I remember the day I turned seven. I had the flu, and had gotten in big trouble for stabbing that kid with a nail file at recess. In my defense, he had been bullying me relentlessly for months.
It shouldn't have been that bad. I brought a nail clipper to school, and Paul Crapass (all these years later, I don't remember his last name, but it sounded like Crapass, and that's what his victims called him behind his back) happened upon me as I was brandishing the tiny fold-out file, fooling around with my friends. He startled me, and I wheeled around and jammed the miniature blade into the boy's neck, scoring a near-direct hit on the external jugular vein. The file didn't sever the vein, but it put a small hole in it, and Crapass started to bleed out pretty quickly.
The problem - for me - was that almost no blood emerged from the small neck wound and apparently it didn't hurt enough to do much more than enrage the bully. This was also a problem for Crapass, as it enabled him to focus more on beating my ass than on seeking much-needed medical attention.
My older brother, a couple of grades ahead of me, had been very good at keeping an eye on me at recess without letting it seem like he was keeping an eye on me, but this incident had spurred him to action. He was at my side in a flash, and he was just as big as Crapass. I think they were in the same grade. He had never been a fan of violence, but he was on that bully like a pissed-off Mohammad Ali.
I got my bearings and looked around. The playground lady had help, that day. Mr. Wayne, the coolest teacher ever, was on the playground. Both of them were running toward us. I yelled for big brother to stop murdering Crapass, whose neck was clearly turning a sickening dark purple. He heeded me not, and continued to pummel the kid.
One of Crapass' lackeys leapt onto my brother's back, enabling the bully to get away. A bunch of my fellow first-graders, materializing as if from nowhere, formed a wall between Crapass and my brother. Some big sixth-graders pulled my bro and the lackey apart, but as they did, each combatant swung wildly and managed to punch a couple of them. Within seconds, as the playground lady and Mr. Wayne's shouted admonitions of cease and desist were completely drowned out by screaming grade-schoolers, we had ourselves a full-scale riot.
I saw real knives, aluminum softball bats, nunchuks, throwing stars - and I'm pretty sure someone had a cricket bat. There was blood and mud and shrieks and language one can only hear on an elementary school playground. I kept my arms up around my parka-covered head and made my way to Crapass, who by now was on all fours and woozy. He hissed at me to leave him alone, then vomited. I pushed him over onto his back and screamed at him to hold still because he was really hurt. He resisted, but he was weak. I didn't know what else to do, but I was pretty sure I had once seen John and Roy on "Emergency!" put pressure on a gunshot wound, so that's what I did. I pushed down on his neck as hard as I could, while all around me children were beating the piss out of each other. Mr. Wayne fought his way to us, and took over.
I got sent home. The Principal said the only reason she wasn't suspending me was because Mr. Wayne had told her that, in the midst of all that mayhem and miniaturized violence, I had saved Paul Crapass' life. Now I know, blood is thicker than water, but all the tea in China could not have kept me out of that mess.
[This was an exercise in which a friend and I provided each other with first and last sentences and one hour in which to fill in the rest. Fun! Here's what she did with the two sentences I gave her.]