As I hinted at, we’re just about to get a really good look at Michael’s arch-enemy Brad Luggsworth. I’ve already covered the futile advice Elly gave him about how to deal with bullies and how eventually the two of them made something like peace. What I should cover now is what it is about Mike that makes Brad think that the dreary simpleton is a viable candidate for a punch in the yap. A cursory reading of the relevant passages of Brad’s Liography yields the following interesting passage:
Maybe failing another test wouldn't have seemed so bad if he'd had breakfast that morning. But with his parents fighting again, who could stomach a bowl of Munchi-O's? He had grabbed his half-filled lunch kit off the kitchen counter and beat it out the door as fast as he could. Now his stomach was so empty it ached, he had failed his stupid fractions test, and Miss Williams was making sappy teacher noises at him about how he could do better if he tried. Yeah, right. Like he cared. If she thought he was going to be like that wimp Mike Patterson who sat beside him, always sucking up and trying to get her attention, she could think again.
At least it was almost lunch time. He was gonna start chewing on the desk if he had to sit here much longer. His mom hadn't put more than an apple and a couple of cookies in his lunch kit before the fight started, but that would be better than nothing. When he got home, he was going to make himself a huge double-decker peanut butter and jam sandwich. Maybe two. As long as his Dad wasn't there. The old man was pretty scary when he was mad, and he could stay mad a long time. If it looked like he was home, Brad was going to find something to do outside for a while.
Maybe Jason would let him come to his house after school...
"Ow!" Startled by the sudden vicious sting on his ear, he jumped, rattling the contents of his desk and sending his pencil flying.
"I saw that, Michael Patterson!" Miss Williams frowned at them, her mouth scrunched up in her I'm-disappointed-in-you look. "Pick up that eraser and stop fooling around." She turned back to the board and began to write out another fraction.
Brad rubbed his burning ear and stared at her in disbelief. That was it? Patterson pinged an eraser at him and just about took his ear off (the jerk) and the teacher acted like nothing had happened? If it had been him who hit someone, she'd probably have him half-way to the principal's office by now.
Brad scowled at Mike, who made big innocent eyes back at him. Yeah, sure. Teacher's pet Mikey. Thought he could get away with anything. Just because his dad was a dentist, making the big bucks. Heck, Pattersons were so rich that Mike's mom didn't have to work at all, just stay home and make nice big lunches for her baby boy. No way she'd ever pulled double shifts at a crummy waitress job or cried with worry because the landlord was bugging her and there wasn't enough money to pay the rent.
It was just like Brad's dad always said, life wasn't fair. Rich folk acted like they owned the world. If a guy didn't stick up for himself, they'd walk all over him.
Well, Patterson was gonna find out that Brad Luggsworth wasn't no doormat.
Mike wasn't cocky any more when Brad pinned him up against his locker and let him know he was in for it after school. It was pure pleasure to see the little jerk grovel as he stammered out his lame excuses. Everyone was watching Brad put him in his place. That was neat, to see them all looking bug-eyed and scared. Made him feel kind of important.
He kept his word, catching Patterson in the alleyway behind the school and giving him a licking that knocked all the snotty attitude right out of him. Just to make sure, Brad made a point of hanging around after school every couple of days to cuff Mike around a little more. He knew that Mike and his friends were terrified of him, which felt good. Kind of an ugly good, maybe, but so what? He didn't even hit the little nerd-head much anymore when he caught him. It was just fun to stalk him, like a big-game hunter after an antelope or something. It was a kick to have that kind of power over another person, to catch Mike despite the other boy's desperate attempts to evade him, and force him to his knees to cry "uncle".
Since Lynn seems to actually believe her bullshit about how bullies are angry because they’re poor and come from broken homes, what we ended up looking at is a rather bizarre thing in which Bradley thought that by pummeling a dumb-ass who spent most of his time being told that he was a selfish freeloader who owed his poor parents the money spent feeding him, clothing him, giving him a place to live and providing for his education, he was striking a blow for oppressed children everywhere. What this tells me is that when Lynn is spouting her usual by-the-good-book nonsense about why angry children paste smaller, weaker children, she is displaying her terror of the lower orders of society. Every so often, we see hints that she honestly believes that the innately criminal, sports-loving lower class will rise up and destroy the civilization that they are genetically incapable of appreciating or joining. This need to demonize the disadvantaged seems to also explain Germy, Wormy Jeremy Jones. the blithering about how the kid from THAT neighbourhood talked respectable children into vandalizing John’s trains, the Krelbutz affair, the Pattersons’ need to get evil, low-class Fiona Brass out of their house and even why Elly protested the evil sports stadium where the evil poor people plotted their evil fantasy of sacking the museums and libraries of the world and slaughtering the artists they're too evil and genetically inferior to respect.