Print Story On Enemies, Part IV
By CheeseburgerBrown (Mon Jan 09, 2006 at 03:01:48 AM EST) rolloffle (all tags)
This is the fourth in a multi-part series on the subject of the various great and memorable enemies I have had the pleasure of knowing over the years, from the earnest gibbering of schoolyard bullies to the courtly dance of the merely ritualistic antagonist.

Today's installment forces this cheeseburger to come to his own defense, when all allies fall by the wayside -- through which process he gains his first inspiration for storytelling.

Please see also Part I, Part II and Part III.

Darth Garth

In middle school the stakes were higher. Hundredth-monkey style advances in bullying science had seen the widespread adoption of the chortling sidekick, and cutting edge bullies were injecting their assaults with elements of generalized humiliation as a complement to mere violence.

I was selected as a target by an up and coming young bully named Garth, who was repeating the seventh grade when I was in grade six. Garth and his sidekick Todd worked by isolating an individual gifted student from his group, and then mocking him -- working at first for nervous laughter from the audience, and later using that as a ticket for noninterference when the mocking became more cruel. It was a delicate process to work the crowd this way but, like Adolph Hitler, Garth had a knack.

Jack's mom picked him up from middle school, but Scott and I took a city bus along with most of our classmates. Scott had been briefly auditioned by Garth but abandoned when he proved too liquid to toy with: Scott responded to intimidation by hanging around in the cafeteria until the later bus came, and went home alone.

Fucking Scotts.

Garth often opened by shoving me into the street and then tripping me when I tried to get back on the curb. "Can't stay on the sidewalk, eh? You virgin!"

Adults often advised ignoring bullies, so I did my best to ignore Garth. It quickly became obvious that such advice was proffered only by people who had no experience of bullies, who have evolved an effective response to being ignored: they ramp up the aggression.

One day Garth pushed me into traffic close enough to the approaching bus to give me a real scare. I scrambled back onto the sidewalk and pushed him into a snowbank, my heart hammering in my chest. As we filed aboard to pay our fares he whispered, "You're dead, virgin."

The other adults seated on the city bus watched on with disinterest as Garth punched me in the ribs and then tripped me when I tried to get up. I sprawled on the dirty rubber floor and looked up to see my classmates trying to look the other way. A pinch-faced woman gave me a dose of stink-eye when my elbow touched her umbrella. "Watch it," she snarled.

Todd and Garth herded me to the largely unoccupied rear of the bus to shove me around. "Get away from me!" I cried.

The driver's intercom squelched. "Quit yelling in my bus or I'll throw you out at the next stop," said the friendly bus driver man.

"Yeah, you'd better shut up," agreed Todd, wrenching my arm behind me.

"You fucking virgin," added Garth darkly.

When our collective stop came everyone queued up at the rear doors to leave. I gathered myself and joined the rear of the line, and then felt a new and special kind of fire burning behind my sternum as I stared down the back of Garth's neck.

The bus stopped. The doors opened. I grabbed the metal bars on either side of me, hoisted myself into the air, and came down upon Garth's back, planting both boots firmly into the small of his back and propelling him forcefully. He made a lateral exit from the bus and smacked the sidewalk outside face-first. Any concerns I might have had about missing my stop evaporated as I saw the look of shock and hatred roiling on Garth's face as he rolled over.

I was the king of the planet.

Except that Todd manhandled the doors as they closed with a chuff and forced his way back aboard the bus. As we pulled away from the stop we stood together, saying nothing for a few blocks. I wondered where I would get off the bus, and how I would get home.

"You think you can do that to my friend and get away with it?" Todd asked quietly.

I said nothing.

"I'm going to make you pay for it," he promised.

"You used to be nice to me at Prestign," I pointed out dumbly.

"What? You think I'm not being nice?"

"Not when you're threatening me."

"I'm not threatening you," he argued, kicking me in the leg. "I'm teaching you a lesson." He knocked my knapsack off my back and then kneed me in the chest when I tried to retrieve it.

I caught the eye of a woman with a young child who was staring at us as if we were on fire. "Why don't you do something?" I asked her. "How would you like it if somebody was beating up on your kid?"

She turned away.

In desperation I dug into my knapsack and took out the remains of my lunch. I opened my uneaten dish of yogurt and emptied it into Todd's face, then shoved him back hard. He stumbled to the floor and I lobbed an empty can of fruit salad at him, which caught him in the forehead. "You fucker!" he screamed.

Then I fell over as the bus screeched to a sudden halt.

"That's enough horseplay! Get off my bus!" suggested the driver.

He meant me. I picked up my knapsack and gave Todd a little parting wave. "Well," I said, "you sure taught me, didn't you? I hope your boyfriend isn't too hard on you for getting your ass kicked by yogurt."

I exited the bus, and it drove away with a whine.

On the long walk home I thought over the experience and considered it a victory; though I had absorbed some abuse I had had the last laugh at both Garth and Todd. I puzzled over the novel feeling of redwashed rage that had run through me like electricity when I had elected to double-kick Garth in the back, and spent some time coming to terms with the fact that my faith in humanity had likely been irrevocably eroded by the inaction of my classmates and fellow transit patrons.

I was still shaking with adrenalin when I got home. I did not know what to do with myself. I paced in circles in the livingroom.

And then I sat down at my step-father's computer and began typing. Like a kid possessed I hunted and pecked until my eyes ran blurry. I distilled my frenzied feelings into a long tale. I started typing and I never stopped. Now it's twenty years later and I'm a published author with a second novel in the works for whom creative writing is among my chief pleasures in life -- and I owe it all to Garth and Todd.

I got a lesson in spin-doctoring, too.

I arrived at school the next day ready to be lauded for my triumph against evil, only to have everyone ask me why I didn't look worse. "I was expecting a black eye or something," said Scott.


"Because of the way Todd and Garth came to your house and beat you up last night. They told everyone all about it."

I sighed. Victory can be fleeting.

< To The Emperor! | BBC White season: 'Rivers of Blood' >
On Enemies, Part IV | 39 comments (39 topical, 0 hidden)
these diaries by tps12 (2.00 / 0) #1 Mon Jan 09, 2006 at 03:17:26 AM EST
Sort of make me want to beat you up.

How Come? [nt] by CheeseburgerBrown (2.00 / 0) #2 Mon Jan 09, 2006 at 03:24:59 AM EST
i don't know what it is by tps12 (2.00 / 0) #3 Mon Jan 09, 2006 at 03:29:07 AM EST
You just seem like sort of

[ Parent ]
I Made It Through The Wilderness by CheeseburgerBrown (4.00 / 2) #4 Mon Jan 09, 2006 at 03:51:39 AM EST
Somehow I made it through. Didn't know how lost I was until I found you.

I was beat, incomplete. I'd been had, I was sad and blue. But you made me feel...Yeah, you made me feel -- Shiny and new.

Gonna give you all my love, tps12. My fear is fading fast. Been saving it all for you 'cause only love can last. You're so fine and you're mine. Make me strong, yeah you make me bold.

Oh, your love thawed out.

Yeah, your love thawed out.

I am from a small, unknown country in the north called Ca-na-da. We are a simple, grease-loving people who enjoy le weekend de ski.
[ Parent ]
Cindi Lauper is awesome by jayhawk88 (2.00 / 0) #5 Mon Jan 09, 2006 at 04:04:55 AM EST

[ Parent ]
Madonna, isn't it? by ambrosen (4.00 / 1) #6 Mon Jan 09, 2006 at 04:19:36 AM EST

[ Parent ]
Yeah, Obviously by CheeseburgerBrown (4.00 / 1) #10 Mon Jan 09, 2006 at 05:10:47 AM EST
Damn by jayhawk88 (4.00 / 1) #29 Mon Jan 09, 2006 at 07:32:03 AM EST
And here I had this whole article planned out on the timelessness of Madonna Being Confused with Cindi Lauper and Vice Versa comedy. Oh well.

[ Parent ]
Ooops. by ambrosen (2.00 / 0) #30 Mon Jan 09, 2006 at 07:39:01 AM EST
I guess IHBT.

[ Parent ]
Adults and bullies by Merekat (4.00 / 4) #7 Mon Jan 09, 2006 at 04:20:20 AM EST
It is pretty difficult sometimes for adults to intervene as if they do, they appear to be picking on a small child, even if that child is evil incarnate. And indeed, the more evil incarnate the child is, the more their parents appear to defend them.

I used to come home from school damp from having my head flushed, bruised, bleeding from being repeatedly thrown against pebbledashed walls and apparently on one ocassion knocked unconscious. People appeared powerless to help and any adult interventions resulted in an escalation of abuse. On the plus side, I have a house, a job, a postgraduate qualification, most of the way to another, nice holidays etc. Two of them are dead, one is strung out on heroin, one still couldn't read by age 14 and was losing his teeth and one is a whore and had her first kid at 14.

I don't believe in karma but I do think you reap what you sow.

To-may-to, To-MAH-to by CheeseburgerBrown (4.00 / 1) #12 Mon Jan 09, 2006 at 05:15:51 AM EST
I don't believe in karma but I do think you reap what you sow.

I don't believe in contradicting myself but then again yes I do.

I am from a small, unknown country in the north called Ca-na-da. We are a simple, grease-loving people who enjoy le weekend de ski.
[ Parent ]
pfft by Merekat (4.00 / 1) #14 Mon Jan 09, 2006 at 05:19:34 AM EST
Reaping what you sow isn't karma. It just looks like it:)

[ Parent ]
Prove That Metaphysically! by CheeseburgerBrown (2.00 / 0) #16 Mon Jan 09, 2006 at 05:25:56 AM EST
Let's ask the Karma Cameleon by HuSI Ascii Reenactment Players (4.00 / 7) #31 Mon Jan 09, 2006 at 08:14:41 AM EST

 Mmm!  I'm sowing
 lovely carrots!
   \              ___
      _--__      / _ \
    O/ O   -----/ / |/
   , \_/_//__\ \_/
 ,   `  //    |/
       VV    VVV

 Good gracious!
 I've reaped azaleas!
   \           ___
      _--__   /_  \
    O/ O   -----/ /
     \o__//__\ \_/
        //    |/
       VV    VVV
  &   &   &   &   &

[ Parent ]
the man by 606 (4.00 / 1) #38 Mon Jan 09, 2006 at 06:58:43 PM EST
the legend
born anew

\m/ 8==m=D

imagine dancing banana here

[ Parent ]
Karma by lm (2.00 / 0) #22 Mon Jan 09, 2006 at 05:59:10 AM EST
The hindu flavor is metaphysically paying the price of one's deeds in this life in the next through the caste one is born into on the wheel of reincarnation. The Buddhist flavor is the attachments that keep our consciousness chained to said wheel of reincarnation.

Neither are particularly close to the adage `you reep what you so.' The Hindu flavor is probably closest, but even that flavor is more like 'everything you reep in this life you deserve because of actions in your last life.'

There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
In the words of my friend Ash... by 606 (2.00 / 0) #26 Mon Jan 09, 2006 at 06:58:00 AM EST
"I'm not superstitious, but what if I'm wrong?"

imagine dancing banana here
[ Parent ]
Virgins: by MohammedNiyalSayeed (4.00 / 2) #8 Mon Jan 09, 2006 at 04:41:58 AM EST

notoriously not so good at staying on the sidewalk.

You can build the most elegant fountain in the world, but eventually a winged rat will be using it as a drinking bowl.
hehehe by ana (4.00 / 1) #9 Mon Jan 09, 2006 at 04:52:05 AM EST
"Fucking virgin" is one of the more amusing oxymorons.

Even if it had been raining flaming poodles, it's better than work. -- blixco

[ Parent ]
Pointing Out Oxymorons... by CheeseburgerBrown (4.00 / 2) #13 Mon Jan 09, 2006 at 05:17:49 AM EST people with sub-par vocabularies can be a dangerous proposition.

They're likely to become defensive and accuse you of being idiosyncratic.

I am from a small, unknown country in the north called Ca-na-da. We are a simple, grease-loving people who enjoy le weekend de ski.
[ Parent ]
hypoxymoronic. by ana (2.00 / 0) #17 Mon Jan 09, 2006 at 05:26:26 AM EST
no tea.

Even if it had been raining flaming poodles, it's better than work. -- blixco

[ Parent ]
Sluts Are Acrobats by CheeseburgerBrown (4.00 / 1) #11 Mon Jan 09, 2006 at 05:14:09 AM EST
As everyone knows.

(I'd suggest it even works in the inverse except last time I badmouthed the flexible a yogi pinned my arms behind my back while the entire Cirque de Soleil lined up for a chance to kick me in the jellies.)

I am from a small, unknown country in the north called Ca-na-da. We are a simple, grease-loving people who enjoy le weekend de ski.
[ Parent ]
It was that very fact by MohammedNiyalSayeed (2.00 / 0) #21 Mon Jan 09, 2006 at 05:57:18 AM EST

that led me on a school-long pursuit of Jeannette Carter. And oh, was it ever worth it.

You can build the most elegant fountain in the world, but eventually a winged rat will be using it as a drinking bowl.
[ Parent ]
Curiously by Breaker (4.00 / 2) #23 Mon Jan 09, 2006 at 06:16:30 AM EST
A girl in my year could put both ankles behind her head.

Unsurprisingly, she was pregnant at 14.

[ Parent ]
I had a colleague who did that in the pub. by ambrosen (4.00 / 1) #25 Mon Jan 09, 2006 at 06:53:17 AM EST
Then started doing pressups.

He'd never been pregnant at 27.

He was a bully, too. In the office manner.

[ Parent ]
Gazbo's sorry about that by MohammedNiyalSayeed (2.00 / 0) #28 Mon Jan 09, 2006 at 07:31:13 AM EST

She swore she was of age, though!

You can build the most elegant fountain in the world, but eventually a winged rat will be using it as a drinking bowl.
[ Parent ]
bully experiences by MillMan (4.00 / 1) #15 Mon Jan 09, 2006 at 05:21:13 AM EST
Could have put this in part I, but I'm lazy by nature. Anyway, I only had one prolonged bully experience, which is surprising given that I was always undersized for my age until I was 15. When I was 6 years old, there were two 9 year olds who were twice my size on my bus, one guy and one chick. They would punch me, pull my hair (often worse than being punched, IMO), throw my possessions out the window, throw me around the bus, etc. No one on the bus said anything, despite my yelling and crying (it was pretty bad). After a few weeks I caved and told my parents, who called the principal. I went to a protestant private school until 7th grade, so there was no tolerance of this behavior from the school, and the principal was not what you would call a friendly guy. After they had been reamed by the principal they both had to apologize to me in person. They were both ghost white and had obviously been crying for a good while. To me there was no victory or revenge, I was just glad it was over.

Noam Chomsky: Well, forget about the hippies and so on and so forth.

Google The Other Kids On The Bus. by CheeseburgerBrown (2.00 / 0) #18 Mon Jan 09, 2006 at 05:28:34 AM EST
s/leaves/loaves [nt] by CheeseburgerBrown (2.00 / 0) #19 Mon Jan 09, 2006 at 05:29:47 AM EST
I think a rose wrought of shit might be a bit more by debacle (2.00 / 0) #34 Mon Jan 09, 2006 at 11:07:11 AM EST
Artistic, or something.


[ Parent ]
Don't remember their last names by MillMan (4.00 / 1) #20 Mon Jan 09, 2006 at 05:40:05 AM EST
The chick's name was Yvette. Anyone named Yvette is destined to live life as a bitch, I think.

Noam Chomsky: Well, forget about the hippies and so on and so forth.

[ Parent ]
from my experience with being bullied by 256 (4.00 / 2) #24 Mon Jan 09, 2006 at 06:43:32 AM EST
the hardest part was overcoming the socialized fear of hurting someone.

i would get beat up in grade school and not throw a punch back because it's wrong to hurt people.

i got over this around grade 7 or 8 and by high school had developed a reaction mechanism to bullying that involved getting equally aggressive right back into the face of the bullier even if outnumbered and, if need be, always throwing the first punch.

though this got me into a few fights that i couldn't possibly win, it was pretty effective at getting me a reputation as an unprofitable target (if you give a bully one black eye, his lackeys give you two; but he chooses a softer victim next time).

But am I better for having learned this lesson? Hard to say.

I am not an aggressive person, but i have gotten into fights as an adult because of my learned unwillingness to walk away from situations that in retrospect i know i should walk away from.

If you ignore a bully at school and leave, you have to go back the next day.

If you ignore a jackass at a bar in Toronto and leave, you probably never see him again.
I don't think anyone's ever really died from smoking. --ni

have you seen teenagers on the bus lately? by 606 (4.00 / 2) #27 Mon Jan 09, 2006 at 07:09:28 AM EST
When we're growing up we can't understand why the adults won't help a kid being bullied. But now that you are an adult let me ask you: have you had the experience of riding the bus with a bunch of teenagers?

Social interaction is about rules, many unspoken. You have a model of what an individual is and when you converse or interact that model fills in most of the gaps of what you don't know about the other person.

Unruly teenagers don't follow the rules of your model. They are unpredictable, and that's scary. Adults don't yell profanities and talk about drug use in a public place at high volume. The mere thought of doing so is unpleasant. A teenager who does these things is such an alien species that you really don't know what to do or how to make them stop. You lose the memory of that teenager model in your mind and then you're lost.

Of course not all teenagers are like this but some are.

imagine dancing banana here

These days as an adult if you help some kid... by haplopeart (4.00 / 1) #35 Mon Jan 09, 2006 at 11:40:16 AM EST'll probably go to jail.  As the simple act of pulling (even touching) the aggressor away will get you charged by the kid, the parents, etc.

[ Parent ]
On bullies and bullying by jimgon (2.00 / 0) #32 Mon Jan 09, 2006 at 09:53:38 AM EST
Your series has me thinking back to my younger years.  I was bullied in elementary school, became a bully in Junior High, and then slowly drifted to the "leave that guy alone, he's crazy stage" for most of High School and College.  Having bullied and been bullied, I know how to spot the types.  Despite my best efforts my eldest daughter will get bullied, unless it's already happening and she isn't mentioning it.  I know this because she's smart and sweet, also very innocent.  In short bully fodder. 

Technician - "We can't even get decent physical health care. Mental health is like witchcraft here."
This is the best one yet by debacle (2.00 / 0) #33 Mon Jan 09, 2006 at 11:03:00 AM EST
In truth, the first three sucked madly. This one, however, is excellent.

Then again, in my experiences, true misguided and sociopathic bullying doesn't really start until middle school.


is bullying real? by nathan (2.00 / 0) #36 Mon Jan 09, 2006 at 01:45:04 PM EST
I was the ultimate nerd growing up and I never got bullied, ever; I never heard about it happening. I got in two fights in HS, one of which I won and the other of which was broken up by a gym teacher.

Shh by Scrymarch (4.00 / 1) #37 Mon Jan 09, 2006 at 06:52:12 PM EST
It's like Santa for masochists.

The Political Science Department of the University of Woolloomooloo

[ Parent ]
I got over bullies, the hard way. by CountSpatula (2.00 / 0) #39 Mon Jan 09, 2006 at 07:10:03 PM EST
I went from 5'8" and around 145 my freshman year to 6'4" and roughly 275 my senior year by being the starting nose tackle on the varsity football squad.  Shitloads of weight lifting and boring-ass practises, along with having to deal with the jock bullshit, had me beating the living shit out of those same bullies who fucked with me throughout junior high.  Seriously, one of them I pounded so hard, he was still limping at the end of the year.  Funnily enough, I hate violence.  But, sometimes, you've gotta give it out where it's deserved.

I wish I hadn't beaten those guys, but I can't take it back.  I'd probably apologise to them if I saw them nowadays, but more likely than not, they're either dead or in prison, so my chances of seeing them are notably slim.

"I've never been more afraid of a diary comment EVAR." - RapidHamster

On Enemies, Part IV | 39 comments (39 topical, 0 hidden)