You have to read Part 1 first. Unless you’re the kind of person who likes to ruin stories for yourself by reading ahead. In which case I have no respect for you at all. None.
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Patti manages to navigate the boarding of the bus with a minimum of fuss. Of course there are quite a few tears, all from her mom who, despite earlier claims that she wouldn’t make a scene, winds up blubbering like a big fat toothless drooling baby when the bus door opens and little Patti sets her foot on the step to climb in. She’s glad she’s the only kid on the bus, because she would have been mortified if anyone witnessed her mom’s display. And thank god for the blind busdriver. As it is, though, Patti is embarrassed anyway.
“The bus is the same color as my pencils!” Patti yells inside her head. “I love regular school already!”
Patti looks around for the other kids. Surely this big bus isn’t just for her. Is it? Is she going to be the only kid on the bus for the entire ride to Lower Smersh Elementary School? How is she supposed to sing that fun song about “the littlest worm” that her mom had spent all of last night teaching her so she would fit in with the other kids?
She decides to practice out loud.
“The littlest worm (the littlest worm) … I ever saw (I ever saw) … Got stuck inside (got stuck inside) … my soda straw (my soda straw) … The littlest worm I ever saw-aw-aw … Got stuck inside. My. So. Da. Straw!!!”
“Bravo!” shouts the busdriver, turning around to not-look at Patti. “Again! I never tire of that ditty!”
The bus pulls up in front of the school. Patti presses her nose against the window and immediately draws back in shock. Still, she has to look now, from behind the safety and comfort of the glass.
These are kids? Why do they all look so … different?