Bobby Brittlethrop was a boy of no account by any means. He was very slight. no weight to him so to speak, not the brightest bulb on the tree, and he had these delusions of having an ability to help people. It was a combination that made for a risky life for in the Oakland, California public school system. But Bobby managed not well but well enough. His parents were nice people. Mom worked at the Walmart as a clerk and Dad kept the water flowing at the city's Public Utilities.
Bobby was getting picked on. And as the kids grew older the bullying got meaner. They made fun of his name and called him Little BB. Bobby didn't mind he had several Bombadier Beetles he kept as pets and imagined he was one of them. Tommy Utpurm was especially mean. He would push Bobby around and even slammed his head into the locker once so hard that his nose started bleeding. There was nothing Bobby could do. He could report it to the guidance counselor and feel like a wimp. He was worried it could get worse rather than better. So he went to the Boys Room, washed himself up, stck some toilet paper in his nostril and went to class. The teacher scolded him for being late but he apologized and it was okay.
The Bombadier Beetle is an insect with a defense mechanism allowing them to eject a hot noxious compound from their abdomen when threatened. He kept his eye out for them when he was about and even found one by the Vellecitos Nuclear Center during a day trip there. He named it Tat. Tat was a little bigger and faster than the other beetles but seemed to get along fine. Sometimnes he took them out of the little ecosystem he had put in place for them and let them run around his desk or the yard. His mother didn't care for that and warned him to keep an eye on them because she didn't want those "disgusting insects getting free in our home". He promised he would be careful.
It was a surprise to him then when one sunny Sunday afternoon Tat got loose from his desk and had run off before Bobby had a chance to stop him. That night, as Bobby lay in bed worrying about his troubles at school, Tat marched up the bed and onto Bobby's pillow. Looking around for food. Bobby was dreaming by this time and his Rapid Eye Movement sleep made his eyelashes move slightly attracting Tat's attention. Tat moved closer, Bobby's head moved a little, Tat climbed onto Bobby's face, Bobby felt this and his eyes sprang open and he screamed, Tat jumped back and quickly ejected his spray. Pulsing rapidly a glowing stream into Bobby's right eye.
He was definitely surprised. He knew about the abilities of the Bombardier Beetle but this wasn't what he expected. First the glow. He had never heard of that pulsing jet glowing. Second, it was supposed to be a scalding hot acid. But it didn't feel hot at all. I'm fact it felt like Visine eye drops. He sat up, rubbed his eye a little bit, pick up Tat and put him back in the glass home, and went to the bathroom to check out his eye.
Now things got really strange. His eye had swollen a bit, not much, and near the bottom of his eyeball. He had to have his eyes wide open to see it at all. Just the one eye he closed slowly and it glowed slightly. He was tired and it was late so he looked in on the beetles and went back to bed.
The following day he got up and got ready for school and checked out the eye. Opening wide and slowly once, and then a second time and it glowed red. A quick spurt of a steamy hot liquid hit the mirror in front of him. What was going on? Had he become a Bombardier Beetle? He tried it again and again. The first time a slight glow and the second time red and with a spurt.
He ran down stairs, grabbed his backpack and headed off to school. It was a full Monday and the classes went over material which had been gone over before and would probably be gone over again before the end of the year. Tommy passed him in the hallway after math and said something insulting but Bobby wasn't sure what. He hardly paid attention anymore.
It was sunny at lunch and a lot of the kids went out front to sit on the grass and enjoy the warmth. Bobby went out too and passed Tommy on the way out the door. Bobby kept moving but Tommy followed and grabbed him by the arm as he tried to walk away. "I told you before I would wring your neck of I saw you again today. You think I was kidding?" Tommy said. "I'm.. no, I didn't hear you that's all. I'll just go back inside." Bobby answered. "That's what you think" threatened Tommy pulling Bobby to face him "I'm gonna enjoy putting you in your place."
Bobby felt the threat and knew he could be getting hurt there. He decided what had to be done and winked at Tommy. "Huh.. what.. did you just wink at me you worthless joke." He pulled his arm back when Bobby winked again. It happened pretty quick before Tommy even got his arm moving forward. Bobby's eye grew red with anger. He was sick and tired of the abuse and wanted it to stop. A stream of hot caustic liquid came pulsing out of Bobby's eye and went all over Tommy's face. He screamed and tried to wipe it away but that only made it worse. He yelled "What the heck!" Pulled his shirt up and began dabbing over all the parts with a rank steamy odor coming out. Little bits of skin came off too and Tommy couldn't see anything.
He turned round and round shouting "get me some water! Where's the restroom! Help, help, I need help!!" Bobby shook his head in amazement and walked back inside. He was surprised that it worked so well. He hadn't expected that. To completely disable Tommy without a second thought.
Things got better for both boys for the rest of the year. Bobby didn't get picked on anymore and Tommy got some of the vision back in his right eye and the blisters went down hardly leaving any scars other than on his nose.