Jayce hates Mondays. And Tuesdays. He hates pretty much everyday that isn’t Saturday or Sunday. Every weekday he has to drag himself through the halls of Regal Senior High, an institution overflowing with large rowdy noisy douchebags.
The Regal Senior High student handbook states on page 34, that the douchebags are not to be touched; fighting is a level V disciplinary infraction. Jayce knows this disciplinary infraction very well. It’s the one the principal yells about every time Jayce ends up in his office.
Jayce’s mother is driving him to school today. She’s been ranting all morning about last chances and other topics Jayce has no interest in. Jayce hears her words but he isn’t listening. He has his hood over his head. He’s been staring out the window watching the town fly by him. His mother hasn’t noticed.
Jayce hasn’t been in school for three weeks. He was suspended following a level V disciplinary infraction. Jayce brawled with five other students in the student parking lot about a month ago. Two of the five students are still in the hospital. One of which will never be able to walk properly again for the rest of his life. A plea of self-defense was the only thing that kept Jayce from a long stay in Regal Penitentiary.
Jayce’s father found the incident hilarious. Five steroid-abusing yodels couldn’t take down his boy. He made Jayce retell the story five times. He even asked for Jayce to stand up and show off some moves. Jayce’s mother has a very different sense of humor. The story has never been retold with her in the house.
“Why are these boys always picking on you?”
That’s what his mother asked him on their way home from the court room. Jayce didn’t have an answer for her then. Each fight was started over something different. Last time one of the boys had been teasing Jayce about the sweater that his mother knit for him. That boy currently has a Type 3 nasal fracture.
Today is an easier day for Jayce. It’s a half day. He gets out at 12 p.m. It’s a trial week for him. If he gets into a fight this week, he’ll have to be home schooled for the rest of the school year. As much as he hates school, he can’t let that happen. His mother would unleash pure fury upon him. His father would get burned in the crossfire. No more family outings to the local diner for them. No more sparring sessions in the garage. His dad’s collection of Jon Wang’s kung fu movies would never see the light of day again. The two of them would have to read books.
His mother’s car slows down to a stop in front of the school.
“Remember what I said. Have a good day today. If anything happens, walk away.”
Jayce nods his head as he heads out the car door.
“Whatever. See ya later.”
He throws his hands in his jean pockets and marches off to the front doors.
Students passing by recognize him. He sees groups of them muttering. One mousy freshmen drops his books and runs off in another direction at the sight of him. Jayce can’t help but snicker. This is turning out to be another fine day at Regal Senior High.
He heads straight through the front doors . So far so good. He checks the time on his watch. 9:00. He’s out at 12 p.m. He can do three hours. He has only has to suffer through three classes,; Spanish 101, Gym, and Drafting 101. Spanish 101 is first and in room 123. That’s all the way at the end of the hallway.
Jayce sees a massive traffic jam in front of him. The source of it is a group of nerds that are all gathered around their friend’s locker. Orubou is showing off his Skarcan helmet that he sculpted. It took him three months of saved up allowance to buy the supplies to make it.
Jayce taps Orubou on the shoulder.
“Excuse me. Could you move?”
Orubou and his giddy gang of geeks turn around. Orubou’s skin color turns to a pale white. His helmet slips out of his fingers. It splinters into pieces on the ground. . He and his friends make a path for Jayce to walk through. Jayce makes his way over the pieces of the helmet on the ground. He hears the group of friends blame him for the broken helmet once they think he’s out of earshot.
Jayce is almost there. He sees room 117, then 119. Then he sees three giant goons. He’s never seen these particular goons before. They’re large. They could be football players or wrestlers. Each of them is wearing a varsity jacket with the school’s colors, black and red. One of them spots him and whispers to another.
Oh boy. The three of them head toward Jayce’s way. One of them cracks his knuckles. Shit is about to go down. Jayce keeps his hands in his pockets and keeps marching.
The goons are right in front of him. Here it comes. Jayce decides the one on the left is the guy to go for. His backwards baseball cap signifies that he’s the leader. Once he does down, the other two will run away. Hopefully.
The goons walk right past Jayce and head into classroom 118. That did not go as expected. Jayce looks at the class room numbers. He is at room 123 now. He reaches for the door.
A basketball slams into the back of Jayce’s head. His head goes loopy for a second. He whips around and sees a large mammoth of a man in front of him. He’s bigger than the three goons put together. Jayce can’t tell if he’s a student or not. This man may have been left behind a few years. It takes everything Jayce has to remain calm. His heart beat rises. He eyes up his opponent. He has no buddies. He’s bigger and he thinks he’s stronger. He has rage on his side. This could be a dangerous combination if he was fighting someone else.
A crowd of students forms around the pair of them. This is always how it starts. There’s not an authority figure to be seen anywhere. The big lug opens his mouth.
“You’re the mother fucker who put my brother in the hospital. ”
The massive man puts his hand on Jayce’s shoulder. Jayce focuses his eyes on the freckle-covered face of his opponent.
“Which one was he? I’ve sent a lot of idiots to the hospital. Was he the ugly one?”
“Fuck you, bitch. I owe you for what you did to my brother.”
“Take your hand off now,” Jayce responds.
The massive man clenches Jayce’s shoulder tightly. He raises a large fist.
“What you gon-”
Bam! Jayce’s fist cracks into the jaw of the massive man.
Gasps shoot through the crowd. A girl shrieks.
The man’s massive head shoots violently back. His immense body tumbles to the ground with the elegance of an elephant. Jayce hops on top of him. He slams fists and elbows into the freckle-covered face. Everything goes white for Jayce. His heart beats in his chest like a Congo drum.
Jayce comes back to reality. Jayce glances at the time on his watch. 9:12. He lasted less than a half hour.
He gazes down at the crumbled heap on the floor. He sees the bloody mess that used to be another human being’s face.
He’ll have to apologize to his dad when he gets home. The two of them are going to get burned.