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The shrill ring of the recess bell hung high in the air. Freedom for the next half hour! Aman was bursting with energy, he always was after class. Having to sit in a seat for hours was really hard, especially when all he wanted to do was run around and play. Thankfully this school was good because he had two recess’ a day. One right before lunch, and one right before school ended. At his old school they only had one, right in the middle of the day and you had to eat lunch too. Aman liked this school a lot better. So far the people were really friendly, and even though he hadn’t made any friends yet he felt optimistic.

The kid who showed him around the first day was a upperclassman, and he didn’t seem to interested in hanging out with a little kid after the tour. Aman didn’t mind though he was still getting used to everything and everyone.

Now that it was recess he finally had some time to try to beat this next level on snake. The autumn air swirling around him as his fingers tapped quickly on the keys of his cellphone. You had to press the buttons kinda hard, ‘cause the soft rubber key’s didn’t register all the way unless you really slammed on it. It was level 5, the farthest he had gotten and he was so close to beating it–

“Hey you! New kid! What is that?” a voice came from in front of him, breaking his concentration.

Shit,” he mumbled looking up quickly, pausing the game at a critical spot.

A girl stood before him in a neon blue colored coat with braids that made their way down to her butt, he giggled at the thought of butts. The girl stood there with a hand on her hip and scrunched up nose.

“That thing in your hand there. It looks like a grey brick [giggles]. Why are you carrying around a brick new kid?” she chirped.

He looked at the phone in his hand and frowned, “It is not a brick! It’s my phone my daddy gave me! It’s so cool see! I’m playing snake!” he held the phone to her judgemental eyes.

The girl inspected the phone closely, before settling back on her hip, “That’s a not phone. It looks stupid.” Her nose went up in the air, and she sneered.

Aman’s heart dropped, “It is not stupid!”

The girl laughed and turned back to her friend who seemed to have appeared out of nowhere, “Yeah it is. You’re only cool if you have a cool phone like a iphone. See? That doesn’t look like an iphone. It looks like a lame phone for babies.” She pulled a thin object out of her pocket, the front had no buttons whatsoever. It was wrapped in a HelloPuppy case, with pink plastic gemstones. The screen flicked on and a bright screen greeted him with what looked like a million different colored squares all with different titles. Aman gripped the phone in his hand, and felt himself growing angry, a pressure that seemed to be rising from his toes all the way up to his head.

The girl in the white coat with brown snappings laughed loudly, “Yeahhhhhh” she sang mockingly, “You have a baby’s phone! Hehehe”.

The two girls fell into a fit of laughter and Aman could feel heat and pressure rising up to cheeks. His eyes were starting to sting and he fought to hold back tears. He wasn’t a baby!

“I am not…” he replied softer than he’d like,  his voice came out shakily, causing the two girls to laugh harder.   

“Yeah it is! You baby. You gonna cry now? See!? that’s how I know you’re a big cry baby!” ‘Tricia’s words felt like they hit him like darts on a dart board. Why was she being so mean to him?

The girl in the brown coat sang out again, menacingly, “Awww crybaby!”. Laughing ensued and Aman couldn’t do anything but stand there. His knee’s felt like jelly and all he wanted to do was punch these kids in their big mean faces. Their laughing echoed in his ears. Daddy said his phone was cool! Who cared what these kids said, they were just being mean. But it still hurt, and he wanted to make friends, not meet people who would make fun of him.

“I am not!” he said loudly, stomping his foot and flexing his fists, he didn’t know what to do. Dad had told him to never punch anybody. Ever. But he could feel his arm itch the longer they stood there and laughed.

Next thing he knew he heard a voice from behind him, it sounded kinda like the kazoo he had won from the ice cream shoppe last year, “Hey! Leave him alone!!!”

Aman turned and a new kid had suddenly shown up, he was wearing a light blue sweater, with black glasses framing a pair of brown eyes. The little girl with the braids frowned, “What do you want, Alex?” her hands went to her hips her head cocking to the side.

The other girl echoed from behind her, “Yeah, what do you want Alex?”

The kid named Alex with jet black hair ignored the jeering kids and put a palm on Amans’ back, “Hey, are you okay?” his voice was soothing and he sounded really nice. Aman allowed himself to sniffle a little, still willing tears from flooding out of his eyes.

A soft wind blew as the girl in the blue coat blurted out, annoyed she was being ignored, “Leave the baby alone Alex! He’s crying because he has a stupid baby phone.”

Alex looked up and frowned, “Stop being mean ‘Tricia!” his voice was firm as he stood in front of Aman, shielding him from the other kids.

“You’re not my friend Alex, you can’t call me ‘Tricia!” the girl retorted angrily.

A little boy had popped up behind Tricia and the girl in brown, “Yeah! You can’t call her ‘Tricia, only we can ‘cause we are her friends!” he piped in, crossing his arms with a menacing look on his face.

The girl in brown merely stood there like a parrot, echoing the other kids words, “Yeah!”

Alex looked back at and Aman saw a look of determination on his face, “You guy’s are being meanies! Leave him alone or I am going to tell!” he said loudly.

Aman felt his spirits lift a bit. Whoever this kid was, was cool! Probably one of the coolest he had ever met, standing up for him like that.

‘Tricia and her goonies all frowned at the mention of tattling and they hissed behind her,


“Yeah. Snitch”

Tricia, grunted silently admitting defeat, and turned, “ —Come on guys. Let’s leave four-eyes and the baby alone.” They all turned, giggling and laughing still. Except for Tricia who looked back with an odd look on her face.

As they walked away Aman looked at the kid who had protected him. The boy smiled “Hey, I’m sorry they are being mean. They are mean to all the new kids,” he shook his head and used his index finger to push his glasses up on his face.

Aman shrugged wiping the tears from his eyes. “T-thanks,” he hiccuped. Feeling a whole ton better. This Alex kid was really nice. They stood there for a moment sizing each other up.

Then the boy he spoke again, waving awkwardly while digging his foot into the ground, “My name is Alex! What’s your name?”

“Aman,” he replied on the last remnant of some sniffles.

“….I-I think your phone is cool! My iphone doesnt have snake on it like your’s does,“ Alex replied cheerfully as they made their way to the concrete bench in front of the jungle gym.

“Really?” Aman was skeptical, he was just being picked at by some bullies about his phone. This kid was just saying that to make him feel better.

“Yeah! Snake is super cool! Especially the really old version like the one you have!” Alex said excitedly.

Aman shrugged again, still feeling really bummed out, “You’re just saying that,” he muttered, sticking his hands in his pockets, fiddling with the warmed plastic of his stupid baby phone.

“Na Uh! It is so cool! And I know because I know all about old video games. Games like that are called vintage games!. I have a bunch at my house! I even have a Sega!” Alex was suddenly very animated, cheering Aman up a great deal. The smile on his face was contagious and Aman had never heard of vintage games before. That certainly did sound cool.

“That’s cool. I never heard of a Sega,” he replied now thoroughly cheered up, maybe this kid really was being nice.

Alex settled into his seat bringing his knee to his chest and relaxing a bit, “Have you heard of Sonic the Hedgehog? I have most the games!” he grinned, puffing his chest out a bit.

“Oh!!! I know Sonic! He is Super cool! He can run so fast!” Aman had played a Sonic game at the arcade one time when he was littler, it was really fun and he was super stoked that this kid had his own copy.

A smile crossed Alex’s face, “Yeah! You wanna come over and play with me after school? Mom and Dad said I can have friends over whenever I want. I don’t live too far from here,” he said nonchalantly, causing Aman to tense up a bit. As much as he wanted to go to his new friends house to play video games, his father’s voice echoed in his mind.

“Straight Home Aman.” It boomed in his brain and he knew he that an anything other than no was not a possibility.

“Mmmm. That would be neat but I have to go home after school. Daddy said,” he said somewhat sadly. Maybe he could ask when he got home. They would be happy he made a new friend. Why wouldn’t he be able to go to a friends house? Maybe he could askduring dinner. Daddy was always in a good mood at dinner.

“Okay,” Alex answered, silent for a moment, raising his face to the sun before turning to Aman excitedly,  “Do you play Voidcritters!?” his face was full of a contagious excitement.

Aman’s heart burst at the mention of his absolute favorite game, “YES! It’s my favorite! I’ve only been training them by myself because I didn’t know anyone,” he admitted, wishing he had brought his card collection with him.

Alex wiggled in his seat, “OhH!!! I will bring my cards tomorrow and we can play?”

“Yes!” Aman punched the air feeling the happiest he had all day. He turned to his new buddy  with a mischievous grin, now he would really be able to tell if this kid was for real or not. “Heheh, who is your favorite?” It was a trick question. Only a true voidcritter fan would pick the correct answer.

Alex thought for a moment and them grinned, “Totally Yorier!” he puffed his chest out even more. “And mine is level 3”. Aman sat back in awe. Level 3! That takes so much training, and his was still a level 1.

“That’s so awesome!” he exclaimed.

Alex nodded, “Yeah! Let’s train tomorrow okay? I can bring my station and we can play during 1st recess.”

Aman squealed and gave him a high five, “Hell yes!” he said loudly causing Alex to cringe.

“Mom and Dad says it’s bad to curse,” he mumbled, frowning slightly.

A laugh burst from Amans’ belly, “That’s so uncool. My parents cuss all the time. They don’t want me too though. But sometimes I forget or, something is too cool to use a little kid word.”

Alex nodded thoughtfully, “Makes sense,” he replied, giggling and repeating Hell under his breath.
“Hell yeah!” Aman shouted into the air his arms and legs flexing outward like a starfish.

An adult voice from somewhere on the playground replied, “Watch your language!” as Aman and Alex fell into a fit of giggles just as the bell rang.

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