The Adventures of Billy and Bobby
Book 3, Chapter 6
by Greg Wright
"Hey Bobby, I got an A on my book report."
"Congratulations, Daniel, it must be nice," Bobby replied.
"Why, what did you get?"
"I got a B; I almost always get Bís."
"A B isnít bad," Daniel consoled. "Mrs. Warren is real picky. She complained about the pages that were torn by the yucca bush and said she would count off for that, next time."
Bobby laughed. "I doubt if youíll let that happen again. Howís everything else going? Have you had any more trouble with the bullies?"
"No, they havenít bothered me since the day you threw Ronald across the room. However, Iíve heard some rumors that worry me."
"It is being whispered that the bullies plan to get even with you. They donít mind me, so much; but they consider you to be a threat to their power. They want to scare you enough so that you wonít interfere with what they do."
"Nah, thatís just a lot of talk. I wouldnít worry about it. Guys like that thrive on giving off hot air."
"Bobby, you might be right, but it wouldnít hurt for us to be careful where we can. For example, maybe it would be safer for us to walk along the road, visibly, rather than take a short cut through the woods."
"Do you think we should give up the woods?" Bobby asked, in disbelief. "Thatís the most fun part of walking to school. Do you mean we should give up climbing the live oaks, exploring the creeks, and swinging on the kudzu vines, just because of a bunch of rumors and gossip? I donít think so."
Daniel shook his head and shrugged his shoulders as he hesitantly followed Bobby down the wooded path. Bobby continued, "you canít base your life on fear. You canít let..."
"Bobby look out!" Daniel yelled.
Reggie jumped down from an overhanging live oak branch, barely missing Bobby. Then, Bobby moved his head just in time to avoid being punched in the teeth. Bobby, grabbing Reggieís collar and extended arm, threw him, smashing his head against a tree.
Then, Ronald jumped out of the bushes and struck Bobby in the Kidney. Just as Bobby turned to face him, Ross jumped out from the other side of the path and grabbed Bobby from behind.
"Daniel run!" Bobby yelled. Then he flipped Ross over his head.
Daniel ran back up the wooded path towards the road. When he reached the road, he turned around just in time to see Bobby fall. Bobby didnít move. The bully trio cheered and kicked him mercilessly.
Daniel raced back down the hill and plunged with all his might into the lower back of Reggie, making Reggie fall forward, on top of Bobby.
"Get rid of that kid!" Reggie yelled.
Ronald shouted, "Get out of here or youíll be next!" Then he grabbed Daniel by the collar and threw him into a thorn bush.
Daniel, who by now felt like a sheltie trying to break up a fight between dobermans, ran back over and tried to trip Ronald by grabbing him by the right leg.
Instead of falling, Ronald struck Daniel in the eye with his elbow.
Suddenly, Daniel noticed a large fire ant mound close by. The bullies were wearing their saggy baggy pants. "How convenient," Daniel thought. Reggie was the saggiest, baggiest of them all. Quickly, Daniel scooped dirt from the fire ant mound into his ball cap. Then, he ran over to Reggie, pulled back his boxers from behind, and poured in the dirt.
The dirt was full of angry fire ants. In about ten seconds, Reggie became so uncomfortable from the bites he was receiving in the most private places, that he completely lost interest in Bobby.
Daniel continued to try to distract the bullies from Bobby by scooping another hat full of dirt and pouring it down Ronaldís collar. Unfortunately, most of it spilled down the outside of Ronaldís shirt.
Then, Ross chased after Daniel and caught him. Ross grabbed one arm; Ronald grabbed the other. Twisting Daniel's arms, they forced his face into the ground.
"Hey Daniel, letís go kiss some fire ants," Ross jeered. They laughed mercilessly as they dragged his head towards the fire ant mount. Their laughter was loud, muffling the footsteps of two other boys who were about to join the fray.
It was Eric and John, previous friends of Bobby, who had turned on him shortly after Daniel arrived. Yet, here they were.
Suddenly, without warning, Eric grabbed Ross and John grabbed Ronald. Experienced fighters, they used the element of surprise to their advantage, striking the bully pair in the pressure points of the neck, between the eyes, in the temple, and finally in the kidney.
Ronald and Ross fell.
Reggie, oblivious to everything else, had removed his pants and underwear, searching for the well-hidden fire ants that were still biting him. When Eric and John moved towards Reggie, he grabbed his clothing and ran. Ronald and Ross quickly recovered and ran after him.
Gently, Daniel kneeled beside Bobby and tried to revive him. When Bobby regained consciousness, he was surprised to see Eric and John. "Where did you guys come from?"
"Connie sent us," Eric responded.
"She overheard that the bullies were planning to ambush you on the way home from school," John explained. "She looked for you. When she didnít find you, she asked us to chase after you and warn you."
"Connie has a way of bringing out the best in people," Bobby stated appreciatively.
"Why Bobby, thatís kind of you to say that," Connie said, as she walked down the hill, surprising everyone. Then she turned towards Daniel.
"Daniel, are you okay?"
Daniel nodded shyly. Then he brushed himself off and extended his hand to Bobby. Bobby took his hand and rose slowly to his feet. Connie gasped at the bruises on their faces.
"Bobby, how badly are you hurt?"
"Iím okay Connie, thanks to you sending Eric and John. Nothing hurts very much except my head. I think two of the bullies hit me in the head at the same time."
Then, Bobby looked at Daniel. "What are you doing here? I told you to run."
Daniel was picking thorns out of his flesh and rubbing his hands where some of the fire ants had bitten him.
"I know," Daniel replied, "but when I saw you fall to the ground, I guess I forgot to be scared."
"You should have seen Daniel," John explained. "We could see him from the top of the hill. He really went after those bullies. He even knocked Reggie on his face. Then, when he was unable to get the rest of them off of you, he gave them the fire ant treatment."
Eric laughed. "Reggie was hilarious, trying to get those fire ants out of his pants."
John continued. "When we got here, Ross and Ronald were about to stick Danielís face in the fire ant mound."
Bobby looked at Daniel. "That would have been a terrible experience. You were very brave today. Itís easy for me to be brave, because Iím big and I know how to fight. But you showed real courage. Iíll never forget what you did."
Daniel nodded and smiled.
"Guys, I think there is a lesson, here," Connie offered. "None of us can solve this bully problem by ourselves. Itís going to take all of us, working together. What happened today could have been much worse. But, because Bobby was strong, Daniel was faithful, and Eric and John intervened; the bullies didnít win."
She was about to continue, but started laughing when she saw Bobby and Daniel, beside each other. "You guys match!"
"They look like pandas, with patches over their eyes," John observed.
"Thatís it," Eric declared. "From now on, theyíre the panda brothers."
"You know," Connie whispered into Bobbyís ear, "Iím kind of partial to pandas."
Then, without warning, as she turned to walk away, she kissed him on the cheek.
"Whooaaa!" The guys whistled and cheered good naturedly.
Bobby turned a dark purplish red. But deep in his heart, where none of the other guys could see, he smiled.
Daniel helped Bobby to his house, as they both limped along. Then Daniel walked home, alone. Looking in a mirror, he could see his shiner forming and darkening. But in the days ahead, he would wear it like a medal. For today, Daniel had proved that he was a faithful friend, a friend who was real, a friend who could be trusted.
And now, having proved this, it was easier for him to believe that Bobby could be trusted, as well.
And yet he was puzzled; Bobby had proved himself a faithful friend long before Daniel was able to prove himself worthy. It was like Bobby expected nothing in return. Why was Bobby like that? What made Bobby different from other people?
Daniel shrugged his shoulders, unable to answer his own question. But for now, it didnít matter. It felt good to have a real friend. And although his body ached on the outside, the warmth he felt on the inside seemed to flow, soothing his pain, as the walls he had built around himself began to melt.