Dani and I both lived in the upper reach of the holler. It was always us, first on the bus in the morning, last off in the evening.
This story was a ‘first on in the morning’ sort of situation. The sky was dark and cloudy like usual that deep in January. The cold of the mountain night had left the grass frosted over, and some of the leaves shimmered as if it had snowed.
Have you ever seen snow? I’ve seen it a couple times. I could move up north when I grow up – it snows there more often, and I think I’d like that. I’d have to put up with Yanks like you, though, so jury’s still out.
Anyway, Dani was sitting in the back when I got on the bus. “Mr. Potter,” I said to the driver. “You doin’ ok?”
He mumbled something under his breath. “Git in yer seat. Shut up.”
I hurried on to the back of the bus, looking over my shoulder at Mr. Potter. Something was wrong – his eyes were puffy, his hair was unkempt. Even sterilized folks like him usually kept themselves well if they wanted to do anything more than barely survive. I made my way to my seat, across the aisle from Dani, and plopped my bag in the spot next to the window.
Dani’s hand – er, claw, whatever – scratched at the seat in front of her. “You do that crap Mrs. Ellerson assigned last night? That was a dumb homework. Find all the prime numbers up to a thousand without the internet or a calculator? I was up for hours!”
I rolled my eyes. “Duh, just do the first hundred and use the internet for the rest. Do you really think Mrs. Ellerson is going to check our work? No way.”
“So you cheated?”
“Yeah. I didn’t see how I’d finish it if I played it straight.”
“Well…I guess that’s right. I didn’t finish it. Oh, man, now my scores are going to go down, and my reliability will decrease. Gah!”
I held onto the seat while we went around a curve. “It just wasn’t worth doing that assignment, you know.”
“Have you cheated on other things? I don’t want to do my homework if I don’t have to.”
“Oh hell no.” I pulled away from her and crossed my arms. “I got caught cheating off you when we were in like first grade or something. That still takes points off my scores in the End of Year evaluations, and it’s not worth the risk. I don’t cheat much at all, and this is only the second time ever -”
We both gripped our seats and screamed bloody murder.
…Ok, I might not have stopped at that point in my sentence, I get it, but just roll with me here. Just think of it as nice flavor text for your report or whatever.
Anyway, we screamed and held onto our seats. Even though I gripped tight to the fake-ass leather seat in front of me, my fingers couldn’t hold my weight when the bus rolled over.