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DAY ----------- After School

Do You Remember When

The train pulled away from the station. The clatter of the tracks. The tunnel opening onto a sudden and bright view of the city. The long trip home. Same old same old. 

She rummaged around in her knapsack. Science textbook... nah. English textbook... nah. All the subjects came easy to her, she rarely needed to keep up with the reading. Her parents were proud of her, the other kids hated her.

Jiro had lent her a manga that he said was really cool. It was called 'The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya', about a bored girl who wanted to find aliens and time travelers and psychics. It sounded kinda dumb. 

So she zipped her pack up and stared out the window. The same view streaming past everyday. Same old same old.

Two wannabe-gangsters sprang from the seats down the aisle and started their approach. This wasn't anything new, either. Getting hassled was a regular part of the ride. She assumed her straight-face and tried to tune them out. 

She wasn't sure why she talked back today. Or even what she said. It just sorta happened, something clicked in her, like something shifted. And she insulted one of them.

She was so distracted by the odd click in her that she almost ignored the one who drew the gun. When she finally tuned in to the barrel hovering beside her face, she got scared. 

Then another guy was standing there, a white guy, with a t-shirt that said 'What the KLF?'. She had no idea what that meant. He said something to the thugs; she didn't catch it because she was trying to figure out what KLF meant.

The first guy turned the gun on the shirt-guy. 

The shirt-guy trapped his arm and forced the elbow to bend, angling the gun right at the second thug's face. The trigger stopped just in time. And in the frozen, shocked moment she jumped up from her seat and front-snap-kicked the gun-guy right in the head. 

The train pulled up at the next station. Doors hissed. Thugs ran off.

The shirt-guy looked down at her and smiled. "Nice working with you," he said. "My name is Max. What's yours?"