An intelligent high school student tired of being bullied, Mario Vitelli falls in with the wrong crowd for protection. Though intelligent enough to know the difference between right and wrong, he finds comraderie among those who walk a fine line with the law.
When Giants Speak
Mario Vitelli is a highly intelligent bookworm living in 1980s suburban Chicago. He idolizes such men as Julius Caesar and Conan the Barbarian, finding in them strengths that he does not possess. He was always timid, and once he entered a public high school after eight years of parochial school, a few realities set in. As the object of ridicule and constant abuse from 'jocks', Mario finds himself delving deeper into despair. Help arrives though, in a form Mario never thought possible. His new circle of friends open him to the world of street-smarts imported from the streets of Chicago, and Mario slowly begins to realize that he may start to enjoy what he's learning.
Silence permeates the class at first, then some giggles start to break out, interrupting the only other sound at the moment, the huge metal hunk of a fan whizzing air through the otherwise stale room. I never meant for anyone to hear what I said, it was more like speaking to myself out loud. My comment raises some giggles from the classroom, which pushes me to go further with my commentary. I hold my head up high, and look directly into Bobby’s eyes. He has a deep scowl etched across his face, as if trying to say, “you’re gonna pay for that, Vitelli.” Since I knew I pushed the right buttons, I continue speaking my mind.
“Maybe you should put the football down and pick up a book for Christ’s sake.“ I look at the teacher.” Mr. Sullivan, do I really need to be in the same classroom with these people? It’s bad enough that I need to be in their presence at all, let alone listen to them trying to sound intelligent during class.”
I shift my gaze to Bobby, and continue.
“Just so you know Bobby, and this goes for everyone else in this room; Caesar was not a Greek. He wasn’t Russian, and he sure as hell didn‘t invent a salad. He was a Roman. You have heard of the Romans, haven’t you Big Bob? Here’s a hint for you: They‘re not a football team, and they‘re not from South America. So tell us, Bob, where was Rome? I‘ll watch the clock, you got a minute, big guy, to start turning those wheels in that sack of rocks on top of your shoulders. Tick, Tock. Tick, Tock. Let‘s go, Big Bob.”