3 - Becoming A Man

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This chapter is dedicated to ShaineLake who has been a great supporter. Thanks for all you valuable comments, interesting pointers and votes XD. 

Becoming A Man  

 My dad's truck pulls up in front of Quantico Middle School and I slide out of the front seat with a sigh. I glare at the building – I hate school. It is not that I have not been excelling academically and I am a straight A student but this is exactly my problem. In elementary school, the kids left me alone but ever since I started middle school in September two months ago, I have walked through hell. A "nerd" and a "geek" have been some of the nicer terms to describe my character.

I start to walk towards the building, keeping an eye on the groups of students to stay clear of those who corner me to pour a soft drink over my head or like to dunk my head into the toilet until I agree to do their homework. I almost make it to the side entrance when I turn the corner and bump into Ricky Newland and his gang – literally. Ricky is a year older than me and dumb as a brick which caused him having to repeat the grade. He still doesn't get it and has yet to get anything above a D-.

When I collide with his solid and muscular body, I am thrown against the wall and almost lose my balance.

He smirks. "What's up, Parks?"

I count in my mind how much money I have on me since I know what will be next. He would probably be happy enough with my emergency stash and I would still have a few bucks left for lunch.

"I have to run," I advise, trying to draw his attention from the inevitable. "I have a meeting with Mr. Cartwright in a few minutes."

It is a total lie but Mr. Cartwright is our guidance counselor and I am hoping he will back off.

He doesn't and blocks the door. "You know that it will cost you if you want to get inside. A small donation to appreciate the free education you enjoy. I will pass the money along to the less fortunate brothers and sisters in some poor undeveloped country."

It is his latest extortion scheme, inspired by a discussion in our civics class since otherwise, he is unable to come up with any clever ideas of his own. He grins, exposing his crooked teeth, probably thinking he is funny but not realizing that he sounds like a total moron. Yet, if I don't hand over some cash, his fist will punch its way into my groin or stomach.

I pull out a five dollar bill which is the rest of my allowance and hold it in front of his face. He snatches it away and bows his head mockingly. "You may pass, nerd."

He and his buddies take off with a loud howl and my hand is already on the door handle when a sharp voice behind me makes my blood freeze. "Why do you let them talk to you like that and give them money, Brent?"

I slowly turn to face my dad, my eyes stuck to the ground to avoid the look of disgust in his eyes. The words were spoken with such venom to make clear how much of a disappointment I was once again to the great Ryan Parks.

"I'm sorry," I mumble, heat flushing my face. I am wondering what he is even doing on school grounds and why he isn't already on his way to work.

"Are you scared of him?" he asks, resulting for the last bit of self-respect to plummet below the radar.

I nod, unable to lie to my father. "He beat me up before." My words crack under my own cowardice. I finally dare to raise my eyes and find a thoughtful expression instead of the expected repulsion.

"How does this make you feel about yourself, son?" he inquires. "Do you picture yourself as a total failure?"

I cringe – the thought has crossed my mind many times before. I hated being so weak and submissive.

Brent's Story (A "Living With The Choices We Make" Novella) ✔️Where stories live. Discover now