One may not realize the power of the reputation until he is forced to fight against it. I didn’t realize how well I had established my reputation until I needed to change it. How was I supposed to convince the student body that voting for a mobile time bomb was a good idea? I wouldn’t have even voted for me!
The candidate list had been posted on the school bulletin board today, but due to the crowd surrounding it, I had yet to view the list of my opponents. How does a man sentenced to hang build up the courage to view the rest of the hanging roster?
I knew I would find out who I was running against soon enough. Today I was working on obscurity. And I had found the perfect disguise! It was actually Brock who had provided me with the disguise. I had asked him yesterday to find me something that would cause people to look straight passed me. Perhaps I should have asked Sandy instead. This morning Brock had showed up at school with an oversized basketball jersey and a set of plastic rimmed glasses with no glass in them, and a large plastic nose attached to the bottom. They even had bushy black eyebrows attached to the top. I actually considered donning them. Sure, people might make fun of me, but it might also help them forget that I was the one running for class president. Unfortunately, Sandy had flatly refused to let me wear them. She said they would attract the wrong kind of attention and insure that I wasn’t elected. I wanted to let her know that that was already insured, but I held my tongue. Sandy is usually right about things, so much to Brock’s disappointment, I left the super neat glasses in my locker. I did however, convince Sandy to let me wear the basketball jersey. Anyone looking to beat me up wouldn’t be looking for someone in a sport’s jersey. I was practically invisible!
“Hey, Dufus!” I knew the endearing name was directed at me, but I hoped the person using it would choose to bestow his attention elsewhere if I pretended not to hear him. No such luck. I had only taken a few steps down the hallway when I heard a set of heavy footsteps behind me. I felt a hand grip my arm, and before I had time to react, I was spun around and slammed against a set of lockers.
“When I call, you answer. Got it?” It was Kevin Clyde, the schools most talented bully. He rivaled Brock in height and strength, but lost to Brock in the brain area. And that was hard to do. I wasn’t worried that Kevin was mad at me for running for Student President. Kevin could hardly write his own name, much less read mine.
I muttered an apology before explaining, “I didn’t think you were calling me. I could have sworn you said, dufus.” He pressed me harder against the lockers and I realized I should have kept my mouth shut.
“I did, didn’t I? That’s because that’s your new name, kid. Dufus. Fits ya, huh?” His smile was sinister as I nodded in agreement.
“Sure does. My parents could have saved a lot of time naming me if you had been around to help, Kevin.” He must not have appreciated the compliment, because his red face got redder and he shoved me harder against the lockers.
“You think you’re pretty funny, don’t you, Young? Well, when I get done with you, you’re not only gonna talk like a comedian, you’re gonna look like one too.” I was beginning to get worried. How was I going to convince people to vote for me if I only had one arm and a couple teeth?
“Kevin, put him down.” I heaved a huge sigh of relief when I heard Brock’s voice. I could tell that Kevin was loath to end the fun, but had crossed Brock enough to know that he was better off finding a different mouse to play with. He moved his nose closer to mine before hissing, “This isn’t over, Young.” I was given one last shove for good measure before he let me go and strutted angrily down the hall.
“You sure know how to make friends, don’t you Herb?” I sighed as I straightened my Jersey and picked up my backpack.
“Yeah, Brock. I attract them like honey attracts flies.”
“You sure do. Hey, I’ve been trying to find you. Mr. Evans asked me to give this to you.” Brock handed me a thick pamphlet with the words “CANIDATING RULES” written boldly across the cover.
“Oh yay.” I said, without much enthusiasm. So much for working on my experiment tonight.
“Sandy was looking for you earlier. She wanted to show you the list of candidates. She acted like there was something suspicious about it.
“Brock we both know Sandy can spot a conspiracy theory where there is none.”
“Yah, I know, but whatever it is, she seemed pretty excited about it. She told me if I found you, I’m supposed to tell let you know that we’re meeting over at her house tonight to put together some posters.” I groaned.
“Well, let’s both pretend you didn’t find me.” Brock grinned.
“Know can do, little man. Sandy would know I was lying as soon as I opened my mouth. Besides she told me to tell you that she’ll provide the pizza if you come.” Well, I thought, I might be worth it after all. I was getting a little tired of Howard’s British cooking. I’m an American. I start to break out in hives if I eat too much foreign food.
“Alright. You can tell her I’ll be there.”
“Sure thing. I’ll catch you later, Dude. I’ve gotta get ready for PE.” He looked so happy about it that he might as well have said he was off to a party. I had to chuckle. Only Brock.
“Okay. I’ll see you later.” If I lived that long.