It was as if Benjamin Black was targeted from the beginning of the school year as "The Weird & Wonderful Village Idiot" Actually, he was the first "lucky Kid" to win this ugly and sadistic title. Yes, these individuals were the cream of the crop----bullies who had had three years of practise and had honed their "craft" just like knife-sharpeners. "Hey, Benny Boy, we all hate your perverted ass and it's just a matter of time before we'll give you what you deserve. Tell your parents and teachers any of this and we'll go after your tail-wagging sister and brothers. Get it, freak? You will never see the light of day for singing like a canary. Trust me: We don't make empty threats. Faggot."

Benjamin walked the remaining two miles from the school to his home with his head bowed. He was certain that those four bullies would end up killing him. They'd already made every aspect of his life a living hell,  even going so far as breaking into Benjamin's school locker and   describe in gory, horrifying what would happen to his dog if he ate a steaming bowl of anti-freeze.  Each sentence got progressively worse until Benjamin stopped reading it and tore their 

The next morning, Benjamin couldn't get out of bed. It was a soothing action on his part: Spend the day hiding under the blankets and tuning out the nightmare that his very existence appeared to cause. However, his exasperated mother and ultra-controlling father weren't exactly overjoyed with Benjamin's choices. "Look, Bennie, I think you've been doing a lot of self-pity wallowing and it's high time that you pull yourself together and do something useful and productive. You're just extremely lazy, that's all it is. Lazy and childish."

"George, please don't talk to our son like that. It just makes everything worse.
Look, I'm as frustrated as you are, dear.  I wish Benny could shake himself out of his sluggishness, but maybe there's something or someone who could, you know, help him with his problems."

Suddenly, Benjamin sat up and discarded the covers, his face red with rage. "Why are you talking about me as if I wasn't here??!! What's the matter with you?"

Sophie, the distraught mother, wrung her hands and had no idea what to do. "We're sorry, Benny. We won't do that anymore."  She left the room.

"Speak for yourself.  I have nothing to apologise for!  Nothing."

Benjamin grabbed his knapsack, randomly stuffing clothes into it. "I'll do you both a favour. I'm out of here. And I'm not just threatening it this time Don't bother trying to find me."

"Dear, please don't do this. We'll work something out. Would you like some ice cream?"

"Bribery won't do it. I have made up my mind." Benjamin put his coat on, grasped his knapsack, slid behind his father, angrily slamming the door as hard as he could and disappeared from the world of pink living rooms and choking oppression.


Benjamin was now homeless.  Something he had feared, even though he'd grown up with a guaranteed roof over his head, good meals and a comfortable bed.  He had a small, domestic short-hair that had been thrown out of his cosy formerly doted on by because he had fleas, for God's sake. Didn't his owners know that it was possible to get rid of those itchy vermin without had had other reasons---that they were deliberately withholding food and water for the poor little guy.  

Benjamin knew that his parents would take good care of Everly (named after Don and Phil, two of the wonderful Everly Brothers, singers who ruled the pop music of  1957 and had Grammy awards for their stunning harmonies. Benjamin had wanted to take Everly with him, but he'd be just as destitute as he was and that amazing feline would once again, be a stray. existing in the wild.  Now what  will it take to get Benjamin a safe place to stay until he obtains a job and apartment. These things weren't going to be easy; but the alternative was living on the wild and filthy streets.



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