By Frisk Phillips
Drowsy, I walk down the short and awkward stairs to the courtyard where the loiterers loiter, and the other kids do the same. I’m not so much hung-over or even coming down, as much as I am just depressed to not be inebriated in some way.
Sober, the greenery that manages to seize a tiny bit of life in this school does little for my outlook. Bricks make me want to vomit.
The movement and veracity in which he stands up grabs my attention immediately, as if charismatic, but I don’t care. He doesn’t blink as he strides towards me, and fists clenched.
He looks like such a tool, with Indian fingernails digging into his palms, even though he looks more like a handsome Arab, with a healthy dose of Anglo. He has a weird baby face, a pathetic moustache, but is easily twice my size, and three times as strong.
He swings a wild throw for my head, which I pull away from using only the lank of my neck. I don’t know why he’s doing this. He punches straighter this time, and I step back slowly, rubbing my eyes. He’s angry now. Well, angrier.
He winds up a roundhouse for my jaw, and I let it land, almost purely of out of pity. When I pull my head back into position, my brain is throbbing with pain, but my veins with adrenaline. I bite into my cheek, until the taste of blood shoots into my nostrils. He swings again, I duck and come up directly into the target in the middle of the chest.
He can’t breathe. I’m weak, but fast. I hit him again and again, switching fists, hitting different areas of his face, with one hand always on his sweat drenched collar.
Finally, when a crowd has formed around me, and my knees and elbows are as sore as my knuckles, I drop him to his knees. His eyes and nose taunt me in there bloody and swelled state as he sways waist-level.
“Your problem,” I say, trying my best to not sound like a character in a farce, “was that you are strong, slow and stupid. I’m fast, and with adrenaline in my veins I’m very fast. My reach is further than yours, and my anger, greater”.
By this stage, I am buzzing with adrenaline, but I tense every muscle, from my jaw to my toes to stop myself shaking.
“I can kill you. I’m too weak to drive your nose into your brain, but I can number your ribs. I can fracture them, before breaking them; driving them into your lungs, and watching you asphyxiate on blood and marrow.”
I take time out to close my eyes and picture his eyes swelling as he tastes that rare combination of one part yellow marrow, two parts red blood for the first time.
“Someone like you, should just tackle me, you know? Don’t waste your time with jabs, and parries and that nonsense. Just pin me to the ground, grab my hair and drive the back of my skull into the ground until my eyes roll into the back of my head.”
This upsets people, which is a shame. I really don’t want them to fear me.
“What’s your name, mate?”
I know perfectly well his names Jayden. But I look around to the crowd, consisting of the entire grade, eyes wide with shock.
“Anyone? Seriously? No one knows this guy’s name?”
I look to a girl in the crowd, a girl I had a crush on ages ago, at the beginning of the year.
“Emily? I’d like to think you know his name. It’ll be the same one you cried out in the bushes that night?”
I return my attention to Jayden. Emily didn’t blink, but she didn’t cry either. He’s trying to stand up, one leg at a time he tries to lift his colossal figure, bloody and matted.
“Good boy, very very good boy. Get up, get up.”
He’s finally standing. This time he tries to grab me. I step back, slap his ears, before delivery an impersonal backhand which reduces him to a quivering mess at my feet. I roll him over.
“Another tip. Don’t take the advice of the guy your trying to fuck. He’ll probably see it coming. Now, I want to hear you say you are going to take my advice.”
He’s babbling through the blood to appease me. He’s lost all pride. He doesn’t care, he probably doesn’t even feel.
“Come on Jayden” Shit I let his name out. No one will notice.
“Just a simple yes. Not even a ‘Yes, sir’. Or a ‘Yes, Master Williams. Just a yes.”
He’s still trying.
“I give you one chance. After that I fracture this rib here. Another chance, then I fracture this one too, and I might break something by accident. Third chance, a couple of holes in the lung.”
He’s near delusional as he rolls around trying to squeeze the word out. I sit on him. He weakly groans, and I take it as a submission. I think about slapping him, or taunting him further, but I just stand up. The year co-ordinator, a fat, ugly, silent man has been watching the whole thing.
“What the fuck man. I just beat the shit out of this guy. You didn’t even stop me. Just stood there with your hand on, in and around your pants. Fucking nihilists. Give me a detention, you lazy piece of shit.”
“He swung first. Self defence.” The words are simple, as if he were a caveman who’d learned to speak by watching a documentary on Neanderthals.