Dad had it set up so that Kit would drive us to school, because it was convenient and he had many memories of having to wake up three hours before school started just so he could be there on time, but for after school we had to use the public transportation system and then walk the rest of the way. Which normally I'm all for, but today Oly decided to yank my headphones off of my head and hold them ransom until after we'd had a nice familial heart-to-heart over the dawning of the supposed best days of our lives.
“So, I didn't see you anywhere! We must have, like, completely opposite schedules,” she enthused in my general direction, bouncing in the particular way that informed me she'd had something with cinnamon sugar in it for lunch today1.
“I'm in the alternative education program,” I said off-handedly. “Pretty much all of my classes are in the basement.”
She froze, which was odd because the bus stop was still a few blocks off, so I stopped too and looked at her. She seemed to be horrified at... something.
“You... you're in the Basement?” Something in her voice automatically capitalized the word. “The one that everybody calls the Basement of Psychos, Stoners, and Slackers?”
Huh. Well, at least it was a cooler name than 'Liberty Alternative Education Plan'. “Guess so,” I told her with a shrug, before continuing walking. She could have a mental breakdown in the middle of the street if she wanted to, but my cartoons started in an hour, and I wasn't about to miss them.
“But, Zack, no!” she cried – although at least she appeared to be walking again. “That's... that's not good! It's full of kids who've been arrested, and shoot up after school!” Great, she was going into drama queen mode2. “I'm going to have to carry out your mangled, drug-filled corpse, and explain it to Ryan and Max3!”
I wondered if strangling your sister was still considered murder – and if it was, if any of the Supreme Court Justices had actually had a sister. But ultimately, I shrugged it off in favor of pulling out my phone and losing myself in the world of Tetris, as Oly babbled on and on and on.
1Normal sugar does nothing to make her hyperactive; the slightest whiff of cinnamon sugar, though, and she's bouncing off the damn walls.
2She learned from Dad, who is simply the best drama queen the planet has to offer.
3Oly thinks it makes her sound more adult to refer to them as Ryan and Max, rather than Dad and Mom like I do, or even Uncle Ryan and Uncle Max like Auggie does.