The Boy With The Tail This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

January 15, 2010
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He could never understand why everyone always made fun of him. He was perfectly normal – or at least he thought so. He didn’t have those thick, ugly glasses like Robbie did. Nor did he pick his nose like Amy, or stutter when he spoke like Becky. He didn’t even get food on his shirt when he ate his peanut butter and blueberry jelly sandwich at lunch like half the kids in his class! So, no. Little Jake McCallister didn’t understand why everyone always made fun of him. Because he was perfectly normal. Unique, even. Or so his mummy always told him.

But every day at lunch the kids would gather around him and taunt him. Four-eyed Robbie would be there. And so would the little nose-picker Amy, who was always found standing next to a stammering Becky. Even Spencer, who liked to kill bugs and put them in all of the girls’ hair, joined in. They would push him down and step on his tail. It wasn’t a very long tail. No, not at all. But it was long enough for Robbie’s foot to pin it to the ground so that little Jake couldn’t move.

“Let’s see you try to get away now.”

It’s not like he had been trying to get away. He never tried to flee. At least, not after the first time this happened. He couldn’t even remember when that was anymore; it was so long ago. But he remembered that he had to walk around school for the next week with a bandage tied around his tail. He remembered the pain he was in when he would try to sit down. Or stand up. Or even get dressed. And so every day, five days a week, throughout the entire school year, at recess, he would stare up at his classmates, his eyes brimming with tears, unwilling to speak, unwilling to move, unwilling to be.

And so he sat there as Robbie’s foot stayed stationary on his tail. He sat there as Amy nudged him to the ground. He sat there as Spencer dug up a worm and studied it, as if contemplating what its purpose in life should be.

“Look, Jake! It looks just like your tail! Except without that ugly bit of brown hair,” Spencer said, just before he placed it on Jake’s face. “You two should be friends. I think you’ll like each other.”

He sat there as the worm was placed on his face. And he sat there as Becky kicked dirt in his mouth, eyes, and nose. He even continued to sit there when all of the other children left because it was time to go back to class. Nobody noticed that he was not in class; not even the teacher. Or if they did notice, nobody said anything.

And so little Jake continued to sit there as the day wore on. He sat there when all the kids left to go home. He sat there, and he thought.
He thought about what it would be like if he wasn’t born with his tail. His mummy said that he wouldn’t be her special little boy if he didn’t have his tail. But he didn’t care about that. His mummy would still love him. He just knew it. And his mummy told him so. She told him that she loved him no matter what he looked like. So his mummy would understand if he got rid of his tail so that he can have friend and so that he wouldn’t be made fun of in school. And with that decision made, he finally got up, his tail swinging behind him to the rhythm of his steps, and walked half a mile to his house.

The sky grew dark as he made his slow pilgrimage home. Just as the bats began to wake up and swoop effortlessly through the sky in search of their breakfasts, he pushed open the door to his house and stepped in. His mummy wasn’t home from work yet, so no one was there to see how dirty he was. No one was there to see the cuts and scrapes he got in the schoolyard that day. And no one was there to stop him from grabbing the blue pair of scissors – the pair mummy always told him not to touch – and making his way into the bathroom.

No one was there to stop little Jake as he undressed himself and took his tail in his hand. No one was there to stop him as he took the scissors in his hand and placed the cold metal of the blades to the base of his unwanted appendage. And no one was there to stop him when he forced his fingers to push the blades together as blood began to seep out from under the metal blades of the blue scissor his mummy had forbidden him to touch.

His fingers fought the rough sinews of muscle as the blades came closer together. When the blades hit bone, he used both of his hands to force the brittle bones to break under the pressure. And finally, when he had nothing left to fight with, the blades snapped together as the tail fell to the floor with a dull thud.

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RobotPenn. said...
May 8, 2015 at 10:51 am
Wow! Very powerful. I love how you've created this relatively normal, if rather sad, story, that just happens to have a chimerical element. I love how the tail isn't an indication of some superpower. It's just something that this little boy has. Something he's bullied about. The fantastical element isn't the point. It's used to illustrate the story, instead of carry it, which is my favorite kind of fairy tale (or tail, as the case may be. Hehehe. Forgive my cheesy jokes) I loved it. Very well do... (more »)
alchive This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Feb. 8, 2010 at 11:41 am
this is a powrful piece of writing.
i enjoy how you manage to convey something so universal, but still give it your person touch of fiction.
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