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Karen Lynn Vidra, The Texas Tornado

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The Strange Kid...
By Karen Lynn Vidra, The Texas Tornado
Monday, July 21, 2003

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A story about a young boy who desperately tries to fit in, but is often met with jeers by his peers. He is considered something of a "geek".

Brandon Hartt Bumpus sighed as he looked at his reflection in the mirror. He didn't like what he was looking at, and when he saw his reflection, tears filled his brown eyes.

Brandon was 10 years old, tall, rail-thin, and was rather homely in appearance. He had dark-brown, nearly black, hair done in a spiky 'do, brown eyes that appeared bigger than normal (thanks to the thick-lensed glasses he was wearing), a rather big nose, a small mouth that had twin front buck teeth protruding from his upper lip, and big feet encased in dirty white tennis shoes. He wore a tee shirt that was several sizes too big for his slender body, and plaid pants that did NOT match the tee shirt he was wearing; still, he felt he looked fine, and so he often wore odd combinations of clothes, not giving it a second thought upon getting out of bed each morning.

Worst of all, Brandon had asthma so bad he often had to carry an inhaler with him at all times, and sometimes he would end up in the hospital, gasping for every breath. He was allergic to practically everything under the sun, and every week he had to have allergy shots. Or he DID before he moved to Tennessee about a month back. He often wheezed, and his breathing sounded like the whistle of a tea kettle.

Brandon had just moved to Tennessee from Ohio, and he was rather shy in nature. Still, his mother, Ellen, insisted that he try to make some new friends before school would start up in a few weeks. Brandon protested, but his mother was adamant; she did not want him spending all of his time indoors, especially when the sun was shining out.

"But mom," he protested, "Look at me! I'm a DORK! The kids will all laugh at me, just like they did back in Ohio! You KNOW how badly they teased me! You know I don't have any friends!"

"Son," Mrs. Bumpus said, "How do you know you don't have friends unless you try to make some? You aren't going to make any friends if you don't go outside! There's plenty of kids in this neighborhood; I am sure at least ONE of them will stop enough to say 'hi!' at least!"

"Oh, alRIGHT!" Brandon said, sighing heavily as he ran his hand through his spiky hair do and adjusted the strap on the back of his glasses so they wouldn't fall off his face. He stuffed his hands into the pocket of his pants, and out the door he went, a scowl on his thin face.

It seemed not even five minutes later after he first stepped outside when he lost his footing and fell over an uneven patch in the sidewalk. At this, he was horrified to hear the sound of kids laughing; and at this, his cheeks flamed that all too familiar red as he picked himself off the sidewalk and dusted himself off. He looked to see a group of boys of various ages; they were all laughing and pointing their fingers at him.

"Er, hi", he said sheepishly, as he stuffed his hands back into his pocket, "I'm Brandon. Brandon Hartt Bumpus is my name. I just moved here from Ohio."

"BUMPUS?? What kind of CORNBALL name is THAT?" the biggest kid said, laughing, as he pointed again at Brandon. The biggest kid had mean-looking eyes like black marbles, and an ugly sneer on his pimply face. He looked to be around 12 to 14 years in age. "And WHERE did you get those CLOTHES?? You look like a LOSER!"

"They're mine; I've had 'em a long time! Why do you have to make comments about me? All my life I have been teased, and I have NO clue why that is! All I try to do is be a friend, and...." Brandon was interrupted by the sound of wild laughter that erupted from the group of boys. Brandon noticed that they all had stylish clothes on, and he could tell that they had money, something Brandon and his family did NOT. They were a poor family from Ohio, and it was all they could do to keep food on the table or pay the bills on time. Each month proved to be a daily struggle; and last month, it got so bad, they were forced to move. That was when they decided to head on south, to Tennessee, from Ohio.

"Tell you what, Geekface..we will be your 'welcoming committee'. My name's Flash Grayson, and the Boss here, is Pete. Pete Blades. There's also Honcho, Cindi, and Amber. We always like to scope out the 'new territory', and we always like to make them feel welcome," the biggest kid said. "We can see you definitely need a lot of work; you look like something from the 80's or even farther back! But before we help you, we want you to do a little favor for us. We'll talk it over a burger at Burger King, and how you respond will help us decide if you are the right dude for our club."

Somehow, Brandon got an uneasy feeling in the pit of his stomach. Whatever the boy was discussing, it didn't sound good. It sounded like he was trying to set him up for something, something big, something BAD.

That was the problem of being a new kid, especially one who was homely or ugly in appearance. He never had many friends as it were, and too many times people tried to take advantage of him because he was poor, and also he was learning-disabled. He often had to struggle with school, and every day he was faced with the probability of laughter and jeers from other kids who considered him something of a freak, or worse, a "geek".

(~To be continued~)

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Reviewed by De Stanelli 7/22/2003
Interesting piece that sets up tension and emotion.
Reviewed by Sarah Tagert 7/21/2003
I think all of have been the odd kid at least once in our lives, great write of understanding
Reviewed by Michelle Kidwell Power In The Pen 7/21/2003
Kids can be cruel, this happens far to often. God Bless
Reviewed by Trish - The Trickster 7/21/2003
Great story kiddo..beginning to end...enjoyed every word!
Reviewed by Karla Dorman, The StormSpinner 7/21/2003
(((o, karen)))

this one hooked me from the beginning...can't wait to read more about brandon and his decision

EXCELLENT, vividly described write, characters and emotions--well done

(((HUGS))) and love,

karla. :(

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