I heard him before I saw him, and, even after 50 years, I knew that this night would not be as conflict free as I had hoped. He had been the king of trash talk at our high school, always calling people ugly names, trying to be seen as tough. But, I had learned in my profession that mean guys are nearly always cowards, afraid to actually fight someone, especially another guy.
His nasty opinions of others seemed to galvanize the young men who were his staunch supporters into all manner of outre behaviors , such as leering at the girls as they passed through the hallways. The pain that he and his minions inflicted on innocent people was something awful to watch.
I was one of his favorite targets in high school, and as I entered with my husband, I saw his eyes light up, as a preview to starting some mess with me. But, on this night, he picked the wrong one!
For the last thirty years, I have worked in the murky underground of the intelligence community, sort of a female Jason Bourne, if you will. I was off the grid a lot, as I traveled incognito in many a country, gathering intelligence for national security. I had learned how to handle bullies like him.
He walked over, smiled as though he were being friendly, hugged me so hard it hurt, and referred to me by an old derogatory name. A couple of his minion started to laugh, until I grabbed his hands from around me and did some damage beyond repair to them.
He stared at me through pain-filled eyes and said, “You didn’t have to do that?” But, I did, you see, or he would have caused others much pain that night. And, while I could do nothing to stop him as a young girl, I could today as a experienced fighter.
I responded, “Grow up, all of you!” And as we walked away, my husband gave me a fist bump, his way of saying, “Great job!”
Fictional story written for Wordle #152 from Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie. The twelve words are in bold print in the story.