Thursday, February 5, 2009

Stories from my childhood, PART 2: Bus battle

First of all, I'd just like to recognize the school bus as the single greatest educational tool in my life until high school. After learning meaningless tripe in the classroom, I would board P-11 at 3:30 P.M. sharp and embark on a 10-minute journey to my home. Anything could happen on the bus when the high schoolers were there: fights, yelling matches, drinking, joint smoking. I recall reading one kid's Marilyn Manson autobiography every day before school for about a month... and having enough new words to repeat to my friends for the rest of 6th grade.

This incident happened the next year, in 7th grade. It is important to note that every bus has a "Backseat Bully," or more commonly known as the oldest kid on the bus who sits in the back seat. We rotated several BBs throughout my bus career... they sported intelligent nicknames like "Beezer" and "Skittles." BBs usually all had a few things in common, like a tendency to throw things, the mouth of a dock worker and incredible underlying sociological issues. The BB during 7th grade was a sophomore simply known as "Dustin."

Dustin was a fat fuck. He sported a bowl cut, the trademark style for boys in the 90s. Dustin apparently still found it stylish, despite most other males moving onto the more popular spiked hair of the early 00s. He also had a stupid-looking yellow Columbia jacket that I hated. Who wears a yellow jacket? Answer: the chubby douchebag taking the whole back seat to himself.

For the most part, I kept to myself during bus rides. By junior high I had started taking along my Sony G-Protection CD player and listening to it with my sweet silver wrap-around headphones. For some reason, however, this particular day I noticed Dustin having an altercation with a nice neighborhood girl named Julie. Julie was cool, she always babysat the younger kids in the valley and is now a hairdresser at Cost Cutters. Dustin found it necessary to call her all sorts of dirty names that day, and J wasn't feeling it.

When Julie got off the bus, she kicked Dustin and called him an asshole. It was my stop as well, and in an incredibly bold fashion (I still wonder why I did this) I also kicked Dustin in the shin. He looked up at me, barely showing his beady little eyes from underneath his neatly-trimmed bowl cut. I then took things to the next level:

I kicked him again.

Dustin immediately pushed me into a nearby seat and beat the shit out of me... we're talking four or five direct punches to the face. After being assaulted I quickly gathered my things and shuffled off the bus. The driver (a very nice Eastern-European immigrant) asked me if I was okay; I think I muttered something incohesive and ran into the house.

The first thing I did was what I always did when I didn't know what to do: I called my Dad. He told me to ice the spot where I was punched and that he was coming home in a few hours. A pretty solid black eye was beginning to form, and I was trying to think of lies I could tell my friends at school to avoid embarassment. Then it hit me: I WAS IN A FIGHT! What was more masculine, more impressive in junior high than to be involved in a fight? Besides seeing a girl naked, nothing really.

The next day at school, I recall standing in front of my locker explaining to several girls that I had been in a fight the day before. They didn't take it as well as I hoped, but it still gained style points. Dustin never rode the bus past that year; I heard a rumor that his parents were in and out of jail for drug-related crimes (when you think about it, that explained the haircut). The next year saw a new Backseat Bully, and the legend of fat ass Dustin faded into just another BB in my long career of bus-riding.

1 comment:

Jeff Theis said...

Are you going to tell the story of the 'Backseat Bully' known as Jake Wanek?