A few days before school began, Mom took me into exciting downtown Bardwell to buy new school clothes as I had clearly outgrown my old ones. In the one clothing store in town, we went to the boys’ section where we saw a rather obese woman looking through boys’ pants.
When she saw us, she looked at me and said, “You’re new in town are you?”
“Yes ma’am,” I replied. “We moved into Syler Falls this summer just after school got out.”
“Oh. And what grade will you be in this fall?”
“Ninth,” I answered, trying to be polite.
Just then a boy who, judging by his bulk, had to be this woman’s son, walked out of the dressing rooms. “Oh Connor,” said the woman, “this is a new boy who will be in your grade in the fall.” Turning to me, she asked, “And what is your name?”
“Tyler Prescott,” I said, and reached out to shake hands with Connor. He gave me a limp, damp handshake. As I sized him up, I thought that, even though he was well overweight, he could be formidable because he was 4 or 5 inches taller than I was.
The pleasantries over, I turned my attention to picking out some new shirts and pants. I took some into the dressing rooms, and when I came out, Connor and his mother had left the department. From there, Mom and I went to get some new sneakers because mine were both ratty and too small.
Back home, I called Cole and told him about my meeting with Connor. “Lucky you!” he said. “And did you enjoy the experience?”
I had to laugh. “No, I thought he looked like a slob, but I also have to admit to myself that he could be imposing in hand-to-hand combat. We’ll have to think about how to deal with him if he becomes a problem.”
On the first day of school, Cole and I walked to the bus stop together. It took us a bit longer to walk there than it would have had I been walking alone, but Cole insisted on not letting his mother drive him to the bus stop. When the bus arrived, we climbed on and found seats together. Cole said he was extremely nervous, and I had to admit that I was too, but we agreed to stick together at least until we had to part to go to our homerooms.
As we entered the consolidated school in Bardwell, whom should we encounter but Connor. “Well, if it isn’t Stumpy and his new friend,” he commented. He had three other boys with him who appeared to be his followers. As we brushed past him, he said, “See you later, Stumpy!”
We walked down the hall with Cole commenting, “Well, I see he still has his toadies with them. I think in first grade there were four. I wonder if he’s lost one.”
Later, in history class, I sat between two boys, Bruce and Paul, who introduced themselves and seemed pretty friendly. Paul was the more outgoing of the two. Bruce seemed rather shy.
At lunch that day, Cole and I sat at the same table. He had a bag lunch, but I had bought the cafeteria lunch. When I took my first bite, I exclaimed, “Is school lunch always this bad?”
“Now you know why I brought my own lunch,” he said. I decided I had to do that too in the future.
Leaving the dining hall, we encountered Connor with four other boys blocking our way. Connor looked at Cole and said, “You just wait until I get you alone, Stumpy. You were a little shit then and you still are!” His toadies giggled. “As for you,” he said turning to me, “you’d better stay away from Stumpy if you know what’s good for you.”
“You don’t scare me,” I said with a bit of bravado. I thought for a moment Connor was going to hit me, but he saw a teacher watching and just turned and walked out with his followers.
“Now we’re both in for it!” Cole said.
“Well, I’m not gonna walk around scared of him. If he wants a confrontation, then I’m not backing down.”
Nothing happened for either the rest of that day or the next. On the third day of school, in the middle of the morning, I walked into the boys’ restroom and found Cole bending over one of the sinks and sobbing.
I walked over to him, put an arm around his shoulder, and asked what was wrong. Through his sobs, he answered, “I was in one of the stalls taking a shit, and when I released the lock, Connor burst in. He had his zipper down and his cock out, and he said, “Eat me, Stumpy.” When I refused, he jerked-off. His cum squirted all over my face. I feel so dirty and I hate that bastard!”
He finished washing his face and I handed him some paper towels to dry himself off. Then I said, “From now on, we go everywhere together. If we’re not in the same classroom, we’ll get together right after class. This is not going to go on!” After that, I walked him to his next class before going to my own.
We stuck together every day until the weekend. On Monday, Cole picked me up after my history class and we went to the restroom together, each of us choosing a stall. I heard somebody come into the room, but I didn’t hear anything more until Cole released the lock on his stall. The door slammed open and I heard Connor say, “This time, you’re gonna eat me!”
I hurriedly finished what I was doing in my stall, pulled up my pants, and opened my lock, but as I went out of my stall I heard a scream and saw Connor lying on the floor clutching his crotch, howling, “He kicked me in the nuts!!” while three of his flunkies stood at a loss for what to do.
Cole emerged from his stall smiling and said to me, “I knew that lift would come in handy one of these days.” Turning to the toadies, he exclaimed, “You sycophants! You brown-noses! You lick spittles! You stooges! If I ever catch you without your protector, you’ll be in a lot of trouble!”
At that point, one of the teachers walked into the restroom, looked at Connor on the floor and his three stooges standing beside, then at Cole and me and asked what was going on. “That bastard kicked me in the balls!” Connor cried, pointing at Cole.
The teacher looked from one to the other, before saying, “Well, I’m going to have to think what to do about this.” Turning to Connor’s brown-noses, he said, “Why don’t you three help Connor up and take him to the nurse?”
The three boys helped the still-moaning Connor to his feet. As they went out of the restroom, we could hear Connor say, “No! Please, not the nurse!”
Looking at the teacher, Cole asked, “Are we in trouble?”
The teacher smiled and said, “I very much doubt it. After all I don’t even know your names.” He turned and went out of the restroom, but before the door closed, we heard him say, “Score one for the good side!”
Cole and I laughed and high-fived before I asked, “Where in hell did you learn all those words?”
“I looked them up in a thesaurus. But I’m still saving one for a special occasion.” We exited the restroom, I dropped Cole off at his classroom, and I hurried to my own.
The evenings now had grown cooler, and I was able to sleep better. One night I thought about Cole and Billy, wondering if Billy would have liked Cole. I decided that he would have. In some ways, they were similar. Each was usually pretty open about his thoughts. Each had a good sense of humor. Each was pretty smart. Each in his own way was athletic. But I knew that, as I grew to like Cole, I would never forget Billy, my first love.
Nothing happened the next day, but on Wednesday, as I was heading towards the school entrance from an outdoor gym class, I turned a corner and there stood Connor with his flunkies. Connor grinned and said, “Prepare to take your punishment.”
“Are you gonna take me on alone or do you need the help of your toadies?”
Connor turned to the boys and said, “Stay out of this. This fight is mine!” Then, as he turned quickly back to me, he tried to sucker punch me with a right hook. I was ready for him. I sidestepped the punch and hit him hard in his belly. He groaned and instinctively began to bend over, when I gave him an uppercut to his nose. He looked up as blood poured from his nose. Then he charged, trying to tackle me. Again, I sidestepped. He tripped over my leg landing right on his face. He yelled in pain and lay still. Eventually, he rolled over and lay without a sound, blood still flowing from his nose. Finally, he moaned, “You broke my fucking nose, you bastard.”
“Good,” I said. “Remember that the next time you pick a fight.” Then I turned to his sycophants (I love that word!) and said, “You’d better help him up and take him to the nurse… Again.”
On the bus that afternoon, I told Cole what had happened. I said that I doubted we’d have any more trouble with Connor. Cole wasn’t so sure, so we agreed that we should still stick together.
In the lunchroom the next day, as we sat with Bruce and Paul, who had begun joining us, Connor went past our table and muttered, “Fairies!”
We all laughed and agreed that, if that was the worst Connor could do, we were safe. Meanwhile, word got around the school about what had happened, and Connor found himself alone except for his stooges.