This week, in preparation for #1000 Speak Building for Bullies blog event on March 20, writers have crafted stories that show a different approach to bullies. Characters build up from their encounters. Whatever the act, it breaks the silence. And silence breaks the cycle.
The following stories are based on the March 11, 2015 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that shows the bully mentality countered with a different, unexpected or kind action. Follow the compassion movement on Twitter or Facebook. #1000 Speak. And our voices make a difference.
Internal Monster by Rebecca Patajac
Her hands shook as new friends welcomed them inside. How would they take her? Life before her partner used to mean refusing these invites; too scared to take risks.
They sat together. She stared at her dinner. Everyone laughed at his jokes as he kept her safe from attention, helped her relax.
She started contributing, a word here, comment there.
“He always forgets things, he’s male,” she said smiling, glancing at him.
The light in his eyes faded.
Her stomach felt sick.
“But I do too,” she added, kissing him tenderly to fend off her hated negativities of old.
Bystanders by Pete Fanning
“Hey Oreo Cookie!”
They lined the school hallway, cat-calling and pointing. She walked between the lockers—between them. Too white for her black classmates, too exotic for her white ones. Her gaze hardened. She cursed her olive skin. Her green eyes. Her frizzy, untamed hair.
“Beautiful! Oh just look at those features!”
She hit the runway, a shield of apathy guarding her steps. They marveled at her staggering beauty. They sold eye contacts and hair products to mimic her look. She was a natural, with no formal training. She just knew how to set her eyes above the crowd.
Blood Will Out by Geoff Le Pard
‘Have the police told you?’
‘Yes Rupert. They have interviewed me…’
‘So why not tell me? Christ Mary, our father wasn’t some religious nutter.’
‘I know, but they…’
‘They said you called them, that you found the body?’
‘Yes. We were preparing for the sale…’
‘And no word to me? Dumping me in it like this? They pulled me out at work, you know?’
‘I’m sorry.’ Mary squeezed her eyes shut. She didn’t need Rupert’s hectoring. ‘Why not come round? We can decide what to do.’
‘Are you sure?’
‘He was our father. That makes us family, doesn’t it?’
The Video by Larry LaForge
The kid climbed the steps of Precinct 14, opened the oversized metal door, and approached the front desk officer. “I’m here to turn myself in.”
“Huh?” the cop replied, scratching his bald head. The kid extended his trembling arms, hands together, waiting for the handcuffs.
The cop froze.
“I didn’t know,” the kid said. “I thought it was just fun. Then they showed the video.”
“In kindergarten class today.” The kid sobbed. “The bullying video.”
“I’m real sorry. I didn’t know it could hurt people. When I get released I”ll never do it again. Ever. I promise.”
The 100-word version of this story is posted at larrylaforge100words on Flash Fiction Magazine.
Consider the Source by Pat Cummings
Each time around the park’s dance-floor, passing the crowd of snickering guys standing outside the railed edge, my neck got redder. Whenever my partner and I passed one particularly loud heckler, he would holler,
“You can’t dance, fatty! Get off the floor!”
Dub and Rose, the eighty-something stars of the Disneyland dance floor, made a point of sitting with us when we finally left the floor, shoulders drooping. I have never forgotten his words:
“Keep one thing in mind when you hear criticism like that. YOU are dancing in public, enjoying yourself with a wonderful partner. THEY don’t dare.”
Velma’s Requital by Charli Mills
Students thronged the hallway tight as Kokanee. Velma pressed a path to her locker covered with sticky-notes.
“Velly has a HUGE belly!”
“Go back to the rez!”
She plucked each note, words stinging like bee bites the long bus ride home to her reservation.
Mother was cooking beans. Grandmother hunched on the floor, shelling pine nuts, and Velma snuggled against her. No words were spoken, just the aromas of home and fellowship of family. She decided what to do. She’d show them.
The next day with a hall pass, Velma fastened a sticky-note on every locker.
“You are loved.”
Once A Politician Always A Politician By Sacha Black
Had I become what I hated? All for an election?
I gazed at the broken body of my opposition, on the floor beneath me. A trickled of red oozed from his whimpering mouth. I smiled.
“I win, Franklin. Fair and square.”
Tugging at my leg drew my attention away from the floored politician. Golden locks and porcelain skin were frowning at me.
“You’re a bully, Mister. A mean old bully.”
“No. No.” I said frantically shaking my head, “You don’t understand little girl, he’s a cheater.”
“Didn’t your mummy ever tell you? Two wrongs don’t make a right, Mister.”
She’s Got Style by Ula Humienik
“She’s so pretty. If only she’d lose a few dozen pounds.”
“This store doesn’t sell clothes for people like you.”
“She’s hungry AGAIN? You’d think she wouldn’t have to eat for days with all that fat.”
Emily wore the blood orange curve hugging dress despite what anyone said, and she felt gorgeous. She ate as much chicken Alfredo as she wanted at the party, even though she noticed the stares and heard the sighs. She went to the bathroom to check her makeup, fixed her lipstick, gave herself a toothy smile, and said, “You are beautiful. You are loved.”
Appreciating Self-Deprecation by Roger Shipp
It was no secret.
It’s just they thought it was funny.
“Whoops… I spilled some water on my new blouse.”
“Whoops… I there’s some lint on the shoulder of my sweater.”
All because I had stumbled while leaving the auditorium and fell into his arms: Lance, our star quarterback. He had caught me. The room had gone quiet. And all I could think of to say was “Whoops…”
The basketball players were the worst.
Tonight’s game against Lincoln High could change everything.
I continued to type the headline for the lead story. “Whoops… Lincoln Falls in 2OT.”
In the Cafeteria...by Ruchira Khanna
Katie tripped over a foot in the cafeteria that made the contents of the tray fly all over the place.
That led to angry faces, rude remarks and loud shouts from students that became a victim to the droplets and particles of food over them.
Harry sneered over the scenario while bringing his feet together as he attempted to wipe a drop off his sleeve.
Katie was quick to get up wipe herself and the particles of food around her ex-boyfriend who was responsible for this act. His color changed from red to white after her selfless act.
Not Funny at All! by Norah Colvin
Jasmine and Georgie rushed towards the cluster of children who were laughing hysterically at something unseen. They expected to see an entertainer performing magic tricks. Instead they saw Marnie, face down in a puddle, reaching for her unicorn; sobbing.
“Good one, Brucie!” Two boys high-5ed. Another called, “Way to go!”
The children stood transfixed by the spectacle. Jasmine pushed through. She picked up the muddied unicorn, stretched out a hand to help Marnie up, then put an arm around her waist,
As she led Marnie away Jasmine glared at the group of disbelieving faces.
“Shame on you,” she mouthed.
Look at That Stupid Girl by Tally Pendragon
It was like a heat-seeking missile searching out its opportunity, calling in all the attributes of hatred in its wake. She couldn’t be sure if The Woman understood the alchemical process that was happening inside of her, was aware of this hostility and was consciously driving it, or if it was controlling her. Vanda could feel it pulling Silver in ways that must surely be hard for her to ignore, and she certainly didn’t want to give The Hostility any more reason to turn its enmity in her own direction than she already had. She just smiled, sweetly.
Flash Fiction by Irene Waters
“I’m sick. I can’t go to school.”
“You have to Charles. This is the third time this week.”
“No. I’ve got a tummy ache.”
“Okay.” They heard him banging on the drums as they left.
“He’s behind with his school work, he doesn’t mix”
“He’s being bullied.”
“Leave it with me.”
“I’ve heard Imagine Dragons will be at assembly today.” The words and excitement buzzed around the playground and the hall filled quicker than normal.
“Charles Smith please come up and help Andrew out.” said Dan Reynolds.
A hush settled. Charles smiled. The children smiled back, at their hero.
Flash Fiction by Luccia Gray
“It’s apple pie. Don’t you like it?”
“I like the chocolate cake your mum makes,” she shouted gobbling it up. “Bring some tomorrow, or I’ll kick you again till your legs turn purple.”
“She’s working double shifts this week, so she hasn’t got any time to cook.”
“Make it yourself.”
“I’m not allowed to cook when mum’s not at home.”
“Find a way if you know what’s good for you,” she warned.
The following day, I watched her swallow greedily and whispered, “I won’t tell anyone what exactly you just ate if you stop bullying me. Deal?”
The Bully and Quick Thinking by Susan Zutautas
Terrified to answer the door, I thought it might be Deb waiting to harass me. When I didn’t answer, she started calling, I know you’re in there; I just want to talk to you.
Maybe she’d had a change of heart, her voice sounded friendly. Reluctantly I let her in. What came next had me perspiring.
Following me into the kitchen she told me she had her mother’s gun on her and planned to use it on me.
Go ahead, My Dad just pulled into the driveway. Quickly out the back door she fled.
Dad was still at work.
Flash Fiction by Anne Goodwin
“This is gonna have to go!”
For weeks they’d loitered at the fringe of my plot, smirking and scowling at each new development. I’d dismissed their comments as gentle teasing, the old-timers’ traditional defence. Yet now I was back in the playground, the wrong kind of shoes on my feet.
Where I saw innovative recycling, they saw mountains of junk. “The judges will be here on Sunday. You’ve got five days to clear this mess.”
I tapped in the number as they marched off to their regimented gardens.
“The organic allotment award? You can come on Saturday? That’s great!”