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“I feel so sorry for you.”

“You feel sorry for me?”



“Because you are a loser. That’s why you go about bullying people. That’s why you do what you do.”

“I’m gonna bust ya face”

“There you go. You don’t have anything to offer than busting people’s faces. Coward that you are”

Derrick could not move an inch. He was glued to the spot he found himself. Penney had given him a blow below the belt.

“How dare you! You are dead meat!” Derrick screamed.

“That’s what you do all day, yell, scream and talk a whole load of twaddle. I honestly don’t  understand why people waste time with you?”

Derrick’s face was turning pink now. All the hairs on his head were standing. He was in such a rage. He rushed towards Penney and Penney stood still.

“Why don’t you summon courage for once and be a man and face your life instead of always rushing to be physical?” Penney said to Derrick.

“Imma  shut that your big mouth, you good for nothing butthole.”

“Can you not speak one sentence without an offensive word? If you are man enough I am going to give you a challenge. A game of words, let’s see who is superior intellectually? Ask me a question and I ask you a question?”

Derrick couldn’t take up the challenge. He knew he would flunk. It was just too humiliating.

From a corner Nick was watching the events that happened. He had been a victim of bullying since he arrived St. Xavier’s and he was barely hanging in there. But seeing Derrick being dismantled with just mere intellectual superiority was such a sight for him to behold. He decided to seek Penney out.

In the library Nick found Penney studying an encyclopedia of science.

“Hi Penney!”

“Hello there.”

“You alright?” Penney asked.

‘Yeah, I have been looking for you.”

“How can I help.”

“You know I watched you from a distance today dismantle Derrick and I was just overwhelmed by your intellectual superiority. How did you do that?”

“I just did it. I know that bullies are cowards. They rely on their physical aggression; they prey on the weakness of their victims. They sense it a mile off and because they are mean, they actually derive satisfaction watching their prey fall to their chants and echoes of meanness.”

“Wow. That is so profound” Nick confessed. “You know that Derrick has been a pain on my backside since I arrived this school. I have been handing him my lunch money since the day he accosted me.” Nick finished.

“What!” Penney exclaimed. “How could you succumb to such act?”

“I had no chance. Not a chance. He came with his crew. They were about five in number and I was alone. I didn’t stand a chance.”

“You know what, we are going to get the money back, every single dime, we’re going to get it back. Bullies hate humiliation. We will humiliate him, he will pay back that money, every single dime. Do you have an idea how much of yours he has?”

“From September  to December, five quid a week, about hundred and twenty quid.”

“We will get it back, every dime and if you would like, with interest” Penney quipped.

Room 101 was Mr. Cook’s classroom. They were all attending Mr. Cook’s math’s lesson. The starter activity was a mental math sum. A paired activity. Every person was to write ten mental math sums and test his/her partner with the sums and vice versa.

“Choose your partner” Mr. Cook signaled.

Mr. MaCintosh, the deputy headteacher arrived in a scurry and requested to speak with Mr. Cook outside the classroom in the corridor.

Nick moved straight to Derrick’s desk and pulled the chair and sat next to him. Derrick was stunned.

“You have your five quid” Derrick whispered to Nick.

“Yes, I have it and I want to make a deal with you.”

“What deal?”

“Good. You are smart. I have always suspected it that you are not that dumb after all” Nick looked into Derrick’s eyeball and pronounced.

“I have ten questions for you. You answer them correctly, you get the five quid, you don’t, you pay me back all the money you owe me, one hundred and twenty quid.”

“You’re crazy. You are mad. You are dead meat” Derrick spoke to Nick’s ears.

“Nope, you are the dead meat, because if you don’t pay me that money, I am going to get your ass locked up” Nick retorted. “Be a man for once, take up the challenge if you are man enough.”

Startle was written all over Derrick’s face. Where on earth did Nick get such guts to accost him. Yet here was a challenge before him. If he didn’t take the challenge that would be humiliating.

Darn, he thought. I would take it, he concluded and I will make him pay for it. He will pay for it dearly. He will regret ever making such a challenge.

“Ok. I take the challenge.”

“Another smart move by you. See! You ain’t that dumb after all.” Nick said.

“Shut ya trap!” Derrick managed to utter.

He was plotting how he would make Nick pay for this humiliation when Nick’s voice rang out

“Ladies and gentlemen, we have decided to make a little challenge, Derrick and I. Derrick gets all my questions right, I give him five quid and if I get all his questions right, he gives me one hundred and twenty quid. Right Derrick!”

Derrick was mummified. He wasn’t expecting this.

“Whooooooooooooooaaaaaaaaaah” the whole class exclaimed.

“Yep” Derrick managed to say.

All eyes turned to Derrick and Nick.

Question one: eight times eight, divided by minus two.

Derrick was shocked. He didn’t move an inch. His friends were not allowed near him. A circle had formed around them and the five seconds countdown was over and Derrick’s lips did not utter any sound. Minus thirty two, Nick announced. A loud cheer went up.

“Your turn” Nick hollered.

“Five times five add ten” Derrick finally managed to say.

“Thirty five” Penney snapped.

At the tenth question, Nick decided to humiliate Derrick further, when he asked one add one. The crowd laughed. Derrick felt so little.

Derrick was waiting at the gate with his boys for Nick. Nick was strolling confidently with Penney walking home.

Derrick and his crew swore and froze.

Uwem Mbot Umana©2018


  1. A story about Bullying, this is a very beautiful piece of writing. The beginning started hot and really built up the plot (Penney standing up to Derrick and inspiring Nick’s courage).
    The flow of the story was what captured my heart because it is what happens most of the times in reality. The characters are also very well presented aiding the reader’s imagination. For me the ending was unexpected because I didn’t expect Derrick’s crew to be afraid of Penney, I guess they were truly a group of cowards. End of Review.
    I have a question: Are short stories supposed to feel incomplete?

  2. This is a story making it clear that nobody is absolutely strong or absolute weak.Even bullies have their Achilles heel that may sound a note of warning to them that in certain ways they may be vulnerable even to apparently weak people.There is a bully in the story called Derrick who saw his match in another guy called Penney who was smart enough to know that Derrick lacked intellectual gift which he compensated for in being a bully as a facade to win respect and cover up his inferiority complex.This was his Achilles heel that Penney used to cut him to size to the admiration of one Nick in the story who was a perpetual victim of Derrick,s nature as a bully and who decided to seek out Penney as a mentor to help bail him out of Derrick,s nasty influence on him.Birds of the same feathers as they say flock together and this indeed can bolster psychological confidence in the right company.When Derrick found Nick in the company of Penney he froze and Iam sure that must have been the beginning of keeping his distance from Nick. The lesson to me in the story is that bullies of whatever kind will always be cut to size if you can identify their Achilles heel

  3. An interesting piece. While reading this, a movie was playing in my mind, “Everybody hates Chris”.

    The story is a clear picture of the world of bullying. From day one at St. Xavier, Nick’s experience was a case of the oppressor and oppressed/exploiter and exploited. Derrick, with his boys, felt like they were in charge and used that to their advantage to bully the others in so many ways (punching, insulting, taking their lunch money). The aim of bullies is to make life miserable for their preys. They disregard authority, they don’t care about the effect of their actions on others, or the consequences it would bring.

    The writer was able to point out the fact that humiliation is one thing bullies hat; their weak point. The only way to bring them down is to embarrass them publicly so they realize they are actually not as in control as they think and can’t go around behaving anyhow at the expense of everyone. With the help of Penney, this was the tool Nick used to get back at Derrick and destroy his reputation once and for all.

    The story tries to emphasize the fact that bullying is an issue at schools. Everyone comes from different backgrounds. We have the rich and the poor, the haves and have-nots, so there is every tendency for one to feel proud and superior to the other. You don’t have to be in the elite group to bully someone. Just the idea of you being popular and having others respect you (out of fear) because of the way they are being treated, is enough for you to rule the town.

    Also, students having low self-esteem can play a role in this issue. This applies not just to students but every human being. We should be proud and comfortable in our skin and not let anyone make us feel inferior and take advantage of us because we lack something. This would only build the bully’s muscles and boost they negative actions in the society.

    I wish the writer could have told us how things were with Derrick and the others after the challenge. Did things change for the better or worse?

    This should be a lesson to every bully out there who think they can mistreat people, ride on their feelings and get away with it. Eventually, they will meet someone who won’t be afraid to challenge them and that would end their reign.

  4. I feel so sorry for you is a story about learning how to treat bullies. I believe the story has a number of lessons for both young and old.

    The scene in this story happens at their school, St Xavier’s. We see here as Derrick, one of the school’s bullies is trying to bully Penney using popular bully tactics. His voice and attitude are spiced with empty threats, aggression, harsh and abusive words, and raising his voice.
    Unfortunately, Penney who was being bullied wasn’t moved. He wasn’t weak and was quite bold in his responses. He was able to separate the “dog from his bark.” Penney displayed enough courage that left Derrick dumbfounded when he challenged him to “a game of words” – who is superior intellectually… of course, Derrick could not handle this challenged and flopped.

    Nick, who had been a victim of Derrick and his crew was watching from a safe distance how Penney was taking Derrick down with his courageous stance and responses. He was awed at this happening and went looking for Penney to help him out with this bully and his crew. When Nick found Penney, he told him how he had been bullied and robbed for about 4 months and was tired of being a victim. Penney was livid and advised him on what to look out for in bullies and how to handle them.
    They prey on the weakness of their victims, so if you find yourself being bullied, the first thing to note is – never show any ounce of weakness.
    Penney and Nick devised a plan to get back all the money Derrick had taken from Nick.
    During their next math class, Mr. Cook was called out by Mr. MaCintosh, the deputy headteacher and the showdown began.
    They had been told to find partners to test math sums and Nick pulled up a chair and challenged Derrick to answer a set of questions. Nick now being aware that bullies hate humiliation, he
    challenged Derrick with a set of questions. He made a general announcement to the class heightening the humiliation if Derrick failed. Guessing right, Derrick fell for it and lost. Nick won and got back his money. Derrick became even more livid and waited with his crew again to bully Nick. This time he couldn’t because Nick also knew it is safer to walk in pairs and not alone when you have once been a bully victim.
    A couple of lessons show that this situation happens a lot in school and formal organizations. It’s not strange but it can be handled. Bullies prey on the weakness of their victims, never show them your weakness. Be bold in challenging them, they hate humiliation and always walk or work in pairs.

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