Dillemma

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fan Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
The story deals with a school counselor and his confrontation with a brat , which changes his ideology and his perception of truth.

Submitted: December 18, 2010

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Submitted: December 18, 2010

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Part -1 "Saturday"

Hot water kept flowing slowly and lethargically to the potbellied cup. The coffee vending machine at our school cafeteria had always been this slow. Waiting for water to reach a level sufficient enough to blow away my morning drowsiness I looked at my watch. It was 9.00 Am, I had a reputation of never being late on my tiring job, but I was glad it was Saturday.

With a hot bustling cup of coffee in my hands I stepped into my office, it was supposed to be brimming with positive energy.Being a child psychologist/counselor I had the repute of cleansing the mind of today’s youth. The school children confused with drugs, pornography, and peer pressure were to talk to me, and I, their savior was to release them from the bondage of our modern education system. My hard earned psychology degree was displayed proudly in a corner of the wall and everyday it used to laugh at me. I had to agree, with a first class degree from a very reputed university this was not the job I had imagined for myself. I took a sip of my coffee and smiled. At least, it was a Saturday.

The alarm at my office table beeped annoyingly to announce my first case study had arrived. To be very honest I had dreaded this confrontation since the moment I was told about it. The kid I had to provide mental assistance with had been declared a lunatic by every teacher in his block. He was a trouble maker and had beaten up three of his classmates with a brick bat, and two of them happened to have a highly influential father in the circumstances.

After an eternity the door finally opened and a guy not older than thirteen years walked straight into my room and my privacy. I had the chance to look at the hooligan for the very first time; he was every bit of what I had imagined, disheveled hair, untidy clothes and a very uneasy appearance. His right hand was covered with what appeared to be a white cloth, every corner of which was scribbled with letters and figures I could not make out. Earphones were blurting loud music to his ears and he smelled like garbage. I signaled him to stop the screeching music and sit down.

He stared directly into my eyes with a defiant look, his eyes complaining of the early morning ordeal I had subjected him to. I glared back, enforcing my superiority and the fact that at the meager pay I received I couldn’t care less for what he thought and what he wanted. However, the basic protocols had to be fulfilled; I had to ask him questions and I had to submit a reply to the school board declaring his rustication. But amidst all this I was happy; at least it was a Saturday.

I glanced at his case file and enquired “So, I see here that you hit three of your classmates with a brick bat, causing two skull fractures while the third was lucky enough just to be bruised and injured, I would like to seek an explanation for your actions, why did you do it? Before you answer you should know that I am here to help, if you don’t provide me with all the necessary details, I will have to recommend your rustication to the school authorities”

“Sir, I did it because I wanted to” he replied. A strange calmness engulfed his face. “No one forced me and I was not tricked. I felt like hitting them with a bat, I did. If I had felt like hitting them with an iron rod, I would have done that too”

‘This was going to be easier than I thought’ I said to myself. I was half way through already; the boy had accepted his wrongdoing and did not want to plead guilty or to ask for a plea of forgiveness.But I still had to go through the rules and a few more questions before I could close the case and declare him guilty.

The questions and the answers followed for another three quarters of an hour. And with each question the boy’s voice had brimmed with arrogance, pride and hate. With nothing much left to enquire, I rounded up on my last question “Did you sustain any physical injury in the course of your actions?”

His face turned pale and he moved his cloth covered right hand under the table, hiding it from my scrutiny and my incessant glare. “What happened to your hand? Why is it covered? Take the cloth off. I need to see your hand”

He looked straight into my eyes again. The arrogance in his eyes had been replaced with a meek surrender, pleading me not to make him do this. I ordered him again and grabbed his hand in a sudden motion placing his outstretched palm on my table.He cried out in pain.

I thought he trembled with fear, but then slowly removed the cloth to show me his palm. I was disgusted to have a look at it. He it seemed was born with six fingers, a common genetic disorder but his sixth finger, or the elongation of his little finger had been chopped off to be replaced by a bitter scar. Blood had clotted all over it and the swell appeared to be a martyr on the barren wasteland of his palm.

My repeated enquires failed and he didn’t confide to me the reason/accident which led to his loss. I had to dismiss him. After 2 hours of intense interrogation I had failed to reach a conclusion. I needed to know how he had lost his finger. His aggressive, annoyed and repulsive behavior reflected disorganized thoughts, not violence. The report on his rustication was due on Monday. I decided to look further into the matter and stormed out of my office. I grabbed my favorite chocolate chip muffin from the school cafeteria and started reading his file once again. And yes! The chocolate chip muffin was the reason I was happy, it was a Saturday, I could get it for free.

Part -2 "Sunday"

I had always been a Sunday person. For me the day was about forgetting all the nuisances long weekdays posted on you. Sunday was meant to be enjoyed, relaxed. The clock tower struck six times to announce the sun was fading away. For a dull December evening it wasn’t that cold. I lit a cigarette and allowed the smoke to feed my thoughts.

Last 24 hours had been intense and revealing. The events had left me torn between choices, I was confused. I am not the person someone would relate the state of confusion to , Most of the times I knew what I wanted and I also knew what was right , My morality consisted of bringing my wants as close to as what was right. There was nothing more I cared about.

But I was confused, I needed answers. The evening faded away to glory to be replaced by the dark duskiness of the night. He was still nowhere to be seen. The park which was bustling with activity an hour back was now deserted. I sat there alone embossed in my thoughts when I was startled by the presence of another soul behind me.

I turned around to face the intruder and I found myself looking directly at him. He was still wearing the same clothes as yesterday and he smelled like garbage. The white cloth wrapped on his right hand mocked at my superiority. It was the reason I was here, wasting a Sunday evening.

“Come here, sit down” I asked. “I am not here as your school counselor, the guy doesn’t work on a Sunday. I am here as your friend, consider me your elder brother”. He laughed, I could feel the sarcasm buried deep in his eyes.” Why this sudden change of actions, Why do you want to befriend a hooligan? I am a threat to you, aren’t I?” He inquired.

I put my hand on the back of his head and caressed it. He gave into the affection and stared directly at me. “I am here because, I know. I know what happened with you, I have spent a day looking for you, I spoke to your parents, I spoke to your friends, and I know what you did was circumstantial, it wasn’t your fault, and it just wasn’t”. His eyes moistened, I thought I saw a bead of tear swelling up, but he swallowed it and closed them. “ I am not saying I want to help, you stood up for yourself when it mattered, I just want to listen , I want to be a friend, an elder brother who shares secrets ,both good and the ugly one’s”

He was quiet. I kept caressing his hair, it was a while before he spoke, his first words being “It is strange that when I wanted to be heard, I screamed but no one answered. Now that I want to be left alone, you want to share my guilt”

He spoke very softly “It all started three months back, I had moved with my family into your city, a new place with new faces. I had to leave all my friends behind; I was in a new school, your school. The first few days were easy, they passed without any alarm. I still remember the day it started. It was the first day of a new week, and we had our English class. Attendance rolls were being called out and I raised my right hand to answer mine, ‘Yes, Madam’ I responded, when a voice from the last bench broke the symphony. ‘Look, he has six fingers’ it screamed, suddenly all eyes were on me, on my right hand, on the little extending portion of my little finger, the reason of everyone’s curiosity”

“What followed after, was intense scrutiny, by students who could touch my right hand and by teachers who could stare blatantly at it, making me uneasy. I felt awkward and strange at the same time. That was my first introduction to the trio, the three guys who were to make my life miserable. With one scream from the last bench they corroded my self-belief, my confidence and made me a mannequin in front of everyone, in front of people I wanted to be friends with”

“However, the ordeal had just begun. It was our gym glass and I was pulling up my boxer’s for my first game of basketball. Before I could realize, a gothic shadow and three guys loomed over my shoulder. Being huge and bulky as they are, I found myself being forced to a corner and tied to a chair. ‘Today, we are going to show everyone how to take a penalty’ one of them shouted. I could see my sports teacher fuming away to our cricket team on the other side of the playground. While my shorts were pulled down, tears rolled down my eyes. I was crying helplessly but they did not see it, I was facing the wall. My back faced them and their mutiny, I sobbed, yelled and thwarted to no avail. ‘Now as an expert penalty shooter I always hit one spot on the ball and one spot in the net , The rules for this game are simple. We will give you chocolates , the guy who hits his sixth finger or any part of his palm or the rope that ties them together will get five chocolates , his head is worth two and if you miss, we will tie you to the chair next time, now let me show you how to take the best penalty’ . I cried out in pain as the ball hit my palm, ‘See, that’s the way it’s done, Bingo. I earn a five’. My agony continued for another half an hour as every soul present there took a penalty. And many of them earned five chocolates; a few had to be disappointed with two. No one missed, not a single soul missed.”

“Life was never the same after that, everywhere I went I was mocked and laughed at. I was the only guy in the bright new school who had been kicked with a football with his shorts pulled down. That was funny. My tormenters made sure they made my life more miserable , deflating my cycle tires , dumping my lunch into the garbage , making rude remarks when I spoke in class, they left no stone unturned. I tried to complain but the teacher’s never found any student who supported my claims. I soon turned to be a liar in their eyes too”

“While I was enduring all of this, we had a science project. We had to recreate the nucleus and represent how protons and neutrons existed in the tiny entity of creation. Chemistry had always been my favorite subject, I worked hours, painted table tennis balls and created my model, it was perfection. Before the submission of our project, I went to the bathroom to take a leak. I was proud of my achievement, the past few days had really been tough and I needed this project to lift me up. While I was washing my face I felt a hand grab my neck. My tormentors appeared right in front of me, in the mirror. One of them grabbed my project ‘What the hell is this? You think you can make a project better than us, prick?’ And in a sudden motion he threw my dream into the lavatory and flushed it; I yelled and ran towards him. But there were three of them, they caught me and hit me in the shin. As I saw the water color on my table tennis balls fade away. They opened by school bag and flushed all my belongings too. One of them hit me hard on my face, causing it to swell, leaving a red mark, a stamp of his power. ‘Now this is to remind you that, you should never try and be more intelligent than us, but don’t be dumb too, we hate dumb people’ he laughed and they stormed off shutting the door on my swelled teary face.

Back home my father was angry, angry at me for not retaliating. He never understood that there were three of them, three in number and large in proportion. My mother applied ice pack on my sore face. My father blamed her for making me so weak, ‘You have made him a rat’ he yelled. My mother retaliated with accusations of her own. Soon the fact that I needed a doctor was forgotten as my father hit my mother.My mother responded too, and I cried bitterly with my face in my hands as my parents fought. I didn’t want any survivors in their war, I was tired.

And soon it was our gym class again, this time they wanted to play baseball. I was to be the post, hitting which the strike would lead to maximum score. But when they wanted to tie me down , I escaped , I ran, I was caught , I was beaten , I saw the brick bat in front of me, I grabbed it, I hit them” he said and yelled aloud .

“I defeated them; I fractured their skull open, the third guy was lucky to escape”

He howled and cried like a baby in my arms. I was dumb struck after his story; however there was one piece of the puzzle still missing “Did they cut your finger too?” I inquired, pointing at his cloth covered right hand. He wiped his tears and spoke in a tone I had not heard until now. He narrated the story and I felt a sickening feeling in my stomach. His lips moved slowly and peacefully killing a part of me with his words, piercing my mental peace in the dark qualms of the night. Yes! It was a Sunday, the best day of my long tiring week.

Part - 3 "Monday"

The school bell rang, prompting every kid in vicinity to rearrange themselves in a queue. It was the time for our morning school assembly. I was however, not at ease and very disturbed. I had prepared my report on him, the case file was complete and I had to present it to the principal before he addressed the school in the morning assembly. The decision on the rustication of the most hated boy in the school was to be announced then.

I gathered my thoughts and knocked at the principal’s office door. The report was in my hands and the decision in my mind, I had to save him. The principal needed to know a clear account of what had happened and why. I knew he was a rational man, a man who would do what was correct given the time and circumstances.

I presented my report to him and narrated the entire story, things I had learnt about the most hated guy in the school, things I did not want to share. I told the principal everything. He sat there with an abject expression on his face.

‘The report says the guy has a sustained a permanent damage on his right hand , a finger that has been cut, while your report gives no explanation for it, what happened there ?’ I shivered; it was a question I had dreaded before coming to this meeting. It was a question I knew the answer to, but I did not have the patience or wit to put it delicately, I didn’t know how to explain it to anyone.

I cleared my throat and replied “Sir, The guy was born with six fingers. His right hand had a deformity , every kid in our school used to make fun of it” My mind gazed back to yesterday night when he had told me the truth about this , his voice echoed through my throat “ He chopped it off Sir , he chopped it off himself. The finger had made him weak, so weak that he was picked on by every kid in the school, so weak that he was beaten every other day, so weak that his father and mother fought because of it. It was his weak link; he liberated himself from his weakness”

The principal took a while to digest the information and said “Thank you. You have fulfilled every bit of duty a school counselor is supposed to. This has been an eye opening case for me, I shall make a few phone calls and announce the decision, and this guy can’t be punished. He has done nothing wrong”

I was at peace. I had learnt a lot from this experience. This had been a break through case in my professional life.

The morning assembly had been delayed “Our principal is very busy over the phone” I said and smiled to myself.

Finally the procession began; my heart was already heavy with anticipation. The principal appeared on the stage and his voice filled every nook and corner of the school playground “As you know our school has faced a unique bout of violence. The school condemns any sort of violence what so ever in our premises. With an immediate effect, ‘Vikrant mohair’ is rusticated from our school”

I was taken aback, and then I realized the highly influential father had done the trick. Vikrant had been rusticated and I had prepared myself for this very moment. I found my way into the principal’s office and slipped in my resignation on his desk. With one subtle motion i chopped off my weakness, I chopped it off myself. This job had made me weak, so weak that i ignored everything till i was at ease and peace, so weak that I couldn't help someone who needed me, so weak that I could not differentiate right from wrong because of it. It was my weak link; I liberated myself from my weakness. I left the school campus in a hurry to avoid any questions, with the principal’s voice still amplifying from the speakers “Remember, when in moral doubt you should always talk to our school counselor. He shall give you the perfect advice. And the gym class for today has been suspended, get back to your books and work hard, don’t forget, it’s a Monday"


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