Saturday, April 6, 2013

Dvorak Classic: Chapter Six

Dvorak Classic
Chapter 6 (or, "Kofenya")

Mac and Carissa escaped the school and headed to the Saint Arbucks where the accident happened. After Carissa found a mysterious photo in her duffel bag, they drove on Mac’s electronic bike to Brooklyn.

    Borough Hall was busy at this time of day; it seemed like everybody was going everywhere at once. The atmosphere was not as rushed as Manhattan had been, but the crowds still went along at a nice pace.
    Mac had to keep the bike motor off the entire way into Brooklyn. “Have you been here before?” he asked Carissa.
    The girl was still holding on tight for dear life. “I have,” she said. “It’s just been a while. I think the last time my class was in downtown Brooklyn was when we had to come to the Transit Museum for a science field trip. And I don’t know how many years ago that was.”
    “Oh.” Mac gave her a smile. “You’ll like this place that I’m taking you to.”
    They passed by the huge Borough Hall building, then through some commercial areas until they were on a back street. Kofenya was on the corner, what appeared to be a small joint with a simple sign over the door. Mac parked his bike outside and chained it to the nearest light post.
    “Come on in,” he said with a smile again. “They won’t bite at all.”
    It’s not the people in the coffee joint that I’m afraid of, Carissa thought to herself. But she didn’t want to tell Mac that. Here he was, a strange boy who was also caught in this crossfire just as she had been. But something wasn’t adding up for her. How did Mac have a key to the roof? Where did he get his cool bike? And why was that cop going straight for him at the Saint Arbucks? There were so many questions and Carissa felt like she couldn’t properly trust Mac until she got some of them answered.
    But then again...he had gotten her here to Brooklyn in one piece. And he had also seen the accident. He was the proof that Carissa herself was not crazy. She took a deep breath, straightened the bag on her back, and then walked towards the door, opening it and searching for Mac.
    Kofenya looked like any regular indie cafe in Brooklyn. Carissa had figured that the plush seats would be filled with hipsters who would be taking in the artwork on the walls, but there weren’t a lot of people there at this time of day. There were two friends talking in a corner over some textbooks, a boy in a corner with a book that was clearly too big to be anything but a Bible and a pad of paper, and another boy with a computer.
    For a place here near Borough Hall, Carissa thought to herself, they sure don’t get a lot of foot traffic. She shrugged and went up to the counter. The barista was a short, skinny girl with tightly curled long black hair and an infectious smile on her face.
    “Welcome to Kofenya!” she said. “What can I get for you?”
    Carissa grinned. “I’d like a chai of those chocolate brownies,” she said. And then she pointed at Mac. “Oh, and he’s paying.”
    Mac, who had been sitting in the corner looking over a menu (Carissa wasn’t sure why, as the entire drink menu at least was listed up on the wall) looked up at the mention of his name. “What now?” he asked.
    “Oh, come on. You were the one who brought me all the way to Brooklyn to meet this person who works here. You’re definitely covering the tab on this one.” Carissa smiled. “But if the chai is good enough and I come back, I’ll pay then.”
    Mac rolled his eyes. “Oh, trust me, you’ll be back.”
    It didn’t take Carissa two seconds after receiving her chai to know that Mac was right. This chai was amazing -- maybe even more so than the chai that she usually got at Saint Arbucks every morning before school. She grinned. “So is this the other reason that you live in Brooklyn?”
    “No,” Mac said. “Me living in Brooklyn has nothing to do with being in the same borough as this store. Although it certainly helps. Hey, Dan!”
    Carissa looked at where Mac was looking and saw a tall, almost geeky looking kid with dark hair and glasses on coming out of the back room. “This is Dan,” Mac explained to Carissa. “He’s my friend I told you about, the one who knows everything about cameras. Long time no see,” he said as he bumped fists with Dan.
    Dan just smiled; Carissa took him as the type of person who would rather spend their time with their electronics than actual people. But still, he was here, and he did give her a smile, albeit small. “Good afternoon, Mac! And who is your new girlfriend?”
    Carissa was mid sip and had to avoid swallowing it the wrong way. She felt her face light up like the fourth of July. “We’re not dating,” she said, suddenly unable to look Mac in the eye. She didn’t even know this kid and yet he had driven her all the way to his home borough. No wonder random people who didn’t know any better already thought there was more there than there was. It was because she already trusted Mac -- more than she probably should, as well.
    “Carissa is a friend from school,” Mac explained. “She found a picture in her duffel earlier today, and we were wondering if we could get some stats out of it. You know, what camera it was taken with and what not.” When he said ‘what not,’ Carissa noted that Mac’s voice seemed to have a slight accent to it, though she didn’t know the origin of it, and it was gone before she could think about it too much.
    “Got it.” Dan smiled at Carissa. “Let me see it.”
    They all sat around a table in the corner of the cafe, on what appeared to be old theater seats. Carissa sat next to Mac and blushed at their close proximity when she put her duffel on the table. Chill out, Carissa, she told herself. You’re just thinking stupid stuff because you’ve spent a lot of time with him today. Breathe.
    She then took out the picture. “This is it,” she said.
    Dan took the photo from her and looked it over. “Well, it was a 35 millimeter camera, that’s for sure,” he said. “I can tell just from the exposure.” When he turned the picture, Carissa saw a medium sized smudge on the back, along with a silver logo that she had never seen before.
    “What’s that?” she asked.
    Dan flipped the photo over. “I don’t know what the smudge is from,” he said. “But this X logo is from PiƱeiro -- they’re a film company that went out of business a few years back. They never made the transition to digital. I’d at least say this picture was taken before the new millennium.” He flipped the picture over so Mac and Carissa could see the man, now dead, and the creepy lady in their glory, minus a few years according to Dan.
    “It’s surreal,” Carissa said.
    “Any clue as to the camera?” Mac asked.
    Dan took a closer look at the photo. “Just looks like a regular -- wait. The edges are a bit rounded. I can’t believe I missed that before! So yeah, it’s got to be a LaPostale model, I’d say one of their Bright 2500 models or older, but not before 1200. That’s when they started doing these rounded edges. They did that for years until they switched over to digital. It was their trademark in the film world.”
    “LaPostale is that one company that makes everything, right?” Carissa asked for clarification.
    Mac nodded. “They made the motor to my bike. Thanks for the information, Dan. Carissa, do you want a refill on your chai?”
    The two of them sat in the cafe for a while -- almost like a date, though Mac kept an excellent distance from her the entire time -- and gave more in depth introductions to their world. Carissa was a third generation Hispanic in the Heights; he was being raised by his mom in Coney Island. “My mom emigrated, too, from Ireland,” Mac explained. “My full name is Macardle Irving Taggart -- you can see why I go by Mac.”
    She giggled. “That would certainly make your life much easier.”
    Mac nodded, almost staring off into space. “I’m sorry that I had to drag you all the way to Brooklyn to find this information out. With this, at least we know it was definitely those two at a younger age.”
    “But who is the man, and who really is the woman? And how did that picture end up in my bag in the first place? That’s what I would like to know.” Carissa finished off her chai. “It’s been a long day. What train do I need to take from here to get home? I’m surprised my mama hasn’t called already to see where I am.” She reached into her pocket and pulled out her phone; sure enough, no missed calls. “Hmm.” She unlocked it and dialed her home number, waiting. “Mama should be home by now. Why isn’t she picking up?”
    “Maybe she got kidnapped by aliens.” That was Dan, who had stopped by to take Carissa’s empty chai mug. “And she’s being held hostage until she gives them the music box they’re looking for.”
    “Dan, that’s a movie plot,” Mac said with another roll of his eyes. “Quit being fantastic.”
    “Guys, seriously,” Carissa said as she rang her home phone again. “My mama never doesn’t pick up. I’m starting to get worried that something’s wrong.”
    Mac got up from the table. “I’ll take you.”
    “You don’t have to --”
    Mac looked Carissa in the eyes. “Oh, trust me. I do.”

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