Published: November 15, 2007


“And this is where Congress talks about laws.”  The woman has brown hair, worn in the same ponytail that my mom wears.  She has pearls around her neck, also like my mom.

“Does anybody have any questions?”

My mom is prettier, I think.

When the tour is over, we all line up to get on the bus.  Everyone wants to sit in the back.

When we are all sitting, I get stuck with Tommy.  He smells and always has boogers.  It’s okay though; I am still in the back.

On the road, we drive by a sign that says Hartford.

“Hartford.  Hard-ford.  Heart-ford.”  The word sounds funny on my tongue, like Pop-Rocks.

The bus smells like the milk I found inside my sister’s bottle behind the couch.

“Hey look at that! It’s a bum!”

Everyone points and laughs.

“I bet he smells like garbage, ha ha!”

Yesterday my dog got into the garbage and made a mess all over the kitchen.

“I bet he EATS garbage, and I bet he LIKES it.”

Everyone was pointing and laughing.

I think I saw John waving his middle finger.

“He must be really cold,” said Tommy. He had boogers coming out of his nose.  I wish I had a tissue to give him.

“Who cares if he’s cold?” shouts the other kids.  “He’s a bum!  Bums SHOULD be cold!”

“I wonder what happened to him,” wonders Tommy aloud.

“You’re really weird, Tommy. Who cares what happened to him, he’s a bum!  Do you wish you were a bum, Tommy?  Hey everybody! Tommy wishes he were a bum!”

Tommy’s face is red.  Man, he really needs to blow his nose.

“Stop it. Tommy is not a bum.”

The words come out of my mouth

before I even have time to stop them.  Mom says Dad has this problem, I think.

“Oh, so now George LIKES bums.  Everyone listen up, George LOVES bums!”

“Stop it. I don’t.”

“What, is your Dad a bum or something?”

“No, he’s not.”

“Prove it.”

I’m all sweaty. I take my hat and gloves off.  “I bet that bum has no teeth.”

“Ha ha! Yea, good one, George!”

I don’t look at Tommy.  I bet he still has boogers.  I feel like throwing up.