This story was originally written in 2009 after talking to someone about a female bully at my elementary school. No real names were used but similar situations were.
"I'm uh beat yo ass."
Everyone heard her say it. She didn't even shout it. It was so quiet that even Ms. Washington, our lunch lady, heard her. She dropped her spatula. My brother Anthony started giggling. My girlfriend grabbed my hand.
"I don't wanna fight you, Tawanda" I tell her. And I don't. Tawanda has a record that Mike Tyson would've killed to have. One time she broke a teacher's finger for taking her glitter sprinkles.
"I don't care what you want, Maurice" she says. "I'm uh break you in half."
"Leave him alone, Tawanda" Anthony says. She looks at him and he takes a step back. "Calm ya little fat ass down. I'll hit a girl." Tawanda drops her sandwich and takes a step forwards. Anthony takes another step back. "I'm just messin' with you, girl."
"That's what I thought" Tawanda says. "At lunch time we gonna fight. Don't try and leave. I know where you live."
"He can't fight you" my girlfriend Elise says. "You're a girl."
"Prove it!" someone shouts.
"I really don't wanna fight you" I tell Tawanda.
"I really don't wanna chase you" she says.
How'd this all happen?
Class was over. This was not as hard as I thought it would be. My brother had me scared of starting high school with all the horror stories he told. I was happy that me and Elise had five out of six classes together. It was time for our first break in between breakfast and lunch, and my brother promised to show me around. We meet up in the lunch room. He asks me to go grab him a bag of chips. I take some change and head to the vending machine. I get a bag of Ranch Dorito's when the world gets flipped upside down.
"That bettuh not be the last bag of 'Rito's" a voice says behind me.
"Yep!" I say without looking. "Sucks to be you." I turn around and there she is.
5'11". 235lbs. Tawanda Julyat Deshawnique Percine. Known by many as Tonka. Called by the brave Percy. Wearing her black hoodie, baggy black jeans, corn rolls, and filthy red spray painted boots. They say she uses red so you can't see the blood stains. She's bigger than most of the guys here.
"Sorry, Tawanda" I tell her.
"Not yet you ain't" she says. The cafeteria is dead quiet. I try and hand her the chips.
"Oh, hell, naw!" my brother shouts. "You ain't giving my chips to that big bitch!" Tawanda turns and faces Anthony. He covers his head and looks away.
"I'm sorry" I tell her. "Here. Just take the chips." She takes the bag and crushes it.
"Bitch" I hear my brother say under his breath. Elise starts to walk over and I shake my head. No point in being known as the first couple since Bonnie & Clyde to be killed together.
Back to the present.
"I can't fight a girl" I tell Tawanda.
"You ain't!" someone shouts.
"That's yo problem" she says. "You ain't gotta do nothing' but show up an' get yo ass beat." She turns and leaves grabbing the crushed chips on her way out.
"Dump truck took my chips" Anthony says.
"That's what you're worried about?" Elise asks him.
"I'm hungry" he says.
"You're gonna lose a brother and all you can think about are chips" Elise says.
"Thanks" I say. "Surrounded by so much love and confidence makes me feel good."
"I got six more" Anthony says as he pulls a bag of Ranch Dorito's out of his backpack.
"Really?" I ask.
"Yeah" he says. "Really."
This is what it must feel like to be on death row. I got pretty much two hours to live. I think about playing sick and having mama come and get me. But then I remember who mama is and change my mind. If I told her my stomach hurt she'd just talk about hungry kids in Botswana and how bad their stomachs hurt every night from hunger. I would call my pops but his phone got turned off. I'm screwed.
"What are you gonna do?" Elise asks me during PE. "You can't hit a girl."
"I know" I tell her even though in my head I'm beating the hell out of Tawanda. I'm doing things you only see in video games to her. Back flips. Leg sweeps. Dropkicks. "But I can't just let her mess me up."
"I can help" Elise says. It's a nice gesture but I can see in her eyes she's praying I don't call her on her offer.
"I'll be fine" I lie to her. "I'll figure something out."
I get inside the gym and start wailing on a bag. It's a few minutes later when I notice how quiet it is in the place. I stop punching and look around. Everyone is looking at me like I'm crazy. They aren't the ones that have to fight a Bigfoot in a couple hours. My brother comes into the gym and walks over to me.
"Take this" he says as he hands me something. I look down and it's a roll of quarters.
"What am I gonna do with this?" I ask him. "Laundry?"
"No, fool" Anthony says. "Don't you remember anything we learned from wrestling?"
"I remember you blinding me for an hour by throwing baby powder in my face" I remind him.
"That was funny" he said. "No, man. You put this in your fist when you fight that big bitch. Just nail her in that big fucking jaw."
"Anthony, get the hell out of here!" my teacher Mr. Simmons shouted. Anthony waved to the class and took off. I stuff the quarters in my draws and walked over to Elise as the bell rang. I give her a hug and she jumps back.
"You nasty!" she shouts while looking down at my crotch.
"That's not me" I tell her. She raises an eyebrow, kisses me on the cheek, smiles, and heads to the showers.
"See ya soon."
"Okay" I tell her.
I'm covered in sweat but I'm not gonna shower. I wanna be good and funky for this fight. I want Tawanda to think she's fighting a nasty ass African warrior when she gets close to me. I want her thinking she's going against Chaka Zulu. I sit in my next class ignoring everything. I'm trying to psyche myself for this fight. I hear a crowd gathering outside and everyone rushes to the window to see what's going on. Even my teacher. I don't. I know what's happening.
"Come on, Maurice!" Tawanda shouts from outside. "I'm ready to beat yo monkey ass!"
The bell rings and everyone runs outside. Well, everyone but me. I'm fingering the roll of quarters and finally stand up. My teacher Mrs. Gunsberg walks over to me and places her hand on my shoulder.
"You don't have to do this" she says. I didn't know the teachers knew about this fight. "You'll be a better person by just ignoring her."
"Yeah" I agree. "A better dead person." I stand and roll my neck. "Either way I'm gonna lose this fight. If I beat her I beat a girl. If I lose I lost to a girl."
"Is this really how you want to start your high school tenure?" she asks.
"I didn't wake up this morning and say, 'I feel like fighting a gorilla!' This is all over some chips." I walk to the door and sigh. I walk down the hallways and its completely empty. I don't even see the janitor. I smack myself in the face a few times and step outside to a riot. Everyone starts cheering. I see my brother sitting on his car with Elise. She pushes through the crowd and gives me a hug.
"Dead man walkin'!" someone shouts.
"You still don't have to do this" she tells me.
"Yeah, I do" I say.
"Come here" Tawanda says as she grabs me by the collar and slings me to the ground like I'm a baby. She snatches me up and throws me on the hood of Anthony's car.
"Get the fuck off my car!" he shouts as he shoves me off with his feet. I land on the ground and Tawanda grabs me by the throat. Elise jumps on her back and she drops me. She reaches over her shoulder and grabs Elise by the hair, slinging her on top of me. I push Elise off and get to my feet.
"That's right, bitch" Tawanda says. She swings at me and I duck. She punches me on top of my head. "You can't fight for shit."
"I noticed" I say as I fall to my knees. I see pretty little crystals floating in front of my eyes. I remove the quarters from my pockets and jump up real quick and pop her in the jaw. Change goes flying everywhere. Tawanda just smiles. Most of the change had fallen into my pocket when I got tossed on Anthony's car. I think I hit her with $1.75.
"You done?" she asks me.
"Yeah" I say. "I think so."
"I'm gon' use this money to get some more chips" Tawanda says as she starts picking up the quarters. Anthony dives from on top of his car and aims at Tawanda. She waits until he's right on top of her and body slams him. "Anybody else wanna get they ass whipped?" No one steps forward.
"Hell no!" someone shouts.
"That's what I thought" Tawanda says as she bends down to pick me up. I slap her hard across the face.
"Ooh..." the crowd goes.
"You must've loss yo mind" she tells me as she rears back. I close my eye and wait for the blow when all of a sudden I get the eye of the tiger. This is some "The Last Dragon" kinda crap I'm running on now. I open my eyes and Tawanda's mouth is hanging open. I look down and my foot is buried in between her legs. "Son of a..."
I remove my foot, shocked that chicks could be hurt there. I look around for a weapon. Something to nail her with while she's stunned. There's nothing.
"Here!" someone shouts as a rock comes flying through the air. I catch it. Just as she looks up I throw that rock as hard as I can. It nails her between the eyes and she goes down. She lands flat on her back and doesn't move.
"What in the?" I say aloud. "I won?" Everyone starts cheering for me. Elise comes over holding her neck and throws her arm around me.
"Way to beat a girl up!" someone shouts.
"Damn" Anthony says. "You are nuts, Maurice."
"What the hell's goin' on here?!" a lady screams. Some lady the size of a small bus barges through the crowd and shoves me out of the way. She bends down and snatches Tawanda up. "I outta beat yo stupid ass!"
"Let me go, mama!" Tawanda shouts.
"Boy, when we get home I'm gonna wear yo ass out like a pair of runnin' shoes!" Tawanda's mama shouts.
"Did you say 'boy'?" I ask.
Later on we finally get the whole story. Tawanda Julyat Deshawnique Percine was actually Tywan Julyat Deshawn Percine. He had been kicked out of so many schools that he decided to start going by another name.
A girl's name.
He never said he was a girl. We just assumed he was because he looked like a very ugly one. I mean, he even used the girl's bathroom and changed with them. That opened up a whole 'nother can of worms when everything got investigated.
Later on that week my brother made fun of me for not beating up a girl, but beating up a confused and angry boy. By the next week barely anyone even brought the fight up. It didn't elevate me in anyone's eyes after a while. Things went as usual for a month of so until one day while I was at the arcade someone tapped me on the shoulder. I turned around and there he was. Tywan. He'd shaved his head.
"Here" he said as he shoved something into my hands. "My mama said I gotta do this." It was a bag of Dorito's.
"Thanks, dude" I tell him. I swear. If the rest of high school is like this I'm gonna drop out soon. I can't stand this kinda stress in my life.