How to explain the N. Korean crisis to kids
Once upon a time there was a school bully called Donny. Born rich, and not bad looking, he epitomised the saying that the good Lord giveth, and the good Lord taketh away, because Donny had less sense than he was born with and a mouth that could make a lie just by opening. As his nanny would say: ‘catch dat boy with a biscuit in his mouth, and him gonna swallow an’ deny it.’
If Donny hadn’t been such an awful child one might have felt sorry for a poor little rich boy with tiny hands, weird orange complexion no sun ever made, and hair so strange the cruel kids said his mom had bleached a dead badger and glued it to his head.
We meet Donny on a cool September day (that he’s wearing a jacket is all the proof Donny needs to declare global warming a myth), and the bell has rung for lunch…
...Donny bestrode the playground, a 21st century Ozymandias looking for goodies to wrest from weaker hands, invalids to mock, some ‘cat’ to grab, fellow bigots and bullies to banter with, and other things that might catch the beady, roving eye of a boy with the attention span of a mayfly and the manners of a magpie.
‘I’m the best,’ he growled, arms and legs akimbo as he practiced walking like a cowboy, a pretty girl from Infants tethered to his belt. ‘I’m the biggliest, bestest, hardest, strongest and definitely richest kid in school. This is why more people came to see me being made Prefect than had ever been to see anybody ever made anything in the history of the world. Moreover, I’m famously humble, so I’m probably understating all of this. Kneel before me scum!’
Donny’s pet poodles, who liked to stroll around the playground behind him, basking in the reflected glow of sunlight off his (oddly) yellow hair, knelt as commanded. The rest of the flea-bitten mutts, like sultry Angie and her latest toyboy, little Emmanuel, followed reluctantly. Those who understood playground politics made nothing of the fact that Bad Vlad the school’s computer whizz kid and ace hacker only bent a knee, and the portly Chinese kid, Helookalika Winnie, who’d loaned Donny masses of pocket money and had once threatened to ask for it all back, sat down and pretended he hadn’t heard.
Donny surveyed his kingdom with a cruel smile on his thin lips. His tiny hands stroked his chin in thoughtful contemplation of what he would do next, or was it what he had done - he never could remember. He thought about getting all the lego in the school and building a wall around the best bits of the playground to keep kids he didn’t like out – the brown ones mainly, though some of the proper complexioned kids were quite frankly starting to get on his nerves.
Then something, or rather someone, caught Donny’s eye, and he quivered with righteous rage. It was the tubby foreign kid, Kim Gotnomates, who nobody played with. Tubby Kim was sitting on a threadbare car tyre, biting his nails, not kneeling! Donny didn’t like foreign kids, and they needed to know their place. Everyone in school knew this, so when Donny went to put Kim in his place, you could have heard a Taepodong MK I drop.
‘You deaf?’ hollered Donny, ‘I told y’all to kneel!’ Donny didn’t really have a Southern accent, but he liked to sound tough.
Kim looked up defiantly, hawked up phlegm, and spat at Donny’s feet.
‘I ain’t deaf you orange skinned toad. You stupid?’ Kim didn’t have a Southern accent either, but he wasn’t going to let Donny out tough him at tough talking.
‘Of course I’m not deaf,’ screamed Donny, turning purple in the face, ‘I’m really, really hearingly great. I own stuff in Charlottesville, that’s how good my hearing is. You’re deaf!’
Kim picked his nose like he was mining it for gold, pulled the motherlode of all bogeys from his nostril, and flicked it in Donny’s direction, just missing his very expensive, patent leather, hurricane resistant shoes.
‘I not deaf either, but you certainly hearingly stupid,’ said Kim, casually returning to his nails.
Some people wondered how Kim got to be so tubby on such poor fare as fingernails and bogeys. Many suspected he had a secret stash of donuts nobody knew about… However, let’s get back to the playground, where all are momentarily lost for words…
Donny looked like he was going to do the usual Donny thing and stomp all over Kim’s head, but there was a glint of light on something in Kim’s hand, and he appeared to be holding a water pistol, which he pointed at Donny’s face.
‘You take one step towards me you fat bloatfish and I shoot you in your stupid fat bloatfish face.’
Now Donny had never been shot in the face. Nobody had; but everyone knew it would be messy. There was a rumour that a shot in the face from a water pistol could result in one of one’s pimples being popped, and that was too yukky to contemplate.
Donny ranted and raved. Kim hurled insults of his own and dared the yellow-haired sissy to take one intsy bitsy step forward. Donny declined, and instead turned to Vlad and Winnie, who were the only ones ever to spend any time with Kim, and began threatening them for having encouraged this kind of nonconformist behaviour.
Vlad and Winnie were thoroughly unimpressed. They were more battle hardened than Kim, and had been in bovver with Donny and his posse since kiddie reception year. If Donny couldn’t handle snot-picking Kim, why should they be scared? Besides, Vlad had helped Donny climb out the window when he was locked in the toilets and his big sister Hilary was standing outside waiting to beat him up. If Donny got too lippy, Vlad would tell everyone a few home truths about how he needed help to avoid being beaten up by a girl.
Donny held meetings with his mates in their secret UNder the climbing frame hideaway (entry password: uselessorwot), and all agreed bitterly that Vlad and Winnie were to blame. All that is, except for Vlad and Winnie, who asked with injured innocence how they could possibly be responsible for the existence in the world of a mad child?
None of the poodles felt they could have given rise to Kim’s behaviour, because none of them exchanged sweets with Kim, or even spoke to the ugly little upstart with the cheap ‘n’ nasty hairdo. However, agreement was reached and all present unanimously agreed (Vlad and Winnie crossed fingers behind their backs) that NOBODY would talk to Kim, or give him sweets, or take sweets off him, or play any games with him, or even pee on him if he spontaneously combusted. ‘That’ll teach Kim to live outside the circle of friends,’ said the sweet little girl who Donny chose to announce the decision of the group. What Kim said in reply is quite frankly unrepeatable.
Since Vlad and Kim were the only ones who ever talked to Kim, or exchanged sweets with him; and since they didn’t really care to kow-tow to Donny (whose low IQ was a source of constant amusement to them), this resolution was as much of a deterrent as a chocolate fireguard.
Meanwhile, Kim was going nuts and began shouting across the playground to everyone who would listen that he was tired of living next to a bunch of corpulent, corrupt, Donny bootlickers, all of whom were trying to decide his future. He swore he’d get a balloon and make a water bomb to soak any one of them who came anywhere near him. To prove the point about his generally hostile and disagreeable intent, he peed in the sandpit (where nobody but his cousins ever played).
Donny whipped out his gold-plated mobile phone to blub whine tweet on his twitter account (followers: KKK One, User TeeMay, WhiteSupremist etc.) how unfair it was that Kim wouldn’t kneel before him. His argument was that he and a select few of his mates had the rights to all the water pistols and water bombs in the world, and Kim wasn’t entitled to any of them on account of the fact that he didn’t have them before so why should he have them now?
Vlad sniggered and took advantage of everyone being distracted to deliver a sly kick to Olesky, the new kid from Ukraine who Vlad thought was grassing him up to Nat O, the school cadet Captain. Winnie pretended to be compliant with Donny’s demands, but absent-mindedly wandered over to Kim and offered him a sweet. Emmanuel and Angela slipped off behind the bike sheds for a snog (she’s a lot older but then he’s partial to an older girl). Theresa, who everyone suspected was Donny’s sycophantic TeeMay twitter follower, practised self-harm for reasons known only to her mad, running through fields of wheat self, cheered on by a bunch of swivel-eyed loons who had recently become her bestest friends.
In other words, everyone forgot about Donny now he’d been shown to be a toothless bully unable to deal with Kim. Everyone who owned water pistols and water bombs remembered that if you own this stuff, nobody, not even Donny, will dare to mess with you. It was turning into pretty much typical lunchtime for a bunch of semi-intelligent, hormonally charged, over-indulged, adolescent yobs.
Akbar, the Iranian kid, watched all of this with an expression of growing comprehension. His sister looked intrigued as well and came up to talk to him, but he shoved a paper bag over her head, gave her a slap, and told her to keep her nose out of men’s business. Soon he was deep in conversation with Vlad’s old mate, Ukranian Uri, who everyone said had given Kim the water pistol and balloons for a water bomb. He probably wanted to know where he could get a water pistol of his own, and after that perhaps some balloons...