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Just Another Day

At 3:15 I get on the bus and take my seat. I dread the next half hour, as usual, but today I also feel kind of numb. I know as soon as Frank gets on the bus, he will kick my shins or smack my forehead on his way through the aisle. I can’t stop thinking about about Callie, though. Or her empty seat on the bus.

The morning started out badly. Callie was absent, so Frank decided to pick on those of us in the front of the bus. He stole my flute and carried it to the back, tossing it to one of his friends, an older boy. He threw it back to me as we got to school, and it hit my face. I was glad Frank didn't take it to his locker, or worse, throw it in the dumpster. That happened to another kid on our bus.

My friends who ride different buses get along fine with the 8th graders. They have fun on the way home. They always do homework or write notes or talk to each other. If I did homework on the bus, it would definitely get stolen. If I wrote a note, Frank would take it and read it in a mocki…
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I want to sing something from "Phantom", but Maggie told me not to because that's what everyone else is doing. It doesn't matter. I won't get the lead. I just want to get in so I can be in the dance scene.





Mandarin & Red Bull

It had been years, but with one sip I tasted everything. Marlboro Lights mixed with bonfire smoke. Roasted marshmallows. Horseshoes in fresh cut grass. Crickets chirping before a late storm. And the salty taste of his lips. The summer I'll always remember.


Irresistible

"It's been down to here," he gestured to his fourth shirt button.  "But a couple years ago I trimmed it short."  I stroked its current length, an inch or so, well-groomed and fragrant.  I gave it a tug and kissed his cheek.




The Fugue

I came to in the passenger seat, head throbbing. Bruised, probably. Keys vanished; him too. 
I deserved it. We began intimately, but my last recollection was rage.
Forgive me, I silently pleaded. 
My phone chimed. Desperately, I swiped and read. 
“We’re done."

Hotel Bar

I can’t answer anymore.
He stabbed the cork and twisted clockwise. “Patience. They’re here only one night. You, a month.”

Pop, pour.
Time stops in a hotel.
A stranger arrived next to me. “Where’re you from?”
Yet again, I answer.

Pop, pour.




Answering the ultimate question: Have all your clocks stopped?