When the mean girls surround Emilia behind the portable classroom during recess, it is the janitor who chases them away with his mop, who helps her gather the spilled crayons back into her samurai lunchbox.
Thank you, Emilia says, as he returns to his work making a clicking sound with his tongue-stump.
He has always hated bullies. His father was a bully, a man he talked back to only once. Comere boy, the Old Man slurred after that, fumbling through the kitchen drawer for a pair of rusty scissors.