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Bullying the Bully

 

             Hyaku-Legger's All Dogs go to Heaven Fan Fiction

            

                   "Bullying the Bully"

                    Written by: Fern (Hyaku-Legger)

 

San Francisco, California

 

Sometimes, the road of life is not as smooth as we would want it to be. Most of us have to go through very difficult moments and we sometimes wonder why this has to be so. It seems unfair, but the truth is that when we finally leap over that obstacle, we realize that we win experience and maturity thanks to it. Something similar was happening in the life of a small boy which I'm sure we all know. And that's where our story begins.

Sasha La Fleur and Charlie B. Barkin were walking along the sidewalks of the city that evening, going past houses and shops and buildings of all kind. They were on their way to visit a very special friend. As they walked, some of the other dogs that knew them would say hello, and they could sometimes hear some of the things that some not very friendly dogs said behind their paws.

"Odd pair, those two,"a female Labrador would whisper to her friend as Sasha and Charlie walked by,"been together for three months and a half and still no lil' pups. And they live together, you know. Under the same roof. I wonder if they're sterile or something. Me and Jacky, you know, we only got along for a week before we split up, and I still had my kids."

"Heck,"her friend would say,"I ain't so worried about kids. I'm more surprised that they're still going along so well like that. Remember my cousin Becky, she and Fred, you know, that pit bull she met at the Nite Dripz Pub, only lasted two weeks before they split up."

"I heard Lana say that them two go to church every Sunday,"said the female Labrador,"so they're religious or something, and that they almost always go t' the park afterwards. They sit down by the lake, ye know, they sit there and talk and sometimes fall asleep there on the grass. It's been like that for months, Lana said. Odd, I say, odd pair."

"I heard Linda Paxton, you know, my sister-in-law say that they never argue,"said the other dog,"that she went to spy on them in their house in the alleys one Saturday afternoon, the day next to that and the day after to see what was their secret. She didn't find anything out, and she almost got caught twice."

"Well,"said the Labrador,"I said it and I'll say it again. I have never seen a pair that odd in my life."

"And you know what,"said the other dog,"they seem to live away from the rest of the world. You know, all they do is work at that Cafe, and that's it. Folks never saw 'em near the Nite Dripz Pub, you know, where all the normal couples go and have fun. They never saw 'em after dark at all, well, at least not very often."

"My sister Paley told me that she once saw them coming out of the Japanese Kabuki opera theater or something...

 

These are a few examples of the gossip exchanges that the other dogs had when Sasha and Charlie walked by. They were marveled by the fact that they were together even after three months, because the gossip exchangers were common and vulgar folks, and they found it natural to split up and go with another female or male every two weeks at the most, because the relationships that these common dogs had lacked of true commitment and responsibility.

Sasha and Charlie walked and talked along the sidewalks as they went their way, and they walked passed two other female dogs sitting on the steps of a building.

"Good morning,"they said as they walked passed. The two dogs said good morning too. Then, as Sasha and Charlie walked further away, one of them let out an angry complaint.

"Oooo, that setter is sooo lucky,"said the female dog,"the things I'd do to have that Barkin with me. Oooo, I'd move the moon for him."

"I heard some fresh ones about Barkin,"said the other friend,"and I tell ya, it's really hard to get any info about him because he's hardly ever seen around."

"Really,"asked the first one,"oh, tell me quick. I wanna know all about that big guy."

"I heard from Steffi, who heard from Linda Paxton, that he's a book lover,"said the other dog,"and that the setter is too. They sit together reading books in the living room of their house and stuff..."

"Hold it,"said the first one,"that must be a lie. I'm not gonna believe that. A big hunk of muscles like that Barkin, a book lover. That's sissy stuff. I don't believe it."

"Hey, if Linda says it, then it's true,"said the other female.

 

And so, the gossip was countless. Sasha and Charlie were unlike the others. They were different, and being different means being weird for the common folk. But the truth is this: Being different means being very special and singular for true people, and it should be a reason to be happy for.

However, we sometimes find it difficult to be accepted by the people that think we are weird, and that's what this story is about. Sasha and Charlie didn't face this problem, they both knew how valuable and special they were to one another, and that their love had made them see a world that others would never be able to see. But there was a friend of theirs that was having trouble with the fact of being different, and they would have to do their best to make this problem fade. Here's how the story really begins.

 

Sasha and Charlie turned at a corner and walk along the sidewalk, sometimes even skipping and prancing and chasing each other for the fun of it. They came to a familiar place, Sasha's old abandoned yard, and Sasha let out a smile.

"Do you remember this place, Charlie?,"Sasha asked as they stopped, sat down and looked through the crack in the fence."

"Yes indeed,"said Charlie, looking at the fountain in the middle of the yard.

"Hey, Charlie?,"asked Sasha,"do you remember when you used your miracle on me to make me able to speak?."

 

Charlie stopped smiling, and lowered his head.

"Er...,"Charlie said uneasily,"actually, I...I really wish I never did that...I could have given you that miracle in another way...not, the way I did...It was rude..."

 

Sasha didn't mean to make him feel bad. It seemed funny to her now that it was all over. But she realized that it was not funny for Charlie.

"Oh, Charlie,"said Sasha, stroking his big paw,"It's alright. I...I don't mind that. You were not yourself back then."

"I know it's been three months and so since that all happened,"said Charlie,"but I still think I shouldn't have done that. Sasha, I...I'm sorry I did that stupid thing."

 

Sasha didn't want to hurt Charlie anymore, so she quickly thought of something.

"Hey, Charlie,"said Sasha,"look at me in the eyes, please..."

 

Charlie lifted his face, and without warning, Sasha quickly kissed his lips. Charlie was stunned, and almost confused. He did not expect that. When Sasha sat back again, she looked at him with a great big smile.

"Please, don't feel bad, Charlie,"said Sasha,"all that stuff about the past...well, we understand it all now. It's the past and it no longer matters. Come on, sweetheart, give me a smile."

 

Charlie's bad feeling instantly faded away completely, and a big smile decorated his face. Then, suddenly, Charlie started to laugh.

"That's the Charlie I know!,"said Sasha happily,"and that's the Charlie I love."

"Oh, Sashy,"said Charlie,"you have that power to cheer me up."

 

Sasha smiled.

"Hug?,"asked Sasha.

 

Charlie and Sasha hugged each other. It was a nice feeling. Sasha felt like kissing, so she flicked her tongue out and caught Charlie on the tip of his nose, giving him a sweet little wet kiss. Charlie smiled at this. After a while they both sat back again.

"Shall we move on?,"said Sasha.

"Oh, yes,"answered Charlie, and they continued their journey.

 

They finally arrived to their destiny, David's house.

Charlie and Sasha walk up the stairs and Charlie knocks on the door. After a while, David's stepmother, Mrs. Claire, opens the door.

"Oh, hello!,"said the lady.

"Hello, Mrs. Claire,"Sasha and Charlie said,"we came by to visit David".

"Oh, David is not home yet, he's still at school,"said Mrs. Claire,"but why don't you come in? He'll come back any moment now."

 

Sasha and Charlie go into the house, and the lady leads them to the living room, where David's father, Mr. Thomas, was sitting down.

"Oh, hello Charlie. Hello Sasha,"said Mr. Thomas,"what a pleasant surprise."

"Hello, Mr. Thomas,"they answered.

 

Charlie and Sasha sat down on the carpet, and David's parents spoke with them. Now, in case you forgot, David's parents knew all about Sasha and Charlie, and they knew that Charlie was an angel and all the things that they had done in the past. If you read one of the earlier stories, you might see that detail.

The conversation went towards Mrs. Claire's baby.

"I felt him kick yesterday,"said Mrs. Claire smiling,"he's going to be a very energic little one."

"Oh, that's so cute,"said Sasha.

"How about you two?,"asked Mr. Thomas,"have you been planning on having a family yet?"

"Uh, erm, well...,"Charlie felt a knot in his throat. He looked at Sasha and saw that she had gone a little rosy in the cheeks and was looking away smiling.

 

Just then, they heard the door open. They then heard footsteps coming into the hall, and they saw David with his school bag and coat stand in the living room doorway.

"Hi mom. Hi dad. I'll be right back,"said David, and he quickly skipped upstairs. He failed to notice Sasha and Charlie.

"That's odd,"said Mr. Thomas,"David's usually cheerful after school."

"Maybe he had a bad day,"suggested Mrs. Claire.

"I think maybe I should go speak to him,"said Mr. Thomas.

 

Charlie thought for a moment.

"Uh, Mr. Thomas, sir,"said Charlie,"I think maybe I should speak to him. If you don't mind."

"Oh, okay,"said Mr. Thomas,"I think it's fine."

"After all,"said Mrs. Claire smiling,"you are his guardian angel."

 

Charlie smiled, got up and went towards the doorway.

"So, Sasha,"said Mrs. Claire,"have you been planning on having a family."

 

Charlie heard this, and acted fast.

"Uh, Sasha,"he said,"I might need your help."

"Okay. Excuse me, please,"said Sasha, getting up and following him.

 

Sasha and Charlie climbed up the stairs that lead to the second floor.

"Whew! You saved me, Charlie,"said Sasha.

"Heh, it's nothing,"said Charlie,"I really didn't know what to answer either."

 

They came to David's door, and found it half closed. Charlie opened it just a fraction and peered inside. He saw David sitting down on his bed with a face that showed disappointment.

"David?,"asked Charlie.

 

David saw them, and managed to smile.

"Hi, Charlie,"he said,"hi Sasha."

"May we come in?,"asked Sasha.

"Sure, I guess,"said David.

 

Sasha and Charlie stepped into his room and went towards his bed. They noticed very well that he was not happy.

"Bad day?,"asked Sasha.

"Sorta,"said David tonelessly.

"Dave, what's the matter?,"asked Charlie,"you don't seem well."

"Nothing,"said David, brushing off the question.

"David, I know that maybe it's not right for us to intrude like this,"said Charlie,"but we just want you to know that we are your friends and that we just want to help you if you're feeling down. If you don't want to talk about it, it's okay. But just remember that you can trust us."

 

David looked at Charlie, then at Sasha, and let out a little smile.

"Thanks guys,"said David,"come on and lie down on my bed. I'll tell you."

 

Sasha and Charlie did just that, and once the three were comfortably on the bed, David told them what his problem was.

"There's a new kid at school, Gary McSlugger, and he's my problem,"said David.

"Does he have better grades than you or something?,"asked Sasha.

"No way! He's a bully!,"said David.

"Oh,"Sasha said.

"So you're having bully problems, arent you Dave?,"asked Charlie.

"Yeah, and real bad ones,"David stood up and started to imitate Gary's gorilla-like grunt talk," 'It's time to pound wimps', 'gimme yer lunch money', 'do my homework', 'lick my shoes'. Grrrr! I hate him! And hes the principals nephew!"

 

David punched his pillow furiously.

"Don't you tell the teacher?,"asked Charlie.

"Sure I did,"said David," but asking my teacher for help is just about the same as asking a mailbox why it's blue and not yellow."

"She doesn't listen to you?,"asked Sasha.

"You said it,"said David,"she doesn't listen to me, and as far as I see it, I'm going to be Gary's favorite punching bag for the rest of the third grade."

"Can't we help you, Dave?,"asked Charlie.

"Not unless you can run a freight train over Gary or blast him to smithereens with a bazooka, no,"said David glumly.

"Well, we can at least cheer you up,"said Sasha.

"Yeah, I guess,"said David.

"C'mon, big Dave!,"said Sasha,"chin up, kid. It'll all end up fine."

"You'll get rid of him sooner than you think,"said Charlie,"just don't let him push you around, show him he's not your boss."

"Or chop him to pieces with your bare hands!,"exclaimed Sasha, jumping up and down on the bed."

"Or stick his toe up his nostril and make him stand up like that!,"said Charlie.

"Or pull his underwear over his face and dunk him in a toilet,"said Sasha.

 

David was laughing loudly and cheerfully while Sasha and Charlie jumped around saying funny things.

"Gee, thanks guys,"said David,"I feel better already."

"Don't fret, Davy,"said Sasha,"it'll all come out in the wash."

"Chin up, champ,"said Charlie,"you're the best kid on the block. We know that."

 

And so, David went downstairs and said hello to his parents, who were now getting dinner ready and laying the table. Mr. Thom and Mrs. Claire thanked Sasha and Charlie for cheering David up, and invited them to stay for dinner.

"I still have your old food bowls,"said David,"I'll fetch them."

 

And so, after a very pleasant evening, Sasha and Charlie say good bye to their friends, return home and get ready for bed.

Lying down side by side, they read for a while to help sleepiness come. And it comes.

Sasha yawned and laid her head on Charlie's shoulder.

"Gee, am I sleepy,"said Sasha.

"Me too,"said Charlie.

"Do you think David will get rid of that bully, Charlie?,"asked Sasha.

"Well,"said Charlie,"It'll take time, and not few hardships, but he will, I'm sure of it."

 

Sasha closed her eyes, thinking about Charlie's answer.

"What if he doesn't get rid of the bully?,"said Sasha,"Will we have to intervene?"

"I'm his guardian angel, and you are my right paw,"said Charlie,"so if he doesn't by himself, we may have to intervene."

"Yeah,"said Sasha,"oh well, we'll just have to wait and see."

 

Sasha decided to let it drop. The answers would arrive in time. She lifted her head and kissed Charlie's muzzle.

"Good night, sweetheart,"said Sasha,"I love you."

 

Charlie smiled, and kissed her forehead.

"I love you too, princess,"said Charlie,"good night."

                                     *                     *                      *

The next day, Sasha and Charlie decided to make a quick stop at David's house just to see how he was after another school day.

They were received by the parents and went into the living room like the day before. They were speaking with Mr. Thomas and Mrs. Claire, when David came in, and ran upstairs.

"I'll be down in a minute, mom and dad,"said David from the stairs, but he didn't sound too happy.

"If you would please excuse us,"said Charlie,"I think we'd better have another word with Dave."

"Sure, go right ahead,"said Mrs. Claire.

 

Sasha and Charlie climbed upstairs and went to David's room.

"David,"called Sasha softly,"it's us."

"Come in,"said David in a muttered tone.

 

Sasha and Charlie went in, and saw that David was sitting on his bed with his back turned to them, holding something in his hand. He was wearing a baseball cap at an angle, so that one eye was hidden completely.

"Dave?,"said Charlie",are you all right?"

"Come here,"said David.

 

Sasha and Charlie approached cautiously and sat down on the bed beside David.

"Bad day, kid?,"asked Sasha.

 

David didn't answer. Instead, he handed them a piece of paper that he had in his hand. He gave it to Charlie. Charlie read it with Sasha. The paper said this:

 

                                      Grammar and Writing Skills

Exercise: Write an essay about your favorite person or people.

            Expose your opinions about and why you chose that person/people.   

               Charlie and Sasha Barkin

 I chose these two because they are my best friends in the world. They play with me, they slept in my bed more than once, and shared many happy times with me. But the curious thing is that they are dogs. They are a couple of dogs, yet we understand each other better than you expect. Charlie is brave, kind, hearty and noble. Sasha is also kind, clever and very pretty. They are a great pair, and great friends too. I love those dogs, really I do.       

                                    End

 

"But David, this piece of work got an A+ from the teacher,"said Sasha.

"Yeah,"said David, taking off his cap and uncovering his eye,"and a black eye from Gary."

 

Sasha and Charlie were shocked.

"The teacher went out to get chalk. And he got up and started fooling around. He took my paper,"said David,"and he read it aloud, then he said: "Ooo, David the dog lover, oh Davy the puppy pal. Only sissies write things like this, you know", and he gave it back to me, and with it, this!"

"Hold on, that's not funny anymore,"said Sasha,"taunting is one thing, but causing bodily harm is another."

"Tell that to Gary, see if he thinks the same,"grumbled David,"now mom and dad are probably going to go to my school tomorrow and make a humiliating scene about it, and Gary'll pound me again afterwards."

 

David hit his pillow so hard his hand hurt.

"I HATE THAT STUPID JACKASS!,"growled David.

 

Charlie gently tried to calm him down.

"Dave, we know you're in trouble,"said Charlie,"and believe me, we're going to help you. But calm down. Don't get overexcited. It's going to be all right in the end, kid."

 

David managed to calm down a bit. Then Charlie paid attention to the black eye. It looked bad.

"Does it hurt, Dave?,"asked Sasha gently.

"A lot,"muttered David.

 

Charlie thought of something.

"Dave, I think I can do something about that black eye of yours,"said Charlie.

"A plastic surgery?,"muttered David.

"Not exactly,"said Charlie. He took his angel emblem that Anabelle had given him before.

David saw the golden emblem.

"What's that, Charlie?,"asked David.

"Your plastic surgeon,"said Charlie,"lie down and relax. I'll fix your eye in no time."

 

David did as he was told, and Charlie placed his paw over the eye. Sasha watched as it glowed and glittered and became a mass of light, and the light shined over David's eye and cleaned the bluish black bruise in less than ten seconds. Then the light disappeared completely. David got up and looked in the mirror. He was stunned.

"Awesome!,"said David,"how did you do that, Charlie?"

"I didnt do it alone,"said Charlie as he replaced his emblem,"it was a miracle from my emblem, which contains my essence combined with the power of Heaven. It cures the ailed if I ask it to. How does it feel, Davy?"

 

The child felt around his eye, it didn't hurt anymore.

"It's as good as new! Charlie, Sasha, thanks!,"said David, forgetting his problems.

"It's nothing, kid,"said Sasha.

Now maybe mom and dad wont even ask,said David happily.

Sasha looked concerned.

But how are we going to solve your problem, Dave?,asked Sasha.

I think Ill talk to the principal and tell him everything,said David,Its what I should have done in first place. Gee, Charlie, that magic you did really gave my spunk a kick!

Charlie smiled at the word magic. It was truly like magic, even though it was really mental and spiritual power.

You can talk to the principal, Dave,said Charlie,Im sure hell listen because hes the kids uncle. But remember, if everything else fails, just let us know. I dont believe in violent solutions, but sometimes there just isnt any other way.

Yeah,said Sasha,Let us know if you want us to decimate that bully, well be glad to do so.

David laughed, and together they went down to dinner.

Tomorrow theres a field trip,said David,Were going to the museum to look at the dinosaur bones. I think Ill tell the principal on the way there.

Later, as Sasha and Charlie left, they thought about how David would manage to solve his problem.

I think its just a matter of time before he explodes,said Charlie concerned.

I hope he doesnt get himself into trouble,said Sasha.

Her hopes were good, and so were Charlies, but unfortunately the reality was the other way around.

                                   *                              *                             *

The children chanted happily along the way to the museum. David was sitting beside Raymond, his pal.

I got something cool to show you,said David rummaging in his school bag,Look.

Cripes!,said Raymond,Its a miniature video recorder.

Yup. A pocket recorder,said David,My dad gave me this on my last birthday. Ill film the dino bones and maybe I can film the other exhibits too.

You can film a movie with that!,said Ray.

No, its just a forty minute tape,said David,But its cool anyway.

As the bus arrived, the children got off and stood in front of the building waiting for the manager to welcome them.

David walked over and sat on the steps of the museum. Suddenly, he felt a tap on his shoulder. He turned and to his surprise it was Sasha.

Sasha,said David,What are you doing here, girl?

Just thought I could drop by and see how you were doing,said Sasha.

Oh. Wheres Charlie?,asked David.

Right here,said Sasha grinning.

Where?,asked David.

Here,said a voice behind him.

David jumped up startled, but as he looked to the other side he saw Charlie sitting down on the step on which he had been sitting too.

Charlie, how did you do that?,asked David.

What?,Charlie asked innocently.

How did you get behind me without me noticing,asked David.

Oh, well. I have ways,said Charlie winking at Sasha, who winked back.

David sat down again and placed his arms around his friends shoulders.

Am I glad youre here,said David,I was wondering about

David stopped suddenly and his face changed. In the middle of the crowd that was a little far off they saw a large, chubby and rabbit-toothed boy with a striped t-shirt and a pair of corduroy trousers. He looked really dumb, but he was taller than the rest of the kids.

Thats Gary,said David hatefully.

That big lug?,asked Sasha.

Yeah,said David,Man, I hate him.

He looks kind of deficient,said Charlie,Maybe he has some mental or chromosome problem.

David scowled.

So, youre defending him?!,he growled.

Charlie frowned.

I didnt say that, Dave,said Charlie,I just said that maybe he had some physical of psychic problems which makes him act the way he does. You know I hate bullying. Its the lowest form of cowardice that I know

Im glad to hear that,said David grumpily.

Sasha looked at the group of kids and saw that they were filing up onto the landing of the front steps. She saw the manager and knew that David had to go.

I think youd better go, Dave,said Sasha,The kids are getting in already.

Yeah,said David, getting up,Bye, guys.

Bye David,said Charlie,Have a good time, and dont let him put you down.

Ill try,said David and he scooted off with his classmates.

Charlie looked very concerned. Sasha moved next to him and placed her little paw on his.

You look worried, sweetheart,said Sasha,Is there anything wrong?

I really am worried about David,said Charlie,He isnt the kind of kid who will overcome this kind of trouble easily. He needs assistance, but Im afraid he just cant have it from us.

Sasha smiled and laid her head on his shoulder.

Youre doing your best, Charlie,said Sasha,Thats a good way to support him. Remember, hes still a child, he may not understand many things that you do for him. But he will in time, I know he will.

Charlie smiled too and inclined his head to the side, stroking Sashas fur with his cheek.

I think youre right, Sashy,said Charlie,Maybe I worry too much.

Come on, Charlie,said Sasha playfully,Lets go to the bay. Its been a while since we last played in the sand.

Yeah,said Charlie smiling,Lets go.

And so they walked off in direction to the beach, as David and his class made notes about ancient reptiles and trilobites.

 

Trouble was sure to begin at some stage of the proceedings. And it happened to show its face at break time.

David had recorded almost all the exhibits, and he had ten minutes of film to spare.

He looked around and saw that Gary was heading outside, chuckling to himself. He looked as if he was ready to do something nasty.

Hmmm,said David,What if I follow him, and record his mischief. That way I can show the teacher and the principal what he does.

David slowly walked outside and followed him.

There was a closed candy store one block away from the museum, and thats where Gary was heading. David followed him around the corner and got into one of the alleys so he was out of sight. Gary looked at either side of the street. It was empty. Next he grabbed a brick that he had carried in his bag and launched it against the window. David filmed this from the corner.

In a wink of an eye Gary was running back to the museum with a fistful of sweets. David said to himself that he had caught Gary finally.

Gary ran past, but as David got out of the alley he tripped over a broken crate that was lying around. Gary heard the thud and turned around.

Well, if it isnt little Mr. Davy-Pooh,said Gary; then he noticed the recorder.

Quickly, he snatched it away from David and looked into the liquid screen display. He saw himself, doing what he had just done. Gary ejected the small cassette from the machine and pocketed it.

This is goin in my locker first thing tomorrow,said Gary.

David was furious.

Give that back, you gorilla!,he shouted.

Gary thought about it.

You know, I think Ill have some fun with you,said the wretched boy.

Before David could move, Gary punched him in the stomach so hard that he doubled up in pain. Gary then stuffed all the sweets into Davids pockets and he wiped the brick dust off his own hands and placed the reddish powder on Davids hand. Then he gave David another punch, which made the boy fall onto the ground in pain.

Gary ran to the museum and yelled something that David did not understand. But he understood about thirty seconds later when the whole class came to the spot, accompanied by the principal.

It was him, Mr. Carter,said Gary,I saw him. He threw a brick at the window and took the sweets. He wanted me to help, but I said no, so he pushed me!

Gary showed everyone his jacket, which had been conveniently marked in brick dust to show two hand marks.

David got up and looked at the principal.

Thats a lie, Mr. Carter,said David,he did it!

Mr. Carter was obviously more inclined to believe his nephew. There was too much evidence against David.

Young man,said Mr. Carter,Im afraid theres too much evidence. I have no choice than to present your case to the School Court. We will have to see you and your parents tomorrow morning in the court room of the school to discuss this case with the authorities.

Mr. Carter seemed to be manipulated by Gary.

The class went back to the bus later in the say and the driver took the children to their respective homes. David felt sick. He was innocent, he knew it. But Gary was too powerful to stand up against. His parents were going to be very upset when they found out they had to assist to the School Court because of this incident.

David dropped off at his house and walked up the steps with his eyes stinging and his mouth dry. How was he going to tell his parents?

He opened the door as quietly as possible. His parents were in the kitchen, so they couldnt hear him getting in. Quickly he tiptoed upstairs to his room and closed the door.

Looks like Im in deep stew now,said David glumly.

Why?,asked a voice behind him.

David yelped and leaped about a foot in the air. He bolted around to find four dogs in his room. Charlie and Sasha were sitting on the carpet. Flo and Bess were relaxing on his bed. Bess had been the one that had spoken, and she did again.

Did you get an F in math or something?,she asked.

David recuperated from his fright and frowned.

Id honestly prefer that to what I have to face now,he said.

Charlie was startled.

What went wrong, Dave?,he asked.

David sat down on his bed next to Bess and Flo.

Ive been framed by that jerk, Gary,said David,Now Im going to have to be judged in front of the School Court for something I didnt do.

What?,asked Sasha.

Robbing a candy store,said David.

They were all shocked. This was graver than normal taunting. This was sabotage to Davids name.

But, doesnt your teacher know you didnt do it,said Charlie.

My teachers boss is the principal, and the principal is Garys uncle,said David.

I think that explains it all,said Flo.

But, you cant just be judged for something you didnt do,said Sasha,Is there evidence against you.

Gary saw to that,said David.

Charlie was thinking. There was absolutely no way that David could take to go against the principal for he was never going to admit his nephew guilty. The unfair corruption of the school authorities made Charlies blood burn. They were rotten to the bone.

On the other side, if David declared himself innocent he had to have proof that he was innocent, and there was no proof of that.

What will mom and dad say?,David fretted,Theyre going to kill me when they know about it. And mom shouldnt get mad because itll be bad for the baby.

Dave,said Bess,Well stay here and see that you get understood completely. I think you ought to tell them about the bully now, its useless to keep hiding.

David nodded, and he reluctantly got up and went downstairs to wash up and prepare himself to give out the big news.

Charlie was not sure there was anything he could do for David this time. There was nothing to prove his innocence, and there was no way the judges would accept his word without evidence. It was just a bad situation.

Theres got to be a way to get Dave out of this,said Charlie out loud,But how?

Isnt there anything you can do, Charlie?,asked Bess.

Little,said Charlie,I cant testify for him because Im not human. And I cant change shape; and even if I managed, I wasnt there and I cant testify for something I didnt see.

Isnt there anything we can do?,asked Sasha anxiously.

Im sorry, but I think theres just nothing to be done,said Charlie,Just wait.

The news wasnt happy one. Even with the help of his friends, Davids parents did get a great disappointment. Mr. Thomas told his wife to go to bed and rest. He talked to David and asked him all about the bully problems. Sasha thought that it would be best if they left them alone.

I think wed better get going,said Sasha.

Charlie and the other agreed.

Well see you tomorrow Dave,said Charlie.

Dont take is so hard,said Bess.

Chin up,said Flo,Itll all come out okay.

They all said goodbye and left. Now the trouble was imminent. David would be judged, and neither Sasha, Charlie, Flo or Bess could do anything to prove him innocent.

                                   *                                 *                                 *

 

David couldnt sit still in his seat. He was too nervous. He would be judged after lunch and Gary was going to get away with it. He could barely stand the though of seeing that bullys ugly face laughing and sneering at him worse than ever.

David wasnt hungry at lunch. He couldnt eat anything, so he went outside to the playground to get a breath of air before the whole thing started.

He found an empty bench and sat down alone. He felt miserable.

Why me?,he groaned,Im not a bad kid. Why do these things have to happen to me?

Suddenly he felt someone touch his shoulder. He looked around was surprised to see Charlie sitting down beside him. Sasha and Flo appeared seemingly from nowhere and sat down in front of the bench. Bess sat down at his other side.

What are you guys doing here?,he asked.

We thought maybe youd need a little support,said Sasha.

David frowned.

What I need is a miracle, an earthquake, a nuclear explosion or something,said David,Something thatll make school disappear.

He looked at Charlie inquiringly, but Charlie shook his head.

Cant,said Charlie.

Why not?,David asked,You did it before, to cure my eye.

Dave, I cant use my power to make the school explode,said Charlie,That would be merely running away from your problem.

Although, it would be fun to see the headlines in the afternoon papers,said Bess,School, blown up into smithereens by a mysterious cause.

Everyone laughed, even David did a little. But then they returned to reality.

Charlie, I cant let Gary get away with it,said David,Hell push me around for the rest of my life.

Then keep that in mind when youre out there,said Flo,You must prove that youre innocent.

But I cant,said David.

Yes you can! You have a clean record, and Gary is a bully. Ask your classmates to support you, they know youre telling the truth,said Flo.

They wouldnt,said David,Theyre too scared of Gary. Theyll never try to go against him.

You can tell the judge about your principal,said Flo,Tell him that hes not impartial and that he always makes his nephew get away with it.

That would be worse,said David,Then the principal would be on my tail all day, trying to catch me doing something wrong to expel me or something.

Flo gave up. David seemed to be doomed.

The school bell rang in the distance and they all knew that what came up next was the court. Everyone wished him luck and followed him to the school building, from where he went on alone.

The auditorium was set as the court room, and the jury and judge was already in place. The judge was a law teacher, Mr. McGinnes, and he had a pleasant but firm face. He opened session, called Gary to talk about what happened and then called David.

Davids parents were there too, and they both looked worried. David tried to convince the jury and the judge that he was innocent, but he had no proof.

Gary gave his graphic account about how he had spotted David throwing the brick at the window and how he had seen him running off with handfuls of candy. David said that it was Gary who did it and blamed him for it, but it was useless. When he was asked for evidence, he just responded that he had none and remained silent.

Now, McGinnes knew Davids father and knew David as well, and he was sure that David wouldnt do anything like that, but without evidence it was impossible to tell.

He finished the session without sentencing David, giving him more time to think.

I call for your presence tomorrow at the same time to decide what this case will turn into,said Mr. McGinnes,until then, the jury must brood on the case and come to a conclusion.

David went back home with his parents that day. He was sick with worry. No one believed him, and he had no way to prove that he wasnt the caper.

As they arrived at the house, Mr. Thomas and Mrs. Claire stood a while in the car to talk while David went upstairs to take a break.

David entered his room and dropped his school things in a corner.

This is the worst day of my life,he muttered.

Hey, there. Cheer up, kid,said a voice behind him.

David turned around and saw Bess, Flo, Sasha and Charlie on the carpet in front of his bed. They were all looking expectantly, willing to hear what happened.

David went over and sat on his bed.

How did you get in?,asked David.

Trust humans to leave the key under the rug,said Flo,Nothing easier.

David smiled, but not for long.

Im probably going to be punished for it,said David,The judge didnt sentence me, but hell have to someday.

But, he cant sentence you,said Sasha.

He can,said David,He had no choice. I wish I hadnt followed hat idiot Gary in first place.

Charlie placed his paw on Davids shoulder.

I really hate myself for that,said David,If I hadnt followed that big sissy and filmed him, Id be out of trouble.

Charlie opened his eyes.

What!,he said,You filmed him?

David suddenly realized it. He had forgotten that he had filmed the whole thing.

David looked up at Charlie.

I did!,he cried,I recorded it with me pocket video recorder!

Charlie jumped up. So did Sasha and the other two.

Dave! Youre saved! Wheres the tape?,Sasha asked.

But David remembered then what had happened.

Oh, I forgot,said David,Gary has it. He took it away from me. And he said that hes put it, er

Where?,asked Flo.

In his locker,said David,But I cant get it out of there. What if the principal catches me prying open a locker. Then Id really be expelled.

Charlie got up. Sasha looked at him and nodded. Charlie nodded back.

Well do it,said Charlie,Well get the tape back and make sure you get your evidence.

David looked at him.

But you cant burst into the school just like that,said David,Youll get caught.

Its worth the risk, isnt it?,Sasha said.

But, but,David stammered.

Come on, Dave,said Flo, getting up too,Were going to clear your name and were going to even possibly get Gary McSlugger caught for good. Do you want that or not?

Sure,said David,But its risky to get into the school while no ones looking. And, once youre there, how will you open the locker?

Ill do that,said Bess beaming.

Everyone looked at her.

You ought to know that I have a very unusual hobby,said Bess,And its none less that lock picking.

Er,David mussed,You dont do it for, er

Bess glared at him.

Well, your confidence in me is shining. Im impressed!,she said rather annoyed,Of course not! I just do it for fun. I have a collection of locks at home and I enjoy picking them with nails or hairpins or paper clips. And Im now willing to help you with this ability of mine.

David sat on his bed, thinking.

Okay,he said,Tomorrow at lunchtime the halls will be empty, and after lunch you can take the tape to me while everyones outside in the playground. Ill be waiting in the front hall.

Flo and I can stay guard at the doors that lead to the corridors to make sure no one enters while the lock is being picked. Charlie, you can go with Bess and stay guard to make sure shes not caught,said Sasha,Once we get the tape, everythings easy.

Got it,said Charlie,Were all set then.

David looked anxious.

I just hope it works,said David, very worried indeed.

 

The next day, when the lunch bell rang, David and his class went to the cafeteria. David was nervous, but he wasnt as nervous as the previous day, so he could at least eat today.

After lunch, David went secretly to the front hall to wait.

Sasha, Charlie, Flo and Bess were ready to take action. Charlie and Bess raced into the building and went straight for the primary school halls. Sasha and Bess stood guard at the doors that lead into those corridors to make sure no one interfered.

Charlie and Bess walked around until they finally found the locker David had indicated.

That ones it,said Charlie,The last one beside the drinking fountain.

Alright,said Bess,Lets get to work.

Bess took a paper clip that she had brought with her and unfolded it. She then inserted the end into the lock and tapped it.

Its a simple one turn lock,said Bess,I have about three of these at home.

She started to work. Carefully, she twisted the paper clip up and down to align the lock.

She went on very well, but suddenly, she stopped.

I need something else,said Bess,Charlie, do you have anything I could use? I cant let go of the clip right now because if I do Ill lose the position.

Charlie had nothing except his wing emblem. It was the only thing he could offer.

Here,said Charlie, giving it to her.

Thanks,said Bess as she inserted the wing of the emblem into the keyhole.

After fiddling with the lock for a while, it opened and the door swung to the side. But now, Bess couldnt do anything more because there was a lone tall shelf inside the narrow closet. Too tall for her.

Let me handle this,said Charlie getting up against the back of the locker.

Youre really a big help, Charlie,said Bess as she backed away to let Charlie do his job.

Charlie rummaged for a while among Garys things, until he found it!

Bingo!,said Charlie, taking the tape in his teeth,Come on! Lets get out of here before were caught.

You got it,said Bess.

They raced down the corridor and straight to where Flo and Sasha were.

Weve you it!,said Charlie.

Great,said Sasha,Weve got a few minutes before the session starts, so wed better hurry.

The four raced to the front hall, where David was waiting restlessly.

David almost fell over when he saw the tape.

This is it!,he cried,My ticket to proving my innocence. Guys, thank you so much.

Its nothing, kid,said Flo,Now go and get that creep.

The bell rang and David ran all the way to the auditorium. The jury was not there yet, but his parents were. They were surprised to see him smiling.

The judge came in, followed by the jury, who took their places. Gary McSlugger and the principal came in too, both with smirks on their faces. But David knew that they were caught.

Session started and the judge read the notes made by the jury during their thinking period. Most of them did declare David as innocent. It was then Davids turn to make one last defense.

Id like to ask for your attention, please,said David,I must make one last attempt to declare myself innocent.

His parents were impressed and intrigued. Gary was chucking quietly.

And by what means do you intend to demonstrate this, sonny?,asked McGinnes gently.

Id like to show you this video tape,said David,Perhaps this will make you see things more clearly.

Gary almost fell over and protested, saying something like how did he get that?, but the judge silenced him.

There was a television set in the corner, and David had brought his pocket recorder with him, so they quickly connected the machine to the TV and played the tape.

It was a small screen, but everyone clearly saw the unconfusable figure of Gary throwing a brick and taking the candy and crashing into the camera. The jury slowly crumpled their notes that they were making and quickly wrote fresh ones based on the tape. It was too clear.

When the tape was over, the judge looked down at Gary and saw that he was trembling.

Well,said McGinnes,what do you have to say for yourself?

There was no need to say anything else.

The judge sentenced Gary McSlugger to expulsion from the school, under the charges of juvenile delinquency, abuse of smaller classmates and robbery of other students possessions. The principal was found guilty too of complicity with his nephew, admitting all his doings without punishments. And so, the case was closed.

 

Charlie and Sasha were sitting down on the porch of Davids house with Bess and Flo, waiting for them to arrive. And they did. David ran to his friends.

Thanks, guys,said David beaming,I owe it all to you.

Heh,said Flo,Anytime, kid. I bet you gave that bully a good scare.

David invited them all in and told them everything. It was marvelous to hear about the reactions of the bully and his uncle and how the judge congratulated David for his marvelous work. It was great.

And so, another problem was solved, and it was time for our friends to leave.

Sasha and Charlie walked with Flo and Bess to the house so that they could spend the night together and laugh about all the happenings. Sasha was thinking a lot about the way they all helped Dave out of yet another problem.

She was glad everyone was friendly and kind and willing to help, and she was very glad to be with Charlie, Flo and Bess.

She thought about all these wonderful things as they sat in the family room and talked, over supper, and as they sat on the rug near the fire and drank warm tea. It was all so nice, to be able to help others and live with people one loved dearly.

That night, Flo and Bess went to sleep in the guest room, and Sasha and Charlie went up to their room for the night.

Charlie placed warm blankets on the thick carpet in the middle of the room and he and Sasha lied down comfortably together and watched the stars through the glass of the window.

Sasha edged closer until she felt Charlies side touch with hers. She moved closer to him until she could feel his warm fur, making her feel happy and relaxed.

Charlie,said Sasha as they watched the stars,Im really happy to be where I am right now. I cant believe how lucky I am.

Charlie looked at her and smiled, rubbing her fur with his chin.

Im so happy,said Sasha,The way we live now, together and with our friends. Sometimes I ask myself what would be of me if I hadnt met you. I think Id probably die of solitude.

Charlie kissed her cheek and looked into her small green eyes.

I feel the same, Sasha,said Charlie,The heart needs to feel love, at least a little, to survive. Without it, one can never be complete. I sometimes dream about how my life would be without you, in the loneliness of my past life. But when I wake up, I always find you, safely asleep beside me, seeking my warmth. Sasha, youre the most lovely happening in all my life.

Charlie kissed Sasha once more, and closed his eyes as he laid his head close to hers on the carpet.

I love you, Sasha,said Charlie.

Sasha felt her heart warm with these words, which were always like new for her, and had never been used by anyone in the world. Only by Charlie.

Sasha, satisfied with her life and immensely happy to have Charlie with her, placed her head closer to his and kissed him sweetly good night.

I love you, sweetheart,said Sasha,And I always will. Always.

 

 

                                                      THE END