Over his shoulder he saw the Rigley Brothers gaining ground, their feet moving soquickly they were a blur-of-motion. Both boys, the largest in their class, weighed an impressivetwo-hundred-and-five pounds combined. They ate up the pavement in confident, hungry, angrygobs.Even though Hamlin, who weighed in at a mere fifty-seven pounds, knew he was aboutto be beaten black-and-blue, he ran with all his might optimistic that one day he would evade theevil Rigley Boys. Hamlin vowed that someday--if he survived--he would become important.“You’re a nobody, Hamlin Smallfrye!” Buck Rigley, shouted inches away from Hamlin’sear. Hamlin had known from an early age that bullies liked to tell their victims of their weakness.Hamlin was weak because the Rigley Boys ruled the school and he felt powerless to change that.
Anyway, who would listen?
Hamlin thought. He had not made one friend since moving toCrowley nearly a year before.Buck’s reptilian hands reached out to grab Hamlin.Hamlin battered them away. Buck was mean, thick-shouldered, with skin that looked likeraw, rancid meat. He might have been handsome, and under more favorable circumstances, popular. Unfortunately he was the first preteen in his class to have been hit by the scourge of acne. No girl would look at him. Boys feared that by being near him the acne would jump like aflea to their faces and gnaw them away. Everybody stopped talking to him. He turned meaner and more vengeful as the acne scarred his face into a thousand craters topped by a hundredvolcanoes spewing molten puss.Hamlin slapped at his hands weaving to the left and then to his right to try to gain somedistance, but Max Rigley was there with his jagged nails no nail-clipper had ever gone near. Max