The bus came to sudden a stop, the brakes screeching, the children all thrown forward into the seats in front of them.
As the kids collected themselves and their belongings, the teacher stood up and called out over the din, “Okay kids, we’re going inside, having a calm, respectful look around, and we’ll back on the bus in,” she looked down at her watch, “oh jeez. Back on the bus in ten minutes!”
The kids started to file off in an orderly fashion, little drones well-trained in their duties. The teacher stood on the sidewalk and directed them into the museum. Every child, after hopping off the last step of the bus, went running in: ten minutes wasn’t very long to see the dinosaurs and ocean monsters and super-cool geological formations.
When Christopher stepped down, though, the teacher stopped him.
“Um, who are you?” she asked.
“Ms. Hage? I’m Christopher! I was in your class, like, fifteen years ago.”
“Christopher?” she glared at him for a moment, then opened her eyes wide. “Oh! Christopher! Loved space, wanted to be an astronaut. Had a brother two years younger?”
“Well, great. But what the hell are you doing on my bus? How did you even get here? Do you have a kid?”
“No ma’am. I snuck on. I wanted to just, you know, go to the museum again.”
“Well, Christopher, pardon my saying so, but that’s really fucking weird.”
“Ms. Hage! That’s twice you’ve sworn!”
“I never heard you swear before! You punished me for saying ‘fart’ in class once!”
“Different times, Christopher. But again, what the fuck are you doing on my bus?”
“I told you,” Christopher stammered a bit, his ploy having failed. “I just wanted to go to the museum again.”
“Well,” Ms. Hage took her glasses off to clean them. “You’ll need to pay your own way in, and you’ll need to find your own way home, too. You can’t get back on this bus. I’m amazed you got on, that none of the chaperones said anything. But stay away from my kids.”
“Can I at least go in with you guys? I promise I won’t get back on the bus with you at the end.”
Ms. Hage sighed, putting her glasses back on her face. “Fine, Christopher. In you go. But this is the end of the line for you.”
“Hooray!” Christopher hopped off the last step of the bus and went running into the museum. Ms. Hage watched him, shaking her head and wondering how she would explain this one to the principal.