The Bully is bigger, stronger, and has more stuff than just about anyone else. But The Bully does not use his privileged position for the common good, but rather for selfish purposes.
Plus, The Bully is loud. Like, really loud. His favorite thing is to stand up in front of people and shout things. Most of the things he shouts are things about how much better he himself is than anyone else, how big, how strong, and how much stuff he has.
As our story begins, this is what The Bully is doing. He is technically representing a “side,” but he really doesn’t care about one “side” or the other; all he wants is for people to know how great he is. That is his only agenda as he stands (literally) in the gap between the sides: that everyone notice him.
And they do.
The Boss certainly does.
Now, The Boss is old, and getting older. He has started to forget things, and to act in unusual ways, doing things that make the people around him make meaningful eye contact with one another, shake their heads, and look worried.
And as The Boss slowly drifts away from rationality, it kind of scares him. He becomes desperate to hold on to what once was. This makes him irritable, grouchy, and just plain mean. He becomes unreasonably defensive, and does so astonishingly quickly, and his companions often walk on eggshells, trying not to upset him.
The Boss has heard the Bully, and The Boss is ticked.
Which is when The Boy shows up.
The Boy is fascinated by conflict, drawn to it like a moth to a flame. He is bemused by The Bully, secretly impressed by his bravado. The Boy is also quite arrogant, puffed up with a braggadocious confidence born of youth and previous successes.
And The Boy has figured out how to strategically yet casually drop these success stories into daily conversations as often as he can. This, by the way, infuriates his older brothers, who would rather he just stay home and do his chores. Even his dad seems to conveniently forget about him from time to time.
The Boy has heard The Bully, and The Boy is energized.
He asks, “What’s the reward for taking out this guy? Like, what’s in it for me if I decide to take this loser out?”
“Well, The Boss would love it, I’m sure,” comes the reply. “Probably cut you in on a pretty big slice of the action!”
“Let me at ‘im!” says The Boy.
When The Boss gets wind of The Boy’s bluster, he calls him over. “You can’t take this guy,” he says. “You’re just a kid.”
The Boy’s smile is almost a sneer. He drops some knowledge. “That guy? He’s nothing. A piece of dust. I’ve killed literal lions with my bare hands. Ain’t no thing.”
The Boss is impressed. “Go on, then.” But then The Boss shakes his head, coming out of a foggy daze, and seems to remember that he’s supposed to be in charge here. So he starts to tell The Boy how to do the job. But The Boy won’t have it.
“Look here, Boss. It’s my way or no way at all. Hear me?”
And he goes up to The Bully. Now The Bully has been standing there, shouting. Like he does. And when he sees The Boy coming up to him it kind of catches him off guard. “I’m hurt! I’m insulted! This little puppy coming up to me, thinking he’s got something? Bring it, scrub.”
And The Boy thumps his own chest with equal machismo. “I will bring it, you big loser. Did I mention I killed literal lions with my bare hands yet? Well, I did. So there.”
And by the sheer force of his toxic masculinity, so surprising to The Bully who usually corners the market on that particular commodity, The Boy knocks over The Bully. And while he’s down on the ground, The Boy walks up to him and kicks his teeth out before he can get away.
Then he picks up the teeth and strings them together on a little piece of twine that he wraps around his neck so everyone will be sure to see that it was him, The Boy, who kicked out The Bully’s teeth.
And when The Boss saw it happen, since he had already forgotten their previous meetings, he asked his buddy, “Who is that kid?” And his buddy, not wanting to upset The Boss by reminding him that he had, in fact, already met The Boy, feigned ignorance.