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Tooth and Claw – Chapter 3

AUTHOR: Francesco Nassimbeni

PUBLISHER: FunDza Literacy Trust

LANGUAGE: English

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I hate Funeka Mtshali. She bullies people and today I’m her target.

“Oh my gosh! Why is your chest still so flat?” she says, as we are getting into our gym clothes.

Now, I am sensitive about this. I don’t have a big chest like some girls. To me, I don’t care, but for some people, you would think it is the single most important thing in the world.

Sometimes I hear boys going on about someone’s boobs, as if the boobs are people or something. Who cares? Boys are dumb.

She’s waiting for me to answer so she and her friends can laugh, but I don’t play along.

I just continue dressing. This angers her. She isn’t getting the attention she wants.

“Hey, skinny-legs,” she says, walking up to me. “You think you too good to talk to me?”

I turn to face her. I don’t answer her. I just stare at her. I have nothing to say. Why don’t I fight back? I don’t know. She deserves a punch in the face, but I don’t move.

I’m just so tired; I’m so tired of how rubbish people can be. It, like, takes my energy away or something.

She suddenly juts her face into mine, a sign of aggression. My heart stops; I expect a punch.

None comes. She sees I’ve flinched though, and this makes her smile. She snorts out of her nose, pleased that she made me flinch.

I wish she was dead.

I forgot to pack lunch, so I’m hungry after break-time. I guess I could have asked someone to share theirs, but I hold back. I don’t why, but I hold myself back from a lot of stuff.

I can’t concentrate in Maths. Mr Dlamini asks me to come complete a diagram on the board. It’s this hypotenuse business. I have to calculate it. He hands me the chalk. I stand at the board, staring at the shape. It means nothing to me.

All I can think about is what a cow Funeka Mtshali is.

I also think it’s mean how they make you do sums in front of other people. It’s too much pressure.

He’s getting impatient so I start to write. I don’t know what the answer is, so I just draw a 1, which I can make into a 4 if I need to.

Then I get an idea – I press too hard. The chalk snaps. It was a small piece to begin with, and the stub I have left is too small to write with.

I turn to him and shrug.

He shakes his head. “Just sit down,” he says, disappointed.

You don’t need to tell me twice. I get back to my desk.

Then: the last straw. A crunched-up piece of paper lands on my desk. I turn around to see who it was. Funeka is looking at me with her eyes narrowed, and a smile.

I unroll the paper. It’s a picture of me, drawn in pen. I look like a boy. There’s an arrow pointing to my chest, and the words: ‘no-boobs’.

I lose it. I rush over to her desk. I flip it over. Her pencils scatter everywhere. In a second everyone is around us, shouting.

I jump at her, taking her collar in my fists.

“What do you want from me?!” I scream, right into her face. “Huh? What?”

Her eyes look different from how they were this morning. She is really scared.

That surprises me. I didn’t know I could be scary. It’s kind of a good feeling.

***

Tell us: Is it usually a good idea to fight back against a bully?

22 Responses

  1. It z not a good idea its better to keep quiet even if its hurt to avoid noise …

    confie
    20 Mar 2017 at 07:25

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