"Broken Shel"

Chapter 2: Worse than Hell

Notes and warnings for this story are posted in the first chapter.

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Just another day for sophmore Sheldon Lee at Tremorton High School. Before first period class, while getting books from out of his locker, Sheldon spotted trouble right from the get-go. While pretty much every kid at Tremorton picked on the geeky kid with the maroon hoodie, there were two in particular who made Sheldon think of high school as hell. Fred and Hank. The two were popular bullies who had recently started dating the Krust cousins. And their favorite target to bully was Sheldon. And bully him they did. Relentlessly.

Sheldon could see Fred walking up to him. He didn't see Hank hanging around, but had little doubt that he wasn't lurking too far away. Sheldon was hoping that Fred would just walk on by, but soon it became clear that the teenage tormentor was walking straight in Sheldon's direction. And his lips were molded in a devilish grin.

'Please, no,' Sheldon silently to himself. 'Please, not now. Not today.'

The large, muscular jock stood came to a halt in front of Sheldon. In a friendly voice, he asked, "Sheldie, ol' pal, what's up?" There was a sinister tint in his faux gregarious tone.

Sheldon nervously stammered, "Um, what's up? Ahh, I don't, I don't really know."

"You don't know what's up?," Fred said, now draping an arm on Sheldon's scrawny shoulder like a buddy.

"Not, not, um, not really."

"You really don't know what's up?," Fred asked in a voice that conveyed that Sheldon should've known what he was talking about.

"Not exactly, sir," Sheldon said, now shaking, knowing that something either painful or embarrassing lay in his near future.

"Oh silly Sheldie. I'll tell you what's not up." Fred leaned in close to Sheldon's ear as if to whisper a secret. But instead of whispering, he yelled out, "Your pants!"

At that moment, Hank, whom Sheldon hadn't realized had snuck up behind him, yanked Sheldon's pants down to his ankles, exposing his white briefs to the entire hallway of both boys and girls. Hank then quickly got on his hands and knees, allowing his fellow bully to push Sheldon over his back, sending the already embarrassed boy head over heels, falling with a hard thud on his back. With the victim now on his back, Hank used this opportunity to pin the nerdy boy down while Fred fully removed Sheldon's jeans, doing it so with such force that both of his shoes went flying off.

"Please guys, no!," Sheldon pleaded. "Please, please, give me my pants." But the more he begged and cried for mercy, the more he got laughed at. It wasn't just the two bullies who laughed at Sheldon, but most kids in the hallway were doing so as well, pointing at him, teasing, taunting, painfully belittling him.

"Nah nah nah nah nah! Sheldon's got no pants on!" It was a taunt started from an anonymous onlooker, but within seconds it spread. Fred waved Sheldon's jeans over his head like he was a cheerleader waving a rally towel at a sporting event (indeed, he and the rest of the school bullies saw picking on nerds as a sport that they couldn't lose at).

His whole body blushing red by this point, Sheldon tried crossing his legs, placing a textbook in front of his underpants, hoping to shield the view and keep what little dignity pride he may have still had. Slowly, he skulked backwards, into his locker, trying to get some privacy. From the cramped metal box, Sheldon saw Hank standing a foot away, his hand on the locker door. "Allow me," he said in a dignified tone, slamming the locker door on Sheldon.

Alone in the dark, Sheldon heard the laughter out in the hall die down within a minute or so. This was followed by the school bell, announcing that first period had begun. Sheldon would get a detention for skipping class without reason. He knew this. It happened to him before. He could've told the teacher what happened, the exact reason of his absence, but he didn't think it would be right to be a narc, nor did he want to relive the ordeal by telling an authority figure what had happened.

Sheldon remembered that he had a pair of gym shorts in the locker. Because of the cloistered condition of his current oblong habitat, it took a great deal of effort to both locate his change of clothes and change into them. While doing so, the boy tried to think of some positive things about the situation, as slim as they may have been. 'At least they didn't tickle me this time,' Sheldon reassured himself, thinking back to a few weeks ago, when not only had his pants been pulled down, but he was pinned down and tickled until his muscles lost control and he wet himself. 'And at least Jenny wasn't here to see me humiliate myself.' As usual Sheldon blamed himself for what happened. After all, his antagonists were bullies, and he was a dork. They were merely doing their job.

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Lunch always proved to be Sheldon's least favorite part of the school day. It always during that time which Sheldon rekindled his sour relationship with festering solitude. He knew that no other scenario could make one feel so lonely as to sit by oneself at an empty lunch table in the middle of a school cafeteria. Being surrounded by peers who all sat with friends, talking, and laughing together made Sheldon feel like he was constantly being hit in the face by a pie. That was also something Sheldon had literally experienced. The only time the shy nerd was treated to human contact in the lunch room would be when other kids pelted him with their lunch. Sometimes Sheldon thought that the reason his black hair was so greasy was because of all the times that oily mayonnaise from somebody's sandwich crust got stuck in it.

He had been offered a seat numerous times by his friend Brad, but turned down his pal's offer out of kindness. Brad was one of the more popular kids at Tremorton High School. Sheldon was not. Sitting at the same lunch table as Brad was something that Sheldon knew would lower Brad's rank on the 'coolness' scale. And as much as he wanted company during chow time, Sheldon couldn't bring himself to subject Brad to his contagious dorkiness. The other issue was that Brad ate lunch with Jenny. And though Sheldon would do just about anything to be close to his romantic crush, Jenny made it clear that she wanted nothing to do with Sheldon when they were in the midst of classmates. Away from school, they acted as friends would normally act, but during school hours was a different story. Jenny had always made popularity a high priority, and nobody could hurt her image more than Sheldon. Many times in the past, when trying to do so little as talk to Jenny in front of peers, Sheldon was continually told that he was ruining her reputation. By this point, Sheldon honored his dreamboat's wishes and virtually ceased contact with her in social situations.

While nibbling on a carrot stick, Sheldon felt a sensation like a slug had flown through the sky and pelted him on the back on the neck. There was laughing coming from the table behind him. Touching the back of his neck, Sheldon looked at his fingers, tinged with a red sauce. Somebody had thrown a ketchup coated french fry at him. It was times like this when Sheldon wanted to throw food back at the culinary aggressors, but he knew that the only thing he'd gain from doing so would be a black eye. So he pretended to ignore it. That strategy didn't seem to work either, for he was bombarded with five more fries before lunch came to an end.

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During final period, which happened to be gym class, Fred and Hank were up to their unsavory shenanigans again. And again, it was Sheldon on the receiving end of their devilry as the two bullies treated him to an ungodly wedgie. But it was in the locker room, post gym class, that they truly trampled on Sheldon's friable emotions.

While about to change his shirt, the two came up to Sheldon. The docile boy wanted to cry, wondering why they relished in his torment so much. It was Hank who began the ordeal, saying, "Hey, dweeb. Why don't you come with us. We wanna show you something."

Sheldon scrambled for an excuse, "I, ah, can't right now guys. Got a bus to catch soon."

"You walk home from school," Fred said knowingly dismantling Sheldon's pass. "So what do ya say? Follow us."

Now Sheldon quietly and slowly spoke the truth, "I don't really wanna."

"He doesn't wanna," Hank said to Fred.

"Well I guess that means he wants a knuckle sandwich right between the eyes," Fred laughed.

"And right in both eyes," Hank added.

"Please guys," the weaker boy pleaded. "I don't wanna fight."

"Good," Hank said. "Then I guess you'll be coming with us." He took hold of Sheldon's twig like arm, and gave him a slight tug. Sheldon responded like a well trained dog on a leash being led into a vet's office, hesitant, obviously not wanting to follow but doing so with knowledge that it was useless to resist the inevitable.

The duo led their prey into the bathroom adjacent to the locker room they were just in. A few curious boys, some in various states of undress, followed the three, knowing that when Fred and Hank were near Sheldon there would be some type of bullying involved. They were curious as to what was going to be done to the nerd this time, but Sheldon instantly knew the predicament he was in. 'Another swirly,' he said to himself. 'These are just the worst. Please, God, just let the toilet be clean this time.'

Leading the way, Fred opened the door to the second stall ahead. "Right this way," he motioned like a refined usher.

Wanting to puke was the first instinct that Sheldon had upon initially gazing into the toilet bowl. It was vile, pungent, putrid. It looked like it had been clogged for at least a week. The water was a dark saffron hue, almost orange, as if it was urinated in twenty times since the last successful flush. Mounds of toilet paper sat up in clumps atop bowel movements that had been marinating in the bowl for days. Poor Sheldon couldn't remember the last time his face had been made to experience such a disgusting form of excrement stew. This was too much for him to bear.

"Hey guys," a timid Sheldon spoke, "how bout I do your math homework tonight and we call this whole thing off, ok?"

"How bout we do this and you also do our math homework, that way we can call off tearing your balls out," Fred threatened.

Shaking all over, Sheldon pleaded, "Please guys. I can't do this. I can't do. I just. I can't do this."

Taking his hand off of Sheldon's arm, Hank quickly grabbed Sheldon by the back of the head, cocked his fist back and growled, "You get on your knees right now, loser, or I'm gonna pound your face into mush." At this, some of the onlookers got excited, thinking they might see a fight (or more accurately, a massacre).

With hands raised like he just got caught committing a crime, Sheldon surrendered. "Okay, okay. Just please don't hit me."

"On your knees, loser," Hank reiterated. Sheldon did as he was told. He stared down into the rank basin which lay before him and took a deep breath. Without warning, he felt a strong palm ensnare the back of his greasy black hair, which then proceeded to force Sheldon's face into the water. A collective "Ewwww!" was emitted from the crowd.

"That's it, Sheldie," Fred teased as he watched his friend dunking Sheldon's face into the toilet. "How is it, huh? How does little Sheldie like his din din?"

Hank let Sheldon come up for a brief breath of air before repeating the ordeal. With a laugh, Fred continued his verbal lambasting. "Baby bear likes his porridge, doesn't he? Eat that porridge little baby bear."

"He's gonna get a snorkeling licence by the time we're through," Hank laughed to his friend.

As was tradition in administering a swirlie, Fred pushed down on the toilet handle. But this time, due to clogged piping, the toilet didn't flush. Instead, the water merely spun around, brining up the unsavory contents at the porcelain's bottom, homogenizing the slimy water, turning it's color into a shade of light brown. Finally, after a minute or so had eclipsed, the two bullies decided that they had enough fun for the day. Hank released his grip, letting Sheldon's wet and stinky face feel the locker room air once more. The crowd of kids watching now began to disperse, knowing that the school bell would sound to end the academic day. Sitting on the bathroom floor, Sheldon, with body shaking in disgust and shame, shuffled into the corner of the stall. As Fred and Hank walked out of the bathroom, Fred remarked with a smile, "See ya tomorrow, Sheldie."

"We're gonna have some more good times," Hank added, trailing his buddy out into the locker room, leaving Sheldon to steep in his own self-pity.

'At least I haven't changed my shirt yet,' Sheldon tried to encourage himself, as he dried his dirty, wet face in the sweaty white shirt gym he had on. But there was nothing positive to be found in this experience, even for the brightest optimist.

He didn't move. Even minutes after the dismissal bell rang, the pained youth remained on the bathroom floor, in the corner of the stall. He sat, back to the wall, arms wrapped around knees which were pulled up tightly against his boney chest. Upon his bent up kneecaps, he rested his head, face turned down.

For five minutes, Sheldon sat, curled in his upright fetal position. He wished that he could huddle himself so tightly into a ball that he'd implode like a black hole and be no more. Although the bullying wasn't much different than normal, the state of Sheldon's teenage soul was in worse shape on this particular day than most others.

Why? Why did he expect this one to be any different from the sixteen that came before? Why did put stock in the hope that somebody, anybody would wish him a happy birthday?

With pimple spotted forehead burrowed into his knees, Sheldon began moving his lips to form a tune. With heavy heart, he began whispering, "Happy birthday to you. Happy birthday to you. Happy birthday dear Sheldon. Happy birthday to you." He failed to add 'and many more'.