We bumped along the dirt road and lurched into spring potholes so big we called them swamps. Our driver’s name was Buzzy and thinking back, his bloodhot eyes may have given us clues about the meaning of his nickname.
One day, after picking up Danny Burrill and all of his older brothers and sisters, we got stuck in the turnout at the end of their road. The bus sank in the mud and tilted over to one side, making Buzzy swear, which made us giggle. Cursing again, he yelled at us to get the hell over to the other side of the bus so it didn’t tip over.
He radioed for help and Bunny Hall came with his tow truck. The Hall Boys were on the bus with the rest of us. Although they were only in junior high, they were as big a grown men. The Hall Boys, who always had motor oil blackening their fingernails, hopped out to help push and shove the bus back onto the road. They smiled to hear us clapping for them and were happier still to be too dirty to go to school.
They climbed into the tow truck and pointed at us, still on the bus, like we were monkeys in a cage.