of all my years living in an abusive orphanage in Jacksonville, Florida;
my days of being biullied were the worst days of my life. I will never
forget the horror and the fright. If you get a chance take
a look at the short film Edward Asner produced, based on my short story
"The Bully". It tells about my meeting one of my high school bullies several
years ago in a restaurant after 45 years. Roger
into the Huddle House Restaurant in Brunswick, Georgia and sat down at
the counter as all of the booths were taken. I picked up a menu and began
to look at the various items trying to decide if I wanted to order breakfast
or just go ahead and eat lunch.
me" said someone, as they touched me on the shoulder.
up and turned to the side to see a rather nice looking woman standing before
your name Roger" by any chance?" she asked me.
I responded, looking rather confused as I had never seen the woman before.
name is Barbara and my husband is Tony." she said, pointing to a distant
table near the door leading into the bathrooms.
in the direction that she was pointing but I did not recognize the man
who was sitting, alone at the table.
sorry. I'm, ah. I'm ah, confused. I don't think that I know you guys. But
my name is Roger. Roger Kiser" I told her.
Claxton. Tony from Landon High School in Jacksonville, Florida?" she asked
really sorry. The name doesn't ring a bell." I said.
turned and walked back to her table and sat down. She and her husband immediately
began talking and once in a while I would see her turn around in her seat
and look directly at me.
decided to order breakfast and a cup of decaffeinated coffee. I sat there
continually racking my brain trying to remember who this Tony guy was.
must know him" I though to myself. "He recognizes me for some reason."
I picked up my coffee up and took a sip. All of a sudden it came to me
like a flash of lighting.
TONY THE BULL." I mumbled, as I swung myself around on my stool and faced
in his direction.
bully of my seventh grade geography class" I thought.
many times that sorry bastard had made fun of my big ears in front of the
girls in my class? How many times this sorry son-of-a-bitch had laughed
at me because I had no parents and had to live in a orphanage? How many
times this big bully slammed me up against the lockers in the hallway just
to make himself look like a big man to all the other students?
raised his hand and waived at me. I smiled, returned the waive and turned
back around and began to eat my breakfast.
so thin now. Not the big burley guy that I remember from back in 1957"
I thought to myself.
of a sudden I heard the sound of dishes breaking so I spun around to see
what had happened. Tony had accidenatlly hit several plates knocking them
off the table as he was trying to get into his wheelchair, which had been
parked in the bathroom hallway while they were eating. The waitress ran
over and started picking up the broken dishes and I listened as Tony and
his wife tried to apologize.
Tony rolled by me, being pushed by his wife, I looked up and I smiled.
he said, as he nodded his head forward.
I responded, as I nodded my head, in return.
as they went out of the door and slowly made their way to a large van which
had a wheelchair loader located in the side door of the vehicle.
and watched as his wife tried, over and over, to get the ramp to come down.
But it just would not work. Finally I got up, paid for my meal, and I walked
up to the van.
the problem?" I asked.
thing sticks once in a while" said Tony. "Could you help me get him in
the van?" asked his wife.
think I can do that" I said, as I grabbed the wheelchair and rolled Tony
over to the passenger door.
the door and locked the brakes on the wheelchair.
Arms around the neck Dude" I said, as I reached down and grabbed him around
the waist and carefully raised him up into the passenger seat of the van.
Tony let go of my neck I reached over and swung his limp, lifeless legs,
one at a time, into the van so that they would be stationed directly in
front of him.
remember. Don't you?" he said, looking directly into my eyes.
remember Tony" I said.
guess your thinking "What goes around comes around." he said, softly.
would never think like that, Tony" I said, with a stern look on my face.
reached over and grabbed both of my hands and squeezed them tightly.
how I feel in this wheelchair how you felt way back then when you lived
in the orphan home?" he asked me.
Tony. You are very lucky though. You have someone to push you around who
loves you. I didn't." I responded.
in my pocket and pulled out one of my cards that had my home telephone
number written on it and I handed it to him.
me a call sometimes. We'll do lunch" I told him.
there watching as they drove toward the interstate and finally disappeared
onto the southbound ramp. I hope he calls me sometime. He will be the only
friend that I have from my high school days.
from The Life and Times of Chicken Soup for the Soul Author, Roger Dean