‘Hey Vernon,’ I say with a smile. ‘What’s going on?’
My bus stop is next. Vernon’s is the one after that, about five miles down the road, maybe more. He swings around in the aisle and regards me furiously with his one good eye.
‘Why’n’t you just bend down over and suck,’ he says. Then he kangaroo kicks me in the stomach. His Keds against my gut. Hard. I buckle, suck in air or try to, images searing my eleven-year-old brain. Bend down over and—oh, the horror! He stands aside, fists clenched, and somehow I make it past him and the hulking albino driver that we call Shorty and off the bus, half falling on to the snow.
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