This is just a random little thing I wrote about a guy named Junior and my first few weeks of high school. Junior is not his real name, but this is a real story.
Between middle school and high school, I got a “hardship transfer”, which gave me permission to go to a different high school than all the people I went to middle school with. Essentially, I started over. I did this because a) I was picked on a lot in middle school, and b) the new high school was closer to my home.
The one thing I didn’t really think through was that since I didn’t live in the district for the new high school, no bus would transport me. I would have to find my own way to and from school every day.
This is hard to negotiate when you’re the new kid.
My parents bailed me out by asking a friend of theirs if their son, a junior named Junior, could drive me to and from school every day. From what I was told, he agreed readily and was happy to accommodate. But once I met him, I realized that this was a lie.
Junior wasn’t the most popular guy in school, but he had a “good ole boy” swagger and an affinity for giving backrubs to pretty girls that had made him a fixture among the popular crowd. Junior was the guy that the pretty girls complained about their boyfriends too, but would never date. Having a punked out, sarcastic freshman girl riding around in his car did not help him.
He made me sit in the backseat no matter what, and did several loops around the school’s many parking lots before driving away from campus. “Exit’s on the left up here” I’d say hopefully, my voice drowned out by The Steve Miller Band’s “The Joker”, which he played at top volume over and over and over again. He would only turn it down once we were out on the open road. Conversation did not flow, and I found myself wishing he would turn The Joker back up to mask the awkwardness.
Sometimes he took other girls home from school. These were girls he clearly felt more strongly about than myself. He would take them home first, even though I lived closest to the school, and for each of them, he would find some reason to bring up “the bullet”. Junior wore a bullet casing that he had made into a pendant and hung on a tacky gold chain, and he called this a necklace. He would bring it up, with little to no provocation, as “the bullet he got shot with”. Yup, Junior had been shot, and according to him, it didn’t hurt that bad.
What Junior had failed to mention is that he shot himself. Accidentally. In the foot. I found this out from my parents, and from then on would chime in from the backseat as he told his harrowing tale, asking questions about who shot Junior, and where, and how?!
Within a few weeks of starting school, I befriended a nice hippie sophomore who was happy to give me rides, so I just stopped showing up at Junior’s car. I gave him credit for never waiting around at the end of each day to see if I was just late getting to the car. I was ok with him not caring about my transportation needs, we were just two people who should never be in a car together.
Plus he probably would have seen me on one of his many Steve Miller Band loops.