Bud stood at the counter, waiting. The onslaught was coming.

They were audible through the hallways. They always were, regardless of which group it was, who was leading them. They came like a heard of elephants in heat, braying and stomping, demanding attention while trying their hardest to not stick out. Always moving in packs. Always with the destructive force of a large ant colony.

Bud braced himself. They were just around the corner, and he knew what was coming. And there they were. The mass of adolescense, a single adult trying to guide them like a sheep dog in a Scottish field. Nipping a heel here, barking there, steering them into the corral.

Bud looked around, apologizing quietly to his books for what was about to happen. He was only halfway through when the doors burst open, and the class squeezed in like cattle through a chute toward the slaughterhouse. If only they could be intellectually processed, Bud thought.

The students talked and laughed and yelled. Bud and the teacher tried to shush them, to no avail. Books were picked up, dropped, tossed.

Some of the kids were respectful. They quietly made their selection, brought the book to Bud to scan. These he knew by name, and smiled. They smiled back before returning to the classroom.

It was the majority, though, acting for the sake of acting. Ten minutes later, the room was quiet again, and Bud began cleaning up the disarray, the havoc left behind. His ears reveled in the quiet once again, while his mind readied itself for the next gang.


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