Cholo by Fred Osuna

There was that time he decided to avoid the whole situation by getting off the bus early. He was now twenty miles from school at 7:30 in the morning, and he hitched rides far enough along the route so that he could walk the rest of the way. When he slipped into the classroom forty minutes late, he felt like a badass, not at all the sophomore who was bullied daily by the bandana’d cholo from Chula Vista, nor the awkward virgin who had to hide the obvious erection in his crotch with a Pee Chee.

The next day, he was emboldened, and addressed the cholo as he climbed onto the bus. “Que pasa, Juanito?” No one called that guy such things. He was feared. But by the time the cholo had grasped the new order, the driver was pulling into the school parking lot.

It went like this for another month, a standoff, with no confrontations beyond an exchange of glares. Then the sophomore got his license, inherited a used Chevy, and started driving himself to school.

Today, the Nova broke down on the freeway, smoke rising from under the hood. As he waited for the mechanic to arrive, the bus passed him. One terrified white face peered from the window, a frightened, trapped boy in a cardigan. Behind him was the glowering shade of the cholo, still raging, mouth nearly frothing, grabbing at the kid’s lunch bag, ripping his school papers.

He didn’t miss it at all.


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Filed under Fred Osuna

15 responses to “Cholo by Fred Osuna

  1. In the very first line you give us the story, the fact of life being choices, knowing when to stand up. Well done.

  2. Len

    very vivid. some great stuff-the Pee Chee and bandana’d Cholo. way to go.

  3. Great capture of that “anything but the bus” feeling of highschool. My bus bully was a girl named Nikki.

    I also like the notion of the “new order”… I’m glad he stood up before getting off the bus.

  4. I like how this alternates between tension and the ease of that tension. He doesn’t miss it at all. Fantastic!

  5. Kim Hutchinson

    I’m glad the narrator stood up, and feel sorry for the kid still stuck on the bus. Good story.

  6. Al McDermid

    Good story all around (I did so hate the bus), but I especially like the end, the ‘yeah some other kid is now catching my grief, but yeah, glad it’s not me’. Very real.

    And my first car should have been a Nova! But that’s another story.

    • Thanks, Al. I played with that ending a bit to allow it to be read either literally or as the narrator viewing a former version of himself on that bus. I’m really glad it appealed to you.

      Maybe one of these days that Chevy Nova will take a place in a story of yours. My first car was a Ford Maverick.

  7. Thanks for the generous commentary, everyone!

  8. This piece brought back some vivid memories of being hassled on the bus, leaning how to stand up to pressure and taunts, and the great escape that your own set of wheels affords. The end was perfect: heart-achingly safe.
    P.S. My first car was a Mustang, and as I car-pooled school rides with Cindy and Joan, I only got to drive every third day or so.

  9. guy

    The cholo sticks with me the way that memories of a schoolbus bully would. (I always walked to school.)

  10. Vivid rendering of the hell of the school bus. I never got to drive or carpool or walk, and through 6th grade was on the bullied end of affairs. But now I want to get the cardiganed kid wheels of his own. Peace…

  11. Pingback: Week #31 – Missed the bus | 52|250 A Year of Flash

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