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Thomas Bulkowski’s successful investment activities allowed him to retire at age 36. He is an internationally known author and trader with 30+ years of stock market experience and widely regarded as a leading expert on chart patterns. He may be reached at

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Market
Industrials (^DJI):
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Nasdaq (^IXIC):
S&P500 (^GSPC):
As of 10/19/2017
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23,300 or 22,500 by 11/01/2017
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775 or 725 by 11/01/2017
6,700 or 6,500 by 11/01/2017
2,625 or 2,525 by 11/01/2017

Written by and copyright © 2005-2017 by Thomas N. Bulkowski. All rights reserved. Disclaimer: You alone are responsible for your investment decisions. See Privacy/Disclaimer for more information.

This is a story about a kid moving to a new school system and finding that the prettiest girl in school is bullied. What does he do about it? He gets beaten up, of course...

Written: November 2011, revised February 2012
Estimated reading time: 20 minutes

I Had A Secret

Mary Duck was the prettiest pretty girl in school, and her locker was next to mine. Love at first sight. Again. Just one problem: Butch Shackleford, but I had a secret.
Butch started harassing Mary well before I arrived at the school district midway through my junior year. I just didn't want to get sucked into another love war. Not like last time. Innocent people like me get bloodied and have to change schools. I learned my lesson.
"What do you say, Duck?" Butch pressed his hand on her shoulder and tried to take possession of something he didn't own. "Want to paddle down to the lake? Duck and paddle. Get it?"
She stared first at his fingers then at him. "Move them or lose them." She squirmed under the increasing pressure of his grip and then tried to bite his fingers. She missed.
"Feisty! I like that in my women."
"Leave me alone."
"After Saturday's game, we can grab some brews, head over to Lover's Lane and -"
"With you?" She slammed the locker door and spun around. She raised up on her toes, and then looked him in the eye. "Never. Let me spell it out for you. N-E-V-E-R!" She poked his chest.
Then she yelped and brushed something off her sweater. "Can't you keep your fleas to yourself?"
"I love cats. We have thirty of them."
"Then wear a flea collar." She shoved him away.
Butch scratched his head, and I wondered about the fleas. Maybe it was something else. Cooties?
"What are you looking at, Pinhead?"
Part of me wanted to give him the finger, and the other part wanted to survive another day. I turned and buried my head in the locker like an ostrich with a smile. No way was I getting involved in this war.
She turned to me and her hand touched my shoulder to get my attention. "He's not toilet trained."

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Our eyes met in a greeting that made my heart flutter. My nostrils flared with the taste of her perfume, my face felt the heat from a thousand suns, and I smiled because she was blushing, too. I felt sick. Love sick, and knew that she felt the same way.
She was the first to recover. "Unless he flunks again, this is his last year." She showed me crossed fingers. "Is he still there?"
I nodded.
"Hug me."
"What?"
She placed her hands on either side of my face, puckered up, and kissed me.
I swung my arms around her waist and pulled her closer. It felt like hugging a pillow with sexy curves.
A girl once taught me not to reach her tonsils, so I let my tongue flit in an out of her mouth, twice, in shallow dips.
Her lips smiled.
She had a surprise for me, too, and slid her leg between mine, rubbing up and down. This was getting interesting.
An hour seemed to pass before we released each other.
Wow. I mean, WOW. Sensational.
She backed away, slowly, one hand covering her mouth as if to say I've never been kissed like that before.
Me, too.
She backed into someone walking down the hall, but that didn't break our connection. We just maintained eye contact and tried to understand what we felt not as two individuals, but as one couple.

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Then she did something that reminded me of two lovers parting at the airport, where one turns to catch a last glimpse of the other. Mary flicked her wrist at hip level, a small wave, but an intimate gesture that told me all I needed to know. I winked and smiled from ear to ear.
Another student rammed her and shifted her gaze to Butch. She spun around and patted her butt in a kiss-my-ass gesture, and then walked off.
Butch stood with clenched teeth and two bowling balls that were fists. The vein throbbing on his forehead looked primed to explode if his temper didn't ignite it first.
He moved to stand beside me. "You're dead."
"What did I do?"
He pushed me into the locker like a Doberman marking his territory and trotted off.
This can't be good, I thought and watched him run after Mary.
Seconds later, he stuck out his foot.
She went down, hard. Her books splattered the floor like a spit wad hitting a window, and her blouse licked tiles covered by a thousand footprints.
He kicked one of her books farther down the hallway. "Still learning how to waddle, Duck?" He cackled and held up one finger to scratch his back, but those who saw it knew what it meant. He continued down the hall.
No one stopped to help her.
No one.
By the time I reached her, she had risen to her knees and brushed off the dirt. Her pleated skirt formed a circle around her like an island surrounded by students that hated her.
"Are you all right?" I bent down to corral her books and looked at her. The front of her cheerleader's uniform wasn't as white as it used to be. I looked at her puppy-dog eyes, so big and brown that they skewered my heart with sadness.
"I tried everything to get him to stop bothering me." Tears gathered, ready to overflow their banks. One did. Others followed. She buried her face in her hands and her shoulders heaved up and down.

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I wanted to return a smile to those eyes, so I abandoned my shyness, pulled her up, and let her tears melt into my sweater. At that moment, I realized that Mary Duck was more than a girl with a locker next to mine, more than a saucy cheerleader, and more than the bullied woman of my dreams.
She was my friend.
"I was trying to make him jealous," she said. "I want you to know that."
"I know, but wouldn't that make him angry?"
She was quiet for a moment and then nodded. "I tried everything else. Know any hit men?" She looked at me with watery eyes.
"No," but her guess was close. I had a secret.
"You sure can kiss."
I puffed out my chest in a display of manly bravado. "I eat right, get plenty of exercise, and every night I practice with my pillow. They want me for the Olympics."
Her smile returned. She hugged me and rested her head on my shoulder. In a quiet voice, she whispered, "Thank you." Then she licked my neck, bit down, and started sucking.
Before I knew what was happening, she had already branded me with a hickey.
"Butch is going to come after you," she said.
"I know. But I can take care of myself. I'm not worried." I'm terrified.
"Good, because you belong to me." She looked into my eyes. "My protector." She hugged me tighter and sighed.
My protector: those two words were the same ones that got me kicked out of the last school. How did this happen without me seeing it coming? Love isn't just blind; it's dumb, too.

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Then I thought of Butch.
Students flowed around us as if we were radioactive, some giving us a wide berth and others pretending that we didn't exist. I couldn't understand why until I saw one of Butch's friends race up the hall. He spoke a few words to Butch and then jerked his thumb over his shoulder.
Both turned.
They didn't look at Mary.
They looked at me.
Uh-oh.

# # #

A week later, I looked down the hall and my pace slowed. Needles stabbed my back, and the hair stood upon my arms. My nerves tingled as if on high alert. I wiped the sweat from my brow with a hand that twitched. This is playing out just like last time, I thought. Get ready.
Was I that afraid of Butch, or was it just the idea of confrontation that made me want to hide under the covers like a five year old? Post traumatic stress disorder, I thought. I had the adult version as a going away present from the last school.
Butch stood outside the lunchroom entrance.
I mumbled some obscenity, and my stomach growled. Despite wanting a long life, I pressed on more to prove that I had the courage to continue than to satisfy my hunger. I can do this. I'm not afraid to die. I'm not afraid to die.
Then I thought of Mary. Sweet Mary. My dream girl. Was I willing to protect her, to die for her?
Doubts crept into my brain. Am I being played?
When I turned to go in, Butch's arm shot across the doorway so fast that I jerked back and rammed into the guy behind me. Butch's fist missed my nose by inches.
He drew close enough that I could smell garlic breath and body odor. "Mary said she loves me. Stay away from her."
He dropped his arm and disappeared.

# # #

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I stood there, too stunned to move. Then I got angry. At Mary. I felt betrayed and as needed as a used tissue. But what about the kiss and the hip wave? I was confused.
The guy behind me nudged my shoulder. I was holding up the lunch line, and decided to sort it out later.
Today was Tuesday, soup day. I prefer tomato, so I grabbed a bowl and headed to my usual table out in no-man's land, the table that even computer dweebs shunned, but where exiles new to the school sat. I staked out a corner and felt like a leper.
With a spoonful midway to my mouth, I saw Mary scanning the room, searching, holding her tray. She was dressed in one of those provocative miniskirt numbers, the ones that turn even women's heads. Fetching.
Her eyes met mine, and she smiled. The soup balancing on my spoon became a cliff diver and splashed back into the bowl, squirting red dots onto my shirt. I felt like an idiot. The student body had every right to exile me to the newbie table.
"Can I join you?"
I swallowed what little remained on my spoon, giving me time to think. How can I be angry at a girl with dimples on her cheeks and lashes that made her eyes sparkle? And that kiss. Wow.
"I can leave -"
"No!" I said and stood up, bumping my tray and spilling the soup. "Please." I pointed to the chair in front of her. Instead, she rounded the table and sat beside me, letting her body rub against mine as she sat.
My heart skipped a beat. My armpits grew moist. My smile told the world that I was too happy to survive.
"Look." She pointed. "We both like tomato."
I used my pile of emergency napkins to blot the soup forming a lake on my tray, but my mind cranked away, thinking that something wasn't right. Cheerleaders only date jocks, not shy guys like me. And what did Butch say? Mary loved him. I thought about that for a moment, and then it all fit. She admitted that she wanted to make him jealous. Why? Because she loved him, maybe on the surface or maybe deeper than the earth's core, but she loved him.
My smile disappeared.
Mary sat watching me. "Are you mad at me?"
"No."
"You're mad at me. Why?"

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I concentrated on counting the crackers swimming in my soup.
"Tell me." She squeezed my thigh.
My knee slammed into the underside of the table, right into a fresh wad of gum. "Ooouuuccchhh!" I said and my eyes watered. I massaged my kneecap and wondered if I might need a new one.
She giggled, but continued looking at me, waiting for an answer.
I blushed under the stare of those deep brown eyes that I longed to explore.
"Why are you mad at me? Tell me. Don't make me hurt you."
She smiled. I melted. "Because Butch said that you said that you loved him."
"What?"
"Butch said you loved him."
She laughed. "Why didn't you say so?" She tilted her head down, and peered up at me through strands of brown in a way that was too sexy for Playboy. "He tells everyone that."
I didn't buy it.
"Look at me," she said.
I watched a cracker drown and thought it was lucky.
She reached over and touched my chin. "Look at me."

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I reluctantly met her eyes.
"I've had my eye on you from day one. How long has it been? Two weeks, three since you arrived?"
I shrugged, but it had been three weeks, two days and 47, no, 48 minutes since I first saw her.
"Every girl falls in love with the new kid in school, but," she reached over and cupped my hand, "but this is different. Didn't you feel it when we kissed?"
I nodded. My tongue was still numb from the electricity that passed between us.
"I asked one of the seven dweebs to break into your records to check your grades. You're ranked near the top of the class, but you don't brag about it. And you're cute, too." She pinched my cheek.
I smiled.
"Intelligence is sexy. But there's something else. It's here." She touched my chest. "You're not only a nice guy, but you have a heart, too. I love that."
Aw, shucks.
"And you're my protector."
Oh, shit.
"Besides, what girl could love a guy with fleas?"
"Oops," boomed a voice behind us, a voice I recognized, a voice I feared. Butch pushed my shoulders forward and then spilled soup over me, but made it look like an accident. He dropped the bowl and ran from the cafeteria before any of the teachers knew there was a problem.
I looked at Mary, saw how I felt mirrored on her face, and then glanced down. A flea was surfing on a cracker in my soup. Yuck. "Excuse me." I stood up.
Silence filled the cafeteria. Fellow students looked; some moved their chairs for a better view. Then one person chuckled and another and soon, the entire room exploded with laughter.

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Now I understood how Mary Duck felt hearing quacking sounds behind her, how she felt mopping tile with her clothes. Each day was another opportunity for Butch to humiliate the prettiest girl in school.
"Welcome to my world," she said and grabbed my hand.
She towed me to the gym, to the boy's locker room, and waited outside while I showered. I loved her for that.
She held my hand and talked to me, combed her fingers through my hair, and kissed me, seven times. Wow. That's a personal best, maybe a world record. Her words restored my confidence, and her touch ignited a desire to protect her. She helped prepare me for what was to come.
I told her what happened at the last school, about the broken bones, the stitches, and how it turned me into a jellyfish, a wuss, a PTSD coward too afraid to sleep with the lights off.
"You, too?" She smiled and flashed perfectly aligned teeth with the exception of the front two. They had a gap like David Letterman's, only hers was cute. I hadn't noticed that before, and longed to spend the rest of my life learning about the rest of her.
She told me her story, how everyone hated her because she was smart and pretty, how it had taken an extra year before they inducted her into the Honor Society. The harassment got worse when she became a cheerleader, but she was determined to succeed.
Then she averted her eyes and said in a quiet voice, "Guys like Butch were worse."
That's when she clammed up. That's when tears formed. That's when we hugged. And then we shared everything.
She became more than my friend.
She made me feel as if I had a chance against Butch, a football jock taller, wider, and heavier than I was. With fleas.
But I had a secret.

# # #

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On Friday, Butch clamped his fist around my neck, yanked me inside the bathroom, and used the rubber wedge that once held the door open to pin it shut.
This was it. Time to stop the humiliation. Time to prove how much I loved Mary. Time to die.
He scratched his head.
"Fleas?"
He punched my nose, twice, one hard jab to get the blood flowing, and the second to do serious damage. I should have expected it. I should have protected myself. What happened to my secret weapon, the one I always carry with me?
My head snapped back, and I stumbled toward the sink.
The surgeon who repaired my nose the last time warned me that a hard hit might shove splinters into my brain. I felt dizzy, turned, and leaned against the sink for support. My eyes watered. My vision blurred. Blood streamed down my chin and drew circles on the white porcelain below. A blinding headache pushed aside my need to throw up.
Butch kicked the back of my knees, but I was going to collapse anyway. I tumbled over backward, head bouncing off the tile, reminding me of the concussion that put me in the hospital once already.
"Get up."
He kicked my left kidney.
"Get up."
Another kick. Another kidney. Pointed shoes: He knew right where to aim.
"Get up."
He reached down and stood me up.
I blinked away tears and squinted, eyes tried to focus, tried to merge two shapes into one. Instead of seeing Butch, I saw Mary - crying - with Butch's hands where they had no place to be. She told me about that, about what the guys did to her.
I got angry. I learned in karate class to change anger into agility and pain into energy.
Five minutes later, I walked out of the bathroom, a red paper towel held under my nose.
Butch was carried out.
The End

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-- Thomas Bulkowski

See Also

  • Green Soap. Reading time: 1 minute. This story is about getting a kid to wash his hands.
  • Red Truck. Reading time: 1 minute. This story is about what happens to a kid's toy truck.
  • Soul Ambulance. Reading time: 5 minutes. This is a Christmas story about something that happens at the airport.
  • Twenty at a Time. Reading time: 5 minutes. A CEO steals money and has to repay it in an unusual way.
  • What Does Bequeath Mean? Reading time: 7 minutes. A little girls believes she's a princess.

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Written by and copyright © 2005-2017 by Thomas N. Bulkowski. All rights reserved. Disclaimer: You alone are responsible for your investment decisions. See Privacy/Disclaimer for more information. Good judgment comes from experience, and experience comes from bad judgment.