You sit in the waiting room of the principal’s office, your leg shaking nervously. You understand that you are In Trouble, but you cannot reason out why. All you did was what your dad told you to do.
You were minding your own business on the playground during recess, tossing a football back and fourth with Bryce. You like Bryce because he almost never has anything mean to say about anybody and also he invites you to sleep over sometimes lets you play with his Stretch Armstrong, which you think is just about the coolest toy you’ve ever seen.
Anyway, you were playing catch with Bryce when Cory, who is a Big Mean Fifth Grader, came from behind you and blocked your throw. You scrambled to retrieve the ball from the ground before Cory, but he is just Too Big and Too Fast and Too Mean and got it first.
You plead with Cory to Give It Back, and he held it way above his head, laughing telling you all you had to do was jump and grab it, but he’s just Too Big. He kept laughing and every time you jumped to grab the ball he would push you down on the ground. You looked over at Bryce, hoping he would help, but he was already running across the parking lot. You don’t blame Bryce, he’s not very mean and probably doesn’t like fighting very much. So, you just kept pleading Cory to Give It Back.
Eventually, Cory pulled a pocket knife out of his pocket which you’re pretty sure is Against the Rules and used it to pop your football. The ball made a noise that sounded a lot like a fart and you would have laughed if you weren’t so upset, then let out what sounded like a little scream as Cory squeezed it until it was flat. Cory told you here you go and dropped it in front of you, then decided to push you down again.
You were just so mad and your heart got really hot and you remembered what dad said about fighting back, so you balled up your fist and as you got to your knees you buried your knuckles in Cory’s balls. Cory screamed and doubled over in pain, then fell to the ground and he wasn’t Too Big anymore after that.
Only thing was, Bryce had been running to get An Adult and Ms. Johnson was walking over to you and Cory and she said she saw The Whole Thing, which makes it even more confusing to you because if she saw The Whole Thing she should know you didn’t do anything wrong.
Ms. Johnson is always saying you should listen to your parents, and your dad is always saying that if someone bullies you or fights you then you should fight back, so if you did what your dad said then why are you In Trouble?
You think maybe these Adults don’t know as much as they pretend.