Wednesday, October 24, 2007


During what I recall as my 6th grade year at Zela Elementary in Nicholas County, West Virginia, a new school was being built on the same property as the old one I attended. The new school was nice; carpeted and tiled floors, spacious classrooms and air conditioning.

It was a world away my day-to-day learning environment.

One of the neatest things about the new school building was that we boys could sneak inside once in a while to engage in exploration and mischief. We never vandalized anything, but we made real nuisances of ourselves. It was fun to hang out in there, mostly because it was a different environment.

Once--and it was a very warm day, so I'm guessing it was in late Spring--we boys jimmied the lock and crawled through one of the easy to open back windows. A young boy named Conard was with us, following behind as usual. Conard had it doubly tough: not only was he a bad student, but most of the guys made fun of him because of his name and because he was poor. He was powerless and we knew it.

Worse, though, was that Conard knew it.

The bully of the group--Flavia, also oddly named, but such a bully that no one mentioned it--lead us down the hallway. Once at the farthest end of the darkest part of the hallway, Flave and several other boys grabbed Conard and shoved him into an unlocked janitor's closet. After tying him up with some rope-like materials found near-by, the boys left Conard alone in that closet for more than ninety minutes.

And I stood and watched.

While I could have helped him, I didn't. Although I could have reported the bullying, I didn't. When Flavia told the teacher Conard went home with his dad, I could have pointed out the lie. But I didn't.

Just like in Rendition.

There was no dramatic repercussions that resulted from the bullying of Conard, I suppose. He was released from the closet unharmed, the bullies--including me--were not severely disciplined and no one spoke of it after that day.

Also just like Rendition--all's well that ends well. If, that is, one can live with one's actions.


All Click said...

I love the way that this was hinted at in an earlier blog post..and then you seem to have decided to explain the memory some more :-) Now, was the "unharmed" bit physically unharmed...or is Conard over at Prestera with extreme claustrophobia? :-p

The Film Geek said...

I tell ya, All click, I watched Rendition over the weekend and all I could think of was bullying. Countries can bully too, as you well know! Not a great movie and I didn't have much to write about so I stuck with the bullying concept. It's appropriate.

I think Conard was OK all in all. I read he was arrested last year of making meth.

jedijawa said...

I want to see this! Thanks for the review because it makes me want to see it more now.

Chris James said...

Great post.

I've got a similar story to tell someday, bu tI was older and REALLY should have known better.

The Film Geek said...

Jedi: Hope you like it. I thought it was average, and I wanted more.

Thanks Chris. I hope to hear the story someday. By the way, in this post I was the Jake Gyllenhaal character. :)

Jackie said...

I've never heard of the movie (shock!) but that's a fantastic story. It takes big ones to write stuff like that, so thanks for sharing :)

The Film Geek said...

Hey, thanks Jackie!

I don't know about big ones (well, frankly, I do) but I do know well the moments in my life that affected me deeply, and which made me who I am today. And standing there that day being a coward was one of them.