So, there is nothing going on in my little world. No.thing. There are a lot of things that COULD be happening. I COULD be working on that book whose title is now up in the air (formerly The Tudor Tool), but I'm just not feeling Tudor England this week. I COULD be doing homework, and in fact I have been, quite a lot more than I care to admit. I COULD be spelunking. But I'm not. Mainly because I don't actually know what spelunking is. Something with caves? Maybe?
Anyway, I will feel like an incomplete human being if I don't post something for my legions of adoring fans to giggle over. What shall it be? Oh, I know!
This is a chunk from the very beginning of The Tudor Tool, and it's actually the last part I wrote. Here you get to meet someone who is quickly becoming one of my favorite characters: Docker Lewis. He and Crystal are at Crystal's house, where a party is being held to celebrate Crystal's mother's tenth year of teaching at Yale. "The Eloi" is the machine that got Crystal's dad fired the day before the party.
Six-four, black hair, olive skin, Docker Lewis had been the poster boy for Italian heartthrob since he was seven years old. Hunched over the end of the buffet table, he speared a meatball and added it to the stack of food on his plate. He’d been the star forward for Greens Farms Academy’s varsity soccer team, and by the look of his never-ending appetite, he was beefing up to be the star of Columbia’s team next fall.
I shifted in my stilettos, debating a U-turn. My relationship with Docker had consisted of nothing but mindless practical jokes since he’d returned the Katie Smith incident with the spring formal fiasco. I had returned that by finding out he had a crush on Elizabeth Reuben and telling her Docker was in love with her brother Kyle (who really was gay). Kyle spent the next two months sending anonymous love notes to Docker – by way of Elizabeth. Needless to say, once Docker discovered the whole messy affair when he invited “Elizabeth” to a festival, he plotted revenge on me again. So I plotted revenge on him. And so and so forth, until today, when I knew it was my turn to be revenged-upon.
Before I could turn all the way and retreat into the Yale territory of the kitchen, Docker looked up. He grinned, still half-chewing a meatball, and strolled over. His extra dose of cockiness said he knew I would be squirming.
“Crystal Thorne,” he declared. “You finally decided to come down from your perch?”
I frowned. “Perch?” He motioned to the back window that gave a clear view of the living room – and the balcony where I had been hiding. My eyebrows shot up. “I wasn’t hiding from you!”
Docker shrugged and nodded. “Sure you weren’t. But I’d hide from me too.”
I glanced to the side, at a group of my mother’s students who were slowly inching their way out of Yale territory and onto the terrace. Three girls, all looking-but-not-looking at Docker. I lifted an eyebrow at them before swinging back to him. “I should’ve kept hiding. It’s far too dangerous out here.”
Docker noticed the girls and broke into one of his Greek-god-like smiles. Fortunately, he hadn’t yet finished chewing another meatball, and his smile was coated in a fine layer of pasta sauce. The girls flinched as one and pretended their intent was to take a stroll through our backyard.
I laughed more than was necessary, especially when Docker licked his teeth and realized what had happened. “Oh man,” I snorted, “you’ve given me so many ideas for my turn.”
Docker freed a napkin from underneath his plate and scrubbed at his teeth. “If you live to see your turn. Muahahaha.”
He was kidding, but I still wasn’t about to stay and be humiliated at my mother’s party. I turned back for the kitchen and didn’t get very far when Docker’s hand tightened on my arm.
“Crystal.” His voice dropped to all-business, and he looked past me, into the kitchen. “Is your dad here? I was hoping he would–”
“No,” I cut him off. “No. He’s sulking.”
Docker nodded. Aside from being the sole reason I would avoid going to Columbia (dodging practical jokes while trying to establish some sort of adulthood independence wasn’t high on my list of to-dos), Docker was my dad’s favorite freshman physics major. The look on his face said he felt bad for my father, and before he could say anything to that effect, I jerked his hand off my arm.
“My dad is sulking at a party that his wife has been planning for five months. If you can find any reason why he should be sulking and not amongst the many well-wishers, then you absolutely deserve the physics department.”
I tried to stomp away again, but Docker swung around me and held my shoulder back as he tried to keep his food plate balanced. “I’m sorry, I’m sorry. Just – stop for a second.”
I crossed my arms and gave him my best I-will-physically-remove-you-if-you-don’t-get-out-of-my-way look. Docker set his food plate on a table and smiled at me, sans-pasta-sauce. I groaned. “What do you want?”
“I was going to ask your father. But – Crystal?” He tipped his head down and looked up at me, which was very difficult for him to do, considering I was five-two with the stilettos on. “Is it at all possible for me to see The Eloi?”