It was around 1980 in Queens, NY, and eight-year-old Ted Hicks had just received the kiss of death from the class bully.
It started innocently enough—just a simple conversation that ended up more heated than expected—and suddenly Ted was refusing to back down, and Wayne was shouting, “I’ll see you at 3:00.”
Hours later, Ted swallowed, taking a trembly bite of his sandwich. His friends stared at him around the lunch table, wide-eyed.
“Wayne’s gonna see you at three o’clock,” one of his friends said, his voice dark. Another friend elbowed Friend #1 in the ribs.
“Shh,” he said. “You’ll be fine,” he reassured Ted.
Ted stared unhappily at his sandwich, his heart pounding.
The day sped by as Ted stared at the clock, willing the hands to move backwards.
But, right on time, the dismissal bell rang, and it was 2:50pm.
Ted’s stomach dropped. His feet thudded down the halls. His sweaty hands clenched and unclenched by his sides. He pushed open the door, and was standing in the courtyard, surrounded by a circle of people keen on witnessing the bloodshed.
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