• I am a Soul Bouncer. ‘What is a Soul Bouncer?’ you ask.
    A Soul Bouncer is many things. In fact, I can be anything I want to be. All that I have to do is use my powers responsibly.
    This is where the trouble began.

    I whistle as I walk down the hall, surveying the area for the right time to Bounce. Bouncing is a tricky thing; even when you have been doing it for eight years. I slip behind a large 8th grader getting ready to make my move. Just as I begin, I feel a pull on my shoulder,
    “Yo Zig what’s up man?” my best friend says, as I turn around, breaking my Bouncing state of mind.
    “Eh. You know. The usual.” I say grinning. I glance at the Spanish room. It lulls me in, “Gotta go dude” I reply as he is swept away into the crowd.
    “See ya at lunch!” he hollers.

    Later that day I am sitting in English, so bored that I am ready to thrust my soul into the teachers mind and have him end the class before we all die horrible boring deaths. I put my head on my binders and begin to snore.
    “Ziggy Davis! Get your head out of those binders right now!” the teacher says too loudly. Some people giggle.
    “But mom… I don’t wanna go to school.” I moan, grinning from ear to ear. More stifled giggles.
    “That’s enough!” he shouts, “Mr. Davis... please come to see me after school.” I am about to reply again but then think better of it.

    The rest of the day drones on like usual, except today I have something to look forward to when it ends: Not. Today I tell my locker I hate it a few extra times.
    “Oh! And have I mentioned that I hate my locker?” I ask the surrounding 7th graders. No one answers and I look at my feet, slamming the locker shut.
    Later that day I am leaning against some lockers outside my English teacher, Mr. Panama’s room. I go to the door, curse under my breath and enter the room.
    “Mr. Panama, I-” but the sight in front of me stops me in my tracks. There is no sign of Mr. P, but a girl on my team named Allison Baker is standing there. One minute she is, the next she isn’t. I watch her Bounce into the soup and back out.
    “B- b- b- Bouncer!” I say, she looks over at me, all wide eyed, “Ya know,” I say, “You should never Bounce into food, I mean! What if you get eaten? Then- then oh!” She turns her head but says nothing. Allison had always been quiet, but this was crazy. We just stand there a moment, staring at each other. Her with her long light brown hair and hazel nut eyes, and me with my too-long-for a guy, shoulder length, perfect for flipping, dark brown hair and my random, always changing from blue to green eyes.

    She sighs, “I think I know what danger I am in. And anyways, I Bounced into the bowl. Not the soup.” I look at her wide-eyed.
    “Got an attitude, Eh?” I accidentally say out loud.
    “Just when it comes to inexperienced Bouncers,” she replies grinning. Dang. She had gotten me there.
    “You’re good.” I say, “I like that.” At that moment Mr. Panama walks in and I turn around to see him. He glances at his soup and I follow his gaze. Allison is gone. ‘Wow.’ I think, ‘she is good’.

    The next day I sit in a large oak outside of my bus stop. Most people would call me a tree hugger but they’re pretty warm. Really, when my bus comes I Bounce directly into it. Most people can only Bounce into objects, then out, and into another. But I can Bounce right from one to the other. I call it Jumping. It’s what you would call my specialty.
    Someone on the bus farts and I grimace on the inside. When we get to school I Jump into the dumpster. Later I am ducking out from behind the waste container and into the crowd of people. I feel a sharp painful poke on my back.
    “Ow!” I hiss turning around to see Allison glaring at me. “What was that for?!”
    “You.” She replies, “I totally saw you Bounce out of the dumpster.”
    “So?” I ask walking along side her.
    “So? You can’t just go around Bouncing like It’s… it’s… normal! You’ll get caught!”
    “Since when did you care?” I snap back. I had only known her for a day and she was already on my case. She looks away.
    “I thought you were different” she says looking as if she is about to cry.
    “Wait! I didn’t mean-” but by the time I say it she is long gone.
    “Ahh.. crap!” I say angrily walking over to my locker. I give it a good kick and begin to twirl it around to the right numbers, 41, 7, 45. I think as it opens. Normally opening it on the first try is a big deal, but I’m still pretty pissed about Allison. I had already screwed up my friendship with the only other Bouncer I knew.
    “That’s it!” I cry out loud. I blush then continue my thoughts in my head, ‘Maybe she knows more Bouncers! But.. she hates me… then go and apologize!’ I think. I bite my lip. I hated apologizing.

    “So how would you say you’re sorry to someone who you think hates your guts but you really feel wicked bad about it?” I ask my friend Cal at lunch.
    “Whoa, whoa, wait, you’re gonna apologize to someone? Jeez. It must be really bad…” Cal replies.
    “It is. I snapped at her and-”
    “Wait - it was a girl?”
    “Yea. Why?” I ask as I take my last bite of pizza, “Allison Baker.” I say with my mouth full, “Why?” I ask again after swallowing.
    “Because, dude, If you say you’re sorry, everyone will think you like ‘er.”
    “Well I do like her.” I reply simply.
    “No.” Cal says face palming, “Like; Like – like her.”
    “Oh. Well people are stupid.” I pout and Cal laughs. “I’m still going to apologize. I was mean to her… and since when have I cared about what everybody thought?” Cal thinks a moment.
    “Good point.. ok. You go up to her- in private and then tell her that you messed up and say your excuse then say she was right. M’kay?”
    “I guess…” I say looking around to see if anyone was eavesdropping.
    Later that day after gym I see Allison walking out of the girls locker room. “You were great at that weird scooter game.” I say, “…Ok look. The reason I snapped back at you today… I didn’t mean to-” She cuts me off.
    “It’s fine. Chill. I cry a lot OK? For like any reason…” she trails off, “It’s not like I try but I do. That’s why I never talk… because the more I talk.. the more people talk to me..” I say nothing as we walk.
    Soon we get split up going to different places. I find myself thinking about what she said. It made sense. ‘the more I talk.. the more people talk to me.’ She had said. Is that why she never talked? Because she was so sensitive? I decide as I walk down the hall that I would be her friend. She needed a friend, and plus it would be nice to have another Bouncer around to chat with about… Bouncing. I smile, walking over to my locker. Sitting in math I make a plan. I would ask her if she knew any other Bouncers… which she would, and we would talk about them for a while… I just wonder where. I would need to meet her some where. I had social studies with her. Some times we did projects where the teacher, Mr. Donald, would let us talk.
    I bite my lip watching the clock in Spanish. Only a few more minutes until talking with her. ‘Why am I so exited?’ I think, ‘Maybe I do like her…’
    When the teacher finally lets us go I jump up and run out of the class, muttering, “Gracias, hasta mañana…” Under my breath. I walk to my locker and un-lock it. Then I pull out my binders and text books, inserting the ones I don’t need anymore. I casually but quickly walk down to the Social Studies room. I make sure to sit in the back were Allison would usually sit. Moments later she walks in and I try to play it cool. Shiz! What is this a date? She walks over with her binders under her arm and walks up beside me.
    “Hi.” I say simply as she pulls out the chair and sits herself in the chair next to me. She raises an eyebrow at me.
    “Hi?” she says quietly looking up at the bored and writing the homework down.
    “Ok everyone! Quiet! Ok today we are going to be…” the teacher begins to drone on. When the tiny lecture is over, I take out my materials and begin to work.
    “So..” I begin to say to her, “Do you know if there are any other Bouncers around here?”
    “Yes,” she hisses, “Why?”
    “Because,” I whisper back, “I just wanna know.. who?!”
    “You know that kid… umm… he’s an eighth grader.. his name is Alex I think.. really tall? I don’t know his last name but I saw him Bounce into a basket ball in open gym once…”
    “You go to those?” I ask taken a back, then getting back to the subject I say, “So.. anyone else?”
    “No.” she answers plainly as if I haven’t been waiting a whole period for this. “Ohhh..” I say disappointed.
    “Sorry,” she says without looking up. I look up at the clock. Flippin’ jellyfish. 30 minutes until class ends. What would I talk about now?
    “So what sports do you play?” I blurt out.
    “Basket ball.. and soccer. But basket ball mostly.” I couldn’t imagine her doing anything really. Her arms are as thin as tooth picks. She just looks like she is made of glass and paper.. delicate. I wince at the image of Allison getting hit with a basket ball and shattering into a million pieces. I shake the thought and keep talking.
    “I used to be on the basket ball team but I quit. I don’t know…”