Jenna had her pink water bottle, a bag of potato chips, a good mystery book, and her special outdoor blanket and headed out back. She placed food, drink, and book on a small table. Then she grabbed two corners of her blanket and whipped the blanket into the air and let it float down over the lounge chair. It draped over the chair perfectly. It was so awesome when that happened and she didn’t have to smooth out wrinkles and folds.
“Sunglasses!” She said to herself as she snapped her fingers. She ran back inside to get them. Hmmm… did she feel more sporty, dazzling, daring, or laid-back? She decided it would be nice to look like a movie star lounging by her pool at her Hollywood estate. She put on her pink sunglasses bedazzled with fake diamonds and went back outside. She lay down on the lounge chair. Admittedly, she was definitely not in Hollywood, her estate was just a regular two-floor family home, and the pool was for the birds. Literally. It was a birdbath. A girl can dream though. She sat up, “Oh, crumbs!” She got back up and went back inside for her cell phone. You never know when a fellow movie star, your agent, or more likely a school chum might need to get a hold of you.
A bit out of breath she placed her cell phone on the table, opened the bag of chips, stuck a couple in her mouth and lay down on the lounge chair again. She was pretty confident she had everything now. As she swallowed the chips in her mouth she looked up at the sky. It was sunny with some white, billowy clouds. She smiled when she made out the shape of a rabbit in one of them. She loved the way the blue sky appeared to be a dome over her house. It made her feel safe in her own little world. “What were those low, billowy clouds called again?” She wondered to herself. She had learned the types of clouds in like fourth or fifth grade. Acumin, cumin… cumulus! It was crazy to think of all the things she had learned in her thirteen years. Yet most of it seemed to be forgotten or lost in the crevices of her brain somewhere. The show “Jeopardy” drove her crazy! She often couldn’t think of the answers until someone said the answer. Then she just wanted to kick herself because she had known the correct answer at one time but couldn’t come up with it when the silly show was on. That little theme tune rushing her was as annoying as someone poking you over and over and saying, “What’s the answer? Come on! Hurry! Times running out! What’s the answer?” Ugh, too stressful. Yet when her Dad was watching it she couldn’t help watching it too. When the correct answer occasionally came to her before the contestant said it she was so thrilled and proud of herself.
She shoved some more chips into her mouth and opened her book to the marked page. She set her book mark with cute puppies all over it on the table by the chips and quickly searched for the place she had left off. “Let’s see what Miss Marple will discover next,” she said to herself, and began reading.
Twenty minutes later something hit her head right on the temple by her left eye. Jenna actually saw sparks as she sat up noticing she was wet and dripping. She looked to her left and saw her brother and his friend armed with water balloons and trying not to laugh.
“Oops, sorry!” Said Steven. “I was aiming for the chair above your head.”
“Get out of here you two, before I get the garden hose and soak you both!” She yelled as she rubbed her left temple. The boys ran back toward the front yard laughing. “What boneheads!” She dried the side of her face and hair a bit with her blanket. Her shirt sleeve was all wet too.
“Are you okay?” Her mother asked walking over to her with a towel. “I saw what happened from the kitchen window.”
“What is wrong with boys? They can be so annoying,” Jenna said.
“They are just having fun,” said her Mom. “They should not have sneak attacked you though, I agree.”
“Why couldn’t you have had another girl?” Asked Jenna.
“I didn’t have much of a choice,” said her Mom smiling. “Besides, I love having a daughter and a son. Now if you will excuse me I have brownies in the oven.”
“OMG, I love you!” Said Jenna.
“You love me or my brownies?” Asked her Mom.
“Both of you,” said Jenna. “I love you more though.”
Her mother put her hand on her heart and smiled.
Later in the day Jenna went over to Katie’s. They were painting their toe nails and singing along to “Counting Stars,” which was playing on the radio.
“I love that song,” said Jenna when it ended.
“O-M-G! Did you know Swift is coming to our town this summer? We should so go! You, me, Mary, and Stefanie and Maia from tennis team,” said Katie excitedly.
“When?” Asked Jenna.
“I think July,” said Katie. “It better not be the week I go to visit my grandma or I will totally die.”
“So… have you talked to her?” Asked Jenna.
“Taylor Swift?” Asked Katie confused.
“No, silly! Mary,” said Jenna.
“Oh, yeah last night,” said Katie.
“Did she say why she won’t talk to me and why she went home with Kevin instead of us after tennis? And are we still going to the movies?” Asked Jenna.
“Kevin had some family thingy so we might try for next weekend. And you know why Mary is upset Jenna,” said Katie. “She is embarrassed that her parents are so strict and all. The girl likes Kevin. Which is why she happily took him up on his offer for a ride home. She’ll get over it.”
“When, in a week? A month?” Asked Jenna partly joking.
“I guarantee she will talk to you by graduation,” joked Katie.
“Thanks a lot,” said Jenna sarcastically.
“You are such a worry-wart girl! Chillax,” said Katie.
“You is so cray-cray,” teased Jenna. “Where do you come up with words like chillax?”
“My older brother, of course,” said Katie.
“I wish I had an older brother. Wanna swap? My little brother for your older brother?” Asked Jenna.
“The same one that beaned you in the head with a water balloon today?” Said Katie. “I don’t think so. Besides that would not be fair, Jack is away at college. A fair trade would be my little sis for your brother. Which I might consider. Might.”
“I had to try,” said Jenna.
“I’m brilliant. Are you ready for this?” Asked Katie. Jenna nodded.
“Trade your brother for me! We could be sisters and Steven can be a middle child over here. If we miss them we can always visit.”
“You are brilliant!” Said Jenna. Then she joked, “There’s something I never thought I would say to you.”
“Hey!” Said Katie and they both laughed.
Monday came way too soon. Plus it was raining! Jenna and Katie were both dragging as they got to their lockers. Mary was there.
“Hey Katie,” said Mary quietly.
“Okay, I’ve had enough of this,” said Katie. “Mary, you know Jenna did not mean to embarrass you or anything Friday. You are just too stubborn to make up with her. Jenna you made a mistake and I know you are sorry and have worried about this all weekend. So both of you hug and make up right now! I am not playing around.”
Katie pushed Jenna so she was right in front of Mary.
“Make with the hug!” Katie ordered.
Jenna and Mary hugged. “I’m sorry Jenna. I shouldn’t have gotten upset with you, I know you didn’t mean to embarrass me,” said Mary.
“I’m sorry, too,” said Jenna. “I was just freaked out about it being a ‘date’. I didn’t mean to upset you.”
“Finally!” Said Katie. “Group hug!” They all hugged and then the bell rang. They grabbed their books and hurried off to class. All three feeling happier now.
Towards the end of English class their teacher asked for ideas on a good subject for their next writing assignment. Jenna’s hand shot up. When Mr. Washburn finally called on her she suggested bullying. The teacher really liked her idea. Mr. Washburn went to the chalkboard, grabbed a piece of chalk, and wrote ‘Bully’ loudly on the board. The chalk making a squeaking sound that made Jenna wince. Mr. Washburn had to be the only teacher in the entire world who still had a chalkboard!
“Okay. Describe a bully for me,” he said to the class. “Anyone? Jenna, start us off.”
“A person who’s cruel, especially to small and weaker people,” Jenna said.
“Great. Keep them coming people,” said Mr. Washburn. Kids started calling out characteristics:
“They have to have their own way!”
“They want others to be scared of them.”
“Someone that’s aggressive.”
“Juvenile delinquent.”
“Potty mouth!”
“They take things they want from you, like lunch money.”
“Verbally harass and/or physically assault others.”
“Not happy.”
“Don’t think much of themselves.”
“Rude! And they start rumors.”
“Needs to feel powerful and in control.”
“No empathy!”
“Needs attention.”
“Gets bullied themselves.”
“Likes to make others miserable.”
“They think they are in the right and popular.”
“Alright, that’s great,” said Mr. Washburn. “Now,” he moved to the other side of the board. “How do you think you should deal with a bully? Mira, you’ve been quiet. What would you do?”
“Ignore the bully,” said Mira.
“Great! More suggestions class,” Mr. Washburn said with his chalk ready to go.
“Don’t egg a bully on.”
“Pants them and run!”
“Get an adult.”
“Tell them to stop!”
“Send them to juvenile jail.”
“Tell the cops if it’s physical or cyber bullying.”
“Don’t just stand there and watch someone get bullied.”
“Tell an adult and/or try to get spectators to surround victim.”
“Don’t let the bully have the power!”
“Try to talk to the bully.”
“Get them suspended.”
“Make them get professional help dealing with their aggression.”
“Tell the bully’s parents!”
“These are all good ideas. For our next writing assignment I want you to really think about bullying. Have you been bullied? Have you ever bullied someone? How do you feel about bullying? What do you consider bullying as opposed to just giving a buddy the business? I hear those snickers. Yes, I’m a ‘Leave it To Beaver’ fan. If you don’t know the Beav you are missing out. I also want you to start thinking about what perspective you will use to write your stories. Will you write from the perspective of the bully, a victim, or maybe a bystander? Let’s take all these ideas in and we will talk more about them tomorrow,” Mr. Washburn said right before the bell rang.
As the class filed out Jenna asked Mary, Katie and Mira to stay for a couple of minutes.
After Mr. Washburn dusted the chalk from his hands he looked up and saw them sitting there. “Ladies, did you have a question?”
Jenna quickly told him a little about their B.U.L.L.Y. Club and how they were hoping to have club meetings at the school. He thought it was a great idea and said every club needed a teacher to be present and that he would be happy to sit in on our meetings. Jenna was so happy to know they had a teacher on their side and willing to help out.
“So, how about if we all go talk to the counselor tomorrow just before lunch. We can see if she talked to the principal about our club. Maybe we can start getting posters up at the end of the week,” Jenna suggested.
“Sounds like a plan,” Katie said.
“I’m in. How about you Mira?” Mary asked.
“Oh, I can’t. I have a different lunch than you guys,” Mira said as she adjusted her glasses.
“Oh yeah, I forgot,” said Mary.
“We could go before school, maybe,” Jenna suggested.
“That’s okay. I don’t have to be there,” said Mira. “You can just let me know what they say.”
“Are you sure?” Jenna asked Mira not wanting her to feel left out.
“Totally,” said Mira. “I have to get to math, so I’ll see you tomorrow.”
“Okay, sure,” Jenna said. “Bye”
“Bye,” said Mira.
“Bye,” said Katie and Mary together.
“Jinx, you owe me a coke!” Said Katie to Mary.
“You know you shouldn’t drink that stuff,” said Mary to Katie. “Cola takes rust off of car batteries! Who knows what it will do to your insides.”
“Get off your granola bar girl. It’s good,” said Katie. “How do you know that vitamin water stuff you guzzle isn’t poisoning your insides?”
“Do you hear yourself?” Asked Mary. “My vitamin water is very healthy and does not take rust off of car batteries!”
“So my much tastier drink has multi-purposes!” Shot back Katie.
“Yeah if you want to end up in the hospital!” Argued Mary.
“OMG! You are such a health-nut!” said Katie a little too loudly. “Notice how I put emphasis on the ‘nut’ part?”
“You are the one who is nuts! My body is very healthy,” said Mary.
“Oh go eat some tofu, kino and black bean rolls!” Said Katie.
“Guys stop arguing!” Jenna scolded.
“It’s quinoa! And what is a black bean roll? That’s not a thing,” added Mary.
“Maybe you shouldn’t eat stuff that people can’t even pronounce,” said Katie.
“Fine be that way,” said Mary. “I’ll be healthy and live a long happy life while you are…”
“Are what?” Asked Katie.
“I don’t know! But I’m not buying you a coke!” Said Mary.
“I can get my own coke thank you,” said Katie.
Jenna rolled her eyes. This was so ridiculous she couldn’t stand it. By the time school let out they were the best of friends again and Jenna had a dentist appointment. “This was most definitely a Monday,” Jenna thought.
The next day Katie, Mary and Jenna hightailed it to the counselor’s office just before lunch. The secretary said Miss Atkins was in a meeting. Disappointed Jenna asked when she might be free.
“Can I help you girls?” Asked a deep voice behind them.
They turned to see the school principal, a large man named Mr. Miller, standing there. “I actually wanted to see if Miss Atkins had talked to you about our B.U.L.L.Y. Club. We were hoping we could have meetings at the school once or twice a month. Mr. Washburn said he would sit in at our meetings,” Jenna said hoping nobody noticed her knees knocking together.
“Yes, she did mention it,” Mr. Miller said. “Listen girls, I appreciate what you are doing but we have enough activities going on at the school right now. I don’t think there is room for anymore. Especially a bully club. I just don’t think there would be much interest.”
“But Mr. Miller, there are a lot of kids getting bullied and I think bringing awareness to the students would be helpful,” Jenna argued.
“That is a bit of an exaggeration,” said Mr. Miller. “We have a few scuffles here and there, but I am perfectly capable of handling them. You three best get to class.”
“But Mr. Miller…” Jenna tried.
“Good day girls,” he said as he disappeared into his office and shut the door.
“Sorry Jenna,” said Mary.
“You heard Mr. Miller girls,” said the secretary. “Get to class!”
We turned and walked out.
“Denied,” said Katie. “Now what?”
“There has to be something we can do,” Jenna said her voice oozing disappointment.
Mary put her arm around Jenna. “It will be okay Jenna. We still have the blog and our meetings. I’m sure we will think of something.”
“Maybe we can all write our English papers to convince Mr. Miller that we need a club here at school,” suggested Katie.
“Maybe, Mr. Washburn will help us,” Jenna suggested.
“Yeah, we can talk to him in class,” Mary added. “Let’s go get lunch, I’m starving.”
“I guess, I’m not very hungry now,” Jenna pouted.
“Chin up my dear,” Katie said with an English accent trying to make her smile. “Everything will be okay.”
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