Eye on Pete
Pete wouldn’t let up. Everyday he swung down from the branches of the Chinaberry tree and demanded my lunch money. There we’d be, on the sidewalk, just the two of us, cut off from the view of neighboring houses as Pete flapped his arms like wings.
“Don’t you know it’s time to pay, then like a chicken run away?” he’d sing in a high falsetto voice.
My father had instructed me on the proper protocol to use when addressing a persistent bully.
“Don’t look at the bugger, Becky, look around you. See what’s there. A stick? A stone? A brick? If there’s nothing to bop him with, use your shoe! Bite him in the arm! Kick him in the leg! If you get hungry enough, you’ll figure out a way.”
So far I’d bopped Pete with a stick, a stone, even a brick I’d tucked in my book bag. When I threw my shoe at him, he kept it. I never got close enough to bite or kick him. I’d just throw my money at him and run. So what if I stayed skinny all my life from not eating lunch.
Then my cousin, Renee, came to live with us. As Renee and I were walking to school her first day, there came Pete, swinging down from the Chinaberry tree. “Don’t you know it’s time to pay…”
Renee grimaced, tucked her chin, buried her index finger in her eye socket, scooped out her fake eye and pitched it at Pete. It bounced off the side of his head and onto the sidewalk.
Renee, leaned toward me and whispered. “Did I hit him?”
“Oh good, I couldn’t see what I was doing.”
The eye rolled toward us, but hit an incline on the sidewalk and began rolling back toward Pete. It stopped between his feet. Pete attempted a jig to distance himself from the wobbling orb staring up at him from the hot cement. But instead, he ended up crushing it with the heel of his hard-soled boot.
Renee gripped my arm, but never flinched. She stared at Pete with her one good eye and the puckered socket of her bad one.
Pete raced off quicker than my grandma could spend a five dollar bill.
“Renee, what are you going to do now? You’ve lost your eye!” I quietly observed.
Renee reached down. “No worries. I’ve got a whole pocket of spares.”
Copper Rose perforates the edges of the page while writing unusual stories from the heart of Wisconsin. Her work has appeared in various anthologies and online journals. She also understands there really is something about pie. You can connect with her at Author Copper Rose and Copper Rose – Author.