It’s dusty in here, there’s cobwebs in the corners and a thick layer of dust settled on everything. But don’t worry, I’m here to clean up today.
There are defining moments in any man’s life. Even Kenny Rodgers had a song for it. Something about having to fight to be a man.
This was such a moment for Bruce.
In front of the class, the teacher was harassing him. Shaming him and bruising the only thing that men care about: their ego. Since the first year, this teacher had always been on Bruce’s neck. It was a personal vendetta he had against him. Slowly, a dark resentment grew in Bruce’s heart. How he always found fault in him every time they met. Everything about Bruce seemed to rub him the wrong way. Either his hair wasn’t combed well enough. His beard overgrowing. Not buttoning the top button of his shirt. Or his tie sagged. He was always in Bruce’s business.
Today was no different, this teacher had again picked on Bruce. Bruce had been facing down reading a book, the teacher had been on patrol that night. After observing Bruce through the window for some time, he’d shouted at him from the window.
“Bruce! Stop sleeping during prep!”
“I wasn’t sleeping sir, I was reading.” Bruce says as he lifts his book.
“No! I saw you, you were sleeping! Stand up and go to the front.”
“But sir…” Bruce tried to plead, a tinge of anger in his voice. Before he could finish, the teacher had already charged off, toward the door.
Bruce begrudgingly stood up and slowly walked to the front, with a ‘screw this man’ look on his face.
When they met at the front, the teacher shoved him toward the wall. “Hold the wall, I’ll show you the cost of sleeping.”
“But sir I wasn’t sleeping.”
“Are you calling me a fool?!” The teacher roared as he roughed him up.
“No.” Bruce responded visibly tired of his bullshit.
“Then grab the wall!” Another angry shove from the teacher.
As Bruce slammed against the wall, he snapped quick, like a dry twig, and retaliated.
Now Bruce had a monstrous frame. Everything about him was huge. His head, His arms. His feet. Everything. The lack of rugby in their school was such a waste of him. He was so big that his blazer had to be tailored separately for him as his size wasn’t readily available. Even his real name wasn’t Bruce. That had just come up in primary school because of his size and stuck with him. A shove from him wasn’t just a shove, it was a cosmic push from a giant.
He pushed the teacher angrily in his moment of anger. There was a little screech of furniture and then silence. What 8-4-4 calls pin drop silence. Silence that lasted seconds but felt like an eternity for Bruce who was cooling off from his fit of frenzy.
Then suddenly, a horrific scream arose from a girl at the front. Then another. Then another elsewhere.
When Bruce looked down, his black leather shoe was in a pool of blood. Inside the pool was the teacher’s wooden rod. The rod that had never been spared on him. Beside it, the stationary frame of a man who was shouting angrily a few minutes ago. The right side of his head with a little hole that sprayed blood periodically, like a garden sprinkler.
What was happening? Why were people screaming? Why was Paul, his desk mate, grimaced in horror? Why the fuck was there small crowd of people gathered at the door?
Bruce was spazzed out. He knew what was going on but his mind was having trouble trying to accept it. He finally moved when Paul pulled him aside, terrified and cussing. And that’s when it everything came into focus.
The teacher lay immobile in front of them, presumably dead. He lay there so helpless, a misrepresentation of the man he was when he was alive, because death puts the mightiest men on their back.
The crowd was growing. Whispers were growing into agitated conversations amidst the constant shrieks of horror.
Bruce looked around confused and bewildered, wondering what next?
A group of guys now surrounded the body, the first aid team. They looked for pulses that weren’t there. At the back of everyone’s mind, it was certain that he was lifeless.
Paul had been inside Bruce’s ear the whole time.
“Look, let’s go to the watchie, tell him what happened. He might be alive. They’ll call an ambulance.”
“And then what?” Bruce retorted. “I go to prison?!… I need to flee.”
“Don’t, only guilty people flee.”