Sunday, April 7, 2013

Dvorak Classic: Chapter Seven

Dvorak Classic
Chapter 7 (or, "Crookery and Churros")

Previous Chapter: Carissa and Mac went to Kofenya, a coffee shop in Brooklyn (in this universe, anyway!) and learned more about the mysterious photograph that Carissa found. 

    They easily made it back to Manhattan without any problems; the rush hour crowds had tapered off considerably. Mac was able to get away with keeping his motor running consistently, which meant that Carissa got a face full of cold wind as the skyscrapers loomed above her.
    Without Carissa even needing to say, Mac took the same route he had before: up First Avenue this time, then across Harlem to Amsterdam. “Where exactly do you live?” he asked at this point.
    “181st and Saint Nick. Do you know this area?”
    He laughed again. “You don’t want to know how I know this area.” And so the enigma of Mac continued. Carissa wished he would just tell her something.
    The apartment windows looked dark when Carissa got there -- not good, she footnoted to herself. She got off of the bike as Mac slowed it down for her. “Are you okay?” he asked.
    “I’ll be better when I’m inside,” Carissa said as she took out her keys from the coat pocket she kept them in. Without thinking of any of the danger she could be putting herself in, she unlocked the front door and ran up the stairs, not even bothering to wait for Mac.
    “Mama?” she asked as soon as she unlocked the front door and turned on the lights. “Where are you? You should be home by now.” She considered to herself that she should have checked the hair salon first to see if her mother had gotten held up by a customer -- that happened on occasion. But she always called even if that was the case. Having no contact from her mother made Carissa think that maybe she slipped and fell on something. For a split second, she wished she had remembered to let Mac into the apartment as well --
    She heard something back in the bedroom. Going to the kitchen first, she grabbed a frying pan from the rack and held it close to her as a weapon. Then, she went into the back hallway to where the two bedrooms were and flipped on the light.
    “Get out now!” she yelled as loudly as she could in Spanish.
    The mysterious person was in the hall closet, but when he turned around, Carissa could see that he wasn’t so mysterious anymore. “Peter?!?” she asked, still holding the frying pan. This had to be some sort of a dream. Perhaps Mac had crashed on his bike and she was unconscious. Either way, how was Peter from school in her apartment, without a key, looking around in her hall closet?
    Peter turned to Carissa. “You’re home.”
    Carissa bit her tongue, trying to prevent from using all the words that her mother told her not to use. “What are you doing here?”
    “This.” And Peter handed Carissa a pink slip of paper.
    Carissa looked down at it and recognized the familiar handwriting of Principal Digel. “Detention? You came all the way here and broke into my house to give me a detention? Why can’t you just leave me alone? I already told you that Mac had a key that a teacher gave him. And where’s my mama?”
    “Do me a favor and give this to your new boyfriend when you see him next,” Peter said, handing Carissa another piece of pink paper with Mac’s name on it. When she looked down at it, she saw scribbled “Theft and trespassing” as the reasons for the detention.
    “Theft?” she asked.
    “You know. Because he stole Mr. Withrow’s key.”
    “He did no such thing. He told me that he got it from Mr. Withrow, yes, but it was not stolen. You’re getting all your facts way wrong.”
    Peter shook his head. “It’s you who is getting her facts wrong.” With that, he took something out of his pocket and popped it into his mouth.
    Carissa recognized that crunch anywhere. “Are those my mama’s churros?!”
    “So what if they are?”
    Oh, if Carissa was mad before, she was livid now. But before she could do anything about it, Peter went cross eyed, then collapsed to the ground. Mac was standing right behind him, arm outstretched.     “Talk about an invasion of personal space,” he said.
    “Invasion of personal space? You think this is an invasion of personal space? This is more than an invasion of personal space. This is madness!” Carissa felt like throwing something, but couldn’t find anything to throw. “How did you get up here, anyway?”
    “The fire escape. It was unlocked. I think that’s how Peter got up here in the first place. What was he doing, anyway?” With that, Carissa handed Mac the detention slip, and he read it over, then laughed. “Theft? Seriously? I’ll get this all settled in the morning. Not sure if it will invalidate our detentions, but at least we won’t be bothered by Peter anymore. Is your mom here?”
    “Carissa?” At that moment, her mother walked through the still open door to the apartment. “What is going on here?” she asked in Spanish, clearly in shock.
    They ended up calling the police to escort Peter out, once he woke up. Thankfully Carissa explained what she could to the cops, and Peter got off with only a warning, but if he was ever sighted on the premises again he would be thrown in jail for at least the night. Carissa then had to explain to her mama where the churros went.
    Her mama looked over at Mac, who was still looking at the pink detention slip as if it were something foreign. “Is that your new boyfriend?” she asked.
    Seriously, Mama? You too? Carissa wanted to ask. But she bit her tongue -- too long for her mama to stop from assuming. She simply clicked her tongue and said, “You always go for the white boys,” and then went into her bedroom.
    Carissa sighed. “I didn’t do anything,” she said as Mac walked back over to her.
    “I’m sorry for all of this mess tonight,” Mac said. He gave her a small smile. “I was hoping that someday we could meet under better circumstances. Perhaps I will see you sometime tomorrow at school?”
    “You’re headed all the way home tonight?” Carissa asked. This would be the fourth time he would go between boroughs this same day.
    Mac nodded. “It’s not like I can stay here, especially since I haven’t received any invitation to do so. So, in the morning?”
    Carissa nodded, and Mac left the way he had come -- by the fire escape. She watched him ride off in the dark and found herself wishing he would get back to Brooklyn okay.
    She got ready for bed, knowing that the next day would be a busy one, but could not go to sleep for some reason. She stayed awake until the wee hours of the morning, finally giving in to exhaustion and waking up just on time. She threw her pink detention paper in her bag and ran out of the apartment to catch her train as her mother was making more churros.
    She easily got to the train station. The countdown clock didn’t say one was coming for at least ten more minutes -- odd in itself at this hour, maybe there was a problem at the terminal -- but a train did roll up. It was one of the new ones with shiny new floors, automated announcements, and detailed line maps. Carissa didn’t think they were running special trains like this one on the 1 line, but she still got on. The doors closed behind her just as she realized she was the only one on the train.
    She sat down as the train continued its journey -- but then sped right on through 168th Street’s station without stopping. And 157th. And 145th. By the time the train skipped the elevated 125th Street station, Carissa was beginning to get spooked. What was the deal with this train?
    “You do not understand, do you?”
    Carissa jumped a mile -- she looked to her left and saw Mrs. Creepy Lady, sitting there with yet another apple, this one bright red in color as the others had been. “Stop scaring me like that!” Carissa said, now confident she was dreaming.
    The lady smiled at Carissa as the train skipped 116th. “You won’t stop and put the pieces together, will you? Carissa Lopez.”
    “This is starting to really freak me out,” Carissa said as she moved to the other side of the car, making a motion to open the door that would lead to the next car. But it was locked. Go figure. She turned back to the lady. “I don’t get this.”
    The car stayed silent as the lady continued to sit on the car bench, taking another bite out of her apple. “Tell me, what train are we on right now?”
    Carissa had to look at the display to remind herself. “The 1 train.”
    “Ahh, yes. But are we really?”
    Carissa sighed. “I don’t know. It hasn’t been stopping.” And there, it did a fly by right through 96th Street. Carissa hoped that the people on the platform weren’t standing too close to the yellow line.
    “So there you go. Is it fact or fiction? You are the one who has the gift to discern, Carissa Lopez. And you must discern, before the fated day, before all is lost.”
    Carissa gripped her bag. “Fated day? Okay, you’ve lost me.”
    “Don’t forget. The herald will bring you the information you seek, but the discernment must be only yours.” The lady smiled as the lights flickered, and then the car’s brakes engaged. Carissa reached for a bar and she found herself standing close to many other people. In fact, now she was on a regular 1 train again, with faded walls and announcements nobody could hear, crowded with people.
    Weird, Carissa thought to herself. For the umpteenth time that week, she considered that maybe she had been dreaming something. With a sigh, she got off the train at 72nd Street as she always did. She looked back and saw the old train leave the station -- and the old lady, now standing on the old train, taking another bite out of the apple.
    She felt the breath leave her body. “I gotta tell Mac.”

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