I never thought Rick
was that bad. I mean, I never really knew Terri, or the details of what Rick did to her – but when he came back,
he didn’t seem that abusive or crazy or anything, so I was willing to give him a second chance. I was the only one,
were doing to him was cruel; just plain sick. Jimmy, Spinner, Paige, all of them – throwing him in trash cans, pushing
him into lockers, writing graffiti all over his car. Not that I thought Rick beating Terri was okay, but that was a year ago;
Rick had made up for it and Terri was fine. I thought that whole crowd needed a reality check.
we were being mean; malicious, even. But what no one seems to understand is that that physco put one of our best friends into
a coma. What would you do if you were in my shoes, if the guy you hated most went to your school? Would you treat him with
respect? Or would you push him around a little?
I became friends
with Rick simply because there were no others. My former best friend, JT, had ditched me for some other, cooler, kids. Neither
of us had anyone else, so we stuck together as a way to protect ourselves. It was self defense, really. But I didn’t
try to stop Jimmy or Spinner when they beat Rick. How could I? Then they’d just beat me up, too.
Rick was a
loser, man. No one liked him. People like Abby and Emma – who were too nice for their own good – were polite and
friendly to him, but basically everyone just ignored him. Except Toby. Toby and Rick became quite chummy, actually, and it
was kind of creepy. The guy was a physco who beat up on girls. How could anyone forget that?
team was pretty fun, actually. It was me, Abby, Toby, and Rick – Jimmy came later – and during the practices all
we would do was sit around and shoot trivia questions at each other. The rest of us were good, but Rick was amazing. He knew
everything from physics to Shakespeare. He was like a human encyclopedia. While his extensive knowledge was really cool –
it meant we were a shoe infor the finals – at the same time it was also
kind of sad. It meant that he had spent his summer at home, reading book after book after book. What kind of life is that?
I was a little
pissed when Simpson put me on the Whack-Your-Whatever team as a last-minute replacement. I didn’t want anything to do
with Rick. But after a while, I realized he wasn’t all that bad of a guy. A little dorky, sure, but okay enough. That’s
when I realized how bad we’d been treating him. So I stopped. I tried to get the others to, too, but they just wouldn’t
listen. They kept knocking his books over, making fun of him in the halls. I don’t know how he dealt with it; how he
found the courage to keep coming back day after day. I think Rick Murray was stronger than anyone of us ever realized.
The days before
the Whack-Your-Brain finals had been good ones for Rick. He had made peace with Jimmy; made some friends out of Abby and Emma.
Even the daily beatings had lessened up a little. At the time, we thought it was because everyone was starting to forgive
Rick. Really, though, it was because they were planning something even worse. Something big.
I didn’t come
up with the entire paint-and-feathers plan, just so you know. That was all Jay. I just went along with it. Not that I didn’t
do anything wrong- because I did – but I didn’t start it. I’m
not that mean. He decided when we would do it, how it would all come together, and all that stuff. And, being the stupid
person I am, I did exactly what he told me. I didn’t think about what would happenafter we spilled the paint on Rick; how he’d react. All I thought about was the kickI’d get out of seeing that bastard covered in paint in front of the entire school.
The worst part was
how mean I was to Rick the day of the competition. You see, he tried to kiss me. Kiss me! He actually thought
I liked him like that. All I had been doing was being nice to him! I freaked out. I called him a pathetic freak, I
think. A bit harsh, I think you’d agree. But what else was I supposed to do? HE KISSED ME!
What they did –
Jay and Spinner – to Rick was one of the most horrific things I’d ever seen any human being do. We’d just
won the entire competition, all thanks to Rick. You may not know, but that really did – does – mean a lot. We
now have over a dozen new computers in our Media Immersion Lab, and money for new sports equipment – not that those
asses cared. They don’t care about things like that.
Dude, I didn’t
like Rick. I’ll be the first to admit it. But what they did to him? It was horrible. Rick may have been dorky; he may
have beat Terri. But did he deserve to have a Carrie pulled on him? Never. No one deserved that.
After he answered that final question, Rick was standing there, beaming; basking
in his one moment of glory. But those bastards wouldn’t let him have it. They ruined everything and poured that yellow
crap all over him. You could hear a pin drop after it happened. Everyone was too afraid to speak. What were we supposed to
say? How could we make something like that better?
Rick disappeared after that. I looked for him as long as I could, but I couldn’t
find him anywhere. No one else cared, though. They all just laughed, and went to class. It was all just some big prank to
them. Not to Rick, though. To Rick, it was the final straw.
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