Thursday, February 24, 2005

Special Ed

The snow beneath me was red.

It wasn’t supposed to be – a fact that my throbbing nose told me was no longer relevant. Crimson droplets of blood flowed in a steady march downward from my left nostril. Usually, this would be cause for immediate action – a bit of ice, perhaps a swab of cotton stuffed slightly up the nose. Unfortunately (and if I were to be honest; humiliatingly), immediate action of a different type was required.

A circle of howling adolescents weaved loosely around me in a sloppy version of the center ring of a circus. I was the ringmaster, I thought wryly. I had called the thunder and with it had come the lightning. Across from me, tongue protruding lazily, was my opponent. Only moments ago, he played the role of unsuspecting antelope to my predatory lion. How swiftly that had changed with the rap of his knuckles upon the bridge of my nose. Who’s the antelope now, bitch?

The crowd, to include several people I considered good friends, was frenzied. The sight of blood made them giddy, or perhaps it had been the surprising change of events. They sensed it too, of course, the momentous occasion. I could hear it in their voices, as I struggled to clear the cobwebs from my brain.

“Over here! Over hear! Mike’s fighting with Eddy!”

“Eddie popped him in the nose! He’s bleeding! He’s bleeding!”

“Go Eddie, kick his ass!”

I looked warily at my mark. His bulging eyes stared back at me. Where moments before I saw fear, there was now something that approached joy. This was all new to him. The people, they chanted his name. Never before had my quarry been revered by the masses – this was his moment.

Edward ‘Special Ed’ Grimly was a special needs child.

Not slightly impaired. Not unusually dense. I’m talking full blown, ride-the-short-bus retarded. He was, in fact, so slow that the school staff had to place his picture on the boys’ bathroom door to lure him into the correct location. His educational needs were taken care of by a separate faculty, and for the most part (with the exception of Physical Ed and lunch) he was isolated from the general population.

This was a good thing, as adolescent boys in particular take great joy in tormenting any and all that vary from the cookie-cutter mold of conformity.

Today was to be no different.

Why did I pick this fight, you may ask? To be honest, I was asking myself the same question. It seemed so straightforward, at the time. The organizational chart that defines the pecking order of our school dictated that, in order for me to move upward I had to either defeat someone in battle, or sexually conquer one of our female classmates. The second option being satisfactorily terrifying enough that I figured the surest way to ascend the popularity tree was through physical might. As I am not what one may call ‘imposing’, it was vital to pick an opponent that I could effectively beat into submission, while ensuring a minimum level of danger to my face – which was my best feature.

Clearly I had not chosen well.

Special Ed descended upon me, fists flying like the pistons in an early model Mustang.

“Who was this madman?” I asked silently, while flopping into fetal position and whimpering as quietly as I could. This was the same guy that, four out of five days, couldn’t walk down the hallway without falling over himself. He carries a teddy bear in school, for god’s sake! I’m getting my ass kicked by a teddy bear-toting simpleton!

The worst part of this wasn’t the physical pain. I could see the crowd, during the brief moments when Special Ed would briefly pause to open another can of whoop ass. The looks on their faces told a story I didn’t want to hear. I was finished at this school. In my overzealousness I had miscalculated. This was much worse than simply losing a fight, or even being turned down by the lead cheerleader. This was popularity suicide.

Finally - mercifully! – it was over. Eddy tired out, a champ having expended his all. He stood tall, screeching at me as spittle sprang from his mouth like a geyser.

“I’m not wee-tarted! I’m special!”

His words rained down upon my bruised and battered ego. Other taunts could be heard from the mob, but I tuned out. I was unwilling to go to the dark places those mocking words would take me. Gingerly, I picked myself off the frozen tundra. I wiped what I could of the congealing blood from my face, and slowly walked away, the crowd giving way to me as if I were Moses parting the Red Sea. “Except Moses would have owned Special Ed.” I thought darkly to myself.

Later, as I walked home, I took mental stock of my injuries. Other than the swollen nose, I didn’t seem to be in too bad of shape. In his fury, many of Ed’s most powerful blows had missed their mark. Plus, I had turtle-ed up so effectively that I hadn’t left much for him to hit. My back would feel it in the morning.

“Mike…Mike.. wait up!” a voice cried in the distance.

Todd hurriedly scampered across the road to where I was slouching.

“Dude, did you really get your ass kicked by Special Ed?” he asked, still breathless from the jaunt.

Not trusting my voice, I simply shrugged my shoulders and turned quickly away.

“That’s hilarious, man. The whole school is talking about it. I’ve never seen Ed so happy. He actually did a little shadow boxing prior to getting on the bus this afternoon. He ended up in a snow bank – it was great.”

“Sounds wonderful.” I mumbled. It just gets better. I got whomped by a kid that can’t box the air without falling down.

“Dude, don’t let it bother you. It was unlucky – that’s all. Maybe you could get him in a rematch. Or challenge him to a spelling bee.”

Tired of the mocking, I reached my street and waived a solitary finger at Todd.

My life sucks.


At 12:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh my god!!! I am laughing so hard I can hardly type!!! Karma is a bitch sometimes. Your story is so damn funny, you tell it very well.

At 3:32 AM, Blogger nope said...


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God Bless You.

Melissa K. W.
To see my family view this page. My Family

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