At school there was a kid nicknamed Buster who would terrorise the more timid boys. He would demand their pocket money and if they'd already spent it at the tuck shop he would take their savoury snacks and sweets.
He was a truly horrid specimen and the prefects didn't do anything because they fancied his sister who was devoted to little Buster and wouldn't have a word said against him.
One day a new boy joined our school. He was weedy, wore glasses and had a stutter. A perfect victim for Buster's cruelty.
After a month of giving up his pocket money, snacks and sweets, the new boy joined the school's lunchtime Chemistry Club which kept him away from Buster's playground domain. The boy was very enthusiastic about his subject but very secretive and would shield what he was working on from the other swots and the naive teacher.
One lunchtime, as he left the club, he was confronted by an angry Buster in the quadrangle. Buster asked the boy if he had any money. The boy said no. Buster demanded savoury snacks. The boy said he hadn't any. Then, sweets?
The boy produced something Buster hadn't seen before. Little white pills in a see-through flip-top plastic container. Buster asked what these new treats were.
"Only mints," said the boy.
Buster grabbed them from the boy's hand, flipped the top and greedily tipped half the contents into his mouth. He gave a superior smile as he crunched the mints with his strong teeth.
Seconds later, he held his neck. He was burning inside. More than that, he couldn't breathe. Red rose from his Adam's apple to his forehead. His heart was thumping like mad and his brain was an uncontrollable kaleidoscope of colours. He was dying.
With his last breath he forced the words out.
"What...the fuck...are they?"
He fell to the ground and expired. The container of mints fell out of his hand.
Later that year the new boy went to court. The case made the national press. The headlines said...
BULLY BOY TIC TACS
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