Mason opened his eyes and it was still completely dark. It wasn't much fun living inside a backpack, but it was far better than his last space under a refrigerator. An elementary backpack rarely gets cleaned, but under a fridge? Never. Mason would spend the better part of his morning coughing up dust bunnies he had inhaled during his sleep. And the only food he ever got was the occasional frozen french fry. Yes, as bad as the backpack was, it was immeasurably better than under the fridge. The biggest downside of the backpack was the lack of privacy. Not inside the confines of the bag itself, no. It was actually the times he was on display, something he was forced to do in exchange for his lodgings. There he would sit in a baby food jar on the short bookshelf beside the window. Then he had to endure the stares and gawking of two or three dozen third graders as they paraded by. Every third or fourth one would have to ask, "What is it?" And the answer would echo in his ears.... "My uncle's appendix."
But one day, came the response, "Cool!". It was Lori Stewart, the girl with the broken glasses. Her socks didn't match today, but Mason didn't care. Somebody thought he was cool.
Mason was in love.