The Field Trip

By Skye Rocket

Part One: David

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David Lister could not bear to sit in the uncomfortable bus seat for one more second. It was the first hour of the stupid 'group experience', and he was already having what his psychologist called 'unhealthy ideas.'

Of course, no one knew that David Lister saw a psychologist ever Tuesday after school after his parent's divorce. Then again, David kept a lid on lots of his little secrets. For example, no one knew he saw that psychologist. And no one, and boy, did he mean no one, knew that David Lister's middle name was not Benjamin, as he told everyone.

No indeed. Because David Lister's full name was David Bowie Lister. Bowie! His middle name was Bowie! His mother had named him after the famous singer, and David was mortified. What else did he need to add to his 'loner' status?

Loner, David thought bitterly to himself. That was his high school label that would haunt him 'til the day he graduated. And even then, it would return at reunions each time anyone piped up, 'Oh! David Lister! The loner! I sort of remember you; were you in my math class?' 'Yes,' he would reply dully. 'That's me. Lister the Loser.'

It could be worse, David's conscience reminded him. You could be like William Adders.

William Adders: class dork. He held Echoing Creek High's Wedgie King title. William was the kid who loved math and practically was born with a pencil in one hand, calculator in the other. William was serious and shy, and for a pretty good reason, David reasoned. After all, his locker was practically like a second home to him. He sure did get shoved into it often. William sat in the front of the bus, studying and talking to a girl.

In front of him sat Raven Deftman, who was concentrating hard on the book 'the Catcher in the Rye.' Her dark black eyeliner had begun to puddle around her lashes and under her eyes from the heat, and occasionally she would wipe a bit away on the sleeve of her heavy black sweater-like thing. David wondered why Raven wore black clothes all the time, even in this intense heat.

Her name probably wasn't even Raven anyway, David thought, amused. But he had to admit that he was a bit, er, frightened of her. There was no way he would ever ask her. She'd probably set some voodoo magic on him. Oh, yeah, that was just what he needed.

Maxwell Jales was in the back seat, next to the bus' toilet. He looked particularly anxious, probably because he was unable to light up a little special something on the bus. David's stomach felt weary as he imagined Maxwell breaking out the controlled substances aplenty over the next month.

Yes, the next month. How could a school send ten random students on a month- long camping trip with a month's supply of junk food and other items in the middle of nowhere?!

Not to mention that the students were truly random. No one really hung out together. Two loners, a stoner, a jock, a cheerleader, some weird 'gothic' girl, a freaky hippie (David hated hippies), the depressed poet who'd probably end up crying himself to sleep every night, the class dork, and the class 'golden girl.'

You had Jason Miton, the best player on all school teams, and Allison Tylers, head cheerleader. They had been kissing fiercely for the past hour, and David thought he'd puke. Why did people insist on rubbing their so- called, high school 'love' in the single loser's faces? He knew he was single, and he tried to ignore it. His mother assured him that some day, he'd find the perfect girl. Somehow, he didn't really believe it.

Sadie Winfield sat next to William Adders. How could this girl stand to be so nice to everyone? She was smart and every other guy thought she was gorgeous, with her strawberry blonde locks and blue eyes, and her Barbie- doll figure. David didn't like her. Then again, David had serious rage problems.

Sadie was the perfect girl you loved to hate and hated to admit that she never really offended you except through how 'great' she was.

Bethany Frendrick was reading furiously in a thick black book, her wild brown hair strewn about her shoulders and neck. Probably about saving some sort of endangered species. Bethany was weird, simply put. She played guitar with 'Stop the War' songs and she looked like any kind of hair care was beyond her skills. She wrote freakish poems about how whales had feelings, too, and her dream of traveling the world to help with orphans and sick animals was well known throughout Echoing Creek High.

Simon Dalton was the class' most notoriously screwed-up fellow. He had more emotional problems than all of Echoing Creek itself, or so he said. He didn't really rub it in too badly, but sometimes his angst would slip into assignments and things like that. 'Did Marco Polo discover the new world?' 'Yes. It was because his parents told him he was useless in the old world.' He wrote sad poems and listened to classical music. David scoffed. Nobody could be such a rain cloud all the time. Stupid gimmicks.

Finally, there was Eve Clayton. Eve was in the same boat as David: the one with no one in it. She hung out by herself and read old novels. She wore t- shirts for some bands David had never heard of. Eve was supposedly going to be some hugely popular writer someday. He'd never read or heard any of it, but the teachers said she was incredible. Eve never answered questions in class, but she was smart as a whip. Sarcasm was her weapon to turn on any jerk she encountered. And boy, could she be vicious.

At last, the bus stopped in a teeny clearing in the woods. The students sat in a stunned stupor as the driver hopped out of the bus and shoveled all their luggage out of the bus in under ten minutes. Then he opened the door.

"This is the end of the line here, kiddies," he told them in a saccharine- sweet voice, herding them all out. "I'll see you in one month!" the man shrieked gleefully.

Dead silence as the man peeled out of the clearing and sped away, off into the distance.

After what seemed like forever, Bethany spoke up. "Isn't this nice?" she cooed to no one in particular. "All this fresh air, all this quiet. It's fantastic."

"Maybe we should set up the tent," David muttered, not expecting anyone to hear him anyway. "It's already getting dark."

Nobody agreed or disagreed with David at first, but then Raven spoke up.

"Yeah. David's right. We don't want to sleep out on the ground and get attacked by wild animals," Raven said in her soft, edgy voice, a strange smile on her pale face. She picked up the tent bag and dragged it near the fire pit.

That weird smile faded to be replaced with an angry scowl. "Are you going to help me, or are you going to sit on your butts staring at me like a pack of idiots?!"

David couldn't help but sigh.

~

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