Jimmy ducked under the wild haymaker, taking a step back as he straightened to catch his balance. He saw Gabe winding up for another strike and braced himself. The initial dodge had been luck, but Gabe’s follow-up jab resulted in a sharp impact in Jimmy’s ribs. Jimmy doubled over, hunching over the impact point in an attempt to protect himself that left the other side of his body wide open – a fact which didn’t escape Gabe’s notice as he threw another wild punch, this time connecting.
The force of the blow knocked Jimmy to the ground, adding to his confusion as his mind battled to deal with the pain in both of his sides. The shouts of the crowd surrounding them were in tongues, barely recognizable as human speech as Jimmy curled himself up to protect against Gabe’s kicks, his arms covering his head. After a few of these Gabe seemed to grow bored, content to simply point and laugh at Jimmy’s quivering form on the ground.
Jimmy knew he should give it up, that he was outmatched, but that fire – the rage of humiliation, powerlessness, and fear burning brightly inside – the fire demanded recompense. He slowly got to his feet as Gabe turned to move away and, right as Gabe’s back was turned, Jimmy launched himself. He grabbed Gabe around the waist, his momentum pulling the pair to the ground. Jimmy didn’t hear the hit, nor did he feel the impact himself. He was beyond sight, beyond feeling as he started to swing his arms wildly.
It wasn’t until the teacher pulled him off that Jimmy had a true idea of how much trouble he was going to be in. Of course the teacher had shown up late, didn’t see the first half of the conflict with Gabe, didn’t see how Jimmy had been an innocent victim in the whole mess. No, Jimmy was the weird kid that no one liked, didn’t have the social skills that others developed to prevent against this kind of abuse. Looking down at Gabe’s form, bloody nose and battered body immobile, Jimmy knew that even though Gabe deserved everything he had gotten, he’d get off light. A detention or two, not the suspension Jimmy was looking forward to.
Jimmy sighed as he was marched off the playground and through the bland halls of the school. He realized that some day the torment had to end, but with the bruises on his side still aching he didn’t see that happening any time soon.