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The Poster Was no Help
“So, what?” I ask the man sitting across from me, him being the only thing in the room of interest to stare at anyway. “You just want me to sit here and tell you all about what happened?”
He nods at me and I raise an eyebrow at him. To me he seems a little too calm sitting there in his suit. I suppose his composure comes from years of practice, can’t go around showing his emotions because that’s my part of this relationship.
“All right then,” I say and sigh, looking at my own reflection in the mirror before looking back at him. “You see, as I’m sure my mother has informed you, I’ve had some problems at school with the other kids.”
“They’ve been bullying you,” he says and scribbles something down on his sheet of paper.
It annoys me that I can’t read it from where I sit, yet I decide to continue on any way. But what would he have to write down that isn’t old news?
“Yeah I guess you can say they don’t all play nice with me on the playground,” I tell him and make fake puppy dog eyes. “Well you see the thing is though they have these posters hanging all around my school like my grandma has ugly wall paper on her living room walls.”
“Posters?” he repeats and scribbles something else down, as if I’m the president giving him an exclusive interview.
“Yeah, posters,” I say. “They have them hanging in every room, in every hall, in every section of the school. And these posters tell us what to do if we’re being bullied.”
“So, you didn’t follow the posters’ advice?” he asks, face still blank as a stone.
Yet again I feel my eyebrow raise at him and a smirk is rising to my face. This guy is like talking to a magic eight ball, both are so predictable and about as useful as one another.
“No,” I inform him. “I did exactly what the posters told me to do.”
“And that didn’t help?” he asked.
“Well if it did, would I be here talking to you right now?” I ask, trying not to roll my eyes. “No, the advice didn’t work. First they tell you to avoid bad situations, you know try to not go near the bully,” I begin to explain everything as if I’m talking to first grader, but nothing gets emotion onto his face.
“Go on,” he says, voice still void of anything.
“I tried to avoid them but it’s hard to avoid every class you have,” I explain. “You see when the school accused me of skipping I tried to explain, but they just wouldn’t listen. But any way the next thing the poster says is to try and make friends, and I’m not sure if you’re aware of this or not but it’s hard to make friends when everyone knows being friends with you means they’ll be pushed around too.”
“I see,” he says and scribbles something else down.
“Then of course the all-knowing poster tells me to project confidence,” I tell him. “But for me the project confidence is like a bald man to project hair, either way we don’t have it so how the H*ll am I supposed to project it?”
“That makes since,” he agrees and finally I get him to nod, which is more than he’s been doing other than scribbling down whatever he is.
At this point I’m convinced that he is doing a crossword puzzle.
“Then the last thing on the list is to tell someone,” I inform him. “You know like a teacher, so I did. And you know what she said to me? She looked me right in my face with a sad little empathetic expression and basically told me too bad!”
“She said that?” he asked, filling in another word in his puzzle.
“No,” I say annoyed. “I said she basically said that. What she said was that she couldn’t do anything about it. At least not until something happened, you know like me getting the s*** beat out of me. I had done everything those posters told me to do but it just kept getting worse and worse and worse until finally I realized I couldn’t make it through three more years of that so I had to do something and the poster was out of ideas. All I wanted was to be left alone.”
I let the room get quite and he looks up at me from his cross word, waiting for me to go on. But I really have nothing to say, because after all actions speak louder than words.
“And?” he asks me.
“And so that’s when I came in and emptied four rounds of ammunition into the lunchroom,” I tell him. “Not that you didn’t already know that detective. Anything else you want me to talk about? What rain is? What country we’re in? Or are you good on all the other obvious stuff?”
“I think I’ve got all I needed,” he tells me and rises from his chair, since it’s clear I’m done talking.
He walks out of the room and I finally get what I want.
Finally, I am being left alone.