The Abscission Zone Extras – The Life and Times of Dock Hatman

Dock squirmed in his seat while his science teacher droned on. Suddenly, a paper clip whizzed through the air. When the sharp metal point punctured the skin on his neck, it made a thunk like a dart hitting a dartboard. Dock’s startled cry caused the teacher to stop in mid-word.

“Dock Hatman” she said. “Can’t you sit still for one minute?”

Dock turned and glared at his enemy, a red-haired teen who tormented him every day. The bully pulled back a red rubber band and aimed another projectile at Dock.

“Mr. Hatman,” the teacher said. “I am speaking to you.”

“I didn’t do anything,” Dock said.

“Exactly,” the teacher said. “You are never going to amount to anything with that slothful attitude of yours.”

The day seemed to never end but finally the three o’clock bell rang.

Dock poked his head out the double doors and looked both ways. The coast was clear, no bullies were in sight.

He jogged home and as he entered the driveway his eyes lit up. A blanket of poison ivy covered the giant maple tree in the front yard.

It took him a few minutes to get the materials he needed. Wearing disposable gloves, he stuffed poison ivy leaves into a plastic bag.

Unfortunately, the red-haired bully was out sick the next day so Dock had to postpone his revenge.

It was a sunny Wednesday morning when Dock knew he had found his calling in life. During the commotion before science class started, Dock sauntered by the bully’s desk. With a quick motion, his gloved hand stuffed poison ivy leaves down the back of the red-haired bully’s paisley shirt.

The bully sneered and laughed as he started to pull the leaves out of his shirt. The grin on his face vanished when he saw the ‘leaves of three’. He jumped up and ripped off his shirt but it was too late. A cherry red rash bloomed over his neck, back, and chest. Blisters erupted on his hands and he howled in pain.

Years later, Dock grinned as he sat in a plant physiology class at university. He shook his head as he remembered the incident that inspired his love of the plant world.