If you asked any of the kids at school including my brother Charlie what the definition of the word bully is, they would tell you "the Herdman kids". That's the most obvious answer as they fit the typcial bully stereotype of kids who get what they want by intimidating the other kids and threatening to beat them up.
According to Webster's Dictionary though, a bully is "a blustering browbeating person; especially: one habitually cruel to others who are weaker". While the Herdman's can be cruel to others who are weaker then them, they actually don't make a habit of it. So can we really call them bullies.
I've dealt with Imogene at schooland she honestly doesn't tryto be cruel to others. I couldn't be sure about the other kids as I don't get to spend much time with them, but I've finally been able to interact with Ralph. The situation honestly feels the same as Imogene. He doesn't tryto be cruel to other people. It just happens.
However, the kids at school are always talking about the Herdman's and looking down on them when they aren't around. Gossip is rampant among the kids at school just as well as the adults. And you would think that the adults would know better then to say cruel things.
I guess what I'm saying and thinking here is that the real bullies aren't the Herdman kids like people think. It's the people who look down on them as if they are below them that are cruel. Alice and her mother also seem to be the worst when it comes to the Herman kids, so does that mean they are the worst bullies?
When Bethany got to the library, she found that Ralph was already there. She pulled out the chair, causing the legs to make a sound on the ground. She watched as Ralph suddenly jumped, his eyes darting up to look at her wide eyes. He opened his mouth before he looked back down at the unopened book.
"Sorry, am I late?"
"I wouldn't know. I don't know how to read a clock. Imogene does it for me." The boy began to drum his fingers on the desk. "Why?"
"Why are you being nice to me?"
Beth found herself pausing and staring at the boy. She found herself glancing away from the boy as she thought about what he said. She finally turned back to him, a frown on her face. "Aren't I treating you like people normally treat you?"
"No." Ralph didn't say anymore and the got back to working on getting through the book. The younger preteen felt a little uncomfortable around the boy and tried thinking about why that was. The young man's finger pointed to a word. "What's this word?"
Bethany blinked a couple of times and responded. "Is it important to you that people treat you nicely."
The boy tilted his head. "I... kinda."
"Nobodies ever treated you guys nicely?"
"No." The boy frowned. "Except your mom at Christmas time."
"Ahh..." The female tapped her fingers on the table. "Has anyone ever been mean to you?" Her question was only met with silence and she shut her mouth closed. "Who am I kidding? If anybody was mean to you guys, let alone looked at any of you the wrong way you guys make sure they know never to do that again."
Ralph took a deep breath. "It isn't that way."
"Nobody in our grade or lower wants to mess with you guys though." Beth continued to frown herself.
"Never mind." After that the male preteen refused to cooperate anymore in the reading.
"I guess you need a break until tomorrow."
For awhile Ralph stared at the book that was closed yet again before getting up and sticking his hands into his pockets. When he got through the doorway he found himself suddenly looking up at the sun, the frown still plastered on his face. The boy found himself zoning out.
A few minutes later a whistle caused him to become aware of his surroundings again as he stood on the stone steps of the library. His eyes narrowed as he recognized three of the kids who had been in the same grade as him until now. His frown deepened and then he shook his head and decided it was best just to head home.
The boy's though walked so that the would cross paths and one of the boy's reached out and gave him a small shove. "If it isn't Ralph Herdman."
"The dumbest Herdman... heard you got held back."
"I can still make you guys eat my fist." Ralph's nose wrinkled up in frustration.
"Yeah, is that all you can say. None of your siblings are here, so we don't have to be afraid of you." Again, Ralph tried to ignore them. "What, you aren't going to pick a fight with us?" The boy that was antagonizing him let out an irritated sound and suddenly swung.
The eldest Herdman child moved slightly, but the knuckle of the boy's fist grazed his cheekbone. The next thing Ralph knew he was seeing red and his fist went hurtling into the other boy's stomach with a good strong upper cut while the others tried piling on, only for one to receive a really good kick in the ribs while another ended up with a bloody mouth.
For a few seconds it seemed as if they were going to fight him, but they ended up backing off. One of he boy's suddenly shoved the walkman he had on him into Ralph's hands before hurrying off. "Please don't kill me."
The boy let out a sigh, only to hear a rather irritated sound. "Oi! Can't you Herdman's learn not to instigate anything? I mean, stealing off another kid."
The preteen turned to glare at the male and felt the corner of his mouth turn up so that his teeth showed slightly before he spat on the ground. "I know you. "
"And who am I Ralph?" The man continued to glare at the boy.
"You're freaks dad."
"It's 'you're the freaks father', her name is Alice and you should refer to me as Mr. Wendleken. Didn't your mother teach you better." The man then took a deep breath. "Ahh, yes... I need to think about what woman we're talking about. The words for your mother shouldn't be said in public, otherwise I would use them right here."
Another person hurried up to the man. "Ahh... Mr. Wendleken. Were do you want to go from here to discuss the future development of this small town."
"Elsewhere. The last thing I need is gossip getting around. With what has gone on so far means that the town will finally start growing majorly rather then the stifled growth its had over the last twenty to thirty years within the next three to six months if not sooner."
Ralph watched as the two headed away before shaking his head. "I'll ask Imogene."