First chilly morning. So began September and the one of a kind Polish autumn. My parents and I went away for bread. My new city school was supposed to be heaven. New program. New friends. Glass houses. I've spent the last of my change on volumes of books.
I went. The first lessons were quiet. We were endowed with sweets generously. After a long pause - arithmetic class: powers, elements! And blushes on my face. After mental torment - physical education. Earlier in the changing rooms there were numerous groups of people. Then a taller boy knocked me down. I fell down, holding my things back. A thunderous laughter soon hurt my ears and head. That was be enough for me to stop liking school. I had to change on the cold floor. 'Too easy' said the Taller about my mother.
I was afraid to tell my parents about it. What about the teachers? I didn't trust their faces. But I met a neighbour named Franek. I sat down in the square with him on a Sunday morning. I told him what was going on because he was in my class. His parents were from the press. How to tame the assailant we were thinking about. Adult and male, we decided: I will throw the glove at my rival. We'll leave the verdict of who's taller to the fire. He will be the winner, who will keep his hand in it longer! Then we'll make up our minds and lay down our weapons.
The next day I started school with a smile on my face. I came with courage to the gymnasium. He's already been there. A tall brunette in my place.
'I dare you!' I said, standing fiercely in the aisle.
He was surprised to see it with pity, but accepted the challenge with excitement.
Then we had to organize a duel: place, fire, and also prepare ourselves. So, we chose the basement of one of the blocks. Time would be measured by one of the class bastards. We'd take rotten wood, old newspapers; we'd need a flint and some other rubbish. The jerk promised to bring a timer with a second hand. I'd meet him after school on Friday before the picnic.
Friday was slowly approaching and my fear was growing. Did I fall into a trap when I set my own chess? What would I tell my parents for a burned arm? And how could I stand that hellish torment, anyway? I survived those days until Friday, under increasing stress. The fire would be hot as in a burning forest.
On Friday, after class, we met in the square. Franek, me, the Taller and the jerk. I was like a hangover. We went to the basement, which was already waiting, ready since yesterday. Who's the first to scream 'Ow'? We knelt down at the stake, rolled up our sleeves. The icy creeps ran down my back. Franek set fire to it. It started to smoke. I was so scared. I knew I was gonna mourn. I couldn't lose to the Taller. Then I'd be nobody, and till the end of school I'd have a worse perch. Then Franek discovered that the jerk had brought the wrong timer.
'There is no second hand! How about that?! They're gonna burn their hands for minutes?! Run for the other one! Come on, now! Turn on your heel!' said Franek and we had a moment.
In the meantime, the flame suddenly grew in strength. We decided to settle the bet quickly. Would the news of the fire exhaust the circulation in the press? Counting to three, we put our hands in the fire. I - to the middle, he – to the low. I thought I'd be quiet, but the pain was unbearable and I screamed. After only three seconds, I reached out my hand. The Taller did it right after me with peace. I didn't know what happened. How did I lose to that bastard, whose hand had no wound, and red spots appeared on mine?! Smoke's spread everywhere. We started to suffocate and before the jerk with the new timer managed to get back, the fire reached the haystack. So, we ran away. Straight ahead we started to run fast through the square. The bastard saw the smoke and screamed that it was on fire.
We only met him in the courtroom. $2500 for the basement renovation. And think I was planning to go to Piedmont! Guilty: me and Franek, and the parents would pay. And we'd return it to them - we'd be beaten at home. Solid, regular. I heard Franek screaming. They didn't spare me either - the measure changed. Nevertheless, I liked the place in the dressing room. The coolness of the floor was quite pleasant and soothing for me…