The Cast: Myself (the victim turned victor), Rawlin (my older brother, bully turned victim), Small selection of friends (both my brother’s and mine, names don’t matter for this story).
When you have an older brother like I do, you can’t always tell what his motivations are. Well, to be fair I can now. But as a kid… No way. It was like he was of two different minds. One moment he could be very kind, then he might manipulate the situation to his advantage and ruin my day or even get me into trouble. It was like a mental gamble. What was he going to do to me next? It didn’t help that he is about six years older than me, and that I was small for my age. Additionally he always needed to have the upper hand, especially mentally. He despised being outsmarted. Especially if he deemed that person inferior and incapable of doing so. And that’s what made this particular day so memorable.
I was about ten years old and it was just another hot summer day in Montana. There was a small group of us gathered on my back porch choosing sides for a water fight. We were in swimsuits, tee’s and tank tops. As we took turns filling our squirt guns one of the older boys began to shoot my friend in the groin and telling him to stop peeing his pants. Then my brother decided to do the same to me. I didn’t think it was funny and I told him as much. Rawlin didn’t care. He just kept doing it. “Stop peeing yourself. Are you a baby? Aww, what’s the matter? Can’t hold it?” He wouldn’t stop! I tried to move away but he just kept following me squirting and teasing, and the group’s laughter just egged him on.
“STOP IT YOU JERK!” I screamed. And in my anger I threw my squirt gun onto the deck and watched it shatter. “Look what you did!” I yelled at him. Then I shoved him.
“I didn’t do it. You did.” Rawlin shoved me back. Hard.
I ran downstairs to my room, bawling my eyes out. Not only had he humiliated me in front of my friends but he had broke my gun. My new gun. My super cool Thundercat squirt gun with a bubble wand attachment that looked like a targeting reticle. No. Rawlin was right. I broke it. But he had driven me to it and I wanted revenge. I needed to humiliate him in front of his friends the way he had humiliated me in front of mine. So I thought up a plan. It was easy. Knowing how little he thought of me, all I had to do was use his weaknesses against him. And Rawlin had many—although he never thought so.
I walked back upstairs and found everyone still hanging out on the back porch, laughing at what I supposed was me. The seething anger on my face was plan to all. If looks could kill I would have decimated the neighborhood. Rawlin just turned around all cocky and arrogant, a smirk on his face—soon to be replaced by pure rage.
“Hey Rolaids!” I shouted—an insult I reserved for special occasions. Oh how he loathed being called that. He was after me in a flash. I bolted for the front door, death at my heels. I made it outside. So did Rawlin. And that’s how I got him.
You see, when someone looks down upon you and creates a mental role for you to fill, it’s easy to fool them by playing that part because, well, because they don’t expect anything more from you. So I had snuck back upstairs and out the front door to where we had a garden hose with a gun-like spray nozzle. I turned the water on full blast and placed the nozzle so it was easy for me to grab but would look like it had been carelessly left on the ground. I then turned the lock on our door knob so once the door was closed it could not be opened again, but shut the door just enough so that it would look like it was closed. All that was left to do was pretend to be a whiny ten year old—fill the role. Done.
“Hey Rolaids!” Ego. Weakness. As we ran I kept Rawlin close enough behind me so he could see me turn the doorknob and swing the door open enough for me to get through, and ‘attempt’ to ‘carelessly’ close it. Arrogance. Weakness. Once Rawlin was through the threshold he shut the door just like he had been taught. Reflex. Weakness. I had him!
I was far enough away that when I picked up the spray nozzle and blasted Rawlin with the full force of the garden hose he was so caught off guard that he became unhinged. And he couldn’t reach me. Rawlin clawed at the door trying to understand why he couldn’t open it. He had just came out of it. He was jumping about, arms and legs flailing in every direction. Sheer panic and confusion plastered on his face. He was like a wild animal. I just laughed and kept spraying. This scene went on joyously forever. Or so it seemed to me.
Once Rawlin realized all that had happened, how he had been so easily goaded, how he had fallen into my trap, and how easily he had been manipulated into it, his shock and confusion turned to murderous rage. I glimpsed it in his eyes as he charged me. And rather than try to take the hose from me, Rawlin just kicked the spray gun out of my hand. It felt like my hand was broken. I ran off, once again crying and angry. And so, even though it seemed like I lost plenty that day, I had still won. Rawlin had been outsmarted by his ten year old little brother, and he knew it. Better still, he could never deny it. I had witnesses.