Here’s an excerpt from T.C.C. (Mystery of the Leech cemetery witch). Most of us remember the unwritten law of seating on the school bus. Where did you sit, how was the view from your section? This was our section and how it looked from a fifth grade point of view. I hope this brings back a few memories. If it does, drop us a note and tell us about it in the comments below.
Excerpt; Chapter (1) The Tin Cup Clan.
Funny thing about a school bus; there’s a certain “social segregation.” One might go as far as to say a miniature cold war of class separation.
Now… you might think a body could sit just about anywhere there was an empty seat. But every kid what has ever sat on a bus knows that certainly ain’t the case on this or any other bus for that matter. One simple mistake, such as sitting in the wrong territory or next to the wrong person, could haunt a kid for the rest of the school year. And no kid, no matter how hard they might want to, can ever leave one group for another.
I believe the seating arrangements are about the same no matter where you might go to school. It’s some twisted sort of natural order. Birds of a feather and all that nonsense. And oddly enough, it starts from the rear of the bus.
First, we have the jocks and their giddy band of cheerleaders, they sit in the very rear. Here discussions of upcoming games, how much each can bench press and what type of car they hope to drive someday are the norm. Even which poor soul of lesser distinction may have been forced into doing someone’s homework.
All this accompanied by the constant singing giggling cheering chittering and what-ever annoying attempts for attention those dang cheerleaders might think up. For the most part, they’re a vain group, and not very bright by our clan’s standard, but dangerous all the same.
Just a few seats up, you’ll find the “cool” kids.
I’m talking rock music, leather jackets, pretty girls, and greasy hair. You had to be really careful around this group. They can smell fear just by looking at ya. When I say aggressive this is the group that comes to mind. They seem forever on the look-out, searching for the slightest sign of weakness, scent of blood in the water or accidental infraction.
They were, believe it or not, less intelligent than the jocks. If you were caught looking at one of the girls, or made any manner of eye contact, you’re probably gonna get a pounding, or at the very least a severe cussing.
A few seats closer to the front sit the smart kids.
Most are kinda quiet really and all are harmless. They don’t say a whole lot, least not to anyone out-side their own group. Piles of dog-eared papers usually cover their laps. A last-minute dash to finish home-work or extra credit projects I reckon.
When it comes to this group; eye contact must be avoided for a completely different reason. The very possibility of eye contact just might force one of them into catatonic fits. Sending them digging through their pockets and trapper-keepers in a frantic search the ever-present inhaler. Yea, I reckon they spook pretty easily.
Separating the smart from the cool was the “poor kid” section. I reckon you might say it was kind of a demilitarized zone. Protecting the smart ones from the various projectiles or flips to the noggins from the rear seats. In other words; our group was on the receiving end of most everything shot from the rear seats.
This section is comprised mainly of kids whose parents work in the mines in one way or the other. The clothes they wear might be a little tattered, repurposed hand me downs from older siblings. Many have never laid eyes on an iron, even if they had, late nights and busy mornings don’t leave much time for such trivial and vain labors.
The colorful fingernail polish so common in the rear of the bus is replaced by nails edged in black dirt and soot, leftovers from gathering coal, feeding animals or tending morning fires. Guys wear haircuts done at the kitchen table with a scissors and a towel. But the girls in our section, well that’s a different story. Pretty as a new fawn, proudly showing off long neatly brushed hair, tied back in a conservative style with pretty home-made bows.
It’s only October so blue jeans still cling to their dark blue color, most have only now just begun to fade. Most ain’t even torn yet, patches of different shades will soon cover knees and the occasional butt-cheek. We usually get two or three new pair when school starts, it takes a good while to break em in. Until that time the denim is usually so stiff, I swear they could stand on their own, if given the opportunity.
Along with the new britches, comes a new pair of shoes. Not the shoes worn by jocks or cool kids, ours are a great deal more “utilitarian.” But that don’t stop most of us from dreaming of high-top Converse for the guys or a bright white pair of “Keds” for the girls. Maybe even something in patent-leather, you know, for Sunday meetings and such.
The halls echo with a chorus of vutt-vutt-vutt, the sound of legs covered in stiff denim as we each make our way to class. The sound slowly fades as the cloth softens and the dark blue fades to a lighter shade with the seasons.
This is where I usually sit, if not in the same spot then real close to it. A seat saved for me by one of my three closest friends in the world.
I don’t remember what brought us together. Shoot, I don’t even remember when we all first met, it just seems like we’ve always just… well, been. Whenever don’t matter, we all know we’ll be friends forever and there ain’t nothing gonna change that.
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