Wild Legs

Right now I can’t think of anything I’d rather do than pound Hunter Newman’s face.  He’s been blowing that trumpet into the ear of every girl since we came off stage from our winter band concert.

“Will, hows about taking Hunter down the hall?”

“He’s on my last nerve, man.  I’m in.”

“What about Miss Flournoi?”

“She’s conducting the high schoolers.  Not a problem.”

I don’t know if he’ll bait, but I told Will to take Josh and Tuck in the bathroom and stage a fight.  I’m gonna convince Hunter. He’s blasting that hideous screeching note right in Brittany Aylor’s face.  That’s it.  He’ll definitely bait when I tell him they’re smashing Will.  He’s hated Will since the second grade when Will called Hunter’s mom a Quaker.

“Hunter, come on,” I whisper to him while grabbing his shoulder.  “They’ve got Will on the ground in the locker room.  Now’s your chance.”

As I swing open the door to the boy’s locker room the smell of sour socks and sweaty sneakers smacks me across the face.  Down the hall I can hear the squeaking of dress shoes and the fake stomps of Will’s bashing.  Hunter is a two step sprint behind me.  We round the row of lockers together to find Will pushed against a bench and the boys standing over him.  As I dodge past Will, the boys turn to face Hunter like a pack of hungry jackals.  For a brief moment I catch the flash of fear across Hunter’s face.  His eyes expand and his cheeks burn bright with a burst of blood.  As the boys pounce in Hunter’s direction, he scuffles backwards and trips over a loose gym shoe.  Josh and Tuck are on him like dogs.  They try to get close enough to hit him in the chest, but a furious frenzy of feet has broken loose.  Hunter’s wild legs flail vigorously, thudding against the wooden bench and slamming metal locker doors shut.  The boys are being kicked solidly about the shins and groin so they grab Hunter by his shoulders and yank him to his feet.  Hunter tries to stumble backwards but is forcibly pinned against the row of lockers.  His wild legs never stop going, for they are his only hope.  With their elbows, the boys take turns keeping Hunter propped upright while the other lands a punch square into his stomach.  They go back and forth with the blows to Hunter’s stomach, but his legs never quit.

During the entire scuffle, Will had been waiting for his chance to silence Hunter.  I knew he still hated Hunter for claiming his spot as fastest on the playground during Field Day last year.  The victory made Hunter the most popular kid in the fourth grade, at least for a week or so, and it humiliated Will in front of Becky.

Finally Josh and Tuck get Hunter’s legs pinned down by the weight of their hips into his knees.  Will pushes between the boys to get to Hunter.  He grabs at Hunter’s shirt collar, but only rips off his clip-on tie.  With the second grab Will bundles a handful of shirt in his hand and rips it open.  With his balled fist, Will lands the first punch to Hunter’s face just beneath his nose.  The second jab follows immediately and lands squarely in his left eye socket.  Hunter’s neck snaps back and his head bounces off the empty aluminum locker.  The sight causes me to cringe and I can feel my stomach twisting and knotting itself together.  Suddenly the tension inside my gut snaps and a mustard green explosion of puke is splattered across the moldy tile floor.  It sloshes over Hunter’s tie and follows the grout to the boys’ rubber soles.

“Ry, what the heck, man?” they ask.  They release their hold on Hunter and he drops to the floor, his forearm landing in the pool of upturned corndog and lemonade.  Josh, Tuck and Will scram for the door and so it’s just me, Hunter and the mess of vomit.


One response to this post.

  1. Dang, this is good stuff, Ben!

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