The John Bull Effect

by Judah Christian, 13, Antigua Grammar School

Every day at break, Miles and Tony would steal Tyler’s lunch money, and give him a ‘wedgie’ whenever he approached the urinal. His ritual was to go through classes ignoring the bullies, while in Science class visualizing his enhanced super costume. The more he thought about it, the more his plans were coming together. He drew a sketch of a suit made of banana leaves and ‘crocus’ bag, with a mask made from a cattle’s skull with a blue, red, yellow and black design. The clap whip would be hidden away in the hand of the suit, similar to what Peter Parker, Spiderman, had. All this he securely guarded in his private blue and red journal.

“Yes! That’s how I’m going to spend my summer!” Tyler exclaimed, forgetting he was in Mr Frederick’s class.

“Tyler! No, that is not an element on the periodic table!” berated Mr Frederick, the Science teacher. “As  a matter of fact, I think you need to let your classmates know HOW you’re going to spend your summer!” continued the teacher.

The class erupted with laughter.

This reminded Tyler of the first time he had to repeat his ‘golden text’ in front of the congregation at St. Morbid’s Cathedral. Sigh. As he staggered to the front of the lab, he faced his classmates and froze. For the next three hundred seconds, not a tick of the clock passed by without him hearing it. Every second. Tick. Tock. No one can know about his plans for the summer. No one. Suddenly, a prefect rushed into the class, and told Mr Frederick that he was needed urgently at the office. At the same time came the familiar ‘brrrrringgg’ to signify the end of the class.

The agitated teacher said, “Class dismissed! Tyler, you better make sure you have that summer plan ready for our next session!”

“Okay, sir!” Tyler responded, breathing a sigh of relief.

Later that evening, Tyler began to put more plans in place to include getting his neighbour, Mr John Bailey, a mass builder, to help him with his suit. He would approach his grandfather, about helping out at the farm, so that he could master the art of donkey-back riding. Once in place, Tyler was focused on his revenge on Miles and Tony.

That summer, while most teenaged boys were involved in Fifa, girls, camps, or carnival preparations, Tyler was busy making his suit and preparing to deliver the John Bull Effect. By the end of summer, he was ready. He kept Mr Bailey’s mantra in his head, “Na mek nobady tek advantage ah you!”. For sure, Miles and Tony had it coming.

On the first day of school after the summer break, Tyler was just waiting for the perfect moment to catch the bullies. He could not wait for the dismissal. When the last bell rang, he ran all the way home, changed quickly into his suit, got the donkey, and melted into his private ecological dwelling. As soon as Miles and Tony passed, he sent spiraling shivers down both their spines with the clap whip. As they tried to run away, he quickly caught up with them on the donkey and showered their backs with even more lashes from the clap whip. He stopped when he realized that he could easily kill or brutally injure the two boys. So, he snapped a quick photo of them on his Samsung Galaxy S9+. Turning his donkey, in the opposite direction, he hurriedly rode away, leaving both Miles and Tony sobbing and nursing welts from their lashes.

The bullies’ reign of terror came to an abrupt end, because Tyler had posted their photo as a meme on Instagram, “The John Bull Effect”.

ABOUT the story: How a boy used his Caribbean folklore and 21st century technology to fight against bullying. (It) was inspired by Judah’s drive to see wrongdoers brought to justice. Interwoven in this short story are elements of his love for Spiderman, justice specifically anti-bullying, Antiguan history and culture, and social media. His hope is that his story would appeal to readers all ages. This work of fiction is honourable mention in the 13-17 age category of the Wadadli Youth Pen Prize 2020 Challenge.

ABOUT the author: Judah is passionate about sports, especially football, nature, cars, and technology. Additionally, Judah is an active participant of the Vibrant Faith Ministries’ youth group, where he is trained to be a well-rounded citizen. He lives with his parents and sister in Golden Grove New Extension. Judah is a returning Wadadli Pen finalist – he was a promising writer in 2015 and  second placed in the 12 and younger age category in 2016.

ABOUT prizes won:

Prizes – Patrons:

EC$100 – Lawrence Jardine (founder and technical director of the Antigua and Barbuda Youth Enlightenment Academy); Signed copy of Musical Youth 2nd edition (paperback) by Joanne C. Hillhouse

Each winner is also set to receive a certificate, a selection of books from The Best of Books Bookstore and cultural items from the Cultural Development Division – Antigua and Barbuda.

For the full breakdown of ‘who won what’, if not linked (yet), use the site’s search feature.

ABOUT Wadadli Pen: The Wadadli Youth Pen Prize launched in 2004 with a writing Challenge that continues 16 years later. It is Wadadli Pen’s pilot project, in keeping with its mandate to nurture and showcase the literary arts in Antigua and Barbuda, encouraging  writers (and visual artists) in Antigua and Barbuda (35 years and younger) to create a piece on any topic, within a Caribbean aesthetic. In 2020, there was also an Imagine a Future climate change challenge. To support the work of Wadadli Pen, contact

Please respect the author’s copyright. If you share, excerpt, credit, and link back; do not republish without permission nor without crediting.

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Filed under A & B Lit News Plus, A & B WRITINGS, Links We Love, Literary Gallery, Wadadli Pen 2020, Wadadli Pen News

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