By Mayee Zhu
Eight-year-old Tina Teetoler had a beautiful, blue glass eye that perfectly matched her beautiful, blue, God-given eye, but she had the blackest, stinkiest, most rotten, no-good personality that anyone could ever think of. When her momma was worried about her lack of friends, Momma Teetoler brought home a sweet as sugar golden retriever puppy to keep Tina company. Tina pinched, punched, and punted the poor thing so many times, Puppy Teetoler’s loving nature completely flipped, and it became just as mean as Tina. And Tina was proud.
No one could tell Tina’s God-given eye from her glass one, but she made sure everyone knew she had a glass eye. No one knew if it was because she wanted pity, attention, or just to disgust people, but she would pop out that glass eye from her socket like it was a cherry seed from her mouth and show it off to everyone when they first met. And sometimes she would just do it when she was bored.
“Look at my glass eye,” would be her personal introduction. “A car accident ruined my first eye.”
Most adults reacted to that with an apology, even though they did nothing wrong. Others uncomfortably looked away or changed the subject. They either felt sorry for the poor girl or inwardly cursed her for the following awkwardness. Tina loved all the reactions and the visible strain on the strangers’ faces as they thought of what to say next—they reminded her that she was the cause of their discomfort or sorriness, and she drank it up like a strawberry milkshake.
But Tina hated showing off her glass eye to anyone her age. Her classmates would repeatedly ask her to pop it out, even offering her quarters in return, like she was a freak vending machine.
But even this was better than being ignored. So, Tina popped out her eyeball at least twice every class period. Eventually, everyone grew tired of Tina’s schtick, and even more tired of her rotten personality, and one of her many bully victims even hoped that the fake eyeball would explode, taking Tina Teetoler out with it.
When Sammy Sannie transferred to Tina’s grade, hobbling into Tina’s class on his discount, rickety wooden leg, it was as if Tina’s worst nightmare had come to life. The class oohed and aahed at his fake leg, and even after the first novelty week, there were always two or three students gathered around Sammy, lending him their arms and shoulders as supports and asking him if he needed any help. It made Tina sick.
So, one day, she decided to steal Sammy’s wooden leg. This thought struck her when she saw Sammy standing by himself at a street sign, licking a lollipop too damn happily for his own good. She snuck up on him and started giving him the beating of his life, trying to wrest his wooden leg off. Having only one working eye, she didn’t see Sammy’s two friends buying candy from the mom-and-pop shop just across the street. And even having two working eyes wouldn’t have let her foresee the God-given beating she received from Lispin’ Lisa and Overgrown Obie.
Tina Teetoler returned home that day with a black-and-purple eye, missing its glass eyeball, to go along with her crying, hateful, God-given blue eye.