They were talking about school. Maybe. Matt wasn't really paying attention. Oh, they'd moved onto movies now. Was the latest action flick a box office hit or a bomb? Conversation rolled on around him. He contributed at times, laughing at appropriate moments, but his focus was elsewhere. He had just gotten a D on his last History exam. He would need a miracle mark on the next one to keep up his average and remain on the basketball team. Waiting for the bus to go downtown gave plenty of time to mull it over, to dwell on the disappointments of the future.

"Man, what you need, is to lighten up," Scott told him, "Tell you what: we're going to play a game. See how many people will say hi to us as they go by. Once you get a hit, it's the other person's turn. And points based on looks!" Matt gave his friend a look. That was the most intelligent activity he could come up with to pass the time? The others, however, seemed enthusiastic about it.

"Yeah, stop being a stick in the mud,"

"It's just for fun!"

"Fine," he finally agreed. Scott grinned and clapped him on the shoulder.

"Me first." He said hello to an old lady walking past with her dog, who kindly returned the greeting. A chorus of twos and threes sounded off, with the ultimate decision going to a three.

"Your turn, man," Scott nodded toward a girl approaching with a bag of groceries. Matt rolled his eyes, but let out a friendly "Hey there!" as she drew near. She gave him a haughty look, meeting his eyes briefly, then passed by without saying a word.

"Zero!" Scott declared, "Better luck next time, man!"

He knew her type—there were always people like her. A holier-than-thou stuck-up snob. She hadn't been wearing any brand-name clothes or even put an outfit together. She probably thought she was going against the grain of society's brainwashing. She thought she could snub the "blind followers". She probably got A's in every class and did a bunch of charity work. He bet she'd never had a drink in her life. One of those goody-two-shoes who thought she was too good for a good time. Snobs.

Amanda was going to have to cross the street. There was no way around it. There was a group of kids crowded at the bus stop right where she needed to cross. At least it was a different group than when she had come by. Now she was returning from the store, and she didn't want people analyzing how long she had been in there or where they thought she lived, since she was going back the same way. She was painfully aware of how she looked. Sweatpants and a bulky sweater, with her hair pulled tightly back, and no make-up whatsoever. Some girls could be in their athletic wear and still look like they belonged in a tampon commercial. She was not one of them. Actually, she couldn't think of a time when she'd ever looked like she could be in a tampon commercial.

She grimaced on the inside as she crossed the street. There was no way to avoid them—there were too many of them occupying the space she needed to go through. She could feel the inner grimace working its way to the outside, so she pursed her lips and kept her eyes forward, but mostly on the the ground. They were all younger than her, but it didn't matter. Eyes were eyes, and she could feel too many on her at the moment.

"Hey there!" One of the boys called to her. Her inner grimace turned broke through her pursed lips. There was no way anymore to pretend politely that they didn't know of each other's presence, so she made eye contact for as long as she dared, tipped the corners of her mouth in a small smile, and quickened her pace to get out of there as fast as possible.

"Zero!" She heard one of the others call out, and laughter ensued. She didn't know what that meant. She didn't want to know. The only thing keeping her from running was the fact that she knew how ridiculous it would look, and she was already mortified. She knew whatever answer she may have given the first boy, even a simple hello, would have been fuel for ridicule, so she had kept silent. And still the words had flown as she left them behind.

She knew their type—there were always people like them. The jocks who thought they ruled everything. They thought they owned the world, and everyone worshipped them. Anyone who wasn't a dumb follower or fellow partier was an object of amusement to them. They could always manage it so the words that were spoken were totally harmless in and of themselves, so one was left feeling like an idiot for feeling like an idiot. Which is how she felt right now. She bet they had never spent one weekend sober since they had turned 15, and they believed that made them adults, more mature and worldly than anyone else. Snobs.