In the nightmare, I was in my high school’s locker room, about to change clothes after PE. Suddenly, Al appeared by me. I had a sense of déjà vu, but I couldn’t say why. He gave me a hard shove. I stumbled, hit a locker, and crashed to the floor. A moment later, Al peed on me.
I’d had this nightmare several nights. Starting the night after Al assaulted me for real after 5th period PE.
Why did I have to have a nightmare that accurately replayed Al’s attack on me? I wondered. If I had to dream of school, why couldn’t I have a dream telling me what to study for the next test in history?
Speaking of which...it was time to get ready for another day of high school hell.
“It’s a veritable sea of blue and red clothing,” Jesse said, looking around our first period class. “You like ‘veritable?’ It’s my word of the day!”
“Prodigious word,” I said.
“I wonder how many are wearing red and blue because it’s spirit week? And how many just happened to grab something that fit today’s ‘wear red and blue’ theme?”
Good question. If I’d grabbed clothes at random, I’d have probably worn at least one of the colors. Instead, I’d carefully chosen my colors. After being attacked by Al, I’d lost any interest in showing any support of my high school.
“Maybe some teacher is giving extra credit for wearing red and blue,” Jesse said. “That would explain it, too. Mr. Brown was upset how few of us showed up without an article of inside out clothing yesterday.”
I opened my backpack to get out my notes. I saw the student handbook, which included the line: “There is zero tolerance for bullying.”
And yet, Al got away with bullying. He got away with it because he was the star of the football team. Everyone said he’d take the school football team to state for the first time in thirty years. The football team’s success gave the school prestige—and teachers and administration loved this prestige. Since Al was critical to the team, he could bully anyone he wanted, with no consequences.
“Did you hear the news about Al?” Jesse asked Monday morning, as we headed to first period. “Al is newsworthy—and not in the way the school wants.”
Could I dare to hope that karma had come to bite Al in the ass? I wondered.
“After the game,” Jesse said, “he attacked some guy on the opposing team in the parking lot. He was caught by a referee. I think those are the guys wearing black and white shirts. Al is off the team here. There is a zero tolerance policy for something like that—and there is no way this school can ignore this. Not with that referee catching Al.”