I was watching a bully run after kids with a plastic light saber in his hand.
The other, smaller kids were terrified.
I was furious.
Mind you, to be fair.
He wasn’t hurting them.
He was just intimidating them.
Forcing them to run under his thrusts and parries with the light saber.
This bully is the biggest kid in the neighborhood.
He is also a coward.
All bullies are cowards, aren’t they?
If you call a bully out, long enough and loud enough.
With force enough.
Why, that bully will morph in front of your very eyes, into the coward that he or she is.
I’ve watched this bully-who-is-coward for a long time.
He will cheat to get his way in any game.
He favors his sibling, who I call Spits, over everyone else.
This is a child who, after a day spent playing in my water slide.
And swimming in my pool.
Who deigned to call me a witch under his breath.
He did this while sitting on my trampoline eating the snacks I’d provided for him and the other kids.
All because he couldn’t jump as high as he wanted.
There were smaller kids on the trampoline.
I didn’t want them getting what little sense they possessed knocked out of their heads.
He thought I hadn’t heard him, is all.
That he could get away with it, because I hadn’t heard.
But I had.
I had no issue with verbally ripping him apart, either.
Right in front of his mother.
If she wouldn’t take him to task.
If she didn’t listen or act.
I certainly would.
She wasn’t happy, but she had heard it too; what could she say?
Eyes downcast, she let me have my say.
Then she backed me up.
Needless to say, after that, Bully didn’t return to my water slide.
Or my trampoline ever again.
Oh, not for lack of trying.
No, he and his brother asked if they could.
When I asked why I should allow someone who called me names back to play with my stuff.
He and his brother had no ready answer.
Bully has made both my sons cry on several occasions.
This has done little to further engender any respect or caring for him in my mind.
I would not engage him.
I had told myself this initially.
Glaring at the bully as he strutted outside my picture window.
To back it up, I told my husband I would not give into temptation.
He knew better.
Not five minutes later, out the door I went.
Apparently, the kids were having a light saber competition.
Three separate taps with the light saber, you were out.
I volunteered to play and Bully looked frightened.
His brother dropped out of the contest immediately.
He had good reason to do so.
You see, I have played street hockey with both siblings.
On one memorable street hockey occasion.
I whacked Bully’s brother in the calf, hard.
When he complained.
I answered his piteous “That hurt!” comment with one of my own.
“If you wanna play, you gonna pay.”
He shut up…but dropped out of the game.
That’s rather the mark of a bully, isn’t it?
To drop out when victory over smaller or weaker prey isn’t assured?
These brothers utilize this behavior day after day.
When and where I see, hear, or otherwise catch it.
I do something about it.
I am not a patient person.
I am incapable of refraining from action when I feel something is wrong.
So, with Bully looking increasingly panicked, I joined in the competition.
He was my target, but I had to go up against other kids first.
I took it as easy as possible on them.
Whilst also ensuring I’d be around to take on Bully.
Still, I am a competitor at heart.
So it wasn’t that easy, if you catch my drift.
In such a way is respect instilled in the young, who sometimes mistakenly believe all adults do all day is sit around eating bon bons.
I’d rather they know that, given the chance?
I can and will kick their bums.
I want them to know that if I exist, other adults like me must, too.
A little fear is not a bad thing.
Especially if it inspires positive change.
After my last, qualifying match.
This Bully actually admitted to fearing taking me on.
Upon hearing this, it seemed natural that a wide, evil grin should bloom on my face, and so it did.
If you’ll remember the rules.
Three separate light saber touches, and you were out.
When Bully stepped up, trembling slightly.
I went after him with a will.
I should mention that Bully is working his way on thirteen.
He’s only a couple inches shorter than me.
I suppose I add this because I want you to understand that the other kids are significantly smaller.
He needed a real opponent.
One who would show him his posturing was useless against a more experienced opponent.
He soon learned this.
I had Bully running wildly in circles as I whacked him mercilessly with the light saber.
So now he knew what I’d set out to show him.
What it’s like to be on the other side; what it’s like to run from someone who wouldn’t let up.
In any game, one should give and take.
What I saw…
What had infuriated me, watching from my picture window earlier.
Was that the Bully gave nothing.
He defeated one child.
Then swaggered back to take on another child.
A child smaller, weaker, and less skilled than him per virtue of his or her years.
So, as I faced Bully, I gave not one inch.
So that he would feel as powerless as he had willingly made others feel.
My favorite part?
When I whacked him upside the head and the light saber bounced of his skull.
But three glorious times.
I was grinning fiercely as I did it.
Well, Bully greatly resembled someone about to soil themselves.
It might not have, in all honesty, been the shots to the head that caused this.
I’d gotten a few jabs close to his crotch.
Just to make him dance to my tune, if you get me.
That said, I am nothing if not fair.
Bully lightly jabbed me three times during our contest; shortly after I liberally applied my light saber to his head.
As soon as I felt the last touch.
I announced “You beat me, fair and square,” and bowed out.
Bully was considerably out of breath from the running I had deliberately forced on him.
He could not exactly reply with dignity or grace.
I take it as a point of pride that he was more out of breath than I was.
I again acknowledged that he had won, told him good job, and wandered off.
Hey, I never claimed to be pure as snow.
The mere fact that I’ve smacked kids with hockey sticks and light sabers should have clued you into that.
I sat down on my porch swing.
I watched carefully to see how Bully was taking his “victory.”
A empty victory indeed, as while we jousted, we were surrounded by a ring of laughing, jeering children.
Who do you think they were egging on?
These children who had just been running away from the big, bad Bully, had been screaming for me to hit harder, faster, lower, harder.
I didn’t blame them.
Justice comes all to little to children in their dealings with bullies.
Justice often comes all too little to children in life, period.
I was glad to have played a part in the hand Justice dealt out.
I noted with a fair amount of childish glee that Bully now stood outside the circle of giggling children.
Still breathing with difficulty, he turned and walked into his house.
He wasn’t seen for two hours.
His departure went unnoticed by the other children, who had busily began a game of hide-and-seek.
A game no bullies participated in.
Bully and his brother might have went in after my defeat (for that’s what it really was) of Bully.
But all too soon, they would come back out.
I still hold the slow motion image of the light saber connecting with Bully’s skull, once…
Three times, in my mind’s eye.
Too glorious a image to erase, really.
Bully and his brother play their own game with me.
They attempt to hide what they do to the other kids, and they get away with it, most of the time.
But there are always adults like me drifting around.
Hard lessons teach the most, and in this case.
Justice was served as it should’ve been.
With a plastic lightsaber, no less.