Continued from: With Drawn: Part 12 — Nothing on but the Radio
Imagine this: an overcrowded school bus careening down a road. Behind the wheel of the bus was a very large and hairy man with a greasy comb-over and a stained t-shirt, the man laughing manically, his eyes crazed, foam dripping from his mouth. There were children on this bus, and they were screaming and sobbing, and crying for help as the bus almost hit several cars before swerving up onto the sidewalk. On the sidewalk, the bus knocked down pedestrians like bowling pins, blood and guts splashing up on the windshield. The bus driver continued roaring with laughter as Tommy Rogers approached him. Tommy was sobbing and begging the driver to stop, and it was obvious that Tommy had soiled his pants, a large stain spreading across his bottom. Tommy gripped the driver’s arm, continuing to sob and beg, and the driver swatted him away, the driver turning and gnashing at the children with his crooked, stained teeth.
A Tater Tot bounced off the hood of the bus, and then the Tater Tot scurried off down the cafeteria table.
It was lunchtime at the Mystic Island Middle School, and Jacob was sitting at one of the cafeteria’s tables. Jacob’s lunch consisted of four Fruit Roll-ups and a thermos of milk. Jacob’s lunch always consisted of four Fruit Roll-ups and a thermos of milk, because that’s what Jacob liked to eat.
No one sat immediately around Jacob. No one ever sat with Jacob. But that was fine. Jacob used the time to sit at the table and draw in his sketchpad.
They—“they” being Principal Cooper and Jacob’s teachers—used to let Jacob eat lunch in a classroom alone. A place where Jacob could eat and draw in privacy. But then they decided that Jacob needed to socialize more. They did not seem concerned, however, in making other students socialize more with Jacob.
Peter Maynard and his friends were sitting at the table beside Jacob’s table. Peter Maynard was round in stature and he had an over-sized, moon face. It was Peter that had tossed a Tater Tot at Jacob. And it was Peter that now threw another Tater Tot at Jacob, this Tater Tot, like the last one that had been thrown, bounced off Jacob’s sketchpad and scurried off down the table.
Jacob looked up from his drawing and he looked around at the different faces in the cafeteria. He was confused, not knowing where the Tater Tot had come from, and confused as to why anyone would want to throw a Tater Tot in the first place. The person had obviously paid for the Tater Tots, and Jacob wondered why the person wouldn’t have wanted to eat them.
Peter and his friends, sitting at the table beside Jacob’s table, were all laughing. They thought it was funny, for some reason, that Peter would throw food at another human being.
Jacob finally made the assessment—given the way the students were laughing at the next table, and by the most likely trajectory of the Tater Tots’ launch—that it was most likely Peter and his friends that had thrown the Tater Tots. This assessment was confirmed when Peter threw another Tater Tot at Jacob. So even though Jacob now knew who had thrown the Tater Tots, he still could not determine why he threw them.
Another Tater Tot came Jacob’s way. The boys at the table laughed.
Jacob ignored the boys and he opened his sketchpad to a fresh page and he began drawing. More and more Tater Tots flew toward Jacob. But Jacob ignored them, until he was done with his drawing. When he was done with his drawing, he held up his sketchpad to show the drawing to the table of boys beside him.
In the sketchpad, there was a drawing of Peter Maynard, the drawn likeness of Peter looking quizzically at a Tater Tot in the manner of Hamlet regarding the skull of Uric. Above Peter’s head was a thought bubble reading: I LOVE TO FIND THINGS THAT ARE THE SAME SIZE AS MY BRAIN AND MY PENIS.
The table of boys erupted in laughter.
But Peter was not laughing. Instead, Peter grabbed a handful of Tater Tots from his lunch tray and he jammed them into his mouth. Peter stood and walked over to Jacob. He took Jacob’s thermos of milk and spit masticated Tater Tots into it. Peter then returned to the table of boys. Peter now laughing along with the rest of them.
Continued in: With Drawn: Part 14 — A Space No One Used