This chapter has some strong language and an instance of graphic violence. If you feel this is too much, skip to the synopsis at the end.
When Sarah Kino and her sister had rescued Bonnie Riordon, this man--John Jarves--was investigated by his firm. They wanted to know why he had let Bonnie Riordon and Sarah Kino walk off the grounds, especially since they had given him two more people to work with that very week. Students were only supposed to be allowed to leave in cars or buses.
Jarves called in a few favors and shifted the blame to a subordinate who was fired. But he remembered that Sarah Kino had got him into trouble. What he remembered was a lie, but, like a lot of people who tell many lies, he soon believed it was the truth.
Another person who came to hate Sarah Kino was a boy named Laurence Gigerman, or "Larry." Larry had always been bigger than most others his age. He enjoyed bullying other kids. He was good at it because he was big, and always liked to pick on the smallest or weakest or most timid. Very few of them ever fought him, and he had usually been able to handle the few that did fight. It wasn't beating up other kids he enjoyed; it was bullying, intimidating them, showing how small they were, and how he could do whatever he wanted with them and their stuff.
This was good for Larry in several ways. First, he didn't get into much trouble for fighting, since he didn't fight much. When he did, his mother, a lawyer, would raise hell, and the black mark would be quietly erased from his record.
Second, he wasn't a very good fighter. In fact, he wasn't an athlete at all. When anyone asked why he wasn't on the basketball team, or the football team, or whatever, he just said that sports were for jerks and that he had better things to do.
Actually, bullying was the only thing he was good at. He was good enough to teach, though, and by his third year of middle school, he always had about a half dozen apprentice bullies hanging around him, learning from the master--and getting some protection through his mother, and sponging off him, because his mother gave him lots and lots of pocket money.
By then, he had found there was more to life than bullying: there was sex. He started concentrating on boys for the most part for his bullying, though there were some girls he just couldn't help bullying. He developed a different style for them, with more emphasis on teasing them about what they felt most uncomfortable about; less on physical presence. He would try to find girls to join him in tormenting others--not a bad strategy for romance, considering his limited repertoire.
He also developed a crush on Bonnie Riordon when he saw how she was going after Sarah Kino. He didn't really know who Sarah Kino was--he hadn't gone to that "stupid" Halloween party. But he looked at Bonnie, and he thought he saw a kindred heart.
And then Sarah Kino saved her life, and Bonnie never seemed to be more than a few feet away from her when she returned to school.
Larry considered his problem for quite some time, and decided that Sarah Kino was responsible for it. He also developed a considerable hatred for Bonnie for jilting him (in his mind), but was smart enough to realize that Bonnie was a dangerous target--her family had retained his mother in a suit a few years earlier.
First, he tried the direct approach. After stalking for several days, he came up on Sarah Kino from behind and tried to push her into an empty classroom, where he could put a good scare on her for a few minutes.
Sarah twisted away from him. He lunged after her, and she flipped him into a bank of lockers. He wasn't really hurt, but the humiliation was so great, he lost his temper. He got up, and actually tried to strike Sarah. He didn't notice that others had started coming into the hallway. And he certainly didn't consider that it was a very stupid idea to come straight at someone who had just beaten him cold twice when he'd had the element of surprise. Bullying was his specialty, not tactics.
So, in front of an audience of two dozen, including a teacher, he made a roundhouse swing on a girl half his size. She ducked under it, and punched him in the groin. Hard. She hit him a half-dozen more times before he fell to the floor, but he didn't feel any of those blows until later.
One of the people in the audience was Bonnie Riordon. She told her parents. They told his mother. For the first time in his life, his mother struck him. She was filled with remorse a little later, but she decided he had a "problem" and made him start going to a therapist. Since this implied there was something wrong with him, he hated Sarah Kino even more.
His next approach was more successful. He gathered his apprentices, and began to seek out Sarah's friends. His luck had not left him entirely, because, thanks to investigation by a concerned member of their security staff, the school discovered that Sarah Kino and her older sister had a history of fights ever since they came into the foster care system. They followed Jarves' recommendations: they couseled her, counseled the family she was staying with, and had the teachers and guards pay special attention to her, to stop any new fights and to report them.
Thanks to Larry and his secret ally, Jarves, there were three fights to report within two weeks, all with his "friends." By now Larry had had time to work on his mother, and she had decided that Sarah Kino was a menace who should be expelled. The vice principal warned her and her prospective adoptive family that she would be expelled if she got into any more fights.
This was actually the apex of Larry Gigerman's campaign against Sarah Kino. Sarah Kino was still the babysitter; she was getting requests from beyond the school district by now. The people who still felt secure going out were the people who could afford security systems and/or private patrols. In other words, movers and shakers. The vice-principal was well on his way to waffling in three days, and he was smart enough to see that Jarves was a lazy man whose reports seemed to have very little relation to realities the Vice Principal remembered. In fact, he got so curious about Jarves, he got sidetracked from the Sarah Kino issue for a few days. He noticed Jarves claimed to have been employed by a firm that he knew of: he had a college friend in that firm. A couple of calls, and it turned out Jarves had been fired for being absent from his post and falsifying reports. Another couple of calls, and Jarves' current employer re-opened their investigation of Jarves. Smelling trouble, the people who had helped him escape before began to discover new evidence. Jarves was on his way out before another two weeks had passed. But he didn't know it. His company wanted to remove him quietly, so they waited for the end of another week.
By happenstance, the Friday of that week was another new moon.
Johnny Jarves watched Larry Gigerman and his lackies approach Sarah Kino and her friends. He had watched them enough to know that Nancy Uer would join them in about fifteen minutes (she had a class that ran later than most) and that Sarah, Nancy, and another girl would be picked up about fifteen minutes after that by Nancy's brother and Sarah's sister. Bonnie Riordon was also in that late class, and if she saw something, her word would negate his report. So, he had to let something develop before she came out.
Jarves eased away and went over to the other guard posted to watch the children, and started chewing him out for having dirty shoes. They had, of course, gotten dirty by walking around keeping an eye on things, instead of locking himself in his office and watching soap operas most of the day. But they were dirty, and it was in the handbook, and, by God, Jarves was the one in charge here. He took the other guard away to his office to write up a special report.
Larry and three of his apprentice bullies were trying to come up behind Sarah Kino, but she was wary these days and spotted them. So they spread out and approached her and her friends from several directions. They circled for several minutes. Two more of the apprentices started intimidating other kids nearby, distracting them from the main action. Finally, Larry saw an opening. While Sarah ran after the boy who had taken Gunderpal's satchel, Larry ran up and grabbed Kimberly Johanson. He backed away from Sarah, shouting, "I've got her now, you crazy Jap!"
"Put her down!"
"What are you going to do, beat me up? Throw one punch and you're out of here!"
"I will go to principal! Now!"
That wasn't something Larry hadn't expected. After all, he was used to bullying Americans, who settled their own fights. Watching Sarah march off, he realized she was serious. So he did something to stop her. "Hey, what you got, little girl." He felt a cord around her neck, and pulled it up. "What the fuck? She's wearing a fucking skull!" He pulled it up, and the girl grabbed for his hands, screaming.
Sarah Kino stopped, turned back toward him, and looked at him. She shouted, "No, don't take that off! If you take that off, I will punish you!"
He jerked the cord hard, breaking it, and hurting the girl. He didn't know her name, so he just said, "You don't wear shit like this around me!"
Then he hurled it away.
Then something black fell down in front of him--and grabbed at him. Ropy things wrapped around the girl he was holding.
Something else had also been stalking Kimberly Johanson, for a long, long time, and Larry had helpfully removed the fetish that was protecting her. It was not a team player, and Larry was in the way now.
More ropy things came down, sliced his arms off, and casually cut open his throat.
Later, Larry would have a hero's funeral for dying to defend Kimberly Johanson and Sarah Kino. It was a lie, but a comfort to his mother, who was not really a bad person.
John Jarves was transferred to night watchman duty in a warehouse district of San Diego. His firm hoped he would quit, but he hung on for five years longer, when he was killed in Tijuana by a robber who was after his splendid shoes.
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