Ben Fitts

Big Ol’ Jelly Boy

I’m full of jelly. I’m a big ol’ jelly boy!

There’s jelly in my tummy, and there’s jelly in my arms and in my legs and in my feet and in my face and in my pee-pee. I’m full of so much jelly that I could pop, so I don’t use sharp objects. No number two pencils, sewing needles, thumbtacks, vaccines or steak knives for this big ol’ jelly boy.

Sometimes I wish that wasn’t full of so much jelly. Then I would be like all the other boys and girls, who mostly aren’t full of jelly.

I waddle across the classroom, putting one foot in front of the other with big ol’ jelly-filled steps. It will be faster if I get on my side and roll across the floor because I’m pretty much a big ol’ ball of jelly, but that’s not safe. If there’s anything pointy enough on the floor, I would burst open and spray jelly everywhere and all over the other boys and girls in class would be covered in my jelly and that would be bad.

Teacher sees me taking my big ol’ jelly steps and her face gets all tight like someone is pinching her skin. You can tell that she isn’t full of any jelly at all.

“Come on, Smucker. Walk faster, I need to get everyone to recess,” says Teacher. “You can’t keep holding everyone up like this.”

Teacher doesn’t like big ol’ jelly boys.

“Teacher, I’m walking as fast as I can,” I say. “It’s hard for me to move fast, because I’m full of so much jelly.”

Teacher rolls her eyes. It seems like she is making a very big show of rolling her eyes, because I don’t think her eyes need to move that fast just to see things.

“You’re going to use that excuse your whole life, aren’t you?” says Teacher. “No matter how much you inconvenience and burden the people around you, you’re just going to act like you’re the victim because you’re so full of jelly. Is that really how you intend to live, Smucker?”

I don’t really understand what Teacher is saying, but I can tell that it isn’t nice. I don’t say anything back to Teacher, but I stop taking my big ol’ jelly-filled steps forward and look down at my sneakers.

“Oh, and now you’re done moving entirely. Great,” says Teacher. “All the other boys and girls are lined up by the door, but they still can’t go to recess yet because the boy who filled himself up with jelly has decided that he’s done walking.”

I think that Teacher is confused about my jelly.

“Teacher, I didn’t mean to fill myself up with jelly,” I say. “It was an accident that happened to me when I was little, and it makes things very hard for me.”

“Hard for you?” says Teacher. “I’m the one who has to deal with getting you from class to recess to gym to art class to lunch and back again with wasting all the other kid’s time. I’m the one who has to keep anything sharper than a fork away from you so you don’t pop open. I’m the one who has to spend all day looking at your gross, jelly-bloated body.

“You get to spend all day waddling around without a second thought to everyone else’s time and the places we have to go and things we have to do. You get to spend all day converting the excess jelly in your body into nutrients while the rest of us have to worry about feeding ourselves. If the fact that you’re filled with jelly makes life hard for anyone, it’s me. You have no idea what a selfish luxury you’ve given yourself.”

Teacher likes to use lots of big words that I don’t know, but I get the gist of what she’s saying.

I look at all the boys and girls, lined up by the door and ready to go to recess. They look at me with annoyed eyes. I’m the reason they aren’t outside right now, running around and screaming and throwing balls at each other’s faces. None of them are full of jelly, so they don’t understand and Teacher hasn’t helped.

“You shouldn’t be so mean. You’re the teacher,” I say. “I don’t like having to take so long to walk anywhere and I don’t like having to worry that I might pop open and splat everywhere and I don’t like that I make things hard for the people around me, so stop being so mean, Teacher.”

“I’m not being mean, I’m just telling it like it is,” says Teacher. “It’s the nicest thing anyone will ever do for you, kid. Your life is going to be so easy from now on just because you filled yourself with jelly as a toddler, and it’s going to be easy at the expense of everyone else.

“You’re going to handicapped parking spots and extra time that you don’t need on your SATs. Colleges are going to let you in so you can be a statistic and photo-op for their brochure and employers and going to give you jobs for the tax rebate, and all the while you’ll be taking opportunities away from more qualified people who actually deserve them but had the misfortune of not having once been an idiot child who filled themselves up with jelly. Now stop feeling bad for yourself and get over here so we can go to recess.”

I start to cry. I can’t see my tears, but I know that they’re purple and sticky and go good on toast. My tears always do.

Teacher sighs.

“And now the fat little jelly boy is crying,” says Teacher. “Great, great, great. I love this job and it’s totally worth the thirty-four grand a year they pay me to put up with this.”

Teacher walks over to me with the fast steps of a person who isn’t full of jelly. She grabs me by my shoulder and leads me over to the other boys and girls waiting in line.

I see the point of the number two pencil sticking out of her pocket a moment too late.

I open my mouth to say something but before I can, the pencil jabs into my jelly-filled arm. It breaks through my skin and touches the jelly beneath.

I go pop and there is jelly everywhere.

I guess that’s the end of this big ol’ jelly boy.

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