God’s Forcefield

This is a short story on the subject of Bouncebackability that I did for a contest. I won 3rd place with it, so I just thought I’d show it. Here it is:

*

Max had been bullying kids since kindergarten and he had never seen anything like the transformation in Joel Bates over the last week.

 

Joel had always been the easiest one to pick on. He never stood up for himself or told the teachers. He just ducked his head, hoping his unruly brown hair would hide his face. It seemed that he took every insult to heart. Max found it funny the way Joel’s skinny shoulders slumped under his eternally too-big blue hoodie and he shuffled away. But it had all changed.

 

The first change was very subtle. It was just in the way he held himself. He held his head high and his shoulders straight with a new sense of self. Max pointed it out to his friends and they snickered about it behind the teacher’s back during class. But it took on a whole new aspect at lunch. Max approached Joel after they’d both gone through the lunch line.

 

“Yo. Loser. What the heck do you think you’re . . .” Joel turned with a smile,

“Hi, Max! I noticed you were pretty near the back of the line at lunch. And I saw there was only one pudding left, so I grabbed you the last one. You like chocolate better than vanilla right?” Joel pushed the pudding into Max’s thick hand and beamed before turning and walking off to eat his lunch. Max stood there staring stupidly at the squarish cup in his hand.

 

The attitude change continued throughout the week, until one day Max just couldn’t stand it anymore.

 

“The bouncebackability on that kid is just ridiculous!” He complained to his friend, “It’s like he doesn’t even notice any of the stuff that used to put him in a funk for the rest of the day. I mean, what happened?” His friend shrugged,

 

“I don’t know. Just ignore him. We can find someone else to pick on.”

 

But that still did nothing to quell Max’s curiosity. So, at recess, Max mustered his courage and walked up behind Joel. Without a thought, he gave his usual greeting for Joel.

 

“Yo, Loser.” Joel looked over his shoulder, grinned, then turned the rest of the way.

“Hey! How are you, Max?” he asked genially. Max clenched and unclenched his fists,

 

“Now THIS is what’s driving me nuts! What’s up with you, dude? Just last week you were the biggest wimp in school and scared to death of me, now you treat my like I’m your best friend. What happened?”

 

Joel put his hand on Max’s shoulder, “The best thing in my life happened,” he answered.

 

“Ever heard of Jesus?”

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