Monday, April 8, 2013

Dvorak Classic: Chapter Eight

Dvorak Classic
Chapter 8 (or, "Detention")

Yesterday’s Episode: After a crazy day, Mac and Carissa went back to Carissa’s home to find a classmate waiting inside for them. 

    “I’m serious, Carissa,” Isabel said as she tapped her pencil against the desk for what seemed to be the millionth time. “You have got to stop making up these ridiculous stories.”
    Carissa rolled her eyes. “They’re not just stories,” she said. She should have known better than to tell practical Isabel about the bike ride to Brooklyn, or the fact that Peter was in her house yesterday by way of fire escape, or the strange train ride down to school that she wasn’t even sure was real or not. But Carissa didn’t have anybody else to tell these things to yet; after all, it was only the first class of the day, and she hadn’t seen Mac yet. Not that she hadn’t been looking; quite the opposite, in fact. She had almost been late to her first class because she had been looking down the halls for him, sticking mostly to her classroom hallway but curious nonetheless.
    “They all sound like stories to me. Where is this Mac kid anyway? If he was in on this entire thing, I’d like to hear his side of the story.”
    “Isabel, I already told you, I haven’t seen him yet today. When I see him, I’ll make sure that he comes over to our table at lunch and explains everything to you.”
    “At our table? Seriously? You wouldn’t expect a total geek like him to be welcome at our table.”
    “Except he’s the total geek who has the answers you’re looking for.”
    Isabel sighed. “You’re right...I suppose.” She took another big gulp out of her huge Saint Arbucks latte to go. “But he’s only going to stop by. No staying.”
    “Isabel, he’s being invited to the table. I think he can sit for one day.”
    Now it was Isabel’s turn to roll her eyes. “If you like this white guy so much, then why don’t the two of you just get together?”
    Carissa was about to complain again that there was nothing between her and Mac, but Mrs. Bellemore chose that moment to start homeroom.
    The day passed slowly until Carissa could finally get to Mr. Withrow’s class. She was hoping to get some of her questions straightened out. But the longer she sat in her chair, the more apparent it was becoming that Mac wasn’t showing up to class. She bit her tongue all the way through math, then went up to Mr. Withrow’s desk after class was done.
    “Do you know if Mac is on the absence list this morning?” she asked.
    Mr. Withrow took out a sheet of paper and looked it over. “Taggart, Taggart...ahh, yes, there it is. His mother called it in this morning.” Carissa silently hoped that nothing bad had happened to Mac, and that he was just recovering after a long day yesterday. She herself was wishing she could take a day off to recover; she wasn’t used to this much...spontaneity.
    She tried to remember what the lady had said on the train that morning. Something about being prepared for something and asking a lot of questions. She couldn’t remember it all at this point...and with it being the creepy lady, she wasn’t sure she wanted to. Perhaps that was just another one of her dreams.
    Her next order of business was to go to the office right before lunch. She would be a couple of minutes behind to her table -- something that Isabel was sure to complain about -- but she had to check the legality of this.
    “I want to make sure that this is real,” she said as she handed the pink detention slip over to the secretary. With Peter being the one who delivered it, she wanted to make sure it was actually real.
    The secretary looked over the paper. “Were you on the roof?”
    “Well, yeah --”
    “Then it’s real.”
    “I mean -- you know how when a detention slip is written there’s a copy made of it? It’s public knowledge.”
    The secretary sighed; Carissa could tell she was just so excited to be at work today. She reached behind her and found the book of records, flipping through it. “What’s the date on the pink slip?”
    “Yesterday -- the 9th.”
    “Mmhmm...I don’t actually see it here, so I’ll have to add it.” And sure enough, when Carissa looked over at the list, she didn’t see either her name or Mac’s. She footnoted to herself that when she saw Mac next, she should tell him not to bring his own pink slip to anybody’s attention.
    And then it started to make sense to Carissa. She made a note to think about it more in detention later that night.
    Except she didn’t get the chance. For it so happened that Isabel had accidentally sneezed in Mr. Leeland’s face during her math class, and everybody knew that Mr. Leeland was a total germaphobe. So Isabel was sitting next to Carissa in the cafeteria after school for one hour while doing homework...or hardly working, in their case. The proctor had taken the fifteen or so’s cell phones at the start of detention, and there was no talking, but that didn’t prevent Isabel and Carissa from passing notes beneath the desk, especially when the proctor dozed off after five minutes.
    So you seriously didn’t see Mac at all today? Isabel wrote.
    Carissa shook her head. Apparently he was on the sick list. I thought I told you that at lunch. But as soon as she had written those words, Carissa knew that she was wrong -- Isabel had spent the entire lunch period scheming up ways to get tickets to the sold out D.V. Crew concert downtown later that month. Carissa hadn’t wanted to partake in any of the insanity, but as a good friend should, she had listened to the entire plan and nodded her head when appropriate.
    You didn’t, Isabel said, not bringing up the D.V. Crew. You just kind of sat there.
    Carissa tried not to roll her eyes. I hope he’s here tomorrow, she wrote. My detention wasn’t on the office list, so the only reason I’m here is because I made them aware of it. She paused, then scribbled But I’m glad you’re here.
    Me too! That’s so weird that it wasn’t on the list.
    I know, right? But I should tell Mac so he doesn’t have to do his detention.
    That’s true. Detention blows. So, are you guys really dating?

    Carissa almost jumped a mile when she read what Isabel had written. No, she wrote. I barely know the guy! Besides, you said he was a geeky white kid, remember?
    Well yeah. He’s not my type at all. But you can’t stop talking about him.

    Carissa paused to try and argue Isabel on this and found she couldn’t. Isabel was right about at least that -- even though she didn’t believe in any of Carissa’s adventures, they, and by default Mac, were all Carissa could talk about. Maybe that was why everybody thought that they liked each other. It made her remember what she had discovered in the office.
    I think reality is doing some weird things, she wrote to Isabel. It’s not following the rules.
    Isabel gave her a weird look. What do you mean, it’s not following the rules?
    Think about it. The lady keeps showing up in all these places. And she was on the train this morning. Plus, not only did nobody see the thing at Saint Arbucks, nobody believes that Mac got the roof key from Mr. Withrow -- and DON’T TELL ANYBODY ABOUT THAT,
she scribbled in big letters.
    Ok, was all Isabel wrote.
    But also, our detentions weren’t written in the book. I don’t know, it seems like some sort of conspiracy.
    It sounds like you’ve been eating too many of your mama’s churros.

    Carissa sat still for a moment. The accident, meeting Mac on the roof, their escape, seeing the lady again at Saint Arbucks. The trip to Brooklyn, Kofenya, Dan. Peter in her hallway last night and having to call the cops.
    Her eyes widened. We have to go over to the basketball court after this.
    Isabel’s eyes widened and smiled, and Carissa knew why. To watch Eduardo practice?
    Sure, as long as we do something else first. I think I have a way to prove to you all of this is happening.

    The basketball court was mostly empty when Carissa and Isabel got there, finally free from detention. To Isabel’s dismay, Eduardo (el primer bonito en el colegio, according to Isabel) was no longer there, but Peter was. He was looking over a clipboard and Carissa figured he was going over plays.
    “Hey, Peter,” she asked.
    The tall guard player looked up from his paper. “What do you want?”
    “Tell Isabel here how good my mama’s churros are,” Carissa said, confident that her plan would work no matter what answer she got.
    Peter gave her a strange look. “Your mother’s what now?”
    “You know. You gave me this last night. At my apartment.” Carissa pulled the pink sheet of paper out and held it for Peter to read.
    He looked it over. “The roof? I thought the only person allowed on the roof was Mac Taggart, ‘cause Mr. Withrow gave him a key.”
    Carissa looked over at her best friend, who looked to be in utter shock. She grinned. “So you weren’t at my apartment at all last night?”
    “Dude. I don’t even know what borough you live in, much less your nabe. You’re freaking me out, Lopez. And I know nothing about your mom’s cinnamon rolls or --”
    “They’re churros.”
    “Whatever. The point is, it wasn’t me.”
    “Okay. One last question -- when you woke up this morning, did your head hurt?”
    Peter paused for a moment and rubbed his head in the exact same spot that Mac had hit him the previous night. “Come to think of it, it did. Kind of hurts now.”
    Carissa turned to a still shocked Isabel. “I rest my case.”

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