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A Rock and a Hard Place

Book one in the Rockford Jessop series

Chapter One: A Hard Place

"Rockfart, Rockfart, Rockfart!"

Rockford Jessop always hated when the other kids made fun of his name like that. And this was worse than usual. He was a freshman in a new high school. A "scrub". A "lower classman". And he had received some bad attention. Especially from a sophomore named Todd Goldsmith.

Todd was following him home.

Rockford was not looking at him. He just stared ahead and kept walking. He was real nervous and wondered why this kid felt he needed to pester other people. Why do bullies anywhere feel the need to engage in terrorism? He wondered how it could possibly make them feel good. He thought of how he really enjoyed setting up his enormous slot car track at home. Could Todd possibly harvest the same kind of satisfaction from a hobby in oppression?

Just then he felt his whole body lurch and his head spring back as Todd shoved him to the ground. Rock tried to catch his balance but, as he scurried, his foot kicked against the edge of the concrete and his body twisted as he collapsed onto the hard cement sidewalk. He rolled onto his back. He wondered if there might be found in his assailant any shred of mercy. As he groaned he wondered if the complete agony he must be showing on his face would affect Todd at all.

"Are you going to cry?" Todd said with melodramatic surprise. Then his expression immediately changed, revealing the inhumanity.

"Gather round, ladies and gentlemen, while Todd the prophet draws blood from a Rock." He stepped over Rockford and leaned down to grab Rock’s shirt in his fists. Rock could see the perspiration in Todd’s face as Todd pulled him close till their noses touched and stared into his eyes and said, "Or should I say ROCKFART!" Rock could feel the hate boiling inside. He wanted to fight back. He wanted to pay Todd back for this horrible experience he was having.

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