Friday, August 26, 2011

FICTION: The Bully By John Kujawski

I always wondered what became of the school bully. It was one of those things that was on my mind from time to time even twenty years after the fact. I think looking back on past events, I’m glad I finally met up with the guy one night and put all my questions to rest.

In Junior High there was only one true bully. His name was Chet Dixon and he was an eighth grader with a reputation. He took being a threatening person to such a high level that it’s amazing he wasn’t kicked out of school sooner than he was. Of course, I remembered his name and I saw it on the computer at work. I had one of those call center jobs and we had records of customers all over the state of Missouri. His account came up on my screen one day and we talked. I was actually pretty excited.

Chet sure didn’t sound creepy on the phone but then again, he never spoke much back in school. I guess if he sounded like trouble, I would not have taken his invitation. Chet invited me to his apartment . He was renting a big loft in downtown St. Louis.

Of course, no one would dare show up at his house years ago. He was really the only kid I stayed away from the minute I saw him. I was the skinniest student male or female in that whole damn school building. I wasn’t about to get in anyones way and Chet made a name for himself during the first week of classes.

He attacked some kid who was, quite frankly, pretty overweight. It was in one of the hallways and a lot of people saw it but Chet pretty much got away with it. He went up to the kid, who was carrying his share of books, and just started punching him. Chet knocked the kid over after just a few swings, got him on the ground and kicked him two or three times. Of course Chet had muscles at a young age and was a pale with an expressionless face. He showed no emotion but the kid he pounded on sure did and the sounds of cries were echoing through the hallway.

That was it for me. A random beating like that convinced me to stay the hell away from him and that’s what I did. If Chet was on one side of the room, I was on the other. If he was in the hallway, I’d already be in a classroom away from his path.

It became clear later in the year that it was the heavier kids he wanted to target. If a kid was out of shape, Chet was there to taunt them. To top it off, he had all these articles on horror movies he was collecting. He’d stick them on his locker and no one messed with them. It just made the people he picked on fear him more.

At one point during the year, when winter hit, there were some unlikely rumors associated with Chet. People claimed he was a loner who hung out at a local movie theatre. He was said to have been going to horror movies by himself. Another rumor was that his parents would drop him off at Six Flags, before it closed for the season, and he’d go to the amusement park and just watch the shows alone. Someone even told me he donated to a charity nearby our school on a regular basis. This is what everyone talked about before he started wearing the mask.

Chet made a mask in art class. The whole class actually had to make them to show some unseen side of their personalities. The one Chet made was odd and may or may not have been a joke. It was the friendliest face one would could possibly create. It was some circle with a smile that didn’t look evil at all.

Soon, he started wearing the mask around. It was weird. He’d wear it between classes of after school. I never understood it and I don’t think anyone else did. Of course, everyone understood that Chet wasn’t happy once the attack happened.

I was in the locker room after a basketball game one night and it was just me and this kid Sam sitting in there. Sam was really out of shape and he ate a ton and had breathing problems. People felt sorry for him. We were in there sitting on a bench and then suddenly the lights went out. It was dark but I could see someone holding a flashlight. When he shined the light on himself, I could tell it was Chet.

Chet had his mask on and a metal bar in his hand. It was hard to even see what was happening but I know he went right after Sam, hitting the boy with the metal piece and with the flashlight, right in front of me. It was an all out beating and a one sided one at that. I ran towards one of the walls and managed to turn the lights on. Chet just looked at me, with his mask still on. He just chucked his weapon down on the ground near Sam and walked out of the room. That was the incident that got him kicked of school.

Going over to visit Chet twenty years later may have been a crazy idea with all these memories I had. It’s not as if he was actually a friend from years past. Still, as it turned out, I was happy I went.

He seemed like such a nice guy when he greeted me at the door and he wasn’t wearing a mask. He also had quite a collection of horror movie posters to look at. Dinner wasn’t bad either. It was me, Chet and his partner Mike. Mike was some chubby guy that Chet had met at a bar.

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