That October, before my ninth birthday, Santa Ana winds blew the bark off eucalyptus trees and brought a wildness to the San Fernando Valley. At school, windows rattled and trash barrels bellowed across blacktop. The air smelled of acorn dust and asphalt, and everything, including me, twitched and sparked with static electricity.
I’m thinking how I’ve got friends. They just don’t take my bus. And the bus is a branch of Hell. Think about all these bricks of Kraft Cheddar at the Publix. Yellow. They all look alike. Inflate them. Put wheels on them. A whole network of Hell on wheels tooling around the entire country. Torturemobiles. Around here they call any school bus The Big Cheese. When you get to high school it’s way easier to get around taking them. Everyone knows someone with a license by then. Most of us would do anything to avoid stepping up onto these things, all lined up, idling. Waiting.