By Martin Baena
The kids at school ostracized Timmy following an installment of show and tell where Timmy brought in a sheriff’s badge, proclaiming that when he grew up, he wanted to be “the man.” By recess the next day half the school was calling him “narc,” “rat,” “stoolie,” and a combination thereof; “Rat-Boy,” “Rat-face-narc-face,” “Stinky Timmy Stoolie,” etc.
The hazing did not stop at name calling; Timmy was the repeated victim of violence. Gut-jabs, Indian sunburns, and the occasional loogie. An abortive attempt at a swirlie in the bathroom led inevitably to a severe wedgie in the boy’s locker room prior to gym class and a swift pantsing afterwards.
“Watcha gonna do narc-face?” would taunt one of his aggressors.
“You gonna rat, rat-face?” continued the other.
“That what you gonna do, stoolie?” finished the third.
Timmy shook his head and chose to remain silent on the matter, less he prove himself a “big ‘ol stoolie.” Not that this deterred further attacks; if anything, they intensified. As if to challenge his resolve. By week’s end no one could remember how “Rat-face-narc-face” got his name, they just knew that’s what he was.
Timmy’s mother, concerned over her child’s well-being, scheduled a meeting with the school principal; a tall, well-dressed fellow with mutton-chops.
“Who knows where kids come up with this stuff,” shrugged the principal
“I have a pretty good idea.”
“And I assure you, we’re doing the best we can to…”
Timmy’s mother cut him off, “Stoolie?”
“Where are the children going to learn a word like stoolie? The movies? Who says stoolie any more?”
“Well, ma’am…” begun the principal, drifting away into silence.
“Not only is it clear the teachers have done little, if anything to curb this, I believe they’re encouraging it. ‘Stoolie.’ Jesus, I don’t think anybody’s used that word since… well, since you were a boy Mr. Principal.”
The principal turned red in the face, “I resent the implication, Mrs….”
“Resent it all you want. – Timmy…”
Timmy looked down at his shoes.
“Timmy, look at me.”
The boy shifted in his seat; he made tentative eye-contact with his mother. She turned her gaze to the principal, instructing her son to do the same.
“Go ahead, Timmy. He won’t bite.”
Timmy turned to the principal, head low, eyes downcast.”
“Look ‘im in the eye, Timmy.”
Timmy shook his head. The principal begun to speak; he was silenced by a single, upraised finger. Timmy’s mother took on a stern tone of voice.
“Timmy, please look at your Principal.”
Timmy did so. He was practically purple. On the verge of tears.
“Timmy, this is what a narc looks like. Your principal is a big ‘ol rat-face.”
“Timmy, this is what adults call an asshole.”
Timmy looked down at the floor, holding back laughter. He farted.
“Excuse me but…” begun the principal, only to be silenced once more by the same, upraised finger.
“With all due respect,” Timmy’s mother begun, “You’ve got an asshole where other people have mouths.” And with that Timmy and his mother left the principal’s office.
On their way out Timmy turned to two children seated in the lobby and said, “The principal has an asshole in his face.” For the rest of the year – if not longer – whispers of “asshole face” echoed in the hallways, classrooms, and locker rooms of the school – even the teacher’s lounge.