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Burning the Boats to Hesperion

No reason and No rhyme

Burning the Boats to Hesperion







I think it was raining and I think it was cold.

No. It couldn’t be raining because they wouldn’t let us outside.

But it had rained, and our playground was all sand and mud.

And it was grey.

Yeah, I remember that.


I was in the third grade and Miguel Portela was the school's biggest bully.

Not because he was the strongest or the hardest,

but because he was the meanest.


He beat me up once

throwing me, repeatedly, to the ground.

I would get back up and charge him,

crying and enraged,

but he would just throw me again laughing.

-”Come at me again, “Angry”, see if you can take me this time.”


Months passed.


It was a cold, grey afternoon, and the kids were playing soccer during recess.

During the game Miguel got into an argument with someone from the oposing team.

He tried to punch him, but was outclassed.


When it stopped

Miguel layed supine on the soccer field,

coated in sand and crying softly.


Our playground was like any other.

Filled with movement and hollering of children.

We were left there to scream and vent

for as long as they would keep us outside.



something had just happened In that field.


As Miguel whined in the dirt

the children encircled him and watched him cry.


Something had snapped inside,

he made no attempt to get up or hide his tears,

and layed there in abject defeat.


This display of weakness didn’t go unnoticed.

They stood above him,

pleased to see him grovel.




he tried to get up,

someone kicked him down.


After the first kick the mood changed.

Now everyone on the soccer field knew they could hurt him.

Shortly after the first, another cracked him in the gut.

The circle got tighter and there was a lull.


Slowly they realized that they had something very precious,


they knew,

should be kept from the teachers.

They had the school’s bully squirming on the floor,


at once,

A victim inviting punishment, and a bully, justifying it.


They watched him,



eyes closed,

hands opening and closing spasmodically.


When he,


tried to get up, someone would put him down.

Sometimes gently, sometimes not,

but always hard enough to keep him where he was.



in the wet sand.


You could hear the silence in the football field.

And if the teachers were slow to react,

the other kids weren’t.


All around the playground, first, second and third graders, started to pick up on the absence and searched for the cause.

Quietly they poured into the field and thickened the circle.

They all had came to see Miguel Portela.


Tentatively they renewed kicking him,

now one kid,

now another...


as if unsure of their actions,


as if lost in thought.


He just whined softly

and cried some more.


A stillness crept over the playground as the kids congregated around him.

They stood,

motionless and reverent,

booting him down every time he tried to get up.


By then most of the school was in the field.


Eventually the silence alerted the teachers that something was wrong.

When they got to the field they saw the circle,

By now, four or five children thick,

encircling Miguel Portela,

as the drizzle, the tears, and the snot coated him with wet sand.


It all ended then.


Miguel Portela’s parents took him out of the school and we never saw him again.

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