“But Jeff, I did see a ghost… in the old cinema. Come on, everyone knows it’s haunted.”
“Ain’t no such thing as ghosts… Besides, you’re too chicken to go in the cinema on your own.”
Paul looked up at his antagonist with the soft pleading eyes of the puppy dog; he needed to be believed, needed the acceptance. “I’m not too chicken… I did see it…” The final words came out as a whine.
But Jeff couldn’t believe that Paul had dared to go into the cinema. He hadn’t the guts to go in himself, and there was no way he was going to let Paul get the better of him. Paul the wimp, Paul with no friends. No… It was just too unbelievable, he had to be lying.
Paul begged for reason and Jeff mocked.
Tears welled in his young eyes. Being mocked hurt, being called a liar was agony.
Jeff saw the tears, felt that victory was in sight and punched. Paul struggled back but was no fighter, and Jeff was the archetypal infant bully. Paul fell to the floor and Jeff fell onto him.
Then John came to the rescue, like a shiny cavalier on a steed of rusty bike frame. And when, quickly, Jeff had been chased away, John listened, John believed.
© 1990 & 2006 Andrew M Boylan