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Angels Aware by T.M. Goeglein w/Giveaway

As posted on “Anti-Bully Project” on November 15, 2013

Angels Aware

I’m envious of people who believe in angels.

It must make life more bearable, assuming that unseen, ethereal beings are watching from above.

Although—

Okay. The truth is, I did see an angel, once.

Played baseball with him.

Smoked pot with him.

If you want to know what an angel looks like, I can tell you from experience that he was a six-foot two-inch tall, three hundred and ten pound, seventeen-year-old African American guy who loved cowboy movies where the bad guys paid dearly at the end.

His name was Malcolm.

He did not suffer fools lightly.

Malcolm was an avenger.

I went to a shitty high school on the wrong side of a tough town.

I wasn’t bullied. The larger miracle is that I was not a bully.

It had to do with being a better than okay athlete, and more importantly, incapable of regarding other human beings as punching bags for my own emotional deficits. I was a sarcastic, cynical smart-ass (um, so much has changed) but hands-off when it came to kids who were bullied. I never joined in, but also never intervened.

Malcolm taught me to be hands-on in the correct manner.

We were ‘neighborhood,’ as in we occupied the same grimy city block. Within that concrete wasteland, Malcolm was that guy—large, cool, charming, moving down the sidewalk like a quiet, self-assured steamship, parting kids in waves of pimply humanity, earning a smile and a wave from even the baddest bad-ass adults.

Roger was the opposite.

Small-boned, odd smelling, poorly dressed—every stereotype of a victim in one traumatized package. You can imagine the torture he was subjected to in our Thunderdome of a high school. You can picture his tormentors. Every day was a fresh hell for Roger.

By Malcolm’s logic, all of us who dwelled on that block belonged to his flock.

Roger, too, was ‘neighborhood.’

And one day, Malcolm had enough.

I pause to ask, have you ever seen a person thrown bodily through the air?

It’s an amazing sight—the heft, the toss, the scream, the hands and feet bicycling empty air, the crunchy landing.

Beautiful, under the right circumstances.

There were two of them, I don’t remember names, but one possessed a set of overly large teeth. It looked as if he were smuggling his grandfather’s dentures in his mouth. There was never a moment when his giant teeth weren’t visible in his face.

The other one, whatever he looked like, has been excised from memory. Except that he wore a White Sox jersey that day.

That fateful day.

When the two of them pulled down not only Roger’s pants in a crowded hallway, but his underwear, as well. They pushed him, held his arms, kicked him on his bare ass as he struggled and failed to cover himself. Roger did not cry. He did not scream. His face was purple and his public nakedness, pants around ankles, was as shockingly pale as freshly butchered veal, displayed as it was for what, fifty students? A hundred? All of who did nothing. Including me. I only watched. I couldn’t stop watching.

And then, nearby, a musky presence, looming, talking to himself.

“What the fuck?”

I turned to Malcolm staring past me at Roger, at Teeth and White Sox.

“They. He is. There was no,” I said. I didn’t know what I was saying.

It didn’t matter because Malcolm sailed away, piercing Roger’s circle of humiliation, and without a word slapped White Sox across the face with an open-palmed thwack that sent the guy to another planet. He twirled and sat and didn’t move.

Malcolm said, “Pull your pants up,” and Roger did, and hurried away.

Malcolm said to Teeth, to everyone watching, to the entire school, the universe, unborn future generations, “Leave him alone. From now on, you will leave him alone.”

Teeth erred.

He opened his mouth and made a noise—the beginning of an excuse, an apology, surely not a rejoinder?—but no matter, it was something other than complete, silent acquiescence, and Malcolm’s large arms flew from his body like twin pythons, ensnared Teeth by the collar, the jeans, seemed to crush and mush him into a roundish ball-like substance, and threw him down the hallway.

Over the heads of gaping kids.

So high Teeth nearly scraped the buzzing fluorescent lights.

He landed hard, rolled, paused, groaned, rose, walked away.

A bell rang.

Lunchtime.

“You don’t step in, you’re one of them,” from the mouth of an avenging angel.

That was all Malcolm said over his plate full of tacos.

From that day on, I never again did nothing.

See the original post and enter for the Give-Away, at the “Anti-Bully Project”

Posted by T.M. Goeglein on 11/15 at 02:28 PM