The Bad Boy


He knew that his parents were confused by his disobedience. Late at night when he was in bed he heard their muffled voices in the kitchen. He couldn’t quite hear their words and he didn’t want to know what they were saying but he knew they were talking about him and his behavior.

This time it was because he had drawn a bad picture on the bathroom wall at school and when he was called to the principal’s office, he knew that Sam had told on him. At first he lied to Mr. Markle and said that he didn’t do it, but Mr. Markle said they had two witnesses- which was a lie because no one was there when he did it! That’s when he sort of started to cry a little bit and the principal knew that he was guilty and called his mom at work. He spent the rest of the day sitting in the principals office. He had been in a fight on the playground the week before but that wasn’t really his fault because Ralphie is such a bully and picks on everyone, especially girls. It was time someone taught him a lesson. But no, everyone babied Ralphie and his bloody nose and scraped arm. Mr. Markle had called his mom on that day, too.

He didn’t know why he drew that picture on the bathroom wall. He just thought it would be funny. He was so mad at Sam for telling. After school he messed around for a while on the playground because he didn’t want to go home. He knew that his mom would start barking at him as soon as he showed up. Then when his dad would come home he’d hear it all over again. That’s pretty much what happened and they didn’t even know what the picture looked like. Mr. Markle said it was dirty so they yelled at him and said it was dirty. It wasn’t even that dirty. Then his mom said he would need to apologize to Mr. Markle and to the school custodian. He didn’t mind apologizing to Mr. J, the custodian, because Mr. J was nice, but he absolutely did not want to talk to Mr. Markle!

After he told his parents that he was sorry and that he wouldn’t do it again, he picked at his dinner and pushed his plate away. His mom told him to finish his vegetables, but he hated peas and refused. He asked if he could go to his room and his dad barked, “Yes, just go to your room!” It seemed like he was in trouble a lot and he just wanted to be left alone. Before going to bed he wrote in his journal about how Sam was such a jerk and that someone who tells on another person for no good reason would probably turn out to be a lousy, good-for-nothing school principal or something! Then he started writing a poem about how he wanted to be left alone.

The limb is leaning across the drive,
don’t cut that limb, it is alive,
that’s just the way the tree is shaped,
it’s not the tree’s fault your car got scraped,
go away and take your stupid, ugly car with you….

…then he was tired of writing so that’s where he stopped. Maybe he would finish it later.

He started thinking about what he would do when he was a grownup and on his own. He thought he might be a lawyer like Atticus Finch because his favorite book was, To Kill a Mockingbird. His mom read it to him once and then he read it himself. He told people that his second favorite book was Catcher in the Rye. His dad said he was too young to read that book. The truth is, he only read the first couple pages.

Later that night when he was sleeping he dreamed that he was being followed, but he didn’t know who or what it was. He woke up kind of shaky and drank some water from a glass on his night stand. He then felt safe in his own house and his own bed.

03/26/2018 © Don Lehman