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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Grrr! (01/28/10)

TITLE: Bruce Strong-arm the Terrible
By Daniel Kane


His name was Bruce Strong-arm. His rule began in the year 2004, and continued until 2010. He was not a kind ruler, in fact, the word 'tyrant' applies to him rather well. The title Strong-arm was occasionally substituted by such other ones as Iron-fist and Power Man by the more fawning of his subjects. Other unfortunate souls, who knew his bad, brutal side, gave him the titles Tyrant, Tough Coward, The Growler, and The Hated Ruler, although never in public. Bruce himself was not bothered about this, for, unloved though he was, he held the place of undisputed ruler of Green-Grove Elementary School.

Bruce Strong-arm was not so very different from most other, more famous rulers. Henry VIII, as every school book will tell you, lopped off the heads of anyone who annoyed him. Adolf Hitler has gone down in history for trying to take over the world, along with his buddy Joseph Stalin. William the Conquerer wasn't content with just France; he wanted England too. Bruce Strong-arm shared a common trait with all men who get together an army and go off conquering lands: a desire for power. It all began when he was only seven years old.

Bruce did not have a very nice childhood. His father was a mean English teacher in Green-Grove, and he was horribly strict with Bruce. Poor Bruce, even when still learning to talk, couldn't utter a single phrase without his dad jumping in and correcting some minor grammar mistake. Bruce himself always was rather short and ugly, and also unusually strong for his age. This made him look much like a bad-tempered baby ape, and the teasing that every child in school directed at him caused him to behave so. After putting up with extreme humiliation for a few years, Bruce finally snapped. He was being teased as usual by a big boy a few classes above him who made the mistake of offering a banana to the “Sweet Little Gorilla”. The next thing the boy knew, he was on his back on the cold, grimy pavement, experiencing empty lungs for the first time since his birth, and Bruce was slowly mushing the banana all over his face. Thus began Bruce's rule.

Bruce, having realized his strength, then proceeded to establish his domain. He crushed any rebels as harshly as necessary, and was often seen to go so far as to snarl at his unfortunate victim. Like some wild animal he would mutter harsh curses into their ear while grinding their arm into the tarmac – his most loved form of punishment. Though many students' wounds were reported to the school head, Green-Grove was a cruel school. The teachers insisted that they were not a police force, and their job was to teach. Hence Bruce ruled unopposed. It was his domain, run by his rules, and his favorite was that ancient law that the strong survive.

And so it was that the years went by, and Bruce more or less settled down in his pleasant role of lord of the pupils. Few uprisings occur, and only when he was in a foul temper did the occasional pupil go home with a bleeding, mucky wound filled with grit. He found an odd delight pushing his victims down a muddy hill to crash into the oaken fence below. He was given the finest cafeteria food, and nobody objected when he pushed past them, unless they actually wanted to be thrown into a shallow pit littered with pebbles. Bruce was content.

But then came the time that he had to leave Green-Grove Elementary school. After all, every child must be educated, and Bruce had finished all there was to be done in Green-Grove. So, in the year 2010, he left. He prepared to make the trip to secondary school, already planning how he would set up his kingdom there. He felt completely ready for anything it could throw at him. When his first day came, however, he saw the enormous, hulking students with their leering grins and their deep gruff voices that already had top place. Straight away he realized that he would not be able to overwhelm these monoliths, and, fear gripping his heart for the first time in six years, Bruce Strong-arm shrank back into a corner and begged for his mommy.

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This article has been read 343 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Amanda Brogan02/05/10
I love the subtle way you begin the story and the natural humor throughout. Poor Bruce. At least he finally learned his lesson that "lording" over other kids is not so fun for those around him. Too bad he had to learn the hard way. Very entertaining read!
Ruth Brown02/07/10
You are quite a story teller.
This reminded me of the voice in the popular Christmas movie
about Ralphie and the Red Rider. Well done.
Kate Oliver Webb 02/09/10
An unusual and creative story. You did a good job with descriptions and atmosphere, and the ending was right-on. Take that talent and run with it!
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 02/09/10
I enjoyed your linking of the school yard bully to the malevolent dictators I learned about in History class. I'm glad he learned his lesson in the end. I did notice a couple of times when you switched tenses. It was quite minor and easily fixed. I may not have even noticed if we hadn't been discussing tenses in Jan's class this week. Over-all a good job, I like it when a story makes me think.
Mona Purvis02/09/10
What a great job you did with this entry. Your story held my interest and is nicely written. Good pacing.
look forward to more of your work.
Carol Slider 02/09/10
I like the believable way you tell the story of the school bully. I was wondering what would happen when he had to go to a school with older students! Good conclusion. I'll look forward to reading more of your stories!