‘Hey, freak. Look where you’re going, yeah?’
‘Oi! We’re talking to you, man! Where you going?’
‘I just wanted –’
‘Nah, nah, nah. Get back here. What you got there?’
‘Just – just my homework, okay? N-nothing –‘
‘Whoo-hoo! Freako’s got a book.’
‘Oh, yeah? Give it here. ‘Marooned’? Looks like old rubbish, man.’
‘It’s v-vintage science-fiction, f-from –‘
‘Whatever, man. Space? Gotta be weird.’
‘Freako. Never talking to nobody. You too good for us, are ya? You special, or something?’
‘N-no. Of course not.’
‘Yeah, right. Stuck-up. That’s all you are.’
‘Be careful with the book! Please! It was my dad’s!’
‘So I shouldn’t do this, then?’
‘No – please!’
‘Hoo, man! Nice one! Cover’s ripped right off.’
‘Got something to say, freak-boy? Geek boy? Nah?’
‘Not goin’ to lower yourself to speak to us, eh?’
‘Whatever, man. Let’s roll.’
I pick up the pages, alone. I gather my things, alone. I keep breathing, alone. I live.
This week, my Flash! Friday effort had to focus on the painting, above, and include the concept of ‘arrogance’; I’m not really sure why my mind went to the assumption, on the part of the bullies in this story, that the child they’re targeting is arrogant instead of shy and awkward. I also felt myself falling naturally into a story told practically all in dialogue – it did make it hard to conclude the piece, and I’m not sure I managed it quite how I wanted to, but I think I’ve taken the prompt in an unusual direction, and I’ve written a story, and isn’t that the main thing?
In other news – I’ve survived reading my agent’s editorial letter, which was long and detailed and full of stuff, some nice and some not, about what needs to change in my book. She’s right, of course, about most of it and I do feel a proper fool for not seeing some of the errors she pointed out, but that’s the name of the game. I’m taking a few days to let the edits settle, and then I’ll be back into the thick of it, fists swinging. Whatever you’re up to this weekend, do it well and be happy, and remember – things are never as bad as you fear.