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hate one another. You will protect each other and you will hold your ground men, even if you think you might be pegged, even if I am hauling at you full speed with both my arms stabbing. Your bunker is more important than any of you individually. If any of you disgusting little retards manages to take me down, I will personally award you a special prize. Are you ready to die, men!?”

“SIR, YES, SIR!”

Mr. Joanne slid his cap off of his head, tossing it to the floor, to reveal a close-shaven graying crew cut. He ripped his plain white tee shirt off of his rippling chiseled torso until he was wearing only his socks, his tennis shoes, and his pair of khaki shorts. I mean, he ripped off his shirt, like grabbed it with both hands and tore it in half. With his shirt off, I noticed for the first time that all his tattoos are just numbers. He let out a scream and tied the shredded tee shirt around his head Rambo-style.

“SCATTER!! SCATTER!! SCATTER!!”

I ran right away for a corner, following Johnny Bronson, who was whooping and yelling and smiling. Mr. Joanna sprinted and then did a roll and took cover behind a group of milk crates and had started firing tennis balls at kids before they had even gotten to their bunkers. He laughed deliberately as he pegged one kid in the neck with a tennis ball and the kid immediately dropped to the ground and began to cry. Johnny Bronson ran from behind our bunker to a different one. I just laid behind the crates, taking cover. I found a place where I could see little bits of things through the slats in the crates. Mr. Joanne was killing us. He already wrecked one bunker with the sheer force of the throw of one volleyball. He was working on pegging different kids with tennis balls as the few survivors of the destroyed bunker scattered to either my bunker or the one Bronson was behind. It looked as though Squirrel, unpegged, just ran towards the maintenance closet.

Mr. Joanne ran out from behind his bunker suddenly, it looked like he was grabbing more ‘ammunition’. Then out of nowhere, Mr. Joanna began to get pelted with tennis balls and dodge balls by almost every kid in the gymnasium. Instead of taking cover again, he just stood in the middle of the floor and opened his arms and welcomed the shots to his mahogany pecs and his washboard abs and his entire invincible physique. He laughed at us, mocking our efforts to hurt him.

I was popping up every once in a while from behind my crates, and I was aiming for his nuts with tennis balls, but I kept missing.

Suddenly he snapped out of his wide armed trance and came charging at my fort, bunker, whatever it was, with his arms flailing madly in stabbing motions. He was screaming, spittle flying from his mouth, pounding the scattering kids trying to run away with his pistoning arms. I ducked behind the crate protecting me. I closed my eyes. I pictured my mom at home, vacuuming the rug, doing laundry, smiling. I could hear Mr. Joanne coming for us like a de-railed locomotive.

“GET IN THE CLOSET, I GOT YOU, I GOT YOU, GET BACK IN THE CLOSET! YOU’RE ALL DEAD, YOU’RE ALL DEAD, YOU WON’T FIND ME, YOU CAN’T FIND ME!!!”

He zoomed by our bunker, kicking it over with one thrust of his leg. I was doing my best to hide behind the milk crates before, but now the screaming Mr. Joanne had knocked them out from in front of me. In a cowering crouched ball on the floor, suddenly all alone in all this


   
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