The next day when Daddy and I get to school, I quickly get out of the car so nobody can see me. I don’t let Daddy help me. When I’m out of the car, I run towards the school entrance and look around, trying to avoid Kevin.
I’m going straight to the English classroom when suddenly he appears from nowhere and begins to chase me, screaming and making weird noises. It seems like he is crazy. I run as fast as I can to escape from him until I lose him in the corridors of fifth and sixth grade. Again, my body is shaking like jelly.
Luckily he doesn’t do anything to me. But his evil look never leaves me when I arrive at the classroom. This time Professor Mike is a little calmer, so the class isn’t so long and boring. In Miss Kathy’s class, we play a fun game with numbers and have a great time, and again Wade and Laura and I have fun in the cafeteria at recess.
Lastly, we have science class. We are doing a project with Mr. Browne about mud to learn about the different kinds of it. At the front of the classroom, there are some buckets, and each one contains dirt and mud.
We are divided into teams, and we sit at different tables to examine in small plates of dirt and mud with magnifying glasses.
“Kids, listen to me,” Mr. Browne says from the front of the class. “I need to go to the other lab for some worms so we can learn how they behave in the different types of dirt and mud.”
No one seems to be listening to him. Everybody is too busy working on the project.
“Do you promise me to behave while I’m not here?” Mr. Browne asks.
No one answers. Mr. Browne quickly leaves the classroom.
Laura is examining the dirt with the magnifying glass while I’m writing a report about all the different properties and how they change when it becomes mud.
“Jaeden,” Wade says, whispering in my ear.
“What’s up, Wade?” I ask.
“Have you been to Fairyland?”
I stop writing in the notebook and look at him curiously.
“Fairyland? What’s that?”
“It’s the new fair in the city. It’s amazing! There are hundreds of games and rides. The place is magical!”
“Magical? What do you mean?”
Wade looks so thrilled that it takes him a little while to speak.
“You need to go and see it yourself! Especially because there’s an incredible Ferris wheel. I’m sure you would love to ride it.”
“Wow! How big is it?”
“It’s enormous!” He opens his eyes wide and holds out his arms until he can stretch no further. “I’m sure you could see the entire city from the top.”
I love Ferris wheels. The feeling when you are at the top is amazing! It’s one of the things I love the most. Especially because it has a very special meaning to me.
I’m about to say something to Wade, when Kevin, who is sitting behind us, says:
“How is it possible that you haven’t been to Fairyland? Everyone in Philadelphia has been more than once... oh, I know why, because you’re the most unpopular kid in the entire city! Or maybe it’s because your dad’s car can’t get to the other side of the city without decomposing,” he teases.
I turn around in my seat and look at him with anger. He is wearing a black T-shirt with a white skull on it.
“I have an excellent idea!” Kevin says, laughing. “You should do like the Flintstones do. Use your feet to move the car!”
All his friends who are sitting next to him begin to laugh out loud.
I get up from my seat and stare at him. I close my fists and frown, and then I say: “Kevin... why don’t you shut up?”
Their laughs disappear in a blink of an eye. Everyone in the classroom is staring at me.
“What did you say?” Kevin asks, kind of shocked.
“Why don’t you shut up?”
He gets up and quickly stands in front of me.
“What are you doing, Jaeden?” Wade asks worriedly.
I don’t answer him. I’m just staring at Kevin in the eye, furious.
“Don’t do something you’ll regret, Jaeden,” Laura says, pulling me by the arm. “Sit down and pretend nothing happened.”
“Yes, Jaeden,” Wade says. “Don’t listen to him.”
“You should listen to them,” Kevin says without looking away from me. “SIT DOWN.”
“No,” I say quickly.
“What did you say?” Kevin asks.
“I’m fed up that you’re always bothering us. Maybe someone… should kick your ass.”
Now the classroom is in complete silence. Some of the kids look at me surprised, while others cover their mouths with their hands and look at us in shock.
Suddenly, Kevin gives me his evil smile.
“Finally, we have a challenger!” he says loudly, walking slowly and holding out his arms as if he were a wrestler about to enter the ring. “Someone who dares face the heavyweight champion.”
He goes and stands in front of the class. “Come here, Jaeden. Let’s finish this,” he says, waving for me to follow him.
I walk directly to him with closed fists, deciding to have the first fight of my life. When I stand in front of him, he puts his hands behind his back.
“I’ll let you hit me first! Come on, do it!”
I would love to punch him in the face right now so he learns to not to mess with us. He deserves it. Besides, I can hit him first, and in front of the whole class. I take a deep breath and prepare myself to hit him, but something stops me. I have the sensation that this is not the correct way to deal with him. It’s like a little voice inside my head that is telling me not to do it. So I slowly begin to back up.
Kevin looks furious at me.
“Coward! We are not done! Come here and finish this! You will always be a loser, like your family!”
Suddenly, I begin to feel something I have never felt before. My hands and my legs are shaking a lot. But this time is different. This time I feel anger like never before. I turn around and quickly go towards Kevin and push him with all my strength. He falls into one of the buckets of mud.
“I think we’re done now,” I say.
I slowly go back to my table. The whole classroom is silent. They all are astonished, just like me. Everything happened so quickly that I still can’t believe what I’ve just done.
Kevin immediately wants to stand up, but he can’t. He is stuck in the bucket. I don’t think I have ever seen him as angry as he is now. His face is so red that it looks like it’s about to explode.
“Billy! Santiago! Come help me!”
They quickly go and help him stand up. When they take Kevin out of the bucket, he starts walking towards me. But he stops. He no longer seems angry. He has now a weird face. He slowly turns around to look at the back of his pants. Then we all see he is covered with mud.
His butt is completely covered, and slowly, the mud starts to fall to the rest of his pants and shoes. Suddenly Jimmy, the kid who is always cursing, gets up from his chair and points at Kevin’s butt.
“Look! Kevin has shit his pants!” he yells.
Everyone starts laughing out loud. Kevin’s friends try to hold back their laughter, but it seems that it is impossible. Then everyone turns to look at me and begin chanting my name.
“Jae-den! Jae-den! Jae-den!”
Others are cheering for me and whistling.
Little by little, I begin to smile and then raise my arms as if I have won a wrestling match. But then, Kevin looks at me furiously and starts walking directly towards me with his fists closed, ready to punch me. I cover my face and close my eyes, waiting for the worst.