The Orange Bus

The bus leaned as he climbed the steps. He was heavier than the other kids.

“Did anybody see an orange roll by?” He stopped inside the doors, a stupid grin on his face, anticipating a reply.

None, from a bus full of students.

“Loser,” came in a murmur, then snickering rose from the seats.

He exhaled, and plodded up the aisle.

“This seat’s taken,” said a boy, who slid into an empty seat beside him. It was repeated twice more. This seat’s taken. This seat’s taken..

He reached the back of the bus, where there we no more seats to take.

“Ah,” he said, and picked up an orange by the wheel well. He tossed it in the air and caught it, satisfied, then clomped back towards the front.

“Walk much?” said someone. Laughter followed him as he clomped. When he reached the front he stopped clomping, and turned to face them. From his coat pocket he removed something shiny and slim. Two keys on a ring. They sparkled when he shook them.

“Anybody know the way to school?” he said, and grinned. “I’m new.”

Cold air sank into their throats as he slid into the empty driver’s seat. He wedged the orange on the dash, and turned the key. The floor rumbled under their snow covered shoes. Brakes hissed and released. Heavy tires crushed salt and snow, then pushed the bus out into the street.

He watched them in the long mirror above the dash, a stupid grin on his face, anticipating anything.

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