Sunday, September 11, 2016

boyhood sketch 14. FLIGHT OR FIGHT

Clifford Long was a bully. Some kids are wired that way. I learned that the behaviour can be adjusted but I wasn't cerebral enough when I was eleven. I was scared. Clifford intimidated all of us. It wasn’t that he was taller than the rest of us. It was assumed that he was stronger. His aggressive language and demands worked for him. Mostly we managed to coexist, play together, but every kid his age had run-ins with Clifford. Something would tick him off and he would punch us in the chest or arms or whack at our heads. I had a couple of such brush-ups with him and I remember that it hurt. I cannot remember what I did that ticked him off the last time - that is, the last time he picked on me. It was after school and after supper. A bunch of us were in the schoolyard which was only minutes from my house. It was growing dark at about eight o'clock. He was angry and he chased me but I was faster, far faster, faster than anybody that I knew. In a blink I was out of the schoolyard, down Church Street, then in a panic bounded up on somebody's house porch. Behind a small waist high porch wall I hid. Clifford came calling my name, getting closer, closer. What could I do? What would I do? Then he was near my hiding spot. I leaped out and bounded down the steps and in mid-flight punched him hard in the gut, and I ran. He cried out, doubled over on the sidewalk with hands to his stomach but I was gone, home. Next day at school, I was worried he would be after me again. Nope. No problem. He stayed his distance. Days later he spoke with me, just about harmless stuff as if nothing was different, but it was. He respected me.  

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