by Robert Clay
At 14 years old Taplow was as big and strong as an 18 year old, and he took full advantage of this fact because Taplow was a bully. He would push smaller kids around, pin them up against the wall for stomach punches, and that sneer, if I remember nothing else about Taplow, I remember that bully's sneer. My younger brother Josh grew up small and spindly due to an early childhood illness, even so he was always laughing because for him, every day of life was a bonus. He started school two years behind me, but after a week of Taplow I saw something unbelievable, he went a whole day without smiling. Something had to be done, so I came up behind Taplow with a cricket bat and swinging hard, bought the edge down on his skull, crumpling bone into brain with breakfast egg-like precision. Taplow doesn't bully anymore, it's not something a drooling vegetable can do, and I'm locked away, but Josh is laughing again so I don't mind; you see, it's all a question of physics.
Robert Clay, author of Moth-Like Stars, is a Seafarer now stranded on land. He lives in Cornwall in the UK.