Excerpt of Down The Rabbit Hole by Peter Abrahams
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"Uh-huh," said Ingrid, although every night would be pushing it,
if by "every night" Dr. Binkerman meant every single night, night after night
after night ad nauseam. Ingrid didn't want to get to the nauseam stage, so she
never wore the thing on sleepovers, for example, or when she fell asleep
reading, or on Friday nights, when she gave herself a regular breather as a
reward for getting through the school week; and there might have been other
random misses from time to time. She was only human. Still, what business was it
"Keep it up," said Dr. Binkerman.
Keep it up. He said that every time, and every time Ingrid
replied, "I will." But this time, for no reason, she said, "For how long?" The
words just popping out on their own, the way words sometimes did.
Mary Jane, sticking X rays up on the light box, paused for less
than a second, just a tiny hitch in her movement. Dr. Binkerman blinked. "How
long?" he said.
How long? Had Dr. Binkerman lost track of the whole point of this? "Till everything's all straight," she
said. "Till I'm done."
Ingrid had noticed that people's lips often did things when they
were thinking. Some people pursed them, some bit them, some sucked them in
between their teeth. Dr. Binkerman was a biter. "Every case is different, as I mentioned way back at the initial consultation with your parents," he said. "You remember that conversation, Ingrid?"
Ingrid remembered: Mom hovering over morphing mouth schematics
on the computer screen, Dad checking his watch. "Uh-huh," she said.
"Then you'll remember there are lots of variables," Dr. Binkerman said. He paused. "Like patient cooperation. But all in all, I'd say
you were coming along right on schedule." He leaned forward again, pointy silver
pliers in hand. "Are we due for an adjustment, Mary Jane?"
Mary Jane glanced at the chart. "Overdue."
Adjustment meant tightening. Tightening didn't hurt much while
it was happening, but every turn of the screw made a squeaky sound that seemed
to come from right inside Ingrid's head, and reminded her of the Shackleton IMAX
movie she'd seen a few weeks before on a class tripthat scene where ice floes
slowly crush the ship to death. Over Dr. Binkerman's shoulder, she saw that Mary
Jane was watching. Ingrid read the straight answer to her how-much-longer
question in Mary Jane's frowning eyes: Till hell freezes over.
"See the receptionist on your way out," said Dr. Binkerman.
Ingrid made her next appointment at the reception counter, then
looked out the window to see if Mom or Dad was waiting in the parking lot. Mom
drove a three-year-old green Mazda MPV van, an uncool car with uncool bumper
stickers that said she supported NPR and the Echo Falls Heritage Committee. Dad
drove a silver Audi TT, a very cool car, no doubt about that, with no bumper
stickers supporting anything, the only problem being that the TT was really a
two-seater, with not much more than shelf space for Ingrid in the back. But
shelf space covered in the softest leather Ingrid had ever touched, so it all
balanced out, kind of.
Neither car was in the lot. Ingrid hadn't really expected them
to be exactly right on time to the minute. Mom and Dad had busy lives. On the
far side of the parking lot, a squirrel ran down a branch and leaped to the next
tree. Three yellow leaves came loose and drifted to the ground. Ingrid watched
how they landed, intact and undamaged, so softly you could hardly call it landing.
She sat back down, reopened Seventeen.
repetitions. Meaning how many times you lift the weight. Reps
are divided into sets. For example
Ingrid tossed the magazine onto the next chair. She knew all
this. They had practically a whole gym in their basement at home. Her brother,
Tyher parents had had only one acceptable name in them, and he'd come firstwas
into sports, and Dad, who was also into sports, especially Ty's, was building
him up. Dad was into her sports too, or sport, since she'd rid herself of
hockeytoo coldand softballtoo slowand was now down to soccer, the only one
she'd ever liked in the first
From Down the Rabbit Hole by Peter Abrahams. Copyright © 2005 by Peter Abrahams. All Rights Reserved. Reproduced with the permission of the publisher, HarperCollins. No part of this book maybe reproduced without written permission from the publisher.