THE EYES ON THE BACK OF MY HEAD
Mom said she had eyes on the back of her head, but I didn’t believe her. Not until I grew my own. Then I saw Mike Mansky try to put a dead frog in my hoodie. I ducked and he flew over my back. The frog did too. It landed on Mike’s face.
Everyone laughed and Mike got detention for having a frog outside the science lab.
Later I side-stepped his spit glob before it hit me in the head. Then, I weaved around Principal Stiitz just as Mike leaned forward to put a note on my back. His hand smacked a yellow sticky on Stiitz’s chest.
He got two more days detention for calling the principal a dork.
I didn’t tell anyone about my new eyes. They were my secret weapon against Mike Mansky. And I knew all about secrets. They lose their power when you talk about them. I certainly didn’t want to lose my edge with the class bully.
I called them my super-secret laser eyes. Although that might have been a mistake. As soon as I named them, I started seeing things. And not just the people behind me.
My lasers saw right into them. I couldn’t see their scrambled eggs sloshing in their stomachs or their blood pumping through their veins. That would have been cool. What I saw was worse. Much worse. I saw their secrets.
I saw Layinda’s heart beat for me. It got really fast whenever I walked by. I knew Toby brought his DS to school and that his stomach looked like a pot of rotten cabbage because of it. I even saw that Principal Stiitz hit a car in the parking lot—and wasn’t going to tell.
People were different on the inside. My super-secret laser eyes saw things my real eyes couldn’t see. Like how Layinda cried every night when kids called her fat or that Toby brought his DS to school so the other kids would pay attention to him. He liked having friends more than he hated getting grounded.
Mr. Stiitz? I won’t even talk about his insides. It’s just too gross to think about.
The one that really bugged me though, was Mike Mansky. His secret made him mean. I saw things I never wanted to see. I tried to close my eyes, but they must not have lids. At night I scratched at them, but they wouldn’t go away. Even the hottest shower didn’t burn them out.
When Mike chucked the ball at me in gym, I let it hit me in the back of the head. Right between my eyes. It stung worse than the flu shot, but it didn’t stop me from seeing.
I didn’t duck out of the way when he “accidentally” spilled his lunch tray. My eyes saw right through the chicken noodle soup and chocolate pudding. I cringed at what they saw. I was lucky that Mike Mansky’s lunch was the only thing that hit me.
It was just too much. That night I begged Mom for a haircut. She buzzed it right down to the nubs.
“Do you seen anything unusual?” I hoped my eyes would disappear with my hair so short.
“Nothing at all.” And I saw that Mom cheated on her diet with a piece of banana crème pie. Worse, she was disappointed in me. Again. This time for snapping my little sister’s crayons. I didn’t think she knew about that. Or when I buried all of Janie’s dolls in the backyard.
That weekend I wore a stocking hat to hide from Mom’s secrets. It seemed to help. She didn’t like how weird I looked, but I refused to go out of my room without it. On Monday Principal Stiitz didn’t like my new attire either. He made me put my hat in my locker—right next to the dead mouse from Mike.
I went to the bathroom to throw up. Not because of the mouse, but because of all the secrets swirling around in my head. I had to tell someone before I exploded.
That someone happened to be Mike.
He followed me into the bathroom. He wanted to laugh about the decaying mouse. Instead, I made him cry.
“I know about your secret.”
Mike’s face turned red, then white. His fists bunched up by his side.
“Your step-brother. I know what he does.”
Mike growled and stepped closer to me.
“He put that mouse on your dinner plate last night.”
Mike shook his head. “How could you know that?”
I almost told him about the eyes on the back of my head, but I told him the truth instead. The one my mom sees when she looks at me. “Cuz I’m a bully, too.”
People are different on the inside.
Sitting on the bathroom floor, I told Mike Mansky about my super-secret laser eyes. He told me why he picked on me. We both found out I was right about secrets. They lose their power when you talk about them. And sometimes that’s a good thing.