My Sweetest Victory

I could say I keep to myself for the most part, that I never hurt anyone until exactly three hours ago. I had Gunner Thomas, a boy two whole grades older than me, on the ground whimpering like a cowering dog. It all started at the bus stop. Everything happens at the bus stop. I set out for a routine day as a sixth grader with my little sister, a third grader. As we walked the six blocks to the bus stop, I had to lug the huge papier mâché volcano she had made for science. She made me carry it.

The scene was horrible. My backpack with the almost-broken strap was heavy enough and my pants kept slipping down as I walked. Like always, we just minded our own beeswax.

I whined, “Geez, can I set this stupid thing on the ground?”

“No, the ground’s all wet.” Stevie pointed in front of me.

“Well, what I actually meant is, you take it.”

“No, Willie. My arms are too tired.” Stevie sat down in the soft snow, took off her hat, and started eating snow.

I know what you are thinking. You’re thinking what kind of weird name is Willie, right? Well, I was named after my uncle Willie, my all-time favorite person. He wasn’t around a lot, but when he was, it might have well been a holiday because he’s never on the same reservation more than a week at a time. My mom politely calls him a “free spirit” in front of other people.

In third grade he taught me a fighting form called “Will-ate.” He claimed he was the ultimate master, and people everywhere begged him to teach them. I believed him until a few months ago when I asked my mom about it, she laughed so hard she almost peed on herself. I know now it’s just a combination between his name and the word karate backed by a fancy sequence of Indian tortures and nipple twists all topped off with one secret move whose impact is so great that he told me to only use it when absolutely necessary.

I looked over at Stevie who had an angry look on her face.

“I suppose you’re mad at me now?” I asked.

“No.”

“Well what’s with the horse face?” My attempt to make her laugh.

“Those girls keep laughing at me.” Stevie looked up and pointed towards the group with her eyes.

My sister is a tomboy. She plays like a boy, dresses like a boy, and even has a bowl haircut like a boy. One time my grandma mistakenly bought Stevie a pair of jeans with little blue bows on them. We don’t have a lot of clothes and she would cry until she couldn’t make any more tears when she was forced to wear them. One day my dad told her that they weren’t bows, they were skull and cross bones. I’d never seen a happier girl after that.

“You got a staring problem?” I folded my arms and looked fiercely at the three girls standing in front of us. “I said, Do…you…have…a…staring…problem?” I bellowed.

“No, but you guys have a butt-ugly problem,” yelled one of the little imbeciles. “Your sister is weird. She dresses like a boy.”

“What’s wrong with being different? You’re all stupid ‘cause you act the same and wear exactly the same things. There’s nothing special about you.”

“I guess that’s what any poor kid would say.”

“Come here and say that, you bitch!” The word shot out of my mouth like a bullet. Stevie sat there with her eyes wide as she covered her mouth and laughed in disbelief.

“I’m telling my brother!” shouted the blond, pig-tailed girl and ran away.

“What are you going to do? Fat Boy Gunner is her brother,” questioned Stevie as she continued eating her snow chunk.

“Whatever, I can take him.” I said angrily, trying to convince myself.

“Good thing you learned Will-ate, huh?” Stevie patted my back.

I pointed my fingers between her eyes, “What do you mean? You’re helping me.”

A bulky farmer boy walked up to me. He had no hat covering his bright red hair and supposedly didn’t need a jacket either. He wore a scowl on his face and had a dirty snow ball in his hand.

“Who called my sister a ‘bitch’?” I could see his grip getting tighter on the snowball.

“I did.”

He took the dirty snow ball and smeared it all over my brand new white winter jacket, grinding it as if he were trying to stain every white fiber on my shoulder. I worked hard begging for that jacket; my mom wouldn’t buy it for this exact reason. My fist clenched so hard I don’t think a stress ball would have been able to withstand the pressure. Next, directing his anger towards Stevie’s volcano, he stomped, and the second he did Stevie screamed, “No!” more higher pitched than a dog whistle.

I cocked my arm back and threw it forward, sending him five steps backwards clutching his chin, and in a flash the big rhinoceros came charging towards me. I could hear the whoosh of the air he was snorting out of his nose. In the split second before he tried to push me down, Stevie came out of left field and dived towards his shins to save me from the blow. As the top half of his body sailed head-on towards me, I smiled inside because I knew exactly what move was necessary: the secret move. I drove my knee as hard as I could into his groin. His body immediately froze, he let out a screech and fell over into the fetal position. Everyone laughed in hysteria.

“Weak sauce!” I screamed at the man down. I turned around to see the bus, helped Stevie up, and brushed the brown slush off her snow pants. We walked to the line and waited to get on, my right arm around my sister’s shoulders and the bulky misshapen volcano under my left.

Desirae Grignon, also known as Waqnocikisekok, is from the Menominee Nation. She is currently working towards her Bachelor’s Degree in American Indian Studies at Haskell Indian Nations University in Lawrence, KS. Grignon plans to help her people by “becoming an American Indian Studies teacher because the true history of Native People is misrepresented to the general population. I plan to help change this. I have always loved writing fiction, and I plan to continue to write in the future.”

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