Now that I’ve exhausted all of the eighth grade bullies in “He Was Weird,” as well as linking to my actual real life bullies, I can move on. So now we go back to non eighth grade bullies starting with Jim Friend who was in Mark’s class in that fateful year. Jim’s first major bullying appearance in the book happens while they are in sixth grade. He joins Joe Kellerman and others in repeatedly pushing Mark up against the school fence. While the others continue to do this, Jim takes to hitting Mark on the head with one of his books. Fortunately, that is the only real bullying Mark receives from him in sixth grade.
Roll on a year later. Jim comes into his own during the incident where Mark has his shorts pulled down by the substitute teacher. Like so many of the jocks who saw this teacher as some sort of hero, he is incensed that Mark had told his mother about the incident and the police being involved. Jim threatens that if Smiley gets in serious trouble, he will make Mark pay. He also informs the eighth grade jocks about Mark telling the police so they can get their own retribution. Mark tries to defuse things by telling Jim that if anything happens to him, he will get the police in on the perpetrators. This plays right into Jim’s hands. He informs Mark that his uncle if the chief of police.
There is no more physical confrontation between the two after that but Jim does use his family connections against Mark. The substitute never goes to trial for his indecent assault on Mark. When Mark’s mother and grandfather meet the DA and chief of police, they inform them that a deal has been worked out sparing the teacher from jail. One reason, explained by the police chief, is that his nephew has written a statement along with others at the school stating that Mark is a liar and a troublemaker. It is those statements that convince the prosecutor not to go to trial.
In the months after, Jim, who has always been friends with bully Mike Sigfried, actively and passively encourages his bullying of Mark. Not only that, he always seems to be there when others bully Mark as well, giving assistance with comments. That is why on the big day of Mark’s revenge, he is listed as a target and while Mark is certain that one of his bullets finds Jim, he doesn’t realise the extent of the wound it inflicts.
If you know the German word for friend, you would figure out the actual person Jim Friend is based on. Here’s where things get difficult because the indecent assault never happened to me there so that part with the police and DA never did. However, I do know that his uncle was the chief of police in the town. Another point is that while I had very little actual physical bullying sans being hit on the head with the book, he always seemed to be around when much of the bullying occurred. Furthermore, he did chime in with the odd comment that either damaged me or spurred the bullies on. Now my usual spiel about forgiveness applies here but my thoughts are that even after all these years, he would deny his part in anything. I hope this wouldn’t really be the case.