Like the KerDoodles? Tell your friends!
How about another school bus name tag?
All calm now, the kidoodles floated about, talking quietly to each other about what they’d just been through, and they took the opportunity to look around outside – at space, at the moon, and at the Earth.
At the same time, Clive the driver leaned forward. He seemed to talk to the dashboard for a few moments before putting both hands on the wheel. He held on while the bus rolled slowly to the left, and he looked out the window as the earth rose up before them.
“Wow,” said Michael.
“That’s awesome!” agreed Daisy.
“That one’s England,” said Leah, pointing.
“And look over there!” added Pedro, with a giggle. “We’re not alone!”
A space craft of some kind floated by quite quickly. All the little kidoodles got themselves over to the left side of the bus just in time to look out and see four startled space KerDoodles staring back at them.
“Their school bus is a very strange shape,” said Gabby with a giggle, and they all watched as it slid slowly away behind them.
Just then Clive’s radio crackled to life. He picked up the mike and exchanged a few words with the dispatcher.
“Ok kids,” he said, “it’s time to head to school. We’re the last ones to arrive. Now, everybody hold on!”
Connie the bus picked up speed as she rolled further left and pointed herself back toward home. It became quite loud inside, and there was a faint red glow around them as they headed back down to the big blue planet, to their country, their neighbourhood, and their school. The deep, deep black of space turned gradually blue again, then it was a bright, bright blue. Most of the kidoodles covered their eyes when it was at its brightest, but then in only a few moments they were surrounded by a grey-white mist of clouds which made the windows wet. They were pointed at the very same road from which they had taken off.
The ground rose up toward them, but no one was scared. Connie raised her nose to the sky and seemed to be feeling around with her hind end for the ground. All the kidoodles watched their progress out the windows. Then at last there was a bump, a clunk, a bump-a-clunk-a-lunk, and a whine of spinning tires as the bus resumed her regular road-bound duties.
“There’s the school!” hollered Pascal.
“There’s Señora C!” added Daisy as the bus slowed to its regular crawl.
After a minute Connie pulled up to the school and Clive flipped the switch to open the doors.
“Ok kids, have a great day. I hope you learned something this morning.”
“Sure did,” said Juan as he turned to go down the stairs. “I learned to always share my potato.”
Señora C was greeting the kidoodles from the ground as they got off the bus.
“Good morning, children. You’re a little late. Is everything ok?”
“Sure is, Señora,” said Daisy. “We had an adventure!”
“Oh?” she said. “What kind of adventure?” She looked over toward Clive. Clive rolled his eyes.
“Oh, you know…” he said. “Traffic.”
A couple of kidoodles giggled, and went into the school
One by one the kidoodles left the bus. Señora C checked off her clipboard then waved at Clive. He got up and checked all the seats for sleepers – as if anyone could have slept through this morning’s adventure! – then sat down in his seat and sighed.
“You were magnificent, Connie,” he said. “I never tire of that one.”
And Connie, with a delightful harrumph of well-deserved self satisfaction, revved her happy motor before Clive took the wheel and steered them back to the yard.
The bus lurched forward and started soaring again, sweeping left and swooping right. All the little kidoodles did what they could to hold on, but it was difficult.
One by one they reached out their hands to hold on to each other. One by one they held fast and would not let go, and soon all the kidoodles were holding hands, except for little Juan and Pedro, who were still frowningly scowling at each other.
“Take his hand, Pedro!” hollered Pascal.
“No!” cried the little boy.
“Juan, grab hold!” ordered Alyx, one of the smallest and fiercest of the bus’s passengers.
“I don’t want to!”
“You have to!” they all shouted. “Now!”
But the brothers were so mad at each other that they just wouldn’t – couldn’t – hold hands, even if it put themselves and all their little friends in danger.
Meanwhile, Connie just kept getting more and more upset. She swooped left now, and swept right. She soared up, and dove down. She lurched, heaved, groaned, grumbled, grumped and skidded sweepingly both left and right, high in the big, beautiful black of space, but still the brothers would not take hands.
Suddenly, the front door opened, and Clive flipped the OXYGEN switch on his panel.
“Argh!” cried Pedro. “I’m being sucked toward the door!”
“Hold my hand, Pedro! Quick!” cried Pascal.
He was indeed being sucked away from the group and toward the front door. He tried to grab each seat as he passed, but he couldn’t get a grip, and in only moments he was passing his brother, looking into his eyes as the vacuum of space was starting to take hold.
‘Help me!” he hollered. “Please!”
Juan held firm to the nearest seat. He looked at Pedro. He was still mad at him, but with that look in the eyes something triggered inside him, and he realized that even though he was angry he actually kind of liked having a brother. In a flash he recalled all the times they’d just sat and talked, finished each others’ sentences and laughed about it. Then he remembered all the times that Pedro had stood up for him in the playground, or steadied him while they were riding their bikes, and from there it was the work of only a moment for him to decide that yes, he needed to do something to save his little brother.
“I’m not your little brother!” cried Pedro, who, it would seem, had somehow heard his brother’s thoughts.
“Yes, you are, I was born ten minutes before you, so…”
“Okay, okay, fine. But help me!”
Just then Pedro’s grip on the last seat loosened.
“Help me, please!” he hollered. He was scared now, and the wide-open door was looking really, really big.
Just as Pedro slipped toward the door, Juan sprang into action. He dove headlong toward the first row of seats, past the bus driver’s outstretched hand, and grabbed hold of the handrail. Then he lunged toward his brother and reached out. The force of the vacuum of space tried to take them both, but he held tight to the hand rail and would not let his brother go. He would never again let his brother go.
“Auggghh!” cried Pedro. He was scared – very scared – but he felt okay now because he had his brother’s hand in his and somehow he knew he was going to be alright. As mad as his brother had made him, he knew he could rely on him, no matter what.
Just then, Juan felt other hands behind him. Daisy was holding him from behind, wrapping her arms around his waist so he could let go of the hand rail and use both of his hands to grab hold of Pedro. Somehow he knew that his friends had gathered behind him and were keeping him safe, so he held fast to Pedro and slowly dragged his brother back into the bus.
They slipped back inside, and just as they cleared the doorway, the doors magically snapped shut and the tired little kidoodles floated back up inside.
Juan and Pedro hugged each other and cried.
“I’m sorry, Pedro, I shouldn’t have been so mean.”
“Well, I’m sorrier,” blubbed Pedro. “You can put your foot wherever you like.”
“And you can have my potato any time!”
All their little kidoodle friends were smiling at this wonderful development, and as Connie the bus settled back down again and stopped rumbling and grumbling and soaring all over the place, Clive the driver somehow managed to conceal a little smile as he flipped the ADV TIME switch on his panel to OFF.
He looked down toward the earth and took the wheel.
Yup, he thought. It’s time to get these little kidoodles to school.