There were two reasons why Adam Longo still went to school. The first and foremost being that he knew that’s where Veronica Genesis would be. Secondly, is because he still got hungry and needed food to fuel his ever-evolving young body as he made his way through whatever phantom dreamland had swallowed him up.
It was high noon and the cafeteria at Grainer Falls Junior High School smelled like a gruesome menagerie of what some would call food. He walked among the fray of jabbering, obnoxious, and constantly twitching fools — those animals in human skin and clothes, his schoolmates. He carried a blue plastic tray with two hands. It had divided compartments. One had a hamburger. Another had a small pile of crinkle-cut fries. Another had a red apple with a bruise. Another still had a small carton of chocolate milk. He moved slowly, his eyes darting from side to side as the crowd watched and taunted him. Why all this? he wondered to himself. Why is this place such an inhumane zoo? He just wanted to eat his lunch like everyone else. But then again, he could never be just like everyone else. That had been his ultimate struggle for what seems to be going on… Forever.
“Hey dipshit!” someone yelled, and then Adam was hit in the side of the face with a warm, buttered dinner roll. It bounced off him like a ball and the entire place roared with laughter. He wiped away the oily butter that stained his face and just kept on moving, his eyes now focused on what was in front of him. Veronica was sitting at a long table near the back with a bunch of other girls and they were chittering away like maniacal young birds on a wire.
When she looked up to see what all the commotion was about, she saw him coming toward her like some artificially sweetened, tortured monster, and when she saw what all the others were doing to him, how they were teasing him, abusing him in that horrible socially acceptable school way, her young heart ached. She stood up and yelled out to him. “Hey Adam! Come sit over here!”
He tasted her voice as it bulldozed its way through everything else and came across the air to him. He started moving faster toward his place of acceptance. But he didn’t notice that Rude Rudy had purposely stuck his big foot out into the walkway and Adam tripped and fell forward and his lunch tray spilled all over the floor along with himself. It was typical school bully hijinks and again the lunchroom filled with taunting laughter.
“Woops!” Rude Rusty said to him as Adam got to his knees. “Looks like the poor baby hasn’t learned how to walk yet,” he teased. Adam turned to look up at him and he felt as if he could have spat a plume of scorching fire right then and there to burn his stupid freckled face off.
But that’s when Veronica came over and she stood up for him while he was down. “Leave him alone!” she snapped at Rudy. She went to help Adam back up to his feet. When he was standing again, their eyes locked but just a moment and then Adam looked around the room and he saw that nearly everyone was pointing and laughing and calling him names and more food was being hurled in his direction and that’s when the sounds suddenly became muffled, and time seemed to slow. He felt the thud of a bruised heart against the walls of his chest and in his now clogged up head. He caught a glimpse of some teachers pouring in and trying to calm the madness. Then he ran. He ran as fast as he could, and he burst through the opened doorways of the lunchroom and out into a glossy hallway where he almost slipped and fell. He regained his traction and made his escape to the sunlight.
“You asshole!” Veronica screamed at Rude Rudy, and then she took off after Adam.
“That’s right,” Rudy yelled back as she went. “Go be with your pussy new boyfriend!” He looked around at all his grinning admirers now gently slapping on him with opened palms and congratulating him for being such an amazing jerk, and Rudy soaked it in, and he smiled and laughed with them and then encouraged them to be even more vicious than he was. “If you ever see that damn kid again… Make sure to let him know he’s not welcome here!”
“We will!” the crowd of lambs yelled out in unison as small fists shot up in the air.
That’s when Rudy climbed on top of one of the long cafeteria tables and they all cheered when he raised his fat arms dotted with orange speckles and rallied them. “New kid sucks!” he yelled out as he pumped his fists. “New kid sucks! New kid sucks!”
And that’s when they picked it up and they followed along with his chant and the entire place was taken over by a melodic roar of “New kid sucks! New kid sucks! New kid sucks!”
They started pounding on the tables in rhythm with their chant — Boom, boom, boom… “New kid sucks!” Boom, boom, boom… “New kid sucks!”
Rude Rudy looked down upon his faithful throng and he reveled in the admiration, and he reveled in the power he had, and he reveled in the fact that he could somehow control the masses if he was just ugly and hateful enough.
Then there came the annoying shrill of numerous gym class whistles and a couple of large hands reached up through the frenzied mist and pulled Rudy down from his lunchroom pedestal and dragged him off to somewhere else to have his behavior formally corrected.
MORE TO FOLLOW
You can read the previous part of this story HERE.