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  • I'd never smelled anything like it.
    Just weeks earlier I found myself in the quiet, clean blue bus, of a college prep school. My schoolmates were all boys, dressed in suits and ties. As I entered the Public School Bus for the first time, I was greeted by the sounds of Disco, a cloud from Pall Mall, and the gold toothed Driver named Alejandro. The cigarette stench was no match to "that smell". It smelt kinda like a cross between diesel fuel and pee, As I hesitated atop the stairwell, Alejandro yelled , "¡Ándale! ¡Ándale! ¡Arriba! ¡Arriba!", Hurry Hurry, Lets get Going, he yelled in spanish. I looked up and realized that I was the only white person on the bus, It was mostly black with a few browns... There were girls here! ...No uniforms, lotsa: Bell bottoms, T shirts, Tube tops and platform shoes. They were all staring at the new kid on the block. No one smiled, the music stopped.
    I wasn't worried...I had a black kid in my Latin class once...

    Three rows in and someone tripped me, I fell face down. They laughed. A big girl stood up and fingered me in the chest "Back of the Bus Bitch". "Yes Mam" I cried. "Yes MAM?" "Ha", they laughed "Yes MAM", the guys started chanting. I was scared shitless. I crawled to the back of the bus where I encountered a different kinda odor coming from those hand rolled cigarettes. Only one kid allowed me to sit with him, that was Juan, Alejandros' son.

    The bus traveled from the green lawned streets of Carrollton through the dirt roads of Keller Springs, a Cotton patch. Dad moved us to Carrollton to avoid the Bussing in the Big D. Little did he know that the district would annex the descendants of the plantations of North Dallas. Everyone out here knew one another or were cousins. If a kid wasn't at the busstop, Alejandro would send Juan to the door to awaken them. They often brought him bags of fruit and he often had many bags of goodies for them.

    I got beaten up some, till I learned to fight back, I got pretty good at it after a while, I learned how to roll a joint. A lot of joints. We all called each other Honky, Nigger, and Spic, no one got mad, we were "Brothah's". Juan gave me a nickname that would be with me throughout high school. "Roper". He worked the cotton in the summer and appreciated my cowboy way. I learned allot about Funk and that new sound, Punk. I met a girl in Gym, she liked "Roper", liked to wear my Stetson. She didn't like the way I smelt when I got off the buss though. Said I smelled like a dead rat, soaked in chlorine. The stench permeated everything. We joked that it was the reason they painted the busses, pee yellow.

    My Yellow Bus adventures ended on a cold winter morn. The Bus came to an abrupt screeching stop, everyone fell to the floor. The goodie bags traveled down the aisle and crashed into the stairwell, followed by the sounds of breaking glass. I was immediately overcome by "the Smell". My eyes burned I could barely see. "OUT, OUT, EMERGENCY", Alejandro cried "OUT, OUT, CIGARETTES OUT, OUT, Get the FUCK OUT".
    We all scrambled out the back door, onto the icy road.

    The police came, and to our surprise, immediately arrested Alejandro. It was because of that smell. You see, It was the smell of moonshine, Mountain Dew, 100-proof home-distilled alcohol. Alejandro was bussing pupils to school and selling Joy Juice, in pickle Jars, to the cousins.

    I discovered sex, drugs and rock and roll, on a bus, that smelled like shit. I had evolved from Tie to Tie Dye. I never rode a bus again. I bought a 64 Nova for $200 and drove to school to the sound of Sly and his Family, with my girl, a girl that smelled like heaven.
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