Thursday, April 11, 2013

Dvorak Classic: Chapter Eleven

Dvorak Classic
Chapter 11 (or, "Penguin Socks")

Yesterday’s Episode: Carissa, Mac, and Isabel went to Kofenya to discuss a plan for figuring out reality. Carissa spilled her chai on her bag, but in the morning, it was gone.  

    Isabel’s face was in complete shock when Carissa showed up on 125th Street within the next hour with her stark white duffel on her shoulder.
    “But...but...but but but but --”
    “Speechless?” Carissa grinned. “I told you this was happening. And now you have even more proof.”
    Isabel looked over the bag. “It’s not a new one, is it?”
    “Dios mio, no. This bag was limited edition, remember? The only place I can get a new one is online, and that would take days to get here.”
    Isabel nodded. “Okay, okay,” she finally said, though Carissa knew that she was still shaken inside. Sure, Peter Doyle could play around, maybe even lie, but this was physical proof that this reality altering was happening.
    She shouldered her bag. “Maybe I shouldn’t have brought this today...”
    “Oh, you’re fine. I’m just...a little surprised, that’s all.”
    Carissa grinned. “I know what can take your mind off of it.”
    They spent the rest of the morning checking out stores. Isabel, as usual, ended up blowing all of her money at the first store they went to, and didn’t even have enough for their usual lunch at Taco Rocko (which meant that Carissa was paying again). Carissa thought about getting a new dress, but she didn’t know when she would wear it, especially in this cold weather. She did, though, get a new pair of socks with penguins on them. Since they were socks, she could wear them at school. The dress code was pretty specific when it came to the actual clothing, but socks were free game as long as they didn’t show above the shoe. That meant her penguins could peek out from under her shoes all day, but over the knee penguins were out.
    “I gotta admit, those are cute socks,” Isabel said over their Taco Rocko meals.
    Carissa nodded as she ate her burrito. “I don’t know when you’re going to have all the time to wear those new clothes, but you’ll think of something, I’m sure. You always do.”
    Isabel grinned. “Where are we going next?”
    “Home. You’re out of cash.”
    On Monday, the two girls went to the local coffee shop to get their drinks before going downtown for school. Since Saint Arbucks was out, if they wanted their morning buzz, they had to go elsewhere. This place had pretty good drinks and a nice atmosphere, but they were always jam packed and busy at this hour. Carissa and Isabel had to get up fifteen minutes early just in order to make their train on time.
    “Take a look at this,” Isabel said as she whipped out her language arts notebook. Carissa grabbed it once they were both seated on the train and turned to the page Isabel had clearly marked with a pen. There was a huge list in Isabel’s handwriting, going down the entire page, with bullet points and small notes made in the margins.
    “I worked on it all this weekend, when we weren’t hanging out,” Isabel said. “I didn’t want you to see it. I wanted it to be a surprise.”
    “Oh, I’m surprised all right,” Carissa said as she looked at the “What’s Real And What’s Not” title at the top of the page. “I’m so surprised that I can’t even tell what the entire thing is.”
    “Of course you can! It’s written right there at the top of the page. It’s a list that I have compiled of incidents in history that people don’t believe happened. I did my research. Granted, most of it was on the internet, but I tried to go only to real news sites.”
    “Wikipedia isn’t a real news site, according to Mrs. Bellemore and the student handbook,” Carissa noted as she finally saw the bottom footer littered with sources.
    “I know, but this isn’t class. Anyway, I’m guessing that maybe these people went through something like we’re going through right now, since they don’t believe these things happened. And who knows? Maybe they’re right. Maybe these things actually didn’t happen.”
    “Isabel, you have September 11th on there. That totally happened.” Carissa knew this for a fact; the only thing she remembered about that day was being picked up from kindergarten by her father and walking all the way home. She didn’t properly know what that day was until she asked a few years later.
    “So? There are people -- most of them not in New York -- who believe it never happened.”
    “So what, they just believe Ground Zero doesn’t exist? It does, Isabel. We’ve been there as a class.”
    “But they don’t live in New York. They can’t see it for themselves. And it is like you, because you say the guy collapsed and nobody else saw it.”
    “Except for Mac.”
    “Yep! Except for the white guy you can’t stop talking about.”
    “I’m not talking about HIM, I’m talking about the fact that we both saw something nobody else did.”
    “Just like the people on this list!”
    Carissa gave up and looked at the rest of the list. “Elvis and Michael Jackson are still alive...we never landed on the moon...the Holocaust? Seriously?”
    “As well as the two World Wars, the USSR existing, and the Armenian genocide. Which I didn’t even know happened until I looked it up. There’s more stuff there, too.”
    Carissa finally just closed the book. “Tell you what, why don’t we look at this during lunch? I’m sure Mac would love to see this list.”
    “See! You’re talking about him again!”
    Mac, thankfully, was more forgiving about the list than Carissa had been. He had patience stored in reserves, taking time during their lunch hour to read the entire thing all the way through, in between bites of pizza. “I heard about the Abraham Lincoln one,” he said. “There are some people who believe that he turned into a vampire and fought other vampires after he ‘died.’ Which, of course, means he’s still out there.”
    “With Elvis and Michael Jackson,” Carissa added, trying to hide the sarcasm in her voice.
    Isabel still seemed proud of herself. “You gotta admit, though, it’s a good list.”
    “And an interesting concept,” Mac said. “But all of these events have been proven true with scientific fact in this world. We haven’t yet been able to replicate that with our situation.”
    “So should we try?” Carissa asked. “You never know when a slip like this will occur. They seem to happen at random.”
    Mac thought for a minute, then smiled. “How about we go back to Saint Arbucks and find our lady?”
    Carissa almost dropped her piece of pizza on her duffel. “What?!?” she asked, thankful her bag wasn’t soiled for the second time in a row.
    “You heard me. Go back to the Saint Arbucks. See if we can find our lady. All three of us should go. Make it a full effort. And if something happens, we’re all in it together.”
    Carissa couldn’t believe her ears. The last thing she wanted to do was disobey the creepy old lady and go to Saint Arbucks, especially if it meant seeing her again. “I can’t think of any good reason why --”
    “We’ll do it!” Isabel said before Carissa could continue. She turned and gave her best friend the most serious look she could muster.
    “¿Dios mio, estás loca?”
    “No,” Isabel answered back with a smile. “Yo quiero Santa Arbucks.”
    That conversation was how Carissa found herself in front of her usual Saint Arbucks that afternoon, at school. Mac parked his bike at the rack out front while Isabel ran inside.
    “If you guys are creeped out at the idea of going in,” she had said on the walk over, “I will go in and get our drinks, and then we’ll, like, go to Central Park or something. You don’t have to be so afraid.”
    Carissa breathed a sigh of relief when Isabel had went inside. Then, she remembered the last time she had been here -- also with Mac, also with the bike, and with the police officer who had chased them off the premises.
    “Hey, Mac,” she said, “you remember the last time we were here? What was up with that police officer? You bolted pretty quickly, like you recognized --”
    “I’m going to go around the side of the building,” Mac suddenly said, interrupting Carissa. “Take a look and see if there’s anything in particular that we can use as a clue.”
    So they were mystery solvers now? All that is missing is the talking dog, Carissa thought to herself. “No,” she said, “you are not going over there. You are going to answer my question. Furthermore, do you know anything about what’s been going on? These reality slips. How Isabel’s suddenly involved now. You show up and weird stuff starts happening. I want answers.” She then sighed. “At least about the police officer and why you ran so fast from him.”
    Mac sighed and ran his hand through his hair. “If I told you, I’m not sure I’d know where to start.”
    So there was something he knew. Carissa crossed her arms. “Well?”
    “I don’t know about the lady. Or the person who died. I’m utterly perplexed as to why reality is acting the way it is, but then again, reality has never been my friend. And I do know why that police officer in particular went after me, though I don’t know why he was talking to your strange old lady.”
    “So who’s the fuzz??” Carissa asked, voice getting louder.
    Mac sighed. “This is a sign that I trust you,” he said. “Nobody knows about this except me and my mother. But that police officer was --”
    “Guys!!!” That was Isabel, running from the Saint Arbucks door. She had two chais and a tea in a travel tray and she looked as if she had just seen a ghost.
    “Are you okay?” Mac asked.
    Isabel took a deep breath. “The old lady’s in there. I recognize her even though I’ve never seen her before. She’s showed up in my dreams once or twice. She never said a thing in the dreams, but she was much younger.” She took a deep breath. “She saw me, and I know she’s gonna come after us.”
    Isabel barely got finished speaking when the ground shook beneath their feet, causing her to drop their drinks. Carissa and Mac looked past Isabel at Saint Arbucks, and they were shocked at what they saw.

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