All the kids loved him.
He was always immaculately dressed. He had the ball and he owned a bicycle. We would fight to be the ones to push him when he was riding his bicycle. One day you’d be lucky and he’d allow you a short ride.
But that was over within f metres as we didn’t know how to ride a bicycle and he’d blacklist you for several weeks. But you’d still keep pushing hoping your luck would change. Sometimes it did, sometimes it didn’t but you’d keep pushing.
And the parents will buy him a ball almost on a monthly basis. Remember those plastic balls were weak and will puncture after some two weeks courtesy of an unclipped toenail.
The ball gave him a lot of power. He would decide when the game started and when it should end. He would pick his team, and that meant the more talented ones.
If you were not in his team you would have to huff and puff with the weaker team. He’d dribble past you and score many goals. There was a silent rule not to dispossess him and he actually thought he was the star.
Some even believed he was. Until one day a hot-head dished a scything tackle to win the ball. The Rich Kid spewed a couple of expletives that would have made expletives factories like Ice T and Easy E proud. He had immediately morphed into those niggers we saw in American movies with a rash of PG labels around the cover.
The perpetrator was immediately surrounded by a host of players - both opponents and teammates. His justification drowned amidst a welter of accusations.
There were suggestions to banish him from playing altogether. Street justice is prompt and swift. He was soon watching from the confines of his home.
However, the tide was turning. This was the birth of the rebels. More and more players started to duel with the ball owner. There was chaos. Our team was in danger of folding up as sometimes we didn’t have a ball.
The rebels were steadfast and decided if the ball wasn’t there we would go with the rag ball option. It wasn’t the most ideal of options but the rebels had taken over.
His sister was a thing of beauty and always dressed in the latest fashion. Big shirt, knickerbocker, georgette. These were the rave then and she’d always be the first to wear them.
We’d marvel at this beauty. We all had a crush on her and we’d fight amongst ourselves to claim her.
She won beauty contests that she participated in. Her rivals knew they were actually fighting for second position. However, one day some brave teachers decided she wasn’t the most beautiful girl in our school and gave the crown to some rising star.
She cried for a whole week and apparently refused to eat-something which we thought wasn’t very clever. I mean who refuses to eat such good food that only a rich family can provide.
We would have perfectly understood it if she was fed porridge and cabbage like us but this would have been rice, chicken and salads.
We, the admirers, were livid. How can she not win? We started concocting conspiracy theories. The mother came to the school and there was an inquest.
The result stood. There were rumours that the entire staff will be transferred but we completed our PSLE with no single transfer. We finished our primary schooling with longer faces.
These teachers didn’t care about us and we swore to get back at them for cheating the resident beauty.
I meet the Rich Kid every now and then these days. The haughtiness is gone. The airs are gone and he’s just a part of the madding crowd.
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