Over the coming weeks, Steve and Michelle noticed a change in their children’s behaviour. They were a lot quieter than usual. And there were tell-tale bruises that showed all was not well. After a family meeting, the bullying came out. Both Lucy and Jack dreaded going to school and their parents knew they had to do something about it. They decided to talk to Gronk and Munter at the upcoming parent-teacher evening.

A few days later, the weather was grim and a steady drizzle pattered on the huge umbrella over Gronk and Munter as they walked into the school grounds. At the double doors leading to the school hall, Gronk collapsed the umbrella and shook the water over a child. They strolled into the hall and saw the heaving mass of parents all trying to talk to the teachers. It looked a bit tedious to Gronk so he invested in a bit of him-time.

I could be the greatest military tactician who ever lived,’ Gronk daydreamed. ‘I would have more medals than anyone else and have six stars on my army cap. In fact, I should be at least knighted as a reward for excessive talent as a Commander known for my cunning and coolness under pressure. Once I have crushed the Nobodys, I expect there will be a triumphal tour in the High Street. I shall lead the way, the conquering hero, followed by my wife and children, the trusted footsoldiers. Delighted crowds will applaud as I accept my place as the most respected person in the Snook since Lord Snookington. Everyone will look up to me as the leader who intuitively predicted his enemy’s every move with mysterious telepathic abilities…’

“Excuse me,” Steve said. Michelle was by his side.

The frenzied cheering and adoration died away as Gronk spun around, startled. “Oh my word, it spoke,” he gasped.

“Your children need to stay away from mine,” Steve warned.

“Wh… what are you talking about? It’s the natural order of things. A Gronk will dominate a Nobody…. it’s as simple as that,” Gronk squeaked.

“This has to end…” Steve continued.

“No chance,” Gronk cut back in, “you’ve done it now, you ignoramus. Oh you’ve really gone and done it now,” he snarled as Munter tilted her nose upwards.

A long silence. Steve drilled his eyes through Gronk, then walked away. “We tried,” Steve said as he put an arm around Michelle’s shoulder. They found the maths teacher and began to talk about Jack’s progress. Gronk strutted by, smirking. Scraping his chair back, Steve watched Gronk slope off to the music teacher. Steve excused himself as the maths teacher droned on. He walked to the middle of the hall and stood, arms crossed, staring at his enemy. Steve wore a green combat jacket, which was soaked on the shoulders from the pouring rain. This isn’t good enough, he thought and leant his head toward the left. His neck cracked and he walked toward the gangly figure of Gronk. Leaning in, Steve growled. “I know what you’re doing.”

Gronk flinched and tried to speak. But there was something about the intensity of Steve’s stare which silenced him. Steve walked backwards, with eyes locked onto Gronk. After a few metres, he turned and made his way back toward Michelle.

Gronk was confused. How could that buffoon know the plan? He’s too stupid isn’t he? I’ll show him a thing or two.

Walking down a school corridor, the Nobody family decided to go home. From an open classroom door, a football bounced and rolled toward Steve. Without looking up, Steve tapped it back in. It went toward Gideon, who leant down to pick it up.

“This ball is school property. You’re not allowed to touch it!” Gideon raised his nose.

Steve glared at the boy for a long moment and silently mouthed “Fuck off.”

Outside, the weather worsened as Steve stepped through the slush and puddles toward the school gates. Jack and Lucy were quiet. Michelle lifted her coat hood over her head. She slipped her arm through Steve’s and smiled.

“You’re mellowing,” she said.

Copyright © 2023 Callum Stanford.  All rights reserved.

Author: C.Stanford

Writer, blogger, outsider, survivor.

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