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A novel in verse … and the writing thereof
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On the Bus

The bus left San Francisco at

     one-forty. We sat near the back, both of us

     leaning towards the window. It was chilly

so Cory spread his jacket across us both.

     Then grinned.

“I feel like Rob Creighton,

curled up next to

the head cheerleader— her name

was Linda too, Linda Ayrlington—

at the back of the bus

     after a football game.”

“Uh-oh,” I said, pulling away.

     “I know about those buses.”

“Do you now?” he said, coming after me.

“Behave yourself,” I said, slapping his hands.

“Everyone who went to high school

in the whole U.S. of A.

knows about those buses. So don’t try anything. I’m

               prepared.”

“Yes’m.”

“In my school,” I said, “it was Benjamin Lowe

     and Arlene Spicer.”

“Football star and cheerleader?”

“No, though I heard about them too. No,

     Ben and Arlene were the two star cheerleaders, and

she was valedictorian as well, and

homecoming queen to his king—the whole shebang.”

“And they got into it on the bus?” His hands were

     starting to creep again.

“On a regular basis. Whenever the track team went somewhere,

     on the way back, they’d be together in a back seat.”

“What are you laughing about?”

“Ooh! Mr. Cory, watch where

     you’re putting your hand!”

“That lady across the aisle

     is looking at us.”

I couldn’t lift my head, couldn’t

     stop laughing. Cory said,

“Come on, ‘fess up.”

“Oh, it’s just that they were both so flexible—

     they could both do the splits and so on—

     so there were a lot of jokes about

               you know. How they did it.”

“Really? Tell one.”

“No, I don’t think I know you that well yet.

No, that’s not going to help!

After we’re married.”

“Dang.” Then he was chuckling again.

     “Oh boy, I remember those rides:

Sometimes we were all bouncing around, even

     throwing a football back and forth, it was like

     cover for them, the noise, the rowdy play;

sometimes it was quiet, guys

were sleeping, but I swear,

their dreams must have been about

               Linda and Rob.

Those high school days.

     Seems so long ago.”

“When they hosed down the whole inside of the bus because

Eddie threw up halfway home, there were rumors

     about why it really had to be cleaned.”

Now he pulled back and looked at me.

“Why Linda. You have a dirty mind.”

“That’s not all I’ve got,” I said, sliding my hand

     around his leg.

His eyes closed, then snapped open. “Cut it out,

     Linda, cut it out.”

“Okay,” I said. “I’ll be good.”

“Not too good, I hope.”

“Good enough. For now, anyway.”

“Damn.”

“Cory!”

“You know what I mean.”

     He took my hand and gripped it hard.

“I know what you mean.”

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