A story about school yard bullies and mean teachers
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My story is a simple tale about a 49 year old man who goes over to his friend house and touched his latest
invention and suddenly finds himself in the year 1969. Invisible to everyone around him except for one person.
His 11 year old self. He remembers how shy and bullied he was as a child and convinces his younger self to let him navigate him though his rough times. Teaching how to dress, talk and walk. Greatly Improving his relationship with his mother and father. Then it on to his 4th grade mean teacher. Making small leaps through time, he's in middle school completely rocking the school with his knowledge of sex, dealing in a positive way with four bullies. PE coaches and their paddles. In high school, he advises his younger self how to connect with his first crush. Saves his girlfriend and other girls from an evil boy. Though out my book, my character grow more confident and helps more of his classmates.
Several opportunities to laugh and cry. My character returns to a world much nicer and more just
Don’t even ask how it happened. I had no idea. Why it happened. No idea. Where I was going. No idea. The only thing I knew was it did happen. Initially, I thought I might be dead but this place wasn’t hot at all and it took me about half a day to accept what had really happened.
Let’s do a quick review. My name is Danny, Danny
Robinson. I am a 46 year old, twice divorced white man. Very proud of my very full head of hair that I grew myself with very little encouragement on my part. At 48, I find myself very satisfied with my life, appearance and personality but that was not always the case. During those quiet. Moments. Some were out right embarrassing. To sum it up in one word… I was shy. OK, three words. I avoided conflicts, relationships and any situations that involved me losing any blood. I was always the perfect target for the school bully and there were always no lack of those around.
I wouldn’t consider Jetson to be a close friend but he was just different. I always like to associate myself with the unusual and odd and Jetson was all that. Jetson loved his physics. He talked for days about quantum mechanics and multi-dimensions, he said, time travel could be no harder then walking through a door. I always thought Jetson was borderline schizophrenic until he proved me wrong on that sunny June morning. The first day of summer.
Jetson’s voice on the phone sounded so loud and full of excitement. I could barely make out two words. “Get over here now!” he yelled. Then only the sound of a dial tone was left behind.
I’m going to say he wanted to say he wanted to show me something. Within less then ten minutes, I was at his front door and following a low, humming sound coming from his study. This was new, I thought, eight tall metal poles equally spaced. Apart with a slight blue glow surrounding them. Jetson was busy working his panel of buttons and knobs totally unaware of my presence. “So what’s up,” I asked?
“What are those things?” A door,” he snapped. This is where I started speaking slowly to Jetson and making a visual note where all the sharp objects were located. “A door,” I asked.
“Hand me that screwdriver and watch this,” he ordered. The bluest haze had become brighter and more formed until finally it looked almost solid. “What the hell is that damn thing?” I asked. Jetson’s excitement was starting to be contagious and I couldn’t resist touching this most odd form in my friend’s apartment. Maybe Jetson yelled at me not to, but I did. I gently touched it with my right hand. A warm feeling, and imagine a long blink of one’s eyes. “WOW”, standing motionless for what seemed like ten minutes, I thought. Could I be dead and on acid at the same time. Maybe I’m the one going nuts. I was breathing but not feeling anything warm or cold. Just being. What the hell did Jetson do to me? I’m definitely going to break that skinny body of his in two.
A quick scan of my environment. Sunny day, white clouds, building both large
and small. This place looks so familiar. It can’t be, oh my God, this looks like my hometown. Didn’t an episode of the “Twilight Zone” begin this way? The town of Greenville, but something was definitely different. People every where. Men, women and children but look at that car. Is that a 69 Plymouth zooming down the street? She looks in damn good condition. Has Jetson invented a machine that can transport people anywhere? He’s going to make a huge fortune and drive the oil companies out of business. My hometown was a nice place to raise a nuclear family. Lots of orange groves. Victorian homes and a wonderful library. I remember spending so many hours in that library. Kinda strange. That library was my best friend. Took me on many trips around the world and on many adventures.
The more I saw of my hometown, the more confused I became. People’s clothes styles were very 70’s, hair long, New buildings where old building stood. What exactly is going on here? It wasn’t until I saw a newspaper in a rack that I hit me like a bolt of white lighting. There it was. A date. This can’t be possible No, No, No!! Please Lord must be a type. But there it was…September 30, 1969. WOW!! Neil Armstrong landing on the moon. Vietnam war, hippies. I can remember all this stuff. Shall I tell any one what’s going to happen? Could I change history? My brain was racing with the possibilities. Could I change history? My friend was racing with the possibilities. Could I make the world a better place or would my involvement screw thing up?
At this point, a young blond lady in a very mini skirt raced by me and purchased the last newspaper. I politely asked if I could see it but she quickly walked on by without even making eye contact. Not the first time I was ignored by a pretty woman. Let’s try this again. As people walked by, I tried to get their attention but to no avail. Was it the way I dressed? Did I smell? After the tenth attempt, I realized I was invisible. Couldn’t be seen or hear. I was a ghost. I could see where this might drive me nuts after several years. Several hours must have passed, but I still haven’t felt hungry. Perhaps without a body per se, there was no need for any food. Oh damn, I love to eat. And then I saw it.
On the corner of Center and Sierra Ave was my old elementary school, Tyler elementary. In 1969, I should be in Mrs. Mitchell’s fourth grade class. Mrs. Mitchell. Now their was an old woman who never should have been around young children. Mrs. Mitchell brought patriotism to a fine and perverted art form. America was God’s chosen country and everyone else was filth. I could remember several teachers who were just plain bullies. Unfortunately, when you’re only 11 years old, not much one can do about. Since I was invisible, let’s take a look at the old battle ax.
My fourth grade class what right where I left her. All my former classmates were visible through the large window facing the street. How I remembered starring outside wishing to be anyplace but that cursed classroom. I stood at the entrance and no one looked up, Mrs. Mitchell was teaching her class our times tables. One scared little girl was standing by herself trying to think what was 9 times 9. It was obvious she did not know the answer, but that did not stop Mrs. Mitchell from humiliating her in front of her classmates. I wished I could tell her the answer. I slowly walked around the class like the invisible man I was and there I saw him. With his eyes lowered and praying not to be called on next was me. I looked so young and afraid. Hair cut short by our father, there I
was. I couldn’t take this any longer. I had to leave. As I turned around for one last look, it happened. My little self looked up and our eyes met. He can see me. Oh my God, what if he could hear. Me? How to approach him without traumatizing him. My mind raced with possibilities. What it I could change my whole future. Had to take that chance. Had to find out. I know this boy named Danny because well, he was me. Me minus 38 years of experience with life and relationships. The list could go on. This was an experience it had to try. How long could I be here? I had no idea. Would there be negative ramifications? Perhaps, I know this kid. What his feeling and fears were and I felt it in my heart. I could help him to make both our lives better. But how to do this?
I know the secret spot where he hides to eat his lunch so as to avoid getting beat up by the chorus of bullies patrolling the school yard. After we deal with these bullies, perhaps we can deal with the adult ones too. Let’s do it.
At the last building, on the far side of school was a small secluded area where I would eat lunch alone. All the other children were laughing and eating together in the lunch area. Being invisible I know no one would ask what a middle age man was doing wandering around the school yard. As I walked around the wall, there I was reading a book and eating lunch. Bag of chips, peanut butter and honey sandwich, fruit and cupcake.
He looked up and our eyes met. After what seemed like an hour, really only ten seconds, I asked “ What ya reading?”
“War of the Worlds” he said.
“H.G. Wells “ I responded.
He nodded and continued reading. That’s good. He can hear me. “Ever read the Time Machine?”
“Yeah” he mumbled.
Let’s get this over with. “Danny Robinson” I said.
“Yeah” he replied, still reading his book.
“That’s my name too” I said waiting for some reaction.
“I know” he said,. “So why did your bleach my hair?” Now I was the one in mild shock. “You know who I am?” I said.
“Yes, and you haven’t answered my question. Why the hair?”
You’re not surprised?” I asked. “I recognized you in class, Isn’t that Mrs. Mitchell a bitch. Lord you look old.”
Danny, I don’t know how I got here but I do know you don’t like eating here by yourself, you don’t like getting picked on and most of all, you don’t like being afraid. Am I correct?”
This was taking talking to one’s self to a new level. This was me. Can it get anymore surreal? Let’s just get down to business and till myself what we are going to do.
“Danny, for both our sakes and our mental and physical health, I want to show you how to effectively deal with bullies.” I could see his brain was thinking and trying to digest what I had just proposed.
He responded with a “Yeah.”
Not too enthusiastic but it will do.
“Danny, close the book and listen up. We are going to make some changes. First, you are the only one who can see or hear me. Talk to me with others around and you will be spending hard time in a psych hospital taking all sorts of nice medications, understand?” I said to myself. He nodded his head.
“After 38 years of life experiences, I can show you how to have more fun and less fear, interested?”
He seemed to be showing a little more interest.
‘Tell me more.” he said
“You have to trust me, Trust yourself in the most literal fashion. I promise you will have more fun but you must trust me and absolutely never, never tell a living soul”
From now on, I think L.D. for little Danny will be used for my eleven year old self. I thought maybe I should have him call me Mr. Robinson. Sounds too much like my father. I think I’ll pass on that. A quick assessment of L.D.’s appearance told me why he was getting picked on. Pants up too high, button up shirt, funky pants, and his whole body language said “take my lunch money.“
“Stand Up” I said. “Now L.D. look me straight in the eye, do not look on the ground anymore.” “Bullies can smell fear and they enjoy picking on the weaker ones of the herd.”
Initially L.D. had problems with this. Years of fearfulness really can take their toll. One thing was odd, I can’t remember any of these every happening. Did I create a different timeline? Jetson would know. After several times of encouragement L.D. started to show some improvement. More confidence was coming to his face. “Try this” I said. Giving L.D. my famous “mean look with my eyes and eyebrows, he almost looked scary.
Now lets work on that voice. Danny, I want you to use a low voice” I said. At a prepubescent stage, this might not be an easy task, but L.D. had to learn. In my adult life, I commanded others respect with the correct body language and voice. Will he be able to accomplish this? Time will tell.
I left L.D. alone with these lessons. Giving him time to digest and practice. The next morning, I was there in his room to wake him and start a new chapter in our lives. During the night, I had time to imagine all the possibilities. Righting wrongs, fighting injustice and helping the helpless. OK, maybe I was getting a little carried away, but this might be a lot of fun for both of us and I wanted to start with Mrs. Mitchell. Every morning, Mrs. Mitchell would have her class stand up and recite the pledge of Allegiance to the flag. Everyone would respectfully stand up and place their hand over their hearts and say those words except on lone boy. Peter would rise but say nothing. This infuriated Mrs. Mitchell. She probably suspected he was a communist. Mrs. Mitchell would tell him he couldn’t sit down until he confessed allegiance to our flag. he refused never saying a word. An hour or two would go by with Peter standing. An 11 year old child against a fanatical old woman. I know that Peter was no communist but a Jehovah Witness. For religious reasons, Jehovah Witnesses didn’t vote, celebrate holidays or recite the pledge of allegiance ever. This was America with the freedom to practice one’s religious beliefs and here was a teacher attempting to force her beliefs on Peter. I think L.D. and I might be able to help Peter.
On the walk to school, we rehearsed what L.D. would say at the appropriate time. I told him this was going to be scary but I could tell L.D. was a little excited to finally put this woman in her place.
I think we’re ready. A well rehearsed L.D. was just ready for his cue. 8:00 am class sitting at our desks. 8:02 she commands everyone to stand and face the flag. And then she begins, everyone but Peter. “With liberty and justice for all”
She said “be seated except Mr. Goodward” Peter respectfully remains standing very familiar with this routine. “Still don’t feel like pledging allegiance to your flag Mr. Goodward?” she hissed. I believe she enjoys these moments. “When your ready you may sit down.” her command flowed from her lips.
Like a director, I pointed my finger at L.D. and gave him his cue.
He stood up alone and said “excuse me Mrs. Mitchell