I've just amped up (all right, edited) my proposal for this book, and my agent is making a couple of new submissions. So we'll see. Keep you posted.
A year later, when I'm twelve, Quentin threatens to push my chair down the stairs for no discernible reason. The long-haired boy who's frightened me since first grade, he still has the beady eyes that never take me in whole. We're alone in the hallway; I told my friend Adam to go ahead, not to be late for his class, because I'm confident someone else will come along for me. Quentin happens to be the first person who does.
"I could push you to right down those steps, and you couldn't stop me," he says coolly, between heavy breaths. "No, really, nothing you could do, is there? If I wanted to. And I think I do—"
"You won't," I answer, though I believe he's entirely capable of acting on his minatory words. "You know I'll tell and you'll be in deep shit."
"I'll say it was an accident."
"I can make people believe me."
"But you can't stop me. You can't do anything about it!"
He's got me there. And the more he says it, the more my insides shake. Not my outsides. I won't give him the satisfaction. "You're not going to do it. It'd be stupid."
It would be stupid. At best he'd get kicked out of school. If I got really hurt he could be put in jail. At least that's the way I'm thinking. Can I convince him?
It becomes a staring contest. For strength, I think about Captain Kirk in "The Corbomite Maneuver." It's all about the bluff.
Then, just as abruptly as he appeared, Quentin turns and walks away, giggling under his breath. When he's far enough I close my eyes and count to ten. I have enough time to calm down before a teacher shows up and pushes me to my classroom. I don't tell her or anyone else. Don't want to portray my fear and potential vulnerability, or incur Quentin's retribution. Yet I feel good. I think of the Winston Churchill quote, one of many Dad cites on occasion: "Nothing in life is so exhilarating as to be shot at without result."
Sure, I'm fat and wear glasses and a weird-looking back brace, and have a stupid green jug urinal sticking out of the bag on my back—but I still have inner strength. I may be easily pushed in my wheelchair, but I won't be pushed around.
So I willfully resolve to remain truculent ... preemptively thick-skinned and bristly ... until, at length, another discovery prompts a counter-pledge.