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The Fight (standard:action, 1402 words)
Author: NitramAdded: Mar 10 2004Views/Reads: 3712/2586Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
A young boy growing up in NYC in 1940 learns a lesson about fighting.

The Fight   (Approx 1,400 wds) 

It was 1940.  Young boys still wore knickers and knee socks and carried
their books to school bound in a leather belt.  The Yankees, after four 
straight pennants and World Series, were confident but their streak was 
about to end.  President Roosevelt was trying to prepare the nation for 
the war that had started in Europe the year before.  Arnold's father, a 
plumber, had left their home in the Bronx to work in faraway Florida.  
Arnold didn't know exactly what his father was doing but he knew it was 
“defense work.” After his father left,  Arnold's mother  moved the 
family from Simpson Street to Wilkins Avenue to be closer to her 
mother.  This meant that Arnold had to change schools.  He'd skipped a 
grade in his other school so now, at nine, he was the youngest kid in 
his fifth-grade class.  He was also one of the smallest and worse, he 
was a good student and he wore glasses.  It was inevitable that he 
become a target for the class bullies.  He knew that sooner or later 
he'd have a fight. 

“Hey, four-eyes,” said The Moose, giving Arnold a shove on the
staircase.  The Moose was a big fat kid in Arnold's class.  He had 
loose, blubbery lips and Arnold thought he was dim-witted.  He'd become 
Arnold's chief tormenter, always calling him four-eyes and pushing him 
around whenever he could. 

“Cut it out,” said Arnold. 

“Oh, yeah.  Wanna make me?  Come on.  Wanna fight?” 

“Fighting's stupid,” said Arnold. 

“Wah, wah,” said Anthony Scarpetto, known as Nasty Anthony.  “Fighting's
stupid.  You mean you're scared to fight..  What a sissy.”  Arnold knew 
that Nasty was the one  behind his being bullied.  Nasty was a truly 
mean kid.  He went around with a perpetual sneer and tormented 
everyone, especially the girls, but he preferred to have someone else 
do the fighting for him. 

“What would it prove?” said Arnold, with what he thought was impeccable
logic.  “Moose is twice as big as me.” 

“Aahh,” sneered Nasty, refuting the logic by poking Arnold hard in the

“Quiet,” one of the teachers shouted up the stairway and Arnold was
saved for another day. 

Although he was small, Arnold was sturdily built and had good 
coordination.  This was lucky for him as Kissel, a sixth-grader and the 
toughest kid on his block, had let him into his gang after Arnold had 
shown he could get hits in stickball.  Arnold knew he couldn't hit the 
ball as far as the others so he always tried to pull the ball and was 
usually good for a hit or two every game when he directed the ball into 
a cellar, a ground-rule double.  The other kids on the block knew he 
was under Kissel's protection and nobody bothered him. 

But school was a different matter.  Every day Arnold had to endure the
jeers and pushing around of Nasty, the Moose and Nasty's other 
henchmen.  Every day he told himself that he'd fight back but when the 
moment came he always did what seemed to come naturally to him.  He 
pulled back to cries of “Sissy” and “Girlie.”  Was he a coward?  He 
knew he'd never be as tough as Kissel, who liked to fight and who 
wouldn't back down from anybody. 

Before Arnold's father had left, he'd bought a set of old boxing gloves
and had tried to teach Arnold to box.  Maybe he suspected that Arnold 
was being bullied at his new school.  “You have a good left jab,” he 
told Arnold.  “But you have to be more aggressive.  Don't be afraid to 
throw the right.”   Unfortunately,  the idea of actually fighting 
somebody left Arnold scared.  At night in his bed, just thinking about 
it, he could feel his heart beating faster.   But sooner or later he'd 
have to do something. 

The next week their gym teacher had to leave the room for something. 
The Moose seized the chance to knock down Arnold from behind.  Arnold 
pulled himself to his feet and there was  Moose leering at him.  “Wanna 

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