Fiction | March 01, 2006

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Shuhei was stuck in the odd position of both protecting and despising his friend, or his neighbor, so that at school he would stand up between the moping Hideo and the bigger and rougher boys, who numbered as many as four and would half-encircle him, and when Shuhei intervened he had to withstand the shoves of four pairs of arms against his iron chest. Yet when it was only the two of them, Shuhei, despite himself, would occasionally find himself overcome with annoyance and would push the boy down. This will teach you! he would say as the boy fell to the ground.

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