Ronnie was in second grade. He hated school. It’s because he was short.
He couldn’t help it. He wanted to be bigger.
The other boys called Ronnie Shrimp!
Sometimes they poked him in the ribs or tried to trip him. He couldn’t tell his teachers about it. No one liked a tattletale.
Another problem was that Ronnie’s his dad was very tall. His mom was tall too. Even his sister Lilly was a little bit taller than he was. And she was two years younger.
As days went by, the taunts and bullying became worse. Ronnie hated it. Sometimes he wished he could just run away. Then he’d find a place to live where everyone was small like he was.
No, he couldn’t do that. He’d miss his mom and dad too much. He’d miss his kitten Snowdrop. And he was pretty sure he’d even miss his sister Lilly.
One day a new boy came to school. Ezra. He was very friendly, and everyone liked him.
At recess time the new boy came up to Ronnie. “I see what the other boys are doing.”
“I don’t know what you mean,” Ronnie said. He didn’t want to admit that the other boys picked on him.
“I’m sorry,” Ezra said. “I should mind my own business.”
“It’s okay,” Ronnie told him.
“Good,” Ezra said. “Then we’re friends.”
Ezra was the first friend Ronnie had in school.
“Where are you from?” Ronnie asked.
“Here and there,” Ezra answered.
“What do you mean?” They were on the playground.
A boy named Tommy suddenly poked Ronnie in his ribs. “Hey, Shrimp,” Tommy said, “stop bothering the new kid.”
Tommy looked at Ezra. “I do know what you mean.”
Ezra smiled sadly. “Things like that should never happen.”
“But don’t you see, Ezra,” Ronnie said. “I’m different. I’m… I’m short.”
“There’s nothing wrong with being short!” Ezra said. “We have to make the other boys stop bothering you.”
“How could we do that?” Ronnie asked.
“The next time someone is mean, you’ll see.”
Suddenly, three other boys stood in front of Ronnie and Ezra. One of them pushed Ronnie.
“Don’t play with Ronnie,” Tommy said. “He’s bad news.”
“He’s my friend,” Ezra said.
“We’ll see about that,” the boy said. All three of the boys grabbed Ezra.
Suddenly, Ezra was no longer there. Someone else was. He was much taller than any of the boys who picked on Ronnie.
“You won’t call Ronnie names anymore,” the big boy said. “You won’t push him or poke and trip him. Do you understand!”
“We won’t,” Tommy said. The three boys scooted backward.
Suddenly, Ezra was back.
“What…happened!” Ronnie asked.
“I’m from another planet,” Ezra said. Everyone there learns to fight against bullies. Then we go to places like Earth. We help kids who are being bullied.”
“Thanks very much,” Ronnie said.
“I still want to be your friend. What do you think?”
“I’d like that a lot,” Ronnie answered.