Veronica del Valle, “Q-t-π: A Children’s Story in Eight Slices”

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Q-t-π: A Children’s Story in Eight Slices

I did it because they deserved it. They had it coming for a while now. Besides, I guess that’s what happens to you when you can’t outsmart someone. 

            They used to call themselves leaders. But where did they lead? What power did they really have? None whatsoever, really. All they ever did was take advantage of their victims.

            I warned them once.

            STOP. MESSING. WITH. ME.

            They didn’t listen.

No one thought they could be defeated. They never thought their reign would end, but it did, and I’m proud to say I had something (or dare I say a lot) to do with it.

Welcome to my story. Hope you like it in here.

My name is Q-t-π, by the way.

* * *

Please allow me to introduce myself properly. My name is Quenby Talwyn. But everybody calls me Q-t-π. Not because I’m necessarily cute but because I’m a brainy nerd who once wrote not one but two yards worth of pi decimals. Do you know how many those are? Oh, a lot. Like, a lot lot.

That’s how much I like pi. Yes, π. The sixteenth letter of the Greek alphabet. Also known as the numerical value of the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter. Quite a mouthful really, but in other words it simply means it’s a very curious number that can tell you quite a few things about science and nature and life.

          Most people peg me as just a geek. And I am one—I’m not saying I’m not—but I consider myself much more than that. A very select few know that I am a skillful tightrope walker, a somewhat decent tuba player, and I would say an average milliner—I’m working on this one.

          What else can I tell you about me? I’m twelve years old, I have soft pinkish lips, and November is my least favorite month—mainly because I don’t appreciate its rain. My hair frizzes up like nobody’s business. I also like the shades I can make with a graphite pencil, so I always, without fault, dress within the white-grey-black palette. Last but not least, I am a longtime fan of a well-thought-out plan. This can be proven by the following fact: the two biggest bullies ever known to mankind have tortured me for what has felt like eons and I have stoically put up with it. Now, having said that, I’ve been secretly and diligently mapping out my retaliation. This has taken time and great attention to detail. I strategized. I plotted. I scheduled. I tried and tested my master plan until it was nothing less than perfect: the quintessential anti-bullying operation. All I had to do was wait for the ideal day to carry it out.

* * *

Dear Diary,

I know I haven’t written in a while. Sorry about that. But a major thing happened in my life, and I needed to share it with someone. You are always my go-to friend in these moments.

By now I think probably half the world knows what happened. Not the whole truth, of course. But a good chunk of it. It’s funny to see how rumors spread and how the few facts that are out there become embellished and dramatised beyond what my imagination could have ever expected.

In my defense, I would like to state for the record that they truly downright deserved it. I’ll tell you why. I know you’ll understand me. You always do.

Their names are Puck and Perry Chesapeak. Twins, if you can believe that—as if one wasn’t enough. Two identical bullies. Their meanness was twofold. So was their capacity to commit the most ruthless attacks. With their pudgy faces and scaly elbows, they were wicked and shameless times two.

I kept it all to myself for so long. I told no one, not even you, dear diary, how I’d suffered because of those snooty, snot-picking twins. I know I am different, but they made me feel as if that was a thing to be ashamed of. They made me feel like an outcast, a disgusting one.  I got slurs constantly because I was into math and chemistry and because I could talk nonstop about Byron and Blake and Shelley. They shoved me in the hallways, they spread rumors about me, they called me “freak” and said things like “Why would anyone ever like you?” One day they even went so far as to pour a yogurt container over my head as they passed me in the cafeteria. For no reason—no reason at all. And they laughed. They laughed so loud. And I just sat there. My stomach clenched in a way that made it almost impossible to breathe. I couldn’t even look at them. I could only hear their laughter. I felt the tears rise up in my eyes. Sorrow of the meanest kind wrapped around me. I tried to push the heartache down—down where I could not feel it—but it was impossible. Do you know what that feels like, having your heart broken like that? It hurts. It hurts everywhere. It’s like wanting to cry and scream and run away all at the same time. Broken hearts do not only belong to lovers. That day in the school cafeteria my heart was broken. I couldn’t take it anymore. I had to do something about it.

Q.

* * *

Let me tell you a little bit more about why I did what I did. That day in the cafeteria I decided that enough was enough. I remember walking to the bathroom, washing the sticky yogurt off my hair and face and saying out loud, “I am Q-t-π and I won’t be a victim anymore.” I was done suffering.

Why did I have to wait until I’m a grown-up to start enjoying life? I hated listening to adults utter the phrase, “I know it’s hard now, honey, but you just have to wait. You’ll laugh when you’re in college.” I didn’t want to wait. I wanted to laugh now, not in ten years.

Besides, how come the bullies are always the ones in power and the smart kids are the lepers? Why do we have to feel like rejects seeking justice? Does that sound like fair play to you? Because it certainly doesn’t to me.

So, if a situation is unfair, you put your mind to work to make it just. That’s exactly what I did.

And I didn’t just do it for my own benefit. I wasn’t the only one who suffered in that school. After my master plan, things also changed for Nelson, Rita, Calvin, and many others. Fellow nerds. They all thanked me time and again because they couldn’t believe they could now walk around school without fearing that something dreadful awaited around the corner.

Even the teachers had a proud look on their faces when they saw me. Of course they wouldn’t say anything out loud. They couldn’t condone my behavior in public, but they all gave an approving nod whenever we crossed paths in the hallways.

* * *

Dear Diary,

            It’s amazing to see that Puck and Perry now walk the school’s hallways like two sweet, polite kittens. Nobody can believe that the twins now say Please and Thank you and Excuse me and I’m sorry.  Last week, Rita said she saw that Puck was helping the teacher tidy up the classroom. Today at lunch time Nelson told us that Perry chose him for the soccer team. “I don’t want you to feel left out.” That’s what Perry whispered to him before the game started.

And that’s just scratching the surface. Yesterday morning, in English class, this girl Violet was crying because she’d gotten a C in the pop quiz, and Perry walked up to her and asked, “Are you all right?” But the best part was that he seemed to really really mean it. And when she started telling him all about it, he knelt down beside her and listened to every word.

I’m so proud of what I did. Mind you, I admit it was rather outlandish, but it worked. The wrong-doers have learned their lesson.

Q.

* * *

“Are you all right there?”

“Yes, why?”

“You look troubled, dear.”

“Oh, that’s just my thinking look.”

“May I sit?”

“Sure. It’s a public bench.”

“What’s your name?”

“Quenby. Quenby Talwyn. But everybody calls me Q-t-π.”

“Cutie pie?”

“Well, I can’t read your speech, so I don’t know if I should answer Yes or No to your question. Just so there are no misunderstandings, it’s not Cutie Pie as in the pretty baked dish of fruit with a top and base of pastry. It’s Q-t-π as in Quebec-Tango and the Greek letter pi.”

“Oh, I see. Well then, Q-t-π, it’s nice to meet you. I’m Fiona. I live nearby so I always walk my dog around this park in the mornings. This is Rocky. He’s a—”

“A Basset Fauve de Bretagne. Yes, I know. Cute.”

“So what were you thinking about?”

“Just something I did.”

“What would that be?”

“I can’t tell you. It’s a secret.”

“Is it?”

“Yes, it is.”

“ . . . ”

“Why the smirk? I’m serious. It’s TOP SECRET.”

“TOP SECRET, huh?”

“Yes. Let’s just say I work for some sort of special agency.”

“You don’t say.”

“You don’t believe me?”

‘What’s the name of said special agency?”

“I can’t tell you. It’s classified.”

“ . . . ”

“You still don’t believe me, huh?”

“Well, how old are you?”

“I’m twelve, but I’m really smart, so they hired me anyway.”

“To do what exactly?”

“Face up to the bullies of the world.”

“Why would a special agency want to do that?”

“To empower good and clever kids.”

“Huh. That sounds fair.”

“Of course it’s fair. But we had to start small. It worked like a charm, though.”

“Wait a second . . . Are you the girl that’s all over the newspapers? Yes, you are! You are the one that fought those two bullies that go to the school here in town.You’re the nerd avenger! That’s what I call you anyway.”

“I guess you could say I’m some sort of avenger, yes. But I didn’t fight with them.”

“Oh, this is superb! I read all about it! I’ve been following your story! But the papers didn’t give any details. They just said that some students witnessed you with some sort of device on your hands? But no one really saw what happened because you went into the science lab when the Chesapeak twins were alone in there. What was it you did to them exactly? How did you get them to change the way they acted?”

“Do you really think I’m going to tell that to a complete stranger after only twenty seconds of skin-deep chit-chat on a park bench?”

“But I won’t tell anyone, I promise!”

“Lady, I told you: it’s a secret. And one of the reasons I was hired is because I can keep a secret.”

“Well, what can you tell me without betraying your promise?”

“Not much really.”

“It’s just that . . . I used to be a nerd, back in the day, and I suffered, you have no idea how much, at the hand of Harriet, the meanest girl in the playground. So when I read about you, I just . . . well, I felt avenged, even after so many years, you know.”

“I’m glad, Fiona.”

“So . . . what did you do to them? Were they scared?”

“I didn’t hurt them.”

“You didn’t?”

“Of course not. Violence is never an option. It was never about revenge. It was about making things right.”

“Then how did you do it?”

“Let’s just say I put my brains to good use and made them face their greatest fear.”

* * *

TOP SECRET / CONFIDENTIAL / EYES ONLY

File Nº: 9-D521-N4

Sanctioning Agencies: C.D.A. (Central Directorate of Anti-Bullying) and N.I.B. (Nerd Intelligence Brigade)

Agent profile

Name: Quenby Talwyn

Alias: Q-t-π

Age: Twelve years old

Specialties: Applied mathematics / Counterintelligence analysis / Intellectual combat proficiency

Special agent training: Completed

Mission: “Operation Dominion Override”

Target: Puck and Perry Chesapeak

Objective: Bully conduct eradication and reinstitution of the nerds

Tactics: Reconnaissance / Data analysis / Unforeseen approach 

Device: The G.E.E.K. (Greatest Equalizer Ever Known)

Developed by: Agent Q-t-π.

Features: State-of-the-art technology. Highest bully-fighting engineering. Unerring. Easy to handle.

Description:

  • The user must point the gadget toward the bully in question and press the triangular green button. The subject will then be surrounded by a special electromagnetic field with unique quantized singularities.
  • Said field is harmless, yet it will target and modify specific areas of the brain that deal with sensory information, memory recall, behavior, and empathy.
  • The electromagnetic field will briefly paralyze the subject and put them through the following: In a span of 21.5 seconds, they are to experience every feeling ever felt by each one of their victims.

Results: Immediate.

Mission status: Executed.

Overall assessment: Successful.

SEALED AND FILED

* * *

“Can I sit here with you?”

“Of course.”

“This is the exact cafeteria chair you were sitting on when I poured the yogurt over you, isn’t it?”

“I think it is, yes.”

“Would you believe me, Quenby, if I told you I am so sorry about that?”

“I would, Puck. I believe you.”

“Perry is just as sorry as I am.”

“I know he is.”

“He wanted to come too. It’s just that he’s with Nelson now, playing soccer.”

“That’s nice.”

“Quenby, what you did . . . in the science lab, with your thing—”

“It’s a special device. It’s called the G.E.E.K. Stands for Greatest Equalizer Ever Known.”

“What does equalizer mean?”

“When you equalize, you make things equal, the same, balanced.”

“Oh, I see. And you made that?”

“I did.”

“Wow. That’s incredible . . . I mean, you’re like . . . a genius. Wow, Quenby, I’m sorry I couldn’t see how awesome you are.”

“It’s okay, Puck.”

“Anyway, what I wanted to say is that that day in the lab . . . what the G.E.E.K. did to Perry and me . . . I don’t know how long it was that we were—”

“Twenty-one point five seconds.”

“Oh, right. Well, during those seconds, I felt . . . I felt it all, Quenby, all. The heartache, the pain. Oh the pain I caused, Quenby! So much pain, for so many people. And I could feel that ache in my mind and my heart and my skin and my bones. I could see and hear and smell the sadness and the fear and the anger and the loneliness you all suffered. I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.”

“I know, Puck. I know you are.”

“And then when I snapped out if it, it was like I was not Puck anymore. Or rather I was, but more like a different Puck. I don’t really know how to explain it.”

“You were still you, but you had understood, with your entire being, what you had done and how it had felt like for the other person. Every cell in your body grasped that. And you, Puck, changed, for the good. You became—”

“A better person?”

“Yes. And that is a seriously difficult thing to do.”

“What do you mean?”

“Most people don’t change. Not really. Many might want to, when they get a glimpse of their faults, but then they go back to their usual old selves with their usual old habits. It’s the way human beings are.”

“I hope that doesn’t happen to me.”

“It won’t, Puck. Don’t worry.”

“Anyway, I wanted to thank you. Thank you with my heart, if that makes any sense.”

“It does. You’re most welcome.”

“Hey . . . is it okay if I call you Q-t-π?”

“Sure.”

“Awesome. See you around, Q-T-π!”

“See you around, Puck.”

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