Rats, the back seat’s taken,” I muttered under my breath as I found a seat on the crowded bus.
Suddenly I heard Bryan’s voice blurt out, “Move it, stupid.” At first I thought he was talking to me, but I watched as he and Jonny shoved Jeremy out of the seat behind me.
Now what are they gonna do? I wondered. I bit my lip as I watched Jeremy find another seat.
The bus started moving. Opening my math book, I decided to take my mind off the bullies behind me and study for my quiz.
“Does the little boy got a test this morning?” Bryan chided me.
I ignored him, keeping my eyes on my book.
“Hey, punk,” Jonny said, squeezing my shoulder. “He’s talking to you.”
Sharp pains shot through the back of my neck. I looked up, hoping Mr. Hopkins, our bus driver, was paying attention. But as usual, Jessica Parker was blabbing in his ear.
My body shook as I turned around. Holding everything in, I faced them. “Just knock it off, OK?”
Bryan smiled and nodded his head. “Yeah, I’ll knock it off.”
As I turned to face the front of the bus, a horrible surge of pain shot through my back, neck, and head like a lightning bolt. For a few seconds my body turned tingly and numb.
Laughter broke out behind me. When I could move, I turned around.
“I told you I’d knock it off,” Bryan said, waving a black object with four prongs extending from it in his hand. He stuck it close to my face and “zapped” it. Electricity shot out as I jerked back.
“Are you afraid of a little stun gun?” Jonny teased.
As the bus screeched to a stop in front of the school, Bryan lost his grip and dropped the stun gun. It landed by my foot. He reached his hand out, but I kicked the stun gun ahead and snatched it up. Bryan and Jonny stepped back, holding their hands in the air.
“Easy now,” Jonny said as he walked past me.
“Yeah, you don’t want to do anything stupid,” Bryan added, following behind him.
Whew! That was close. Stashing my math book and the stun gun in my backpack, I thought, At least they won’t be bullying me today. I waited until Bryan and Jonny were out of sight; then I exited the bus.
Hurrying into the school, I pulled out my math book and put everything else in my locker. I made it to my first class just as the bell rang.
“Pop quiz,” Mrs. Jasmine announced. “Clear your desks.”
I would have been ready if those two bullies hadn’t kept bothering me on the bus, I complained inwardly. My neck still feels weird. As I rubbed my neck Mrs. Jasmine handed me my quiz.
“Everything OK?” she asked.
“Uh, yeah. I-I’m fine.”
After math I rushed to my locker to grab my science book. As I dug through my backpack my fingers brushed against the stun gun. I should turn it in to the office and tell what happened, I thought. Wait a minute! What am I thinking? If I tell on those guys, they’ll never leave me alone.
Setting the stun gun on the top shelf in my locker, I smiled. Now that I’ve got their stun gun, they’ll never bother me again. After covering it with my jacket, I hurried to my next class.
As I darted down the hall Mr. Spinkler stopped me. “I’d like to have a word with you,” he said.
I swallowed hard. What did the principal want to see me about?
We walked quietly to his office. “Have a seat,” he said as he shut the door.
Mr. Spinkler sat across from me at his desk. “OK, I’m going to get right to the point.”
What is he talking about? I wondered. I haven’t done anything wrong.
“Someone said they saw a stun gun in your locker.”
My eyes grew wide.
“Is it true?”
“Well, yes, but–”
Mr. Spinkler looked at me above his glasses. “But what? Is it true or not?”
“Yeah, it’s true, but–”
The principal sighed. “I’m very disappointed in you. You know the penalty for having a weapon at school. I’m going to have to call your parents.”
Maybe I should tell him about Bryan and Jonny, I thought. But what would they do to me if I did?
I shook my head as Mr. Spinkler explained the situation to my dad over the phone. The word “suspension” hit me like a slap in the face. Great, now I’m gonna be grounded for life. And the stupid stun gun isn’t even mine.
After giving the stun gun to Mr. Spinkler, I decided to tell him the whole story. “I’ll look into it,” he said. “But since you had the gun in your possession, I’m afraid it’s your word against theirs.”
After Dad took me home, I sat on my bed wishing I could go back in time. I’d have taken the stun gun right to the office and explained what happened. Maybe I wouldn’t have even tried to grab it in the first place.
Later that evening I told my parents everything. Although they believed me, they agreed with the principal–I shouldn’t have taken matters into my own hands.
I couldn’t agree more. Not only was I suspended for a whole month and required to go to court, but my mom and dad had a tough time trusting me for a while, and that hurt more than anything. Now that I’ve earned their trust back,
I try to put my life in God’s hands and pray that He‘ll give me the wisdom to know what to do when I’m faced with tough decisions.
Written by As Told to Elisabeth A. Freeman
Illustrated by Javier Saltares