GLYNN WASHINGTON, HOST:
OK, so 7th grade, a big bully, Matt, he said he was going to beat me up good after school. I told him that I'd love to fight him. I long to fight him, but once I reached the Golden Lotus level of Akito (ph), my sensei forbade me to use my training except in the protection of others. Matt sneered, Golden Lotus. What belt is that? What belt? What belt? When you reach this level, there's no belt. And all the kids around me nodded like, of course, everybody knew that Golden Lotus is not to be trifled with.
I bowed to Matt, who was still angry, but he stepped aside as I walked past him to my locker. Thing was that simply by declaring myself master of the martial arts, I felt like I moved lighter on my feet, more cat-like, more ready for the dangers lurking within Valleywood Middle School. I chopped at shadows, made Bruce Lee noises whenever appropriate like a new me. The rumors spread were better than anything I could have come up with by myself, like I could kick bricks in half.
Charlie said he saw me catch a fly with chopsticks. Janet swore I did a back flip off Andy's shed. I stopped moving out of the way of Matt and Frank and the bully boys in the hallway. Instead, I stared until they moved out of my way. Power, like a scrawny kid never had before, a new dawn. And in the end, I didn't say what Renee Peterson thought I said. I told her she needed to wipe the mustard off her lip. She thought I told her to wipe the mustache off her lip.
She turned around, picked me up and threw the Golden Lotus through two glass doors. On the ground, through the pain, I heard people whispering that he's not so tough. Today, on SNAP JUDGMENT from PRX and NPR, we proudly present "Second Skin." Amazing stories from real people pretending to be something they are not. My name is Glynn Washington. Please buckle up because you're listening to SNAP JUDGMENT.
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