This story is retold to me by my little brother, Travis, as I cannot recall the details of it myself.
The setting: Snyder, Texas.
A town so small and insignificant that it didn’t get its first McDonalds until the 90’s. It was an up and coming little town at one point, during the oil years of the 80’s. But then the oil boom, became an oil bust, as they always do. When that happened, the town, like an old woman, shriveled up and shrank somewhat.
This was just before the bust. My family lived on the bottom floor of a run-down apartment building — The Coleman Apartments. These apartments held many families just like mine, worn down blue collar families who had never seen any other style of life than these tenements.
With these families come children. Lots of children. Lots of screaming and hooting children.
Childhood is fraught with perils. Spinach, brussels sprouts and bullies, not necessarily in that order.
I am a fairly laid back guy. Ask anyone, they’ll agree.
However, along with my easygoing nature, comes with an incongruous measure of justice. So much, that if something were to rouse my nature as a justiciar, I would wreak havoc upon them, with little to no regard for my well-being.
So, To tell the story as my brother retells it:
It was a summer afternoon. The kind that impels the neighborhood children to open up fire hydrants and to make slip-n-slides appear as if by prestidigitation. When the heat comes on strong, the bullies come out, to take their frustrations out on the smaller children. This was no exception.
Apparently, some kid ran down the block past my apartment (read: hovel) calling for help, as his brother was being beaten up by a bully.
So I rose from my place, playing with antlions in the dirt, looked into the distance, with a hard look in my eyes and took off running at top speed. (with Travis quickly behind me)
The scenery blurred as my short legs (I was seven at the time) chugged me along like a locomotive.
As my target came into view, my brother tells me my speed increased even more, and I ran, head held low as I made my approach.
With a heroic crash, I plowed into this slug, this pathetic waste of skin, this bully. I can only imagine I got him square on the solar plexus, as he crumpled and fell immediately. I then began jumping up and down on my fallen foe. Some would have said that the fight was done the moment he fell, but I wanted to make sure that every other fight after that was won as well, so I kicked him without mercy, and stood triumphant over his fallen form, taking in the cheers and adoration of the neighborhood children who had witnessed the entire thing.
That bully was never seen again (I’m told that his family moved out of embarrassment, which would be true justice)
It took a trip back to Snyder in my middle teens to make me realize the impact of my actions, as I was approached by a kid my age, who instantly recognized me because of my heroics that day.