Bullies shouldn’t bully…period! (excerpt from The Sphere of Archimedes)

On Thursday, the last bell indicated the school day had finally ended. The huge double front doors flew open and multitudes of kids poured out. Oliver disregarded the bell, and continued to draw: well-built aliens, with long spindly arms and legs, handed the orb to a group of Indians. His tongue protruded out of his mouth, and he colored the eyes green.

“Oliver,” Ms. Sloth’s voice echoed throughout the empty schoolroom, “did you hear the bell ring?”

He didn’t look up; instead he scooped up his papers, and darted out of the room. He needed to get to his locker before the bus left; Oliver zoomed down the quiet hallway. Somehow, his hands and brain weren’t connecting, because the padlock wouldn’t open. He shut his eyes and concentrated on the combination. Finally, the locker popped open. He shoveled the needless books into it. Bam! He boogied down the corridor, and headed for the exit. With a smug attitude about finished homework, he could do whatever his heart desired, when he got home. A backpack strap slung over one shoulder; he hurried to the front double doors. The metal door-handle made a loud “clunk-clunk” when pushed, and swung wide open. Oliver clambered down the stairs, focused on the bus. Suddenly, three recognizable boys stepped out from alongside the staircase, and blocked his escape. Dylan Parker, Mike Jones, and Brent Miller –otherwise known as the Neanderthals –stood perfectly apart and created a barricade.

“Well, well… Look who we have here!” Dylan sounded delighted as he stepped closer to Oliver. “It’s the little Freak!”

With smug facial expressions, the others mirrored statues of marble. Their sinister smiles aimed at the unsuspecting kid on the stairs. Instinctually, the feeble, soon-to-be victim froze. Oliver tried to think of a plan of escape, “Should I try to run for it, or go back into the school to get one of the teachers?” He mulled over ideas in his head, but before he could decide on one, his body leapt forward, hoping to find a weak-link in their chain. Maybe he could gain enough ground to alert the bus driver, but without much effort, Mike and Brent caught him.

“Where do you think you’re going?” Mike snickered.

Dylan stepped closer, and punched Oliver in the stomach. Oliver embraced his midsection, doubled over and dropped to his knees. Brent snatched the backpack off his shoulder, and threw it to Dylan.

“Let’s see if he has any money.” Dylan unzipped the backpack, and pulled out papers and a book, which dropped to the cement with a dull thud. He then reached deeper into the bag.

“What the heck is this?” He exclaimed, holding the orb.

Oliver managed to speak between puffs. “It’s mine! Give it back!”

Dylan, mesmerized by the grooves, gloated, “Hey, this is kinda cool. It’s mine now!” He tossed Oliver’s empty backpack on the grass.

Oliver tried to gain strength and squirm, but it was pointless. The two boys held him tightly. No matter what, he couldn’t get free.

Once Dylan saw how it affected Oliver, he delighted in possessing the metallic ball. With a grin, the imp started to pull apart the hemispheres of the orb. He felt if he destroyed it, then he’d be superior. His teeth gnashed together as both hands grasped each side, and he struggled to break the orb apart. Dylan stepped into the grassy area for better traction. A light-beam shot out of the ball, and into his face. In an instant, he was gone –vanished into thin air!

Helpless, the three boys watched the ball suspended in midair, before it fell onto the grass. Several feet away, a grown man was on the ground, his body tucked into the fetal position. He looked unconscious, and Dylan was nowhere to be seen.

Oliver, Mike, and Brent stood petrified, mulling over the close-encounter-of-the-weirdest-kind. Distracted by the horror, the Neanderthals loosened their grip on their captive to search for Dylan, but it was futile.

“Where did he go?” Mike yelled at Oliver. “What did you do to him?”

Brent, the weakest of the trio, became too scared to say anything, and dashed away. Mike felt abandoned, after his friend left. He didn’t want to confront Oliver alone, not knowing if he possessed some kind of magical powers. Mouth agape, he turned back to look at Oliver, but then decided to run away screaming. “You ARE a freak!”

Oliver, the lone boy, fearfully trembled. He pondered over the situation, so much happened in a short amount of time: he got beat-up, the orb had a death-ray, and Dylan was vaporized. He didn’t know which circumstance seemed more frightening.

This is why you don’t leave a nine-year-old alone in a hotel room -even for a moment.

As soon as the heavy door shut, Oliver reveled in the silence. For some reason, the hotel room seemed more inviting. The double queen-sized beds felt bouncier than ever. He could not fight the natural urge to make a huge disaster. There were no women around, and that meant certain freedoms. He could jump on a bed or hop from one bed to the other without being disciplined. He bounded back and forth, and recited the Pledge of Allegiance until he became too winded. He caught his breath, picked another rhyme, and resumed the bed-trampoline extravaganza. The door suddenly opened, Paul paused in the doorway holding the pizza box. He looked around, and gathered how it hadn’t been a good idea to leave Oliver alone while he went to get food. Pillows and blankets were heaved around the room, the television blared, and it looked like a half-dozen elephants jumped on the mattresses. Oliver leapt off the bed, dropping onto the floor, and landed perfectly in front of Paul. “Tada!”

“You’re gonna clean this up, young man.” Paul couldn’t believe his eyes.

Oliver didn’t feel ashamed one bit. He grabbed the pizza out of his father’s hands. “Okay, let’s eat!”