She Runs The Neighborhood

She Runs The Neighborhood –

My parents moved to a new neighborhood in Appletown in July. Our new home was a single story ranch house in a much nicer neighborhood than our old cramped two bedroom apartment. They found out about this home at a wedding we attended in May from the owner who was just about to sell.

They quickly gave notice to their landlord and took advantage of the really good interest rates and sales price. It is our first home. There are five of us. My Mom and Dad, my fraternal twin baby brother and sister, who just turned two, and me, Brandon. I am about to turn ten. I am going into fourth grade. My new elementary school is Harcourt Fenton Mudd Elementary. It is just two blocks away from our new house and I can walk to it in ten minutes. It kills me that I had to say good bye to all my friends at the last day of school not knowing that we would be moving. But, Mom says she will make it up to me.

I am scared. I am the new kid for the first time. I have seen new kids come and go before at my old elementary school. It is never easy on them. And, even if this is all new to me, I have seen others go through it. I have just a few weeks until school starts to get settled and ready for school.

The good news is that I am an extrovert according to my mother meaning I should have no trouble making new friends. That is quite true. I have never had trouble making friends. And, frankly, the new students always found me first. I made sure that I introduced them around. More than once, I saved them from a fate worse than death. Being invisible is hard on anyone.

I am praying that I will find my kindred spirit who will introduce me to my neighborhood and school.

As if an answer to prayer, a boy watched us move in. He came up to me and introduced himself. His name was Derek. He was nine years old and going into third grade. And, he was an extrovert too. We sat on the front porch to talk. Mom was about to order me about when she saw me sitting with him. Bless her. She stepped back into the house. She knew I was making connections.

“Tell me about the neighborhood?”

“Brandon, there is one thing you have to learn and learn fast. She runs the neighborhood.”

“Who runs the neighborhood?”

“Stella. She runs it. She says who is friends with who. She says who is to be shunned and who is to be accepted. She runs the neighborhood.” There was fear in his voice. “I have to leave now, but, if you meet her today, be nice! Don’t pick a fight with her. Bend over backwards to be respectful if you expect to get along here. Remember, she will appear nice, but she is a demon. No one can stand up against her and survive. Please believe me! She has spies everywhere. She will likely know that I visited you.” At that, Derek jumped up and ran off leaving me wondering what this strange initiation to my new neighborhood was all about.

I was helping Mom by taking out empty boxes, breaking them down, and placing them on the curb for garbage pickup. I spied a blond blue eyed girl casually walking down towards me. She was flanked by two boys wearing dark glasses. She approached me. “What might be you doing?”

“We are moving in to the neighborhood. My name is Derek. Pleased to meet you.” I put out my hand and she didn’t take it.

“Let’s be clear here. My name is Stella. I run this place. I may be nine, but no one here gets along with you unless I say so. Got it!” At that she turned on a dime and walked away leaving me wondering what was going on.

For the next few weeks, we busied ourselves settling in. I didn’t get a chance to know anyone. No one approached. Not one kid looked at me. They all went out of their way to look elsewhere as they walked away.

The first day of school arrived. School was just two blocks away, so I walked it with my Dad. He took me up to the front door, hugged me, and sent me inside. I went into my classroom. I had a Mrs. Kirk. She was a nice woman in her mid-thirties. I introduced myself to the class. Everyone was polite to me, but no one talked to me. I began to feel left out. At lunch, I got a tray of food and found an empty table. I looked up and there coming up to me was Stella. “Brandon. By now you have noticed you haven’t been accepted yet. Have I demonstrated my power over this place?”

I looked around. All eyes were on her. “I guess you have. It is like I have heard. You run the place.”

“Good start. I will let you be accepted for the moment. But, I expect loyalty. You don’t need to know how I enforce it. But, if it helps, I know that you were caught in the girls bathroom last year pulling a prank. And I know more. Let’s just say, I can make your life a living hell, or passable nice. Understand?”

Her tone was commanding. Almost instinctively, I answered, “Yes Ma’am.” I must have said the right thing because she turned to the school room and nodded. She walked away. A group of students came over and joined me.

“Sorry about ignoring you. But she can be awful if we don’t do things her way.”

A boy piped up and said, “She even told me if I don’t man up, she will turn me into a girl. Frankly, she has become obsessed with the idea.”

“And you believe her?”

“You have no idea the power she can wield. I bet she could.”

“Yeah, right. I don’t believe that anyone could do that against your will.”

“Don’t say that. She has spies and listening devices everywhere. She could have heard what you just said. And if she did, you could find yourself being a girl for the rest of your life.” His claim sounded ridiculous to a normal person.

The next few days went without incident. I was generally accepted. But, come Thursday, there was a chill in the air. As I left the school, I was grabbed and dragged into an alley and held by two strong boys. Stella came up to me. “Want to be a girl?”

“What is this all about?”

“You made fun of my power. I warn you. If you hear that I can do something, I suggest you believe the story first rather than question it. I will let you off easy this time. But, next time, I may just turn you into a girl.”

I wondered what being let off easy meant. As she walked away, she said, “Strip him. Let him walk home naked. Your clothes will be on your front porch. Enjoy the fresh air.”

I had to crawl through back alleys and dart between houses. About an hour later, I jumped up on my porch and hid from view. I found my clothes and climbed back into them.

I didn’t think things could get any worse, but a boy named Gene, in third grade, in order to get out of being punished by her, said it was me who did the bad deed of sending a note to Principal McCoy saying that she was a bully.

I found myself pulled into the alley once again after school. There was Stella. She had a wicked smile. “I don’t know if you did or didn’t send that note. But, I have to make an example. My power needs to be shown.” With that, I felt a hand placed on my face. I breathed in a strange smell and went to sleep. When I woke up, I was in a hospital bed in a recovery room.

A nurse came in. “Oh good, you are awake Brenda.”

“My name isn’t Brenda. It is Brandon.”

She looked at me strangely. “I know that you had a terrible accident and that your parents and you decided that you would have to become a girl named Brenda. Right? The surgery was a success.”

“No, I was coming home from school and was kidnapped. What do you mean changed into a girl?” For the first time, I realized that I felt funny in my crotch. I lifted the sheets and saw that I had bandages down there. I screamed, “What has she done to me? What has happened to me?”

Just then, an orderly came in and both the nurse and he tried to calm me down. “Where are my parents?”

“They are out of town. You know that!”

I screamed, “I want my Mom. Mrs. Jackson. We live on Terrace Lane here in Appletown. My name is Brandon Jackson. I want my Mom!”

The nurse looked at my chart and a look of horror came over her face. “Don’t worry honey. We will get this worked out.”

A little while later, my parents showed up and I was in a hospital room. The doctors and nurses were apologizing. Then the authorities came in and interviewed me. It turned out that house next to the alley had recently installed a security system they won. It recorded my kidnapping and the audio picked up Stella’s plot. It also showed her stripping me a few days before that. The whole sordid affair came out. Stella was caught. They called her a psychopath and hauled her away to an insane asylum. They began a complete investigation and all sorts of stuff came out. I was the reason the school returned to normal. Some said I was a hero. Well, now a heroine.

A psychologist was coming to my room to talk to me later about my being changed into a girl. Before that, Gene stopped by to see me alone. “I’m a lumberjack, and I am okay.”

I smiled and sang briefly. “I wish I'd been a girlie, just like my dear mamma!” Then I added, “I guess it was fate that we ran into each other at that wedding in May. I helped you get rid of Stella and you got me what I wanted since I was two.”

Gene grinned and said, “And everyone will accept you and cheer for you to be a girl too.”

“Can you do me a favor, Gene?”

“Sure.”

“I want the kids at school to vote on what they want my new girl name to be.”

“Done! Anything else?”

“Not right now. But, thank you.”

“No, thank you! You saved us all with your plan.”

My name is Majel Leigh Jackson. I am in the fourth grade. I am the new girl at my school where I have been made to feel very welcome and wanted. I have a family that loves the new me. I live in a house now with my baby brother and sister. I love my family. I have friends that love me and I love them too. Life is good.

Copyright © 2017 by AuP reviner

[Author's Note: I had to get some mud off my car this weekend and this popped into my silly Star Trekked brain. -- AuP ]



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