His name was Bobby Greer. Bobby was an enormous specimen of fourth grader, who looked into the teachers’ eyes and stood several heads taller than any of the other children. He wore his black hair in a flat top, and there were rumors that he shaved and had his own parking space. He must have been held back three or four times at least. Bobby was a Golden Gloves boxer, and was built like a tank: Thick neck, small, beady eyes and little, round ears-almost as if every spot on his body that might be vulnerable to attack was minimized as much as possible.
It was mid-December, not long until winter vacation, and it was during Channuka. The teacher asked me to bring in Gelt and Latkes and talk about the holiday and what it meant for all the goyim.
Later that day, as Bobby passed me in the hall, he bumped my shoulder and called me a Kyke.
I didn’t know what the word meant exactly, only that it was as bad as calling a black person a “nigger.” The way he spat out the word made the skin on my cheeks hot and my eyes itch. I spun around and faced him.
“After school at the bike rack, you faggot.” I didn’t know what that word meant either, but I did know it was the one thing I could say to incense him as much as I was.
By the end of school, everyone knew about the fight, and the bike rack was packed. I snuck around behind the rack and took a running leap onto his back.
We stumbled forward together, and he went down face first. As he struggled to get back up, I slammed his face into the ground, and he didn’t move. I stood up, picked up my backpack and started to walk away, utterly calm and quite proud of myself.
I saw this girl named Julie standing in front of me gapemouthed. As I walked toward her, her eyes suddenly widened, and her gaze left mine and trailed upwards, over my head.
My heart sank like a rock. I realized Bobby Greer was standing behind me, and he was really, really angry.
I whirled around just in time to catch a meathook the size of a cantaloupe to the face. I staggered back, eyes watering and my nose gushing blood. Then another one to the side of my head. Then one to my gut, that took every ounce of wind out of me. I clinched up, to avoid falling down, wrapping my arms around his waist and hanging on for what seemed like an eternity while he bashed my sides and my back.
All of a sudden, he stopped. And took a step back.
Bobby Grear’s Grandmother to save the day.
The old woman was a tiny thing, but she just spoke his name and he backed off.
“Who started this?!” She demanded, with a country-hick, white trash accent.
“I did,” I said, crying now, flushed with embarrassment and scared of the amount of blood pouring from my nose. “He called me a Kyke.”
“Bobby! You know that we’re all gods children, don’t you?” She said to the monster.
“Yes Ma’am,” He said, looking like a pit bull straining against the end of an imaginary leash.
“You know Jesus loves this little Jew Boy”-she said those words with a sneer, and it made me want to punch her in the face, too, but I also realized the only reason the beating stopped was because of her, so I held my tongueÃ¢Â?Â¦ now swollen because at some point during the melee, I had bitten a chunk off the side of it-“just as much as he loves good Christians?!”
Then she looked at me.
“I guess he didn’t give y’all much sense though. Look at you, boy. My grandson could’ve kilt ya. Don’t go stirring up a hornets’ nest just cause you got too much pride. Pride’s a sin boy, you know that?”
I just nodded, spitting out blood.
“No go home and let yer momma clean that up.”
She and Bobby got into her beat-up green Volvo, and drove off. I walked home, while my friend Brandon carried my backpack. When my mom asked what happened, I told her I fell off my bike.
I saw Bobby the next day at school. He said nothing to me, and didn’t speak to me again until the 8th grade, when he told me I was a scrapper and that I should be okay in high school. I told him, thanks, and have a nice summer.
*names have been changed