STORY: Tell Him Something Pretty
SERIES: Bully / Canis Canem Edit
SUMMARY: A complete interpretation of Gary Smith's personal war on Bullworth Academy. Pre/through/& post game. (Epic.)
RATING: Rated T for a tiny and/or titanic bit of coarse language and references to sexy sex.
DISCLAIMER: The characters and/or places herein are not public domain. The author is not accepting funds for the publication of this work.
Tradition. Nepotism. Struggle. Controversy. Bullworth, New England, is a city that embodies all of these things. Its a fairly large suburb but it can be easily mapped into four key sections. First is Old Bullworth Vale, it rests cradled by the coast line and its streets move and curve with the land making it popular with the well-to-do. Among other things there is a picturesque lighthouse, a stately park, and a traveling carnival that never seems to go away. It is a very unique old village, you see. Should you travel down the winding roads you'll reach the vale's ugly step sister, Bullworth Town. The town is host to several lackluster attractions which include a second hand clothing shop, town hall, and an abandoned movie theatre. Word is it won't be long before it becomes like its neighbor, New Coventry. New Coventry is little more than a railroad yard with public housing festering around it. The crime here is immeasurable and it also happens to be the choice meeting place for the city's harder brand of youth. Moving through the back alley's of this place inevitably leads to the underbelly of Bullworth, The Blue Skies' Industrial Park. Like most places that are inappropriately named there is nothing sunny about this place. It is home to several warehouses and factories (some haunted) and is where the city's dropouts live their lives. Seeing how it is a sad and lonely place only a handful of people live here; in matchbox trailers I might add. Now, imagine if you will, traveling from the vale into town, then down to New Coventry and on through to Blue Skies; you would eventually come to heart of the entire city; its pride and main appeal, Bullworth Academy. The academy is a first rate boarding school that accepts students for superior high school education. It boasts a healthy mixture of social classes from the young proprietors of Old Bullworth Vale to the sullied greasers hailing from New Coventry. There is far too much to be said about Bullworth Academy then I care to venture here, however, it can be summarized in four simple words: Tradition, nepotism, struggle, and controversy. Welcome to Bullworth.
His head hurt.
A crackly recorded track of school bells played over the intercom of Bullworth Academy. In ten minutes the freshmen welcome address would begin and the headmaster would grace the auditorium full of new students with his inspirational presence and words of motivation. Some students were keyed up and eager to begin their high school endeavors. Others had already made up their minds that this school and everything about it was going to royally blow and were discussing how to best outwardly illustrate this fact. Nerds were sharing their time tables and preps were gossiping about what clothes everyone had chosen to show up in, however, everyone was breaking into factions, sniffing out those like themselves and forming vital alliances that would serve to protect them throughout the school year.
That is all except for one.
He wasn't sitting alone per say. He was neatly sandwiched between two other teens that had obviously assessed that he was not of their kind. He busied himself with the contents of his book bag, making sure everything he wanted to be there was there. Books. Paper. Pencils. Medication. All was well.
It was an unfamiliar voice uttering an equally unfamiliar greeting. Peculiar but not uninteresting. The boy glanced up without bothering to turn his head in the speaker's direction. He judged his interloper's appearance in two point five seconds. In a word: small. Too small to be entering high school and definitely too small to be normal. No other notable physical features to speak of. Style of dress was the typical school uniform that everyone else wore, but with a pink shirt, that was new. Most telling of all was that this kid was talking to him meaning he hadn't merged into any other prominent cliques himself. Evaluation complete: This guy was a total loser.
"My name's Peter. Pete. Kowalski. "
The kid, Pete, shifted from one foot to the other in a manner that was no doubt suppose to come off as nonchalant but just served to demonstrate how nervous he was.
"You have three names?"
Pete looked suddenly surprised, as if the fact that someone responding to him was astonishing. Then he looked happy.
"Oh. No, no. It's just Pete Kowalski. Sorry about that, ha ha…"
As Pete stood there trying to laugh the other boy went back to rummaging through his bag. A solid five minutes passed before Pete cleared his throat and spoke again.
"So, uh… what's your name?" he murmured staring at the floor, clearly on the verge of giving up, going away, and quite possibly crying. He quickly took two steps back when the other boy dropped his bag on the floor with visible irritation, and gingerly turned to meet his startled stare.
"…Gary. Gary. Smith. It's just Gary Smith. Ha. Ha."
Sometimes it was hard to get rid of unwanted attention, but today it had been exceptionally easy. Pete had run off as soon as Gary had divulged his name. The look of terror on his little adolescent face as Gary looked him in the eye was so hilarious it was almost clichéd; like a scene from a B movie when the bad guy takes off his mask and something bone chilling is revealed underneath. As Pete had backed up and turned away Gary had called after him, "What? Is there something on my face?" He smiled and deftly touched his face above his right brow where a shallow but evident scar marred his otherwise unintimidating appearance.
"May I have your attention please?"
The entire auditorium was startled to attention; a middle-aged woman had appeared on the stage with the grace and stealth of a ninja. Everything about her was polished and professional but if one studied her long enough her skirt would be deemed too short for that of an educator; like she had something to prove. She waited with little patience for the shushing to subside. "Very good. I am Miss Danvers, keeper of the office, and welcome to Bullworth academy. We would like to begin by introducing you all to our illustrious faculty. Please be silent and remain seated for the duration of the introductions."
One by one professors and teachers, each more boring than the last, filed into the room after being announced by Miss Danvers and took a seat in the row of plastic chairs behind her podium. Things almost got out of hand with the male students at the reveal of a one Miss Phillips, the art instructor, but the arousal was swiftly quelled by the introduction of the school's cafeteria cook.
When the final faculty member was seated Miss Danvers cleared her throat and took a deep breath as a wistful smile played across her face.
"And now students…good coworkers…All rise!" she cried throwing her arms into the air as if she had just found God. "It is my great honor and privilege to introduce you all to the man who will be leading you by your noses down your paths to academic prominence here at Bullworth. Ladies and gentlemen, the incomparable headmaster of our school, Dr. Crabblesnitch!"
There was a round of clapping and a round of laughing. Gary, who had tuned out almost twenty minutes earlier due to boredom, snapped back to reality just in time to laugh at the headmaster's name.
"Thank you, thank you all,' Crabblesnitch said as he approached the podium and gave everyone permission to be seated. 'The worthy Miss Danvers has said it already, but welcome to Bullworth. This is it, children. You are in the home stretch of finishing your school years and emerging functioning members of our community. Here at Bullworth we are dedicated to making sure you do not deviate from the path that has been laid out for you. By enrolling here at Bullworth you have been given great opportunities to excel that other children can only dream off. Remember our school motto 'Canis Canem Edit'! Dog eat dog! You must rise above the obstacles before you and become, as they say, top dog of academia."
Crabblesnitch paused to slam his hands on the podium causing the skittish and those who simply weren't paying attention to jump. Gary was unfazed and continued to stare at his hand, where he had raised one finger for each time Crabblesnitch had said "Bullworth" so far.
"You all are starting here with a clean slate. It is my gift to you to celebrate your induction as freshmen. Any mischief you may have engaged in before coming here is locked away in your permanent records and will only come to light if you stray from the Bullworth way." He turned and swept a hand over the front row the auditorium where four young men in indigo blazers were set apart from the freshmen student body.
"Bullworth's senior prefects are constantly vigilant and any sign of nuisance will not be tolerated and will instead be dealt with swiftly and effectively. This is your first and only warning to keep your nose clean.' Some of the freshman audibly yelped and blew their noses into their sleeves or programs. 'Or we'll clean it for you."
After threatening the freshman student body Dr. Crabblesnitch had continued into along speech about the history of the school saying more with his hands then with his words. When he had finally left the stage and Miss Danvers had stopped shedding tears of awe she released the students to prepare for their first day of high school which would begin at nine a.m. the following morning.
Dodging around the crowded courtyard, Gary had found an ideal spot for respite from the last arduous hour in the shade of an apple tree. It was well out of the way of the crowds and not conspicuous as it was on a raised plot of land bordered by rock facings. Again he carefully took out the contents of his book bag and laid them all on the grass in front of his knees. Four text books, four notebooks, 4 sharpened pencils, and one bottle of medicine. He carefully touched each object slowly when he counted as if one of what he was seeing might be an illusion. Reaching into his pants pocket he fished out a neatly folded piece of paper baring the Bullworth Academy insignia. He re-read it carefully:
It is our pleasure to welcome you to our school. When you arrive at our gates you are expected to be in uniform. The order forms were sent out at the end of June. If you did not receive your form or your uniform does not fit properly you can buy/exchange at the school store located on the first floor of the main building. Below you will find your autumn semester schedule.
Student: Gary Smith
Class of 20XX
Class Rotation Agenda
[Mon, Wed, Fri]
9:00: Geography 01 : Matthews
13:00 Biology 01 : Slawter
9:00 Math 01 : Hattrick
13:00 English 01 : Galloway
Be sure to purchase the appropriate text books and supplies that will be essential for participation in each class. The list of the supplies you will need is enclosed in the envelope of this letter. We look forward to seeing you at the Freshman welcome banquet at XX:XX on 0X/XX/20XX.
The Bullworth Academy Staff
Slapping his leg Gary reached into his pocket again and drew out a smaller piece of paper. This was the one that had the information he was initially looking for:
GEOGRAPHY: Bring your text book and a ledger for taking notes. Be ready to share any stories you might have about vacations to other countries. - -Mr. Matthews
BIOLOGY: Book, Notebook. Everything else is provided but the class is always thankful for more formaldehyde. - -Slawter
MATHAMATICS: Text book (proper year, nothing out of date!), paper and pencils. Absolutely NO calculators. - -Mr. Hattrick
ENGLISH: Please have your course book when you arrive accompanied by a sturdy notebook and pencils of you're choosing. Also bring your willingness to learn! - -Mr. Galloway
Everything was there. Gary exhaled and fell backward into a slouch against his tree. Everything about today had been new; new school, new people, new life. He slowly closed his eyes and opened his mind.
School had been another word for trouble since the beginning. Gary been a "free spirit" in kindergarten and then in first grade, when children are expected to stop playing and start performing, he became a "trouble maker." Looking out the window instead of at the black board was a reoccurring problem through elementary school despite receiving high marks. Then there came the day that he evolved into a "delinquent."
On that day Gray's fifth grade teacher had become fed up with his day dreaming and abruptly stopped the lesson to berate his foolishness in front of the entire class. She had preached for a several minutes before young Gary even realized she had stopped teaching, tipped off by the giggling of the other kids. Being singled out and ridiculed, he spontaneously stood up and screamed back at her using the colorful language he'd learned from his tenement neighbors.
The very next day Gary Smith, age eleven, was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder. He started attending special classes in the middle of the day with weird kids; kids who obviously had extremely off putting problems. This was the day he learned that something was wrong with him. He was made to apologize to his teacher, he did so with aplomb, and by the end of the school year a lot of the faculty questioned why the boy was attending behavior monitoring lessons.
In junior high there was a significant change in Gary. That, of course, was adolescence. He grew up tall and started viewing the world differently. Before he was happy to stay in the good graces of adults, it was what he wanted. Now, however, he was happy to please only himself and in a world of children going through trails of puberty instant gratification was everywhere. He continuously misplaced his school supplies, not always on purpose, and key dates and times slipped his mind. Several graffiti tags, fights, and snapped bra straps later Gary found his ADD being discussed again. This time he walked away with a prescription instead of just a slap on the wrist.
Taking medicine when you weren't sick made zero sense to him. It was stupid and worse, it was simply what other people wanted. He flushed the entire bottle down a toilet in the school men's room and went about his life and was happy to do so. Still, something in the way that Gary walked, talked, and acted; something in the very way that he was gave him away and he was given a fresh prescription and a professional counselor.
Dr. Bambillo was less than stellar in the field of psychiatric help. He was a superstitious man and was happy to take bribes from pharmaceutical companies to support his many hobbies that he had infused into his career. He had an interest in the human psyche but was extremely put off by people who were mentally ill. Bambillo was the sort of man who liked to tell someone if they were sane or not and then get paid. Naturally, he had a very successful practice in Old Bullworth Vale.
He started Gary off with 'repeat after me' sessions in which he would say things like "I am a good boy" and "I like obeying the rules" prompting Gary to repeat. This only served to irritate his patient and the good doctor was forced to resort to more complicated means. He changed Gary's prescription and suddenly there were three pills to swallow instead of one. At the beginning of each of their conferences the medicine was to be ingested no exceptions. After several rocky 'tell me about you' meetings Dr. Bambillo, who was at his wits end, asked an intriguing question.
"What would you change about society?" Bambillo had inquired. He had expected an answer along the lines of different teachers, be allowed to watch R-rated movies or some other form of stereotypical teen angst and was wholly prepared to explain why one must conform to the world and not the other way around. Instead his teenage patient spoke openly about the inner workings of the human mind; what made them weak and what made them strong. He also explained the trappings of religion, the futility of human relations, the failures of western civilization, and wove a verbal tapestry of how much better the world would be with a few key changes.
When the things Gary said started to make sense to Dr. Bambillo he was shook to his very core. He retreated from pushing the so-called inner workings of his patient to light and moved to wrap things up and wash his hands of him. He wrote in his findings that Gary Smith 'was not to be trusted' and a whole lot more that summed up as 'this kid is messed up.'
In their final session Dr. Bambillo explained that while Gary's ideas were 'all well and good' he wouldn't make it far if he flunked out of school due to bad behavior and ended up like the punks roaming around Blue Skies Industrial Park. This was the first and only thing that the doctor ever said that made any logical sense to Gary. He was too smart to mix with drop-outs and anyone who was anyone in this town went to Bullworth Academy after middle school. His doctor also explained that taking his medicine would not change how he thought or felt but would simply serve to keep him focused on his goals so it was in Gary's own best interest to take it.
If it was a means to the end it was worth it and Gary began taking his medications in the proper dosages. It wasn't long before waking up, going to school, going to bed, and doing it all over again was perfectly tolerable. Being gifted with an above average intelligence and now having the concentration to take advantage of it brought Gary out of junior high with top grades and a scholarship to Bullworth Academy. All those ideas that had nothing to do with that one school in this one town seemed very far away. He couldn't remember much of what he had told his psychiatrist and what he did remember he could no longer relate too.
Content that everything was ready for tomorrow and he was neither missing anything nor forgetting anything Gary put his effects back into his book bag. He had worked hard to be here at Bullworth and was going to work hard to get out where the world was waiting on a silver platter for those who were worthy. No one else could do it but him. No one else knew how. Now was not the time to tempt fate by forgetting his math book.
Gary nearly jumped out of his skin and the contents of his bag slipped back out onto the grass. He whipped his head around to see who had disrupted his thoughts but saw no one.
"What the..." he began.
"Down here!" Gary leaned over the rock wall and sure enough there was Peter Kowalski looking up at him with big brown eyes. As he stared down in disbelief Pete tried to climb up but the escalation was beyond his physical capabilities. "Ha ha… I don't know how you got up there, but could you come down?" he called up.
"Why?" was all Gary could think to say.
"It's getting close to eleven o'clock so the prefects are going to be patrolling soon to make sure no one is breaking the curfew," replied Pete.
"That's not what I was asking," Gary said while crossing his arms. "I meant why you are here. Why are you talking to me?"
"Why not?" Pete countered. Apparently just a few hours at Bullworth had emboldened him quite an extent as compared to his demeanor at the freshman address.
"You're scared of me," said Gary. It was not a question. This surprised Pete.
"Wha- -No I'm not!" He yelped, but Gary had heard enough and leaned back out of Pete's view.
"Don't play dumb with me,' Gary shouted. "You ran through the auditorium with the grace a fucking gazelle when you saw my… dare I say it… scar! OoooOooooOoooo. Now kindly get lost."
"Whoa," Pete said putting his hands up in defense even though Gary couldn't see it. "I wasn't running from you, Gary, I was running from one of the prefects. He gave me the warning sign to find a seat and since there wasn't one near you I went to go find one. I'm sorry if I hurt your feelings- -OW!" Pete recoiled from the apple that hit him in the forehead. When he had recovered Gary was once again looking down at him.
"You did not hurt my feelings,' Gary said his voice dripping with repugnance. Nevertheless he stuffed his belongings back into his bag, careful to count each one, and dropped down into the courtyard where Pete was still on the ground. 'I don't need your excuses, Petey."
It certainly sounded like Gary was still mad but something in the way he spoke was reassuring to Pete.
"Yeah, okay, you're right," Pete said, rising to his feet. "We really should get to the dorms though. I can see some flash lights over there and- -Hey!" Gary started walking without saying a word. Like earlier in the day the stint of silence stretched into several long minutes. "By the way,' Pete began 'I really like that scar. It says a lot about you."
"Oh yeah?' Gary asked cocking an eyebrow. 'And what is it telling you?"
"It says that, well, that you have experience," Pete explained.
"So what you're saying is I'm promiscuous?"
"No, not like that, I meant that you have experience in life. That you've 'been there.' That you know what you're doing because you've already done it and have the scar to prove it,' Pete stammered. 'I don't know it's like you know something the rest of us don't. It's cool. Really cool."
Gary just smiled as they walked the rest of the way to the Boy's Dormitory.