Of all the people he knew, Brandon had to bring this wimp into the group? The guy was a certified loser. Overweight, he wore big, coke bottle glasses, he stunk to high hell, and he was interested in the weirdest stuff. Honestly, who would say their favorite hobby is collecting worms to study? The kid- whose name was Tommy Doyle- was the worst to be around.

       The kids sat on the busted couches and chairs of the meeting room. The meeting room was nothing more than one of the guy’s basement that “The Loons,” as they called themselves, met up in. He thought about how it all had happened in anger.

       “The Loonies” were by no means cool in their own right. Kids of thirteen-years-old who still played soldier and war, read science fiction and horror comics and played late-night games of D&D in the basement. To each member, however, the guys they hung out with were way cooler than action stars and rockers. They enjoyed each other’s company and felt that they could be themselves and talk about anything with these guys. That all changed when Brandon brought his cousin, Tommy over.

       “Hey guys,” Brandon called with a form of resigned excitement, “I have this cousin named Tommy who’s our age. He’s moving here with my aunt and uncle next week, do you mind if he joins The Loons?”

       The rest of the group were tentative to give a definite yes or no, however, they were willing to give the new guy a shot. If nothing else, it’s one more man in the trenches with us ran through some of their minds with thoughts of bullies picking on them accompanying. They regretted the decision to meet a new member immediately.

       “He digs for worms… and keeps them?!” one boy asked in disgust.

       “What do he mean ‘he’d rather watch tv than play football’?” someone else asked Brandon.

       One brave member even dared to ask the pasty, overweight Tommy to his face, “Dude, why are you such a freak?” The group had to hand it to the kid, he displayed great confidence in his oddness and took all the ridicule with stride. Despite this one good characteristic, though, everyone wanted Tommy out of the Loonies.

       “Come on, guys,” Brandon pleaded with his friends, “We can’t just leave him out. He’s my cousin! Besides, he’ll prove himself useful to us.”

       Matty Greene, the unofficial leader of the ten-man group, had a big heart, though. “He can join the club, but he has to be willing to do what the group does.”

       Tommy was ecstatic to become part of what he thought were the superheroes of the middle school. He followed orders, gave praise to the other kids, and thanked his cousin over and over for introducing him to everyone. It annoyed the Loonies to no end.

       “He just does what we say”, “the kid doesn’t even have his own opinions, just agrees with what someone else says”, “we are never going to get girls with him around,” everyone complained behind Tommy’s back.

       The poor kid thought he was doing important business for The Loonies. Running to the gas station for cokes and candy, going across town to find some trinket someone else asked him to grab, or constantly being chosen as “it” in games of tag. He never realized that they were all just measures the boys had devised to be around Tommy as little as possible. And it worked.

       Everyone was thrilled. They thought they had pulled the smartest master plan in all of their school’s history. Avoiding “Tubby” Doyle- as they now called him- through their errands for him and general hazing, it was a breeze. All while avoiding the notorious Steve Finch and his goons themselves.

       Steve Finch was the biggest seventh-grader in the school. He was also the only fifteen-year-old seventh grader in town. Steve prowled the halls like a wolf among sheep, always looking to call someone names and pound them with his big, meaty fists. He had three goons that accompanied Him, two were fourteen and one was thirteen and they all acted like they were the biggest hit since Led Zeppelin to ever live. Steve Finch was how Tommy “Tubby” Doyle gained the respect of The Loonies.

       On the last day of school before Christmas Break, The Loonies were walking home in the foggy snow. Tubby walked behind the group, who were discussing whether to have a snowy football game or a D&D match in the warmth of the basement meeting house. Neither argument was gaining traction.

       “Hey, pussies!” a wicked voice called out the grey fog.

       The Loonies stopped and gasped. Fear took over like a bucket of water being thrown onto a fire of confidence within- even though numbers were over double than what Finch had, it was always a one-sided battle that lost.

       “You never allowed me to give you guys your Christmas present,” Finch spoke again. He and his goons emerged from the fog like horrible phantoms of pain and doom.

       “Come on, Finch,” Matty spoke up, “just let us go, okay? That can be our present from you.”

       “I don’t think so, ass wipe,” the crude bully sneered, “Nah, I want to give you guys something you’ll remember me by even when you’re old,” he said evilly before adding, “If I let you live at all, that is.”

       He took a step toward Matty, hands clenching into brick-sized fists. He cocked his arm out, ready to deliver the starting shot and draw first blood of the battle before SMACK!

       Matty never saw what happened, he was closing his eyes in anticipation for the earth-shaking blow to the mouth. The other boys would only say that all they could see was a pale blur against the fog.

       Steve Finch was lying on the ground in the fetal position, howling in pain. Bright red blood littered the ground, showing in stark contrast to the white snow. Tubby Doyle stood above the bully kicking him in the ribs, back, and butt.

       “I swear to Christ, Finch,” the nerdy boy said with a voice like a killer, “If you ever try to harm my friends again, I’ll beat you so hard, you’ll be in a wheelchair, sipping all your meals through a straw for the rest of your miserable life. Understand me?” he emphasized this last sentence with a harder kick.

       “Yes! YES! I’m sorry!” Steve Finch cried, his goons stood in silent horror- much like Tubby’s group. “It won’t happen again! I promise!”

        “Get the fuck home then!” Tommy howled with a final strong kick to Finch’s ass. It made a sound like a bullet hitting gelatin. Finch would find a massive bruise where this final kick landed and would limping for the next three weeks.

       The Loonies walked to the basement, too stunned to speak until Matty finally asked, “Tommy, how did you…?” he trailed off, not knowing what to say exactly. Tommy explained that he’d been taught Karate and Jiu-Jitsu since he was a little kid, his dad wanted Tommy to be able to defend himself. “Thanks, man,” Matty told him with sincere admiration, “Finch has beaten every single guy in this room at least twice in the last year alone.”

       Tommy nodded, “He’s not so bad, most bullies just need one good lick and they cower like dogs with their tail between their legs.”

       “Well, thanks for teaching him his lesson,” Matty replied.

       From then on, Tommy Doyle was no longer called Tubby. He wasn’t sent on menial errands. He was picked first for football teams, always got to walk with the crowd, and had a new nickname and role as the de facto bodyguard. He was called “Enforcer” the other Loonies. Some of the guys would even accompany Tommy to dig for worms, and while they didn’t enjoy the bugs as much, they found that they would sometimes find neat treasures hidden within the dirt of their excavation sites.

       “See, I told you guys he’d prove himself useful,” Brandon would end up saying with a stupid grin on his face.

August 27, 2020 02:37

You must sign up or log in to submit a comment.


Keerththan 😀
03:13 Sep 09, 2020

Wonderful story. Nice write up. I love your dialogues. Keep writing. Would you mind reading my new one? Thanks.


Show 0 replies
Jan H
13:46 Aug 29, 2020

Nice. Enjoyed the read. By chance, is this a nod to Tommy Doyle of 'Halloween' fame?


Chris Buono
16:33 Aug 29, 2020

It is. Thank you for noticing!


Jan H
16:56 Aug 29, 2020



Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply