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no quarter.
"It wasn't ours to keep, N.B." Dad wasn't happy with me. "Now quit yer actin' like a little girl and get to school."

Dad didn't get home last night 'til after eleven and Momma made me go to bed just after ten thirty so I just missed him, not that it would've done any good. The foosball table was gone and that was that.

At school I swear everyone had to ask me again about the black eye that now is more green and yellow than black and I just shrugged and pretended I didn't hear the question. The day sucked from the start.

"Hey Sherman," Uh-oh...it was Lesley's brother, Kevin. "Sherman, c'mere, before I give you another black eye."

Kevin Wilson is a whole foot taller than me and big, chubby like, not big fat, but big. I walked over to where he stood against the lockers as he told his pack of friends to "scram"--he actually said it, he said, "Scram" to them like they were cartoon rats, and they scurried off like they were told.

He grabbed me by the collar and the cast under my armpit and kinda crossed his legs to protect his nuts as if I might actually kick him down there after all. Soon my feet were off the ground by six inches.

"Listen," his breath smelled like peanutbutter. "I'm sorry I broke your arm--it was an accident, okay?" He moved in closer to me and I could see peanutbutter and bright orange cracker paste stuck in his braces like mold--like it grew there--his breath smelled like Tribble's.

"I'm willing to let you go for saying I gave you a black eye on account of you kickin' me in the nuts, which I hope you ain't telling people no more 'cause it didn't happen...," he really should brush those teeth more, I was thinking, and maybe pay more attention in Mrs. Rumberger's English class, too. "...but if I hear you tell the story again I'll forget that we're even and I'll owe you either another black eye or another broken arm, understand?"

He had my feet off the ground and my arm was hurting so much I thought it would pull out of the cast or my shoulder or both.

"DO YOU UN - DER - STAND?" He shook me and my glasses fell off. I felt like crying again, but wouldn't dare in front of the small crowd gathered around us in the hall. Kevin saw them and looked around for Mr. Magill.

"Uh-huh."

He put me down and picked up my glasses. I walked away smiling, 'cause now everybody would believe the lie I told to cover my stupid black and green and yellow eye. The day was shaping up.



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