See, the thing was, you had to make it look like it was an accident, you know, if a teacher or someone like that was looking. Except of course it wasn’t, and the person, they had to know it wasn’t.
For instance, a couple of us would be walking down the hall and we’d be talking and all and we wouldn’t even look at the person. In fact we’d make a point of not looking at the person. Whoever was walking on the inside would bump them—just a little—and we’d keep on going and we still wouldn’t look at them, like they weren’t even there. And then someone else would come along and nudge them, a little bit harder, but not much. And then it would be Nick’s turn.
Nick had a bunch of different moves. But the one he liked best was walking down the hall backwards, talking real fast to someone, so it really didn’t look like an accident when he banged into the person. But he always hit people hard enough to make them go down. Somehow Nick would end up stepping on their hand or their leg. Once he even stepped on the side of a guy’s head and you could see the shape of the heel of Nick’s boot on his face.
Then Nick would go into his big, “Oh my God, Geez, I’m sorry, I didn’t see you” routine. A bunch of kids would gather round and a couple of teachers would come to see what was going on. The whole time Nick kept doing his “I didn’t see you” bit. Even though I knew it was all a lie he was so freakin’ good at it that I wanted to believe him.
Mostly Nick got away with stuff because the teachers thought they had him figured out, when they didn’t know him at all. One time Ms Henderson sent me down to the office to bring a couple of boxes of paper towels to the art room. While I was waiting for the secretary to unlock the store room I heard Mr. Harris, the vice-principal, talking to some supply teacher about Nick. He said Nick suffered from low self-esteem and didn’t like himself very much.
Teachers, for the most part, don’t know anything about real life. If they did they’d have much better jobs than teaching geometry and the history of the stupid middle ages to a bunch of kids who aren’t listening anyway. And Mr. Harris knew squat. Nick had low self-esteem? Yeah, right. Nick was the king of cool and he knew it. I’d seen girls checking him out. He even said Ms Henderson had a thing for him and I think he might have been right. She did get Nick to pose up on this little platform at the front of the class when we were studying the human form, and she said he had almost perfect proportions.
Nick pretty much always got what he wanted when he wanted it, and I think that’s how every thing with Erin got started. She was about the only person as far as I could tell who didn’t think Nick was that cool.