out with other shy kids and so on. Guess I can’t figure this out because I was one of those “weird shy kids” and I had my share of getting picked on and harassed by the bullies.

    I went to a favourite family restaurant one day to meet my daughter for lunch and there stood my old tormenter, although I wasn’t too sure because it had been more than 30 years since I last seen her. Time hadn’t been too kind to her in the looks department as she never was a good looking person… maybe a little resentment here from the days of old. I certainly didn’t want to run into her so I ducked into the washroom and started washing my hands. The door of the washroom opened shortly after.

    “Hey, how are ya? I thought I recognized you. It’s Mary, right?” Looking straight into my face as though nothing had ever happened and we were the best of old friends. What boldness, what nerve!

    “Yeah sure, that’s right. And you’re….” I couldn’t resist this little dig. How could I ever forget her name.

    “Brenda. How has life been for you?” Much better now that I don’t have to look at your face or listen to all the taunts and BS or put up with all the shoving.

    ” Nothing special really. But I really have to go now I’m in kind of a hurry.” Just leave me alone so I can get on with my life.

    “I just want to apologize to you for all the aggravation I put you through when we were kids. My parents were alcoholic drug addicts so I guess I took things out on others sometimes. When I grew up I turned into them. Just learning the 12 steps of AA and part of the program is to apologize for your wrong doings. Really sorry for all that. I hope someday you can forgive me. Nice to see you again.” This threw a whole new light on everything from them days.

    “Sure no problem. Take care and good luck with your recovery.” As I walked away from her I knew I had already forgiven her.

  3. Remmy

    I chugged down the latte as I existed the shop. Coffees are the only good things in my life. Soon, I won’t have a life at all. I plan on driving my car over the cliff into the sea. After all, who would miss me, the 30 year old woman who has no job, no friends and lives in her yard so she can get her coffee fix? No one cares. Everyone told me I was a mistake. Even my own mother!

    Just as I was getting to my car, I bumped into someone.

    “Hey! Watch where you’re going!” a female voice called..I froze. I knew that voice. How could I forget it? It was the voice that made my life hell. Something in me snapped. Something I wouldn’t normally do. I turned around and faced her.

    “Do you remember me, Anna? Do you? No, don’t say anything. You always were the one talking back in primary and high school. Now it’s my turn. After this, you can go call the police for all I care but I gurantee they won’t be able to do anything. My life has been a living hell, thanks to you. No one has ever cared for me when you decided I wasn’t good enough to be left alone. You even got my own mother in it! I have no job, no friends, no family and it all cames down to you! You were Princess Anna, the girl everyone loved. You had everything everyone ever wanted. So why did you do it? Why? Were you bored? Was it because I practiced witchcraft? Well, I hope you get eaten alive, oh and before I leave, I’m placing a curse on you. From the moment I die, you will feel every single pain you have caused me and you will live to an old age, suffering from it. I see the disbelief in your face but I assure you, magic is real and for the rest of your life, you will know it.”
    With that, I concetrated on placing the curse before getting into my car and driving off to my destination.

    I always liked the sea…

  4. sinistersayings

    Don’t you remember me? Dont you recall who I am, or who I used to be? You owe me, big time. I’m no longer your inferier who you kick just because you had the need to feel superior. Look at me now! I’m clearly in a much better place, you’re still the same though, still in the middle of the catty fights and drama, you havn’t changed a bit. You’re still the same old bitter sociopath that thrives on feeling superior. Well tough I’m no longer your inferior and you cant hurt me, anymore.

    I want to say this all too badly to the blond haired waitress with her chest falling out of her tight black shirt standing before me, but I simply smile into her cold black eyes, turn to my husband who just got back from Iraq, still in his uniform, and say “I’ll have a chardonne”

  5. BlazingFaith

    “Hello, welcome to Luke’s Diner. I’m Maria and I’ll be your server today.”

    I wasn’t expecting this. Maria, being in a waitress’ uniform, that is. She was the type of girl that was seen in the latest fashionable outfits. The rich girl. Though it was odd that back in high school she had taken my lunch money anyway.

    She looked different from what I could remember. She got taller. Her once long, wavy black hair was now a pixie cut. And her sparkle was gone. I don’t know what caused it. Nor did I care. I relished in it, to be completely honest. Karma was a wonderful thing indeed.

    Before she could speak, I cut her off. “I’ll have a water, please. With a lemon.”

    She opened her perfect, full-liped mouth. Perhaps to insult me? But she snapped it shut. I must’ve been smirking because I could practically see the steam coming out of her. “You got it.” Her soft, high-pitched voice came out rough and forced.

    As she walked off, I leaned back onto the padded booth in satisfaction. Back in high school, she did much more than steal my lunch money. She also took it upon herself to dub me the red-haired freak with ice-blue eyes that couldn’t be human with the fashion sense of a hobo. Back then, it got to me, but now I knew better. I embraced who I was physically and mentally. I’ve grown to love my red hair and blue eyes and I was comfortable in jeans and a tee. I knew that I was a nice person and that was all that mattered.

    Though I wasn’t feeling that nice that day at all.

    She came back with my drink. “I’ll have the spaghetti with meatballs please.”

    Maria huffed, jotting that down. She was about to take off, but I said. “Oh, and I’ll have some cheese on that and a biscuit.” Quickly, she wrote that down. It was evident that she wasn’t used to the life of a waitress. I was glad to see her struggling.

    She came back with my food. I ate it all, having missed lunch that day. Then the bill came. I paid the bill to the exact cent and I left her no tip.

  6. shrikant

    “Fate, it seems, is not without a sense of irony” – ‘Morpheus’ in “The Matrix” (1999)

    There was a time when the library was more than just a quiet place to bury your head in your books.
    There was a time when I used to peek out of the classroom before heading out to the school canteen for lunch.
    There was a time when I used to wait until everyone had left before finally heading home.
    There was a time when I promised myself that I would, some day, wipe that jeering smile off his face.
    There was a time when he was the bane of my existence and he knew it.

    And he was here.

    Had he stayed perfectly still, I wouldn’t have noticed him. I would probably have placed my order, bought my coffee, paid the bill and walked away. I would have remained oblivious to his existence and he, mine.

    He closed the newspaper he was reading and looked up. Our eyes met. A brief moment of confusion flickered across his face.

    Me? I knew instantly.

    Of course, the reflexive tightening of my gut accompanied by uninvited beads of perspiration might have had something to do with it. The moment passed and the flicker of confusion was replaced by an enlightened look of recognition accompanied by a broad smile. Another reflex kicked in. I smiled in return.

    “Hey! Fancy seeing you here! Small world, eh?”
    “You too, V.”

    An uncomfortable silence followed. The smile persisted. The genuine warmth of recognition was beginning to be marred by specks of recall and, dare I say it, flecks of embarrassment. Ah, so he finally remembered me, then.

    “How you been, V?”
    Damn these reflexes.

    “Oh, you know, the usual. Wake, work, whiskey and women…”
    No, I didn’t know. I didn’t want to know. I didn’t care.

    “How about you? How you been?”

    Revenge is a dish best served cold.

    “Oh, you know. Wake, work, whiskey, wife and vacations.”
    “You married?”
    “Yes, V.”

    His eyes lit up and the smile that danced on his lips was two steps short of diabolical.

    “Lemme guess, you married that geek, didn’t you?”
    “No, V.”
    “Oh, sorry…”
    “I’m not. We each found someone better.”
    “Good for you, man.”

    Pause.

    “Does your wife know what a wuss you were?”
    “No.”
    “Want me to tell her?”
    “Sure. She’ll be here any moment, now.”

    I smiled. He was puzzled. I smiled some more.

    “How ’bout you? You married?”
    “Nah!”
    “What about that chick you were seeing?”
    “Didn’t work out. She found someone better, I guess.”
    “There she is.”

    I waved to her and turned to look at him. He was staring, trying to put the pieces of the puzzle together. When the last piece fell in place, he was no longer smiling. Promise fulfilled.

    Guess what, V? She did find someone better.

    “Hey, V?”
    “Uh?”
    “Two Grand Cafe Lattes, one Chicken sandwich – slightly grilled, less mayo and hold the onion, please. Also, one Russian salad – you know how she likes it, don’t you?”

  7. CheriPie

    Savannah, my 14 year old daughter, and I decided to take a break from our shopping and grab lunch at our local café. As we walked through the door, Savannah stopped and I could see the blood drain from her face.

    “Mom, that’s her!” I looked in the direction of my daughter’s gaze and noticed the purple haired, nose-pierced, black garb wearing teenager seated alone at the booth.

    “Who honey?”

    “Geez Mom! Amanda! The girl I told you about that picks on me and my friends every day.”

    My daughter, much like I was at her age, was in that awkward phase. Complete with the blemishes, tall and gangly, and afraid to smile because of the braces correcting her overbite. I told her she would grow out of it. High school wouldn’t last forever. You’ll bloom by college and reinvent yourself, just like I did. My words offered little consolation for the torture she experienced daily.

    “We’ll sit on the other side of the room.”

    “No way Mom. I’m leaving!”

    I sighed, turning around with her and bumped directly into a woman, causing her to drop her purse and all its contents. Profusely apologizing, I bent with her to help pick up the contents. Suddenly, I found myself looking directly into the eyes of my own high school tormentor.

    “Haley?” she said.

    You have got to be freaking kidding me!

    “Hello Sonia.”

    “Oh my gosh, how have you been? I haven’t seen you since we graduated.”

    She rattled on, and I mumbled responses, now wishing to exit the café as quickly as my daughter.

    “Is this your daughter? She looks just like you did. She is going to be as beautiful as you are now.”

    I handed her the tube of lipstick in my hand, as I heard her say, “Let me introduce you to my daughter. Amanda, come here,” she yelled across the café. Now both my daughter and I stood with dear in the headlight looks. I knew I had to say something.

    I pulled Sonia to the side. “Look Sonia, I wish I could say it was great to see you, but you were pretty nasty to me in High School. And from what I’ve heard from Savannah, Amanda is following in your footsteps. So let me tell you right now, if my daughter comes home telling me one more thing Amanda does to her, or her friends, then I am personally going to come find you and kick your ass. Understand?”

    Where the hell did that come from?

    Sonia cast her eyes down and said, “Haley, I know I was horrible to you, and I hope you can forgive me. I’m not that person anymore and this apology has been too long coming. I’m sorry.”

    With those words, she turned and grabbed her daughter by the ear pulling her from the café. She turned and winked at me. Somehow, I don’t think Savannah and her friends will have any more problems from Amanda.

  8. Rachel

    I look over to see my daughter singing and giggling while moving her head to the beat of the music. Unlike me at that age, she is a confident and smart girl of ten years. I pull into the parking lot of our favorite eatery and quickly find a spot. I announce that I am leaving the convertible top down.

    “Nooooo mom.” Maris says with a tired exasperation that has crept into her voice lately. “It will be too hot when we’re done AND we’ll be full.” She heads for the restaurant without turning and I put the top up.

    I enter the restaurant and head to the hostess podium. I give our names as Maris tells me she is going to the restroom. I look around at the other guests waiting and then I see her.

    I freeze and silently inhale. There she is, and there is no mistaking her. Isabel Marshall known by the bullied as IsaHell. My god, she looks exactly like she did in school. Memories began flooding back to me in a slideshow. The stolen lunch money, the trash cans, the unexpected shoves from behind that often ended in humiliating meetings with the ground and in high school, the books that fell around my feet as I hold back tears. It had been never ending.

    Panic then nausea as I think of Maris. Would she humiliate me in front of my daughter? Just as the thoughts were forming in my head, the unthinkable. We locked eyes. My body recoils involuntarily and I wait for it. The it that never goes away. I couldn’t break away from the gaze as she makes her way towards me. It’s her, IsaHell is standing in front of me.

    “Hi Amanda, do you remember me?”

    “Yes.” I say thinking she must be kidding.

    Maris comes back and then I notice the little spitting image standing next to Isabel and the familiar reaction she has when my daughter approaches. I look down at Maris and don’t recognize her as she stares stone faced at this girl.

    “Amanda?” I look up and realize that she had been speaking and obviously didn’t notice what I had seen.

    “I was just saying that I wanted to make amends for everything I did to you. I am ashamed at how I behaved for so long to everyone. We moved back here last month and I guess its karma, because my daughter has been bullied since she began school. It certainly is a different animal now and I have even considered home school.”

    She continues speaking but I can’t hear her. I can only see our children in reversed roles and I knew I had to do something. I interrupt her with goodbye and grab my daughter’s hand. I rush us out of the building as Maris begins her protest. I turn to grab her by the shoulders.

    “We need to talk little girl.” I say with a new tone unknown to either of us.

  9. wishywritergirl14

    I walk into my favorite restaurant and breathe in. Aah the sweet smell of coffee and cinnamon buns. I am definetely a morning person. I sit down on the faded red leather of the waiting seat and smile excited for my morning pick-me up. I hear the bell on the door ring and glance towards the door. Immediately my smile vanishes. Suddenly my temper from high school is back. I try to calm down breathing hard, my face grows red and my hands are sweaty. I can’t take it anymore. I get up walk towards Ryan and hold out my hand.
    “I believe you owe me something”
    He turns towards me, a confused look on his face, then recognition takes over.
    “Hi Rebecca! Long time no see! I’m afraid I didn’t hear what you said.”
    I look up at the boy..man who used to be shorter than me and suddenly my temper is gone. I wanted to scream at him tell him he owed me one hundred twenty-two dollars and thirty seven cents but I just……couldn’t. His smile slowly turned down and he looked concerned.
    “Rebecca are you okay?”
    “Seems I’m not as brave as I thought I was” I say out loud without thinking.
    He laughs and says “let me guess, is it about the one-hundred twenty-two dollars and thirty seven cents I owe you?
    I start blushing and say “How did you know?”
    “Well you were red-faced and your hands were sweaty, which if I remember right is how you looked….”
    “No how did you know how much you owed me?” Now it was his turn to be red faced.
    “Well umm to tell you the truth every time I stole your lunch money to get your attention”
    More blushing I didn’t know a grown man could blush this much.
    “I would think I’ll just give it back to her tomorrow, but I never did and when I moved away I was so upset I added up how much I owed you and decided that the next time I saw you I would give you your money back.”
    He frowned.
    “I have the money in a bank account and”
    I cut him off laughing.
    “I can’t believe we both put so much thought into this! I have an idea, how about instead of you giving me the money you use it to buy me breakfast every Tuesday, okay?”
    He smiled, I never noticed how white his teeth were…
    “I would like that.”
    “starting today right?”
    “sure”

    sorry about the crappy grammer….
    since most people did angry monologues I decided to try something different :)

    1. KDBenji

      I was just thinking that it would be really refreshing if a story line like this appeared instead of the basic “karma happened” or “I grew a backbone” or “we grew up” but that instead it was a simple kid’s crush. Nicely done.

  10. Tyger

    There he was. Tall but bent, his once fiery red hair now a faded mop. He sat at the table with a tired looking woman whose lips were turned down. Her eyes searched her plate as if hoping to find some meaning there. He didn’t talk to her, but instead hovered over a watery steak, pushing the pieces into his mouth with a steak knife. He was still mechanical, unforgiving, even to that piece of meat.

    Suddenly, I recalled the time he tried to dump my books and I had held on tight, denying him the pleasure. His friends laughed, some at me, but mostly at him and his failure to take me by surprise. I had seen him coming down the school hall, at the head of his pack. I had braced myself. He was scorned and humiliated. Immediately, he picked me up and we were off to the boys locker room for a swirly.

    Now, he seemed so frail and spent. I resisted the urge to drag him into the restroom and push his sorry head into the toilet. I was much bigger now. Yet somehow, it seemed like too much work for the prize that would result. Instead, on the way out of the restaurant, I didn’t say anything to him. He looked up as I passed the table, unlike the woman who was still locked on her plate. I nodded at him and he nodded back, still chewing his steak. It was clear he didn’t recognize me anymore, but I still recognized him. I smiled, knowing that despite the years, I could still see him coming.

  11. SkSarah

    Working downtown in a large city often means lunch meetings at upscale restaurants. Today was one of those days; a meeting over a heavy meal to be followed by an afternoon in the office trying to fight offthe sleepies.
    As my companions and I left the restaurant, there was a bum outside digging through the trash. As large cities are full of these unfortunate souls and as much as I hate to admit it, I rarely give them a second thought. Today was different. Something about this disheveled man, with lifeless eyes and pock marked arms struck me as familiar. And then it hit me. Marcus White.
    Marcus had been a world class jerk back in Jr High. With his two dim-witted bully sidekicks he’d made my life a living hell. He loved to steal lunch money from the smaller kids and he was a bit of a chunk. Oh how the tables had turned. My first impulse was to confront and taunt him. “Hey jerk! I just had a nice meal in a nice restaurant. How’s the dumpster fare? Karma’s a bitch huh?” But then I had a change of heart. Life had been good to me, but clearly it hadn’t been to Mark.
    “Hey Karly, “ said my coworker, “you falling in love with that bum over there or something?” I rolled my eyes. “Hardly” I said. “Listen, I’ve got an errand to take care of real quick. You guys go ahead and I’ll see you back at the office.”
    I went back inside the restaurant and got an order to go. I went and gave the food to Marcus. His demeanor never changed. He didn’t seem to know who I was. Hell, his brain was probably so fried that I doubt he knew who he was.
    Every day for the next 2 weeks I’d look for Marcus and give him something to eat. Then the city had a severe cold snap – one of the coldest in the last 10 years. I saw on the news and that several homeless people died of exposure. I suspect that Marcus was one of them because I never saw him again.
    He’d made my life miserable back during my school years, but life had gotten even with him. I had forgiven him and hoped that I made a difference in the last two weeks of his life.

  12. defyingravity09

    It’s Saturday, and my best friend and I are dining at Olive Garden. As the waiter seats us at our table, I notice a young couple sitting a few tables from us. The woman is recognizable, but it takes me a few minutes before I realize where I know her from. My friend notices my staring, and turns to see what I’m looking at.
    “Do you know her?”
    “Yes. Her name is Celine. That’s the girl who used to pick on me in elementary school. What are the odds of running into her here, of all places?”
    “Well, she’s got to eat just like everybody else, right?”
    “Yeah, I guess. She was such a bully when I knew her, so cruel for someone so young.
    “People change Jenna; she may not be that girl anymore. Why don’t you confront her, maybe you’ll feel better.”
    “I’ll be right back,” I said as I got up and walked over to her table. When I reached it, all I could do was stare at her as memories of how she’d take my lunch money or call me scabface went through my head. She had been talking with her companion, but looked up at my approach.
    “Yes, can I help you?” she said, all smiles.
    “Are you Megan Spencer?” I asked, trying to control my breathing and not shake my hands.
    “Yes, do I know you?”
    “You probably don’t remember me, but my name is Jenna Rhyerson. We went to elementary school together, back in California. Ring any bells?”
    “Actually yes, I do remember that school. Were we friends?”
    “Quite the opposite actually. You bullied and teased me for all of fourth grade. I absolutely hated you, and the way you made me feel. Luckily, I had wonderfully, loving parents and great friends to get me through those times, otherwise I don’t know what would have happened to me. When I saw you sitting here, all those memories came flooding back and I just had to come over here and ask you, why?” I was breathing hard, my heart beating a mile a minute.
    The entire time I’d been talking, she hadn’t said a word. She’d just listened quietly, taking it all in. When she looked back up at me, there were tears in her eyes. “I’m so sorry about everything I did to you back then. All I can is that my parents were doing through a nasty divorce and I lashed out the only way I knew how. I know you probably can’t forgive me, but I’m a different person now.
    “Yeah, I know. I guess I just had to confront when I saw you sitting here. But now I realize that was a long time ago, and I’ve moved on. I’m married with two children, and life has been good to me. So it’s time to let go of past pains. Have a nice life,” I said as I turned to walk back to my table.

  13. Clewis628

    “Caroline! Oh my God!“ She called across the bar.

    “Andie! Wow.” Instantly I was back on the third grade playground being shaken down for whatever change I had. Andie leaned in as if she wanted me to hug her.

    “It’s been a long time! You were always so nice. Sharing your lunch money with me and always being there when I needed you! Who is this with his arm around you?” Andie said, slowly stirring her drink with the little umbrella. She eyed Jarrett from the bottom up.

    Shared my lunch money? Really. What a warped memory.

    “Really?” I ask surprised. “As I remember it, you made my life a living hell.” I said bluntly.

    Andie laughed. “Oh Caroline. Kids will be kids right? ” Her eyes nervously bounced around the room, desperate for someone to help her escape.

    “No. You have no idea how many times I tried to figure it out. Why am I the one she likes to pick on? Do you know how many times I got grounded because I had no change from my lunch money?” My words come quickly and almost automatically.

    .Andie’s face lost color.

    “I take it from your silence, you didn’t know the private hell you made my life. I was desperate for you to like me and the more I wanted you to like me, the more you made fun of me.” I said, keeping her eye contact the entire time.

    “You had this sick power over me. On one hand, I despise you. On the other, I pity you.”

    A look of confusion crossed her face.

    “Yes, pity.” Taking a quick sip of my drink, I said “You don’t have the strength I have. You didn’t have the abuse both at school and at home. Obviously I don’t know what your home life was like but I know that there was no escape for me. Everywhere I went, I wasn’t good enough. At school, I had you. Constantly reminding me how horrible I was. Telling me I smelled. Telling me I was fat. Telling me that no one liked me. At home, it was my father who took your place.

    “Andie, while you thought you were tearing me down, for what ever reason you had, you really were building me. Who built you? What are you going to do when your child is the victim? You won’t have a clue how to handle it because you never really had to live it.” I said.

    She wiped her eyes with her cocktail napkin. She focused on her drink and I started to feel a twinge of guilt.

    “I’m sorry if that hurt you, but you have no idea how much you hurt me. I forgive you but I will never forget.” I handed her a tissue from my pocket. It had to be softer than that gross cocktail napkin she was using.

    I looked at Jarrett and he placed our bill on the bar before we walked out.

  14. Boobear

    I see you there Rebecca… You can’t hide behind your menu. I know you remember me. I know you remember, as I do, that we were best friends for our entire childhood. Our parents called us “Twins that were separated at birth”.. Those were the times weren’t they? I knew your fears and you knew mine. Too bad neither of us knew that my new fear coming into my first day in middle school would be you. You had a chance to hang out with the cool kids and you took it. I just don’t understand why you had to chose me. What did I do? I know I wasn’t the prettiest or the smartest, But you and your gang never gave me a reason. I still remember that day…. The day you waited for me before school… The day your new “friends” held me down and took turns punching my face. You saved yourself for last, didn’t you Rebecca? I hope you taught your kids to treat their friends better than you treated me. I sincerely hope no one treats them the way you treated me. Oh you’re sorry? I bet you are. I wonder if your husband knows that all throughout high school you made my life a living hell. But you know what? I do forgive you. I forgive all that you did to me because I have a wonderful life. I have a husband who adores me, and protects our children from people like you. I forgive you because now I can distinguish between good friends and bad ones. You gave me the best example of bad ones. And I thank you because I know what bullying looks like and I can try to save those kids who are getting it today. I forgive you and now I forget you. Have a nice life.

  15. pstivers

    He bumped against my shoulder as he entered the diner while I stood in line to pay the cashier. “Excuse you!” I said in a raised tone.
    He turned, gave a half hearted apology and continued to a booth in the back. It was no surprise that he didn’t recognize me; even if he would have given more than a cursory glance. But he was unmistakable to me; the tyrant that used to take my lunch money.
    All the memories came flooding back. How he terrorized my friends and I! But not today! Today is a day of retribution and I shall not waste it! I thought of all I would say to him. How well I could put him in his place and make him feel the guilt of his adolescent actions. I glared as I thought about the countless variations of verbal revenge that I would unleash upon him.
    He nursed a coffee that another waitress had brought him. I couldn’t help but entertain the thought of what unfortunate victim had “donated” the money for that. He looked docile, yet somehow wary and dangerous; like a stray dog roaming around aimlessly, waiting for the opportunity to strike terror.
    The waitress to whom I was about to pay noticed the attention I gave the other patron, but did not see my familiarity with him, nor my anger. So when she said “Isn’t it a shame?” I was caught off guard.
    “What are you talking about?”
    The waitress, her nametag said Suzie, locked the most pathetic eyes on me and told me what she knew of the man, which was nothing of what I knew of him.
    “I hear that he went to Iraq and his patrol got blown up by one of those roadside bombs. He got a medal for saving some of the guys in the truck, but there were two he couldn’t reach. All he could do was listen to them scream until they died from the fire. When he got home his wife couldn’t deal with his problems, so she left. And he hasn’t been able to hold a job for more than a few weeks. Now he’s homeless and pretty much keeps to himself. He comes in here every day for coffee, nothing else, then leaves. He’s never said a word; at least, not while I’ve been here.”
    The fire of anger that burned in my face turned to shame and embarrassment. School was a long time ago, challenging to everyone; even him apparently.
    I ordered a meal for him, paid Suzie, and left without a word.

  16. KarenBrook

    It’s always strange going back to the place you grew up. I took at seat at The Dinner, nothing like some good old fried comfort food. The lunch menu was the same as it was 12 years ago, like a two dimensional time machine, the same sandwich options stared back at me.

    The door bell dinged and I looked up and in walked none other then my high school torturer, Sandy. I hadn’t seen her since graduation and I can’t say that I was upset by that fact. She went over to the backroom and reemerged wearing a blue apron and holding a pad of paper. I burred my face into the menu, please dear god let her go to another table.

    “What can I get you?” asked a too familiar voice.

    “I think I’ll have a grilled cheese.”

    “Anything to drink?”

    “Coffee”

    “Alight,” Sandy walked away.

    I should tell her how mean and evil she was to me. That I could never forgive her for embarrassing me and tricking me into giving her lunch money. I could stiff her and leave a bitchy note? I should just get out my cell phone and pretend to call the president or something. Why didn’t I rent a convertible jaguar to visit this crappy hole of a town?

    “Hey you went to Town High didn’t you?” Sandy asked. She put down my coffee.

    “Yeah I did,” panic rushed though me.

    “Your Emma right? Emma Maison?”

    I smiled, “you got me.”

    “I’m Sandy! Sandy Bloomfield at that time,” she laughed.

    I continued to fain my smile.

    “You moved to California didn’t you?” she asked.

    “Yeah I went to college out there.”

    “That is so cool, I wish I went to college. But I had kids early and all. I love them to death and wouldn’t give them up for the world.” she reached into her apron and pulled out a Penny’s photo of her hell spawn, dimples and all. I smiled even though I knew they would grow up to be as evil as their mother.

    “What are you doing back in town?”

    “I’m a photographer doing an essay on crappy towns.”

    “Oh,” Sandy paused, “I hope your having fun with it.” She smiled and returned to the kitchen. Minutes later she brought back my sandwich and placed it on the table, smiled, and went back to work. I watched her smile and bop around from customer to customer.

    I sat as bitter as the coffee and as unchanged as the menu.

    Sandy brought over the hand written ticket complete with a smiley face. I took one more bitter sip and decided it was time to let go. I got out my wallet and left cash plus a 25% tip. I left knowing that I had given Sandy my lunch money for the last time.

  17. Marchoffoxes101

    “Just” by Radiohead blares through the radio at some Godforsaken Applebees. My good friend, Corey, is sitting across from me he loves this song and begins singing the chorus badly.

    “You do it to yourself, you do, and thats what really hurts!” he bobs his head and swings his arm. I suck my water through the straw giving him a jokingly un-approving stare.

    We are two peas in a pod. The both of us never had flourishing social lives in high school. The thing is once we went to college we came into our own and blossomed into two little darling social butterflies. The downside is every summer, since we have such little friends here, its always him and I. We normally spend our days smoking pot, watching movies, hiking and running. Its all we can really do in Jersey.

    Its strange getting older. I was treated like shit all throughout middle school and high school and now i am at the point where everyone is evolving into new people but those harsh memoires still aren’t that far away. Seeing former jerks is the strangest and it just so happens one walked on through the door.

    “Keep your composure” says Corey, he saw him too. I chuckle. “We’re twenty now man. Time to forget right?” I unbutton my shirt a button or two hoping it could relive some tension.

    “You do it to yourself! Just you!” Thom York wails as the hostess guides one of my former bullies and his apparent date to their table. He doesn’t notice me but I decide i stare, i dont know why but i became fixated on him, like a tiger, a bitter angry tiger. He nods at me and he and the girl take their seat.

    Three seats behind us, in the opposite row. I became silent and Corey is concerned. Bad memories crash in like tidal waves. The thing about memories of being bullied is that they feel a lot like guilt. I dont know why. I was an awkward kid i did nothing wrong.

    “Do you want to leave?” Corey asked a bit shocked and frustrated with me for getting flustered. “I think hes talking about me” I tell him while hoping for our food to come soon.

    “Well you’re being paranoid? Just let it go” Corey says as he sips from the green tea he ordered. Corey is Japanese and linguistics major so he has gotten me pretty into eastern philosophy. However i am no Siddhartha, not even close. I could of sworn i saw him out fo the corner of my eye he smirks and stares at me laughing with his girlfriend. I look over to give a passing glance just to make sure i was being paranoid but his eyes catch mine. He gets up and walks over. Corey palms his forehead.

    “Do you have a problem faggot?” he says. I was completely taken aback. I thought he was going to walk over just to say hello maybe make amends. My initial shock wears off I smile at him. I lean back in my booth and drape my arm over top of it. Corey knows whats coming he has seen me like this, the asshole. The Radiohead song was apparently on repeat. Maybe the CD skipped. The chourus still ringed in my head

    “You do it to yourself. Just you!”

    I smirked “Well look at you! You know i could of sworn that people usually change after high school” my tone is condescending my intentions are nothing less then destructive. “I see you have turned into a fucking faggot hipster” he replied. I was wearing a button up shirt and a pair of cargos but i guess anyone not wearing gym shorts is a hipster, who knew.

    “Dont worry you will soon find out that arent many lacrosses jobs after college you cretin. Now go de-evolve somewhere else my burger is here” our waitress stood behind him with our tray. He left in a huff.

    “That was awkard” said Corey munching on his sandwich. “You think so?”

    “Do you feel better?” asks Corey

    “No” I sighed “It always feels good in the moment, but when i get like that i just make myself feel like a piece of shit”

    Corey takes a long sip of his ice tea. “Good” he laughs “That means your human”

    The last bit of “Just” fades out with the chorus. “You do it to yourself! Just you! And thats really hurts”

  18. JWagner

    The middle-aged woman and I stood on opposite sides of the deli glass door, both pushing. We looked at each other and half-smiled, and something clicked. I stepped back and let her enter. “Why, Susan. Susan McWilliams, isn’t it?” I said.

    “Yes,” she replied tentatively, searching my face. “Susan Johnson now, though. Do we know each other?”

    “I’m Rebecca Smith, from Central High.”

    She flushed as recognition lit her eyes. “Oh. Hi, Rebecca. How’ve you been?” Her face was a study in granite, eyebrows arched in indifferent inquiry.

    “I’ve been well, Susan. And you?”

    “Oh, you know. Highs and lows…”

    “Excuse me!” We were still blocking the door. She glanced around, clearly anxious to avoid inane chitchat, as we moved aside for the irritated diner.

    I decided to cut to the chase. I would never have another chance. “Susan, you know we had our little tiffs when we were in high school.” Her eyes were suddenly depthless, hostile. “Although I don’t know if I would quite characterize them as tiffs in those days,” I added carefully.

    “Did we?” she replied casually. “Can’t say I remember.”

    “Well, I can understand that. There are probably a number of things you can’t remember from those days. Or don’t want to.”

    “I really don’t know what you’re talking about. And I’ve got to go. So, nice to see you again.” She brushed past me.

    “Susan, wait.” She didn’t slow down. “Susan!” Conversation quieted and all eyes turned to me. She kept walking. “I forgive you!” She stopped and turned around.

    “Forgive me for what?” she hissed, fear and anger contorting her carefully made-up face.

    “For everything,” I said simply. I had, a long time ago, when I’d found out the childhood horrors she’d suffered. “You were a victim. You lashed out in retaliation, I know that.”

    “You don’t know anything, you stupid bitch!” You glared at the gaping faces and back at me. “Fuck you!” She turned on her four-inch stiletto and stomped out.

    “Rebecca? What was that all about?” Rob, scowling, stood at my side, still smelling of rest-room hand soap.

    “Nothing. Just one of my exercises.” The glass door closed slowly behind her.

    “Well, we better get going.” For once, the city air was brisk and relatively smog-free. He hailed a cab and we settled in. “One of your forgiveness exercises?” he asked. I nodded. “I hope it works,” he replied grimly.

    I smiled. “Do you mean you hope it saves my life?” I patted his hand. “Rob, it’s already worked.” The muscles in his jaw worked as he fought the suddenly familiar tears. “I don’t know if it’s going to save my life, Robbie, but it’s saved my soul. And right now that’s more important.”

    Seven minutes later, we stood in front of the familiar brick complex. My husband took my hand. “Ready, honey?” I smiled and nodded. “Ready.” And we entered the chemo unit for my final treatment, my head clear, my heart calm, my conscience clean.

    1. snowcuddler

      Remembering that the author has to work in the confines of a very short story, this is very good. She gets the facts across without becoming wordy or losing sight of her goal. Like it!

    2. CheriPie

      Excellent write! You really packed a punch with this one. Although the external conflict was addressed (confronting a bully) the ready is left to wonder if it will truly be resolved. Will Susan ever change? We don’t know. But the internal conflict (forgiveness) is what the reader really wants. Peace for her protagonist.

      1. JWagner

        Hello, and thanks to all for the kind words and feedback. I’m sorry I didn’t respond sooner but my system crashed the day after I entered and I just now got it back up. I really appreciate all the comments. Have a great night!

  19. rebecca_shea

    (as i walk into a sidewalk cafe, i am at the counter ordering and i spot “texas” the bully to my left, the look on his face says it all, i approach him and he says hesitates a hello) ..
    Oh hey i heard your job down south hadn’t worked out, got caught up in that moon shine, didn’t expect any less from you, i just got promoted my books out next fall, i hope it catches your eye, chapter 5 is dedicated to you, you know the chapter where i shared all those terrible experiences, won’t ever forget 6th period remember the day we had to bring lunch and you swapped mine with that bag of worms, it had rained the day before and you had known how much i hated those things! man i laughed that off, look at us now, i’m living off lattes and contracts while your still living off your mom, hey, i heard this place is hiring! well yeah it was really nice running into you, don’t worry i took care of your bite.. bye!

  20. zhotdogs99

    Oh my God, I can’t believe this. Wait, let me get another look. Is that really her? Don’t let her see you. I have to get a second look. What are the odds of Katie Bella being in the same restaurant as me, in St. Louis nonetheless! What is she doing here? Oh, wait, I can see her better now. Yeah, that’s definitely her. Good. She got fat. There’s justice in the world. As my Mom would have said, “That dress would have looked good on her. Ten pounds ago.” Maybe she just had a baby. Or maybe she got tired of starving herself like she did in high school. God, she was so dumb and popular. Her life seemed so easy to me back then, but now that I’m older I get it that no one’s life is easy.

    If I go to the bathroom, that’s right by her booth. She’ll glance my way, we’ll make eye contact, and then I’ll stop to say “hello”. I just want to show her I’m not the same girl she used to smirk at during lunch. I’m going to show her that smart, unpopular people end up having great, successful lives because they grow beyond school. She probably hangs out with all the Carmel High School people still. How sad.

    Ok, I’ve got it. I’ll walk by her booth, and when we make eye contact, I’ll stop and be sickly sweet: “Oh, Katie – is that really yoooouu? I hardly recognize you.” Then I’ll tell her I work for a big finance firm and run marathons with my fiance. I’ll ask her what she’s doing, just so I can tell Kate later, and then whisk away on my cloud of pride.

    Perhaps it would be mean. I don’t know her, I never really did. I knew her “image” in high school. Maybe something tragic happened to her. Maybe she’s on medication for some rare disorder, and it made her gain weight. Maybe her high school years were the best years of her life, and now she’s depressed and trapped in an unhappy marriage. It’s sad, really. High school was so hard for me, but every year after that period in my life has been a) better and b) easier. It’s really none of my business – what’s going on with her.

    I’m just going to pretend I don’t see her. She probably doesn’t remember me anyway, since I was one of the invisibles in high school. And that’s ok, because I’d rather have my life than hers, from the look of it. Makes me kind of believe in karma.

  21. D.T

    The Double Decker chili burger I’m about to chomp into seethes through my fingers. Golden cheddar shredded into Mary’s special homegrown chili sauce is making it’s way toward the lips of my sleeves before I can stop it. I don’t care. My sleeves can take the hit. I’ve been looking forward to this moment all day.

    Whenever someone dies, I always get like this. Hungry as a wolf. Rabid as a dog. Ravenous. That’s me. Alice P. Ravenous. Well, actually, my last name is Reeper. I’m not sure which name I prefer. I still remember that dude who used to torment me in high school. I never heard the end of it. Reepers Creepers. Reepers Peepers. Raggedy Reeper. At least I didn’t have to worry about getting pregnant.

    Mom always said it was a blessing in disguise. I suppose it was. I went into the Marines, got into Special Forces, and they found out I was, indeed, pretty darn special. Who knew? I’ve got a knack for knowing how to stick it where it counts, when it counts, in ways that really count.

    Dad just died. So of coarse, I had to come here to Mary’s. He used to take me here once a week. Every time it was the same thing. Cokes and Double Deckers for two. He’d tell me about his adventures in the army. Said he never told anyone some of the things he told me. “You’re special like me,” he’d say.

    I’m eating this for him. I know he’d be proud. I try to hold back my tears as I tear into the burger.

    “Alice?” A gruff voice interrupts my heavenly bite. Bright tattoos cover his muscular arms. My eyes work my way up to his shoulder length blonde hair. Not bad. He’s what I like to call a looker. Look once and do be sure to look again. And he’s very familiar.

    “Is that you? Alice Reeper?” He sounds surprised.

    “Who wants to know?” Cute or not, strangers aren’t my specialty.

    “It’s me, Mike King, from Maury High. Wow. Crazy seeing you here. How the heck are ya?”

    Mike. The guy who stopped me in the hallways and forced me to give him my lunch money, or “suck him off”. He’s the one who started the whole Reepers Creepers thing.

    “Maybe I should call you Sergeant. Wow.”

    This Mike, always a smooth talker.

    “Yep. Sergeant Alice P. Reeper. The once and only Reepers Creeper.”

    Mike’s face turns pale. “Alice, I’m sorry. I was a total jerk back then. You look amazing.”

    “No need to apologize. ” I tell him. ” But there is one thing you could do.”

    I swing my legs into his crotch, flinging him to the floor. “Open wide” I command. I grab the burger and stuff it in his mouth before he can blink.

    “Speak to me again and I’ll suck the life out of you.”

    The look on Mike’s face when he sees my fangs is priceless.

  22. jody222

    500 Word count corrected!

    “Damn it Darnell…don’t you understand? We could lose everything!” I smacked my husband’s shoulder from across the table.
    “Honey please don’t make a scene,” Darnell said grabbing my hand and holding it on the table between us.
    “You always play it down. You always…”
    “What? What is it honey?” Darnell turned to follow my stare. “Who. Is. That?” he asked.
    “Well, it looks like Finnegan Strombough did okay after all,” I said smiling at my husband.
    “Her name is Finnegan?” Darnell said. “She doesn’t look like a Finnegan…she looks more like…an Angel.”
    “Oh shut up,” I said. “I’ll be right back.”
    I stood up smoothing my skirt. Wiping the sweaty smell of Darnell off my finger tips. With purpose I approached the tall blonde I used to call my puppy.
    “Hello Finnegan,” I said. She turned around to face me her puzzled look becoming clearer as she realized who it was standing before her.
    “Oh, hello Bridget,” she said.
    “Yes, hello Bridget,” I said. “Is that all you have to say to me after all these years puppy? Don’t you have anything else for me? I see you’ve done well for yourself, quite the get up you’re wearing.” My eyes travelled up and down her long legs and bountiful bosom.
    “What are you talking about?” she asked. Two long slender arms folded landing her manicured fingers on her hips.
    “Finnegan, do you think you can walk in here passing me by? Darling…it’s me…where’s your lunch money?” I smiled. “Let’s go outside, have a little chat, catch up over your chequebook. You owe me a lot of back pay. It’s so good to have found you, I’ve needed a miracle for some time.” I glanced back at Darnell, he looked away quickly. I shook my head in disgust. He didn’t understand I’d found the solution to all our problems.
    “Are you nuts?” Finnegan leaned down into my face. One long pointy finger landed on my chest. “First of all darling, my name is Fiona. Secondly you owe me, for years of torture all through grade school. Add up all the money you stole from me with interest from all these years and you owe me thousands. Thirdly I am NOT your puppy anymore. Get out of my face Bridget. Go see a psychiatrist.”
    I sucked in air through the burnt hole left in my chest by her cherry red enamelled fire poker. I spun around and grabbed my purse from the dinner table. “Come on Darnell. Don’t just sit there. Let’s go.”
    Darnell stood up to follow me but took no steps.
    “Actually Bridget honey, that Angel over there might let me buy her a drink,” Darnell turned away.
    Whatever, I thought, there’s always another dope who’ll do my bidding. I wasn’t lost yet. “A sweet bank clerk perhaps,” I said to myself as I left the restaurant behind.

  23. jody222

    “Damn it Darnell…don’t you understand? If we don’t get a handle on this situation right now we’re gonna lose everything!” I smacked my husband’s shoulder from across the table.
    “Honey please don’t make a scene,” Darnell said. He grabbed my hand and held it on the table between us like new lovers would.
    “You always play it down. You always…”
    “What? What is it darling?” Darnell turned to follow my stare. “Who. Is. That?” he asked.
    “Well well well, it looks like we Finnegan Strombough did okay afterall,” I said as I looked back at my husband with a big smile on my face.
    “Her name is Finnegan?” Darnell said. “She doesn’t look like a Finnegan…she looks more like..like a…an Angel.”
    “Oh shut up,” I said growling. “I’ll be right back.”
    I stood up smoothing my skirt with my hands. Wiping the sweaty smell of Charles off my finger tips. With purpose and grace I approached the tall blonde I used to call my puppy.
    “Hello Finnegan,” I said. She turned around to face me her puzzled look becoming clearer as she realized who it was standing before her.
    “Oh, hello Bridget,” she said softly.
    “Yes, hello Bridget,” I said harshly. “Is that all you have to say to me after all these years my pup? Don’t you have anything else for me? I see you’ve done well for yourself, quite the get up you’re wearing.” My eyes travelled up and down her long legs and bountiful bossom.
    “What are you talking about?” she asked. Two long slender arms folded landing her manicured fingers on her hips.
    “Why Finnegan, you don’t think it’s all right for you to walk in here and pass me by do you? Come on darling…it’s me…Bridget…where’s your lunch money?” I smiled kindly. “Maybe we can go outside for a moment. We could have a little chat, catch up for a moment. You owe me a lot of back pay. And lucky for me I finally found you, seeing as I’ve needed a little miracle for some time now.” I glanced back at Darnell and gave him a thumbs up. He looked away seemingly disgusted. I shook my head at him. He didn’t understand I’d found the solution to all our problems.
    “Are you nuts?” Finnegan leaned down closer to my face one long pointy finger landed on my chest. “First of all darling, my name is and has always been Fiona. Secondly you owe me, for years of torture all through grade school. If I added up all the money you stole from me adding the interest from all these years you’d owe me a ton. Thirdly I am NOT your puppy anymore. Get out of my face Bridget. Go see a doctor.”
    I sucked in air through the burnt whole in my chest left there by her cherry red enameled fire poker. Finnegan…Fiona…was not the girl I grew up with. I’d lost control. All control.
    In shame I turned around and grabbed my purse from our dinner table. “Come on Darnell. Don’t just sit there. Let’s go.”
    Darnell stood up to follow me. He stumbled a few steps before he stopped in his tracks.
    “Actually Bridget honey, I’m gonna go see if that Angel over there might let me buy her a drink,” Darnell turned and walked away from me.
    “The whole worlds a bitch today,” I said waving him away. Fine by me I thought. There’s always another dope out there who’ll do my bidding. I wasn’t lost yet. I’d find a way outta this mess. “I’ll just go rob a damn bank,” I said to myself as I left the restaurant behind.

  24. WrtierJeanne

    “So this is what you grew up to be, huh Eddie? Why am I so surprised? You don’t remembe me now do you? Life its good for me. I’m sorry to see yours is so sad. Really, I am. No, here, take this and get yourself some coffee. Let’s have one together, in fact. Like our own little reunion of sorts.”

  25. Anita Everhart

    Good Lord, don’t look now but guess who just walked in? I don’t believe my eyes, it’s Sammy the class room bully, I guess you think, I am crazy now after all these years, but like it or not, I never forgot one day of you pushing me around, old childhood bully, I had hoped some how thru out the years. I would get the chance too see you again? Only now I wish I was not in this quite sitting so I could say just how I feel. But let me clue you in on my feelings now old friend. If I were you I would grab my keys and run as fast as you can, I’ll count too three and after that I am not going to say it again. I’ll crack you’re nose and kick you’re a$$ and never call you a friend.

  26. LG1205

    (Missing about 1/2 the story to meet word limitation)
    Layla the fifth-grader had made it her personal duty to rob third graders of their lunches, or lunch money, whatever the case may be. Being that I was small and rather reserved, I had been one of Layla’s prime targets. Every day at the lunch bell, lunch in hand, I would follow Ms. Doyle on her way to the teacher’s lounge. Just to be safe, I sat at a table nearest the teachers’ lounge. Unfortunately, that particular table was in the back of the cafeteria, far away from the adult supervision in the front by the lunch line. And the teachers in the lounge always seemed to be more interested in their ham and cheese sandwiches than the third graders being pummeled outside the lounge door.

    Now here she was, fifteen years later. She was sitting—no, smothering—one of the barstools, the red, glittery vinyl peeking out from under her large behind. It was obvious this girl had stolen lots of lunch money and bought herself plenty of Twinkies with the profits. The old, grey sweatpants she wore were worn down to the last stitch, and her formerly white t-shirt was grease-stained and spotted. Her hair, dirty dish-water blonde, was swept up into a disorderly pony-tail, and stray strands of hair tried to make an escape. Though I tried not to, I caught a glimpse of her face, still sunburned, gruff and freckled as ever. It was definitely Layla.

    I observed her from a booth near the entrance, suffering from some subconscious fear that I would need to make a quick getaway. Layla was alone, watching the daily news report on the diner’s television set in the corner. Occasionally she would shake her head at some inaudible detail from the narrative of one of the puffy-haired reporters. She appeared to be drinking milk and eating tater tots. Apparently her tastes had not changed.

    When the waitress arrived, bouncy, beaming, and ready to take my order, I realized I had not yet looked at the menu, though I had been holding it in my hand for over five minutes as I scrutinized my former oppressor. I ordered a Coke and said I needed a minute more. The happy waitress went along her merry way.

    Of course I didn’t open the menu. I knew what I wanted. Or at least I thought I knew what I wanted: a big fat slice of revenge. Served cold.

    How would I do it? That was the question. I was not, nor am I now a mean-spirited, vindictive person. I had never had any siblings on which to practice any exploitation. But I was clever. I could think of something.

    And then she was looking at me. Two squinting blue eyes were looking in my direction, and I could see the gears turning to try to remember who I was and why I looked familiar. I imagined she was looking at me the way a bear looks at something it has already ingested: confusedly, irritated to find it still alive and kicking. I subconsciously clutched my purse to my chest.

    1. Nathan Albro

      If I may offer a suggestion, edit your story down to the 500 character limit. Rewriting your story within these confines makes for an excellent writing exercise. It forces you to choose your words wisely, remove unnecessary content, and boils the narrative down to the essentials. One question to ask is where should I start the story?

    2. snowcuddler

      My suggestion would be similar to Nathan’s. Wordiness gets in the way of what you have to say. I have battled this devil a long time. Figure what words, phrases, sentences you can remove from piece and still get the story across. It won’t only be shorter; it will be better.

  27. bobp

    Confronting a bully

    Bullies are nothing new; they have been around since Cain slew Able. You can find them everywhere you look from the pushy panhandler to the highest political official, and everywhere in between. They won’t go away; they are just a part of the ecology. In truth we all victims, of the experienced pros, but your average schoolyard amateur picks on only those who we all laugh at. You know the type, the social outcast, the nerds, the kind people (kids, teens, adults, etc) that you just love to watch squirm. The only difference between the bully and us is that she or he goes out of her or his way to find prey, while the rest of us are merely opportunists.

    Remember Fred at the office? What a dweeb. I wonder if he ever found out who ate his lunch. He’s always good for a couple of laughs. Remember when Sally made him think he was going out on a hot date with her. He actually thought he was going to get some. I wish I could have seen his face when her real boyfriend came by and took her home. That reminds me did you ever get into Bonnie’s pants” Yu got a video, great, I’ll be over to see it, we might even show it at the Christmas party. Did you see the story about the Bully at school from forth grade who was giving all of the 2nd graders wedgies, boy I wish I could give him a piece of my mine. I’d make sure that he never did anything like that again.

    What a night, I could barely sleep. I tossed and turned all night long. I guess it was something I ate. What’s that written on the mirror? “What a joke, the king of the office bullies wants to give a forth grader a piece of his mind. What does he want to do, give him instructions?”

    1. snowcuddler

      I love what the author is attempting to do here. It is, of course, a rough draft of what could be an eye-opening piece of work for all those ‘bullies’ out there.

  28. the1bethanyw

    “Toni, let’s get a booth,” Marta says, clearly not as hungry as I am.

    “Works for me,” I shrug.

    We walk in. It’s pretty quiet today. “Booth for 2,” Marta tells the hostess.

    The hostess turns to us and smiles, “Just one moment please.” She busies herself with wiping off the stack of menus on the podium, as a table is being cleared.

    I feel a nudge on my left arm. “Hey, didn’t you go to Saint Mary’s?” I look up to the face of a balding white man, looking as if he were pregnant with twins. Wearing a brown suit one size too small. “Lonnie, right?”

    “Nope. And don’t lay a finger on me again,” I turn to ignore him.

    He stands beside me, clearly misunderstanding the offense of invading my personal space. “It is you! I recognize you by the scar on your forehead. Didn’t you get that from cracking it when you fell off the jungle gym?”

    “No, not quite.” I turn to look him squarely in the eye, moving in closer. I can smell the whiskey on his breath. “You are mistaken.”

    He chuckles, “Wait a minute little lady. I’m never wrong. Were you brain damaged in that fall.”

    I move in even closer, and speak loud enough for Marta to hear. She is standing there with her mouth wide open, stunned to see the aggressive mama bear emerging from my shiny, perfectly groomed, never-rock-the-boat exterior. “You pushed a little girl, a 2nd grader, off the jungle gym when you were in 5th grade in order to take her money. You were angry because your dad was arrested the night before for raping Mrs. Peter’s teen-age daughter repeatedly. She was pregnant with his child, paternity test proved. That day you pushed the little girl off the playground equipment, you knew you needed to start covering up your own offenses toward the female gender…”

    “Wait a minute!” he started backing up, his face going ashen. He was trembling. The restaurant grew silent. He fell against the wall behind him.

    I approach him slowly. “…Then you raped your first victim when you were 16. Poor Anna-belle who has downs syndrome. When she told her mother, her mother reported the incident and you were sent to juvie until you were 18. The records were sealed since you were a minor. Then your next victim…”

    He started to squeal and choked on the sobs that started to wrack his body. He covered his mouth with one pudgy hand to suppress the sounds. “How do you know all this….?” He sobbed.

    “I am a detective now. You’re under arrest. We have gathered enough evidence to put you away for the rest of your life.”

    He melts to the floor. Three other officers enter the restaurant, in time to gather him up into custody. He keeps repeating, “I didn’t mean to. I’m so sorry.”

    The hostess hands us a to-go bag. We turn to leave. Marta holds the door for me.

    1. snowcuddler

      Over the top and TMI. A short story can’t take this much ‘plot’ and information. Something simpler would have been nice and without the additional drama of discovering the heroine is a detective. There really isn’t enough time/space to build this piece in a short, short story format.

  29. Nathan Albro

    I sat Abby down in the twin stroller, her brother was already asleep and she was nodding off. I looked through the restaurants doors to see if Angie had pulled herself free from Mrs. Washington, a gray haired elderly woman that spent the last decade in a wheelchair. Looking towards the parking lot I noticed a face from my High School days. It was Saul Anderson, the ill tempered and loud mouth bully of my youth.

    Saul was coming directly towards me. He was between me and the mini-van. For a moment I contemplated walking the stroller in the opposite direction. Or I could bend over and feign taking care of the twins – they were both asleep.

    I told myself to grow-up.

    I looked back towards Saul, fifteen feet away, and our eyes met. On his face was the look of recognition – I was not getting out of this.

    “David, how are you man?” asked Saul as he approached me with his hand extended.

    I was doing just fine until you showed up. “Fine. And you?”

    “I’m good, I’m good.” His voice no longer had the youthful high pitch tone. “Listen, wow, I haven’t seen you in forever. Are these yours?” Saul took a step towards the stroller. “Twins?”

    “Abby and Jacob. They’re six months old.”

    I looked for Angie and she was still caught up in Mrs. Washington’s grasp. I looked down at Saul’s pockmarked face and blonde receding hairline. Remember how you used to push me around in the hallways – you, Jason, and Ben – full of spite and Napoleon complexes? And there was the time that I stood up to you, you cried when your face smacked hard against the lockers. The three of you ran to Mr. Salinger and accused me of being the aggressor? No one came to my defense.

    “Listen, hey, what have you been up to? What do you do now-a-days?”

    “When I’m not taking care of these two, I work for a law firm. And you?” Did it really matter what I did for a living? Why doesn’t he go inside and let me be.

    “Well, man, I was working as a financial advisor but the company I worked for went under. I’ve been doing a ton of work on the side. Remember Jason? I helped him with his taxes and to get his finances straight. Listen, he wasn’t doing so well financially. I couldn’t charge him, you know?”

    I hadn’t seen Jason since High School.

    “Listen, I’ve got to get my grandma. She loves this restaurant. I drive her here so she can meet with her friends on Sunday. Good to see you. Abby and Jacob, right?” He entered the restaurant and held the door open as Angie walked out.

    “Who was that?” asked Angie.

    “An old High School friend.” I looked through the restaurant doors. Saul was standing behind Mrs. Washington with one hand on her shoulder as he talked to her friends.

      1. Nathan Albro

        Thank for your comment. It’s nice to see that my work is appreciated. It can be difficult to write and keep a positive attitude about my own work sometimes.

    1. snowcuddler

      Loved this one! Nathan didn’t let himself comment on what he thought of Saul. An excellent short excerpt. With few words, the story leaves us feeling we know what Saul was like as the high school bully and how he’s changed. More importantly, Saul has given his old high school classmate much food for thought.

      1. Nathan Albro

        I didn’t want to write about someone going off on someone else. I don’t doubt that such a writing could be therapeutic. I wanted to show that people do change over time and through life experiences. Thank you for your kind words.

  30. BC Powers

    I suppose you want my lunch money again, Speeder? Just one more time, for old times’ sake? Or don’t you remember me? Oh, yes, you do. Don’t try to hide behind that fake smile and weak laughter. Yeah, it’s me, the little squirt you used to pick on in the cafeteria. Bet your wife doesn’t know about that, does she? No, you’ve come a long way since junior high. So have I. You never expected to see me here, though, did you? Not in this nice suit, towering over you like this. I got my growth spurt late, and I got it good. And because you robbed me every single stinking day, I learned how to tough it. I learned how to get what I wanted with less. You’re the reason I’m here today, Speeder. You made me a hungry businessman, the kind who’ll stop at nothing, because he started with nothing. I suppose I should thank you for that. But it’s too late now.
    Oh, yes, it’s way too late now. You see, I don’t have much time to talk here. Come closer, Speeder. I want to whisper something in your ear.
    You’re gonna be dead soon, Speed, old buddy. There’s a bomb in the building. Don’t react, just listen. There’s a very important man in this restaurant today, a secret agent in hiding. I and my associates came here for him. It’s only a fortunate coincidence that I found you. Send your family outside. They’re not involved in any of this. But you’ll stay. Today I get my revenge.
    I know what I said! You were only one of many factors contributing to my success. You and your pack of jackals, your stupid jock friends that bullied everyone smaller than they were—just get your family out of here! I’ll take my revenge on you alone!
    There, that’s better. Sit down, Speeder. Just relax. Act natural, and don’t try to spread the alarm, or I’ll be forced to shoot you.
    You’re sorry? You’ll do anything? But I don’t want anything you can do for me. I want you dead. You see, Speeder, you haven’t fooled me. You’re the secret agent in hiding. Your code name is CHEETAH, isn’t it? Pretty darn close to Speeder. You shouldn’t have suggested it, Speed, old buddy. You should’ve picked something different.
    Hmm, the time just keeps ticking away. Do you really think I’d tell you how much time you have left? Not CHEETAH. Not the old Speeder. You’d come up with something. You were never like the other dumb jocks. You had brains. Too bad those brains will soon be on fire. Yeah, I suppose it’s a waste of good intelligence…or evil intelligence, depending on your point of view. But then everything is relative, isn’t it, Speeder? You were the first one to tell me that. You said robbing me wasn’t wrong, from your point of view. Look where that got me. Look where it got you.
    Goodbye, Speeder.

  31. kylek

    Hey Jason, how’ve you been? Oh, don’t mind that, it’s just my new .45 I bought at the gun show last week. Why don’t we go over to the park and have a little chat about old times. What? You have somewhere to be? Gee, that’s too bad. Like I said, let’s go over to the park and talk. What was that? You sounded like you were mumbling. Speak up, man! You have to use the restroom? O.K. I’ll go with you. Maybe we can wash your hair in the toilet like you used to do for me when we were younger. You’d rather go alone? Well, it’s a public restroom and if I need to go you really aren’t in a position to stop me, are you? Oops, this damn gun is always doing weird things like that. Here, let me uncock it so you can dry your pants off. Hey listen, it’s been good talking to you, but I just don’t like the way you smell right now. Maybe we can catch up some other time. No? I know we weren’t ever close buddies or anything, but we could try now, couldn’t we? I better go so you can clean up and stop crying before you catch up to your family. See you later.

  32. julieb2903

    Hello there, you may not remember me, but if you cast your mind back to your school days I think you may find me in there somewhere, the shy kid whose life you made a complete and utter misery.

    Ah, so recognition dawns then, that’s good, how are you these days? You are obviously doing well if you are eating here
    .
    I won’t take up to much of your evening, that wouldn’t be right, but I wonder, do you remember how you stole from me and made me go hungry day after day. With your crowd of idiotic friends cheering you on, did you ever stop to think what you were doing?
    Did you ever stop to think how miserable you made me, how embarrassed I was, and how that had a huge affect on my life?

    Do you know I can recall every single time you taunted me, spilled my juice, stole my money, it still hurts you know. You, you as another human being helped to make me what I am today though, after leaving school I stood up to people like you, no longer took ridicule and embarrassment from anyone, I only wish I had done it earlier, and told you exactly what I thought of you, or maybe a slap every now and then in front of your friends, watching you squirm with embarrassment as I had, maybe that would have worked.

    I hope you went on to adulthood and learned from your mistakes, I hope you no longer treat people as worthless beings, someone to score points from and someone who you hold in contempt.

    You look shocked, not as shocked as I was that very first time, the first time as a new girl at school when you made a bee line for me and started your reign of terror. I was so afraid of you and your gang that I used to feign illness so I didn’t have to go to school. I was afraid to tell my parents or the teachers I lived in fear because I knew you would make things worse for me and the mental cruelty would continue.
    I would take myself off to the bathroom to cry, so that no one saw me. Have you any idea what you did?

    You were a bully, a control freak, made bigger by the show you put on and the larger the audience the worse you got.

    Do you have children of your own? Well if you do I truly hope that they aren’t treated as I was by their father, I hope they don’t live in fear of going to school, afraid of the bigger boys and girls who make what should be a nice happy part of their lives a truly miserable one.

    I made something of my life, I was strong, but there are children who take their own lives because of people like you. I hope you remember this conversation, enjoy your meal.

  33. Kota1

    As I carry my latte out of the cafe. The north wind catches the door just as it does every morning. Just as fumble to hold the door handle from coming off the hinges. I utter under my breath sort of I Hate this god blessed city. Ouch my hands burns as the wind has blown me right into some poor women in her Pretty high class white coat.” I’m so sorry” as I utter the words I recognize this pretty face. Oh hello Jen.I say. As she gives me a rotton look with which I have never forgotton. Well hello Kaye she replies while she wipes the coffee from her now ruined coat. We both step inside. I gather some napkins and try my best to help even though we are both trying to be polite. I can’t help but simple satifaction from the insident. Then I unwittingly blurt out just like high school but now the tides have turned. Carma I say. What did you say as she and her son look in amazement. Yes, I say to my daughter this is Jen the girl that took away the best years of my life. Her son looks at me then at her. She is so humiliated as her son says mom really. Yes I add I’m sorry boy but your mother was a bully and ruined many young lives. So plan on having a lifetime of embarrasing encounters as you walk the halls of life the rest of yours. I turn and walk out the door of the cafe with a coffee stain and a smile. Carma I say.

  34. Buddhaway

    Hey punk. Whats your problem? You like hurting people? You might naught remember me. But i know you. You used to torture me when I was young. You seemed confused maybe you cant bring it back. That’s what you say to the people you hurt. “Oops sorry I don’t recall that”, but we do. All the hurt ones out there. I Forgive you though it might sound cliche.But that’s what i believe in know so be gone in your twisted ways. And learn from your mistakes.

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