The Mansion©

By Jerry D. Haight

The Bully

It was a cold, dreary fall evening. In the frame, he was thirteen years old lying on the ground with a stunned look on his face, which was already turning red from the force of the bully’s blows.

His first impression that day was that of being hit with a baseball.  Then, with his eyes closed, he saw the fabled stars rotating, not outside, but inside his head. He felt himself falling, but neither arms nor hands obeyed him and next he crumpled onto the dirt. Only moments ago Charley was walking home passing along the fence of the Junior High School’s playground. The bully walked briskly behind him catching up to the lad. Upon hearing his name, Charley turned just in time to glance at the flying fist of the bully.

The beginning of the ordeal of terror occurred on the second day of school. It started in the homeroom of the seventh grade class. As thirty or forty students milled around waiting for the bell, Dick Schlund, Narcisco Davalos and Ray Bryson made their way toward the door of the classroom. Jack Oliver had just arrived. Then from behind the door, Dick appeared, caught Jack by surprise and with a hammer blow to the face and a staggering blow to the rib cage. Jack began to fall. But before he hit the floor, Narcisco’s fist dealt two blows to the other side of Jack’s face and just as Jack hit the ground, Ray’s foot connected with Jack’s midsection. Ray repeated his deed with a cruel smile on his face.

The three quickly picked Jack up from the floor and pushed him to the back of the room into a desk. Just before the teacher appeared in the room. Jack said in a quiet, menacing voice, “If you tell anyone about this, we’ll kill you.” The class sat in stunned silence and class began.

“Do you know what happened at school today?” Charley asked. “Jack got beat up.” “Do you mean like in a fight?” his dad asked.  “Yes, he had to be excused for a nose bleed and you should see his eyes, both black.”  Then his mom interjected, “I hope you didn’t get involved, you just need to stay out of it.” “Well, I walked Jack home after school. He was so sore and cried most of the way.” “Look Charley, if the kids who beat up Jack see you giving him comfort, they are likely to beat you up next time and you are just not to stick your nose into their business.”  “How many guys beat up on Jack?” asked Ted, Charley’s brother. “There were three of them.” He replied.” “Do you know them?” he continued. “Yea,” said Charley. “It was Dick Schlund and two of his friends, Ray and Narcisco.” “It looks like the same old crap you got yourself caught up in.”, interjected his dad.

“It sounds like a brother of the same guy I had problems with”, said Ted. “His name was Terry Schlund.”  “We simply won’t tolerate any more of that.” Charley’s parents agreed.  

Later, when Charley asked him what finally happened, he just laughed and told him to listen to mom and dad.

While charley knew Ted dropped out of Junior High during the eighth grade, he did not know of the particulars. Within the frame, Charley found out Ted was branded a troublemaker, spent many hours in the principal’s office, was accused of misbehavior in class. He also found out Terry came onto the scene at the beginning of the eighth grade and his grandfather was Almond deAgnosio. Before, he had not known Mr. Sorenson, a Spanish Teacher was also Ted’s homeroom teacher. Within the frame, Charley became privy to many of the conversations between Ted and Mr. Sorenson wherein he asked for help with the bullying. The Charley outside the frame became disgusted.

About three days later, Jay Higgins entered the metal shop. Narcisco met him at the door with a smiling face and said “hi.” His greeting caught Jay off guard and his face jerked upward and back as Narciso administered an upper cut to Jay’s chin. Dick caught Jay before he collapsed, held him up and Ray administered a blow to Jay’s solar plexus. As before, the three pushed Jay to the back of the room and into a chair just as the shop teacher entered the room. Again, the class sat down in stunned silence as the class began.

A few days after that, at recess, Charley had a meeting with the gang. They taunted him, trying to goad him to fight.  He refused, was called a coward and beat up rather severely. That evening after school they met him in an alley on his way home. Again, egged on to fight and again refused and again beaten, twice in a single day. That evening, his black and blue face showed up at supper. Again, his mom reprimanded him for fighting and told of the consequences should he come home bruised again. His protests were ignored and his dad said “you can always avoid a fight and if you can’t, you shouldn’t have been there in the first place.”

A couple of days later, Charley stayed after school to visit Mr. Sorenson, his home room and Spanish teacher. His main reason was to allow enough time for the gang to figure he went home another way and hoped they would do likewise. He told Mr. Sorenson about being harassed and beaten and the teacher said that unless he saw it, he couldn’t do anything about it.  Charley could not believe that the teacher could be so blind and callous.

Ultimately, Jack enrolled in a karate class to learn self-defense. Of course, by the time he was skillful enough at karate, he had been beaten more than a dozen times.

Alan and his parents complained to the principal but he was accused of starting the fights and with the testimony of each of the gang, Alan was suspended. Bill Johnson, Claude Spartan and the Bolsinger twins all had similar encounters with the gang.

As for Charley, four weeks were spent taking different routes home, going many blocks out of his way, riding his bike or taking a long bus ride to avoid the gang. He was successful about half of the time. However, upon encountering the gang, he would go into a protective mode as much as possible, but never able to fend off the most punishing blows, those to his self-esteem. At home, fighting was always deemed his fault and school was a place of ambivalence.

Twice, the gang demanded his lunch, saying they would not beat him up. Both times they did anyway.  One night after school, while riding his bike home, one of the gang tossed a pole into his front spokes. The resulting damage to his bicycle tire sent him sprawling onto the sidewalk. When he woke up, his knees hurt, his hands were embedded with debris and his elbows shredded along with his jeans and shirt. But the good thing was he was alone.

That evening, after delivering a volley of blows, the bullies got tired of his sport and left. As he lay on the ground by the playground, nose bleeding, head pounding, terrorized and miserable, he realized he could no longer endure the status quo. Attempts at befriending the gang only made him feel hypocritical. Negotiating with them failed. Tattling on them would only make it worse, but he didn’t know if he had the courage to implement his plan.    

The next day, first period, Lynn had English I, a class she shared with Dick. Charley watched the scene play out within the frame as Dick hid in the back of the door of the classroom. When Lynn came in Dick greeted her and then let go of a roundhouse right to Lynn’s face and two blows to her midsection. The Charley in the hall was as furious as the Charley within the frame when, in tears, Lynn told him what happened.  

The next day, third period, Charley had a Spanish class with Dick. He got there first. Then, without warning, he attacked Dick with such rage and punishment his classmates thought he might never let up. From the hall, Charley still remembered with relish the look of shock and fear on Dick’s face. He left the Spanish class early for the study hall where he had a similar encounter with Ray Bryson.  After study hall, he went to the metal shop to meet with Narcisco. He walked toward Narcisco with his fists clenched and ready to do battle. But when within five feet of him, Charley saw the face of a coward. His face was ashen as he approached and he cowered under his gaze. His voice trembled as he begged him not to hit him. Instead, Charley demanded in as stern a voice as he could muster that he never lay a hand on any of them again. Narcisco promised.

The next day, Charley happened to be in a stall in the boy’s room. Dick, Ray and Narcisco came into the room giggling about what they were going to do with Jim Reader, another classmate. Then, Narcisco suggested they meet with Charley again after school, but Dick, the apparent leader said, “Naw, he is too much trouble.” Charley could not believe Narcisco, the one who promised never to lay a hand on any of them again, now trying to instigate another beating.

That day, Jay, Bill Johnson and Charley made a pact to would walk home together and fight the gang if necessary. For about three or four weeks they were not attacked again and then the bullies were gone. Charley thought them transferred to another school.  

The Charley in the hall mused, “I wonder what ever happened to those bullies?” Suddenly, the scene changed and he saw another scene play out. This time the subject was Dick. It seemed Dick was the last child of Rick and Janet Schlund. Rick was an alcoholic and Janet an enabler. Terry, their first child, was, regularly beaten by Rick, engaged in bullying, later perpetrated numerous small crimes that escalated to assault, robbery and murder. He spent most of his remaining life in prison. Dick, changed schools several times and he disengaged from Narcisco and Ray. He fell in with a completely different set of peers. As the scene progressed, he saw Dick continued to change, Charley saw him graduating from West High, then a soldier, college grad, missionary and the pastor of a large church. As Charley continued to watch, Dick found and married his college sweetheart who joined him in the ministry. They had seven children. . .  and the scene continued. Charley saw Dick’s grave stone showing his death three years ago. Charley thought “Too much information,” and the scene changed.

Ray, as it turned out in the frame, graduated from North High, entered the Navy, trained as a machinist, started his own tool and dye company, retired and lives in North Bend. Charley thought “ok,” and the scene changed again.

This time He saw Narcisco within the frame. Narcisco quit High School in his junior year, trained in boxing, became a welterweight champion and died several years ago with a brain aneurism leaving a wife, three children and two grandchildren.

As Charley’s interest waned, the scene dimmed and once again he was stunned at what had just transpired. It was though he could navigate through the scene with all its tentacles and trails.  There didn’t seem any end to the detail. The only word Charley could fathom to explain the unfathomable was “omniscience”.