Authors: Debra Garfinkle
Table of Contents
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Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Garfinkle, D. L. (Debra L.) Stuck in the 70’s / D. L. Garfinkle. p. cm.
Summary: A spoiled, rich, seventeen-year-old girl is mysteriously transported from 2006 Los Angeles back to 1978, where she meets Tyler, a super-smart high school senior who promises to help her return to 2006 if she will give him some lessons on how to be popular. [1. Popularity—Fiction. 2. Time travel—Fiction. 3. Feminism—Fiction. 4. High schools—Fiction. 5. Schools—Fiction. 6. Nineteen seventies—Fiction. 7. Los Angeles (Calif.)—Fiction.]
I. Title. II. Title: Stuck in the seventies.
PZ7.G17975Stu 2007 [Fic]—dc22 2006034460
eISBN : 978-1-101-17692-4
To Judy Green, world’s greatest mother, who has stuck by me always.
It’s embarrassing how many terrific writer friends I needed to critique this manuscript, including Cieran Blumenthal, Diane Davis, Jody Feldman, Paige Feldman, Collyn Justus, Martha Peaslee Levine, Mary Beth Miller, Elizabeth Paterras, Marlene Perez, Lori Polydoros, Kate Tuthill, and Tony Varrato. I appreciate their helpful advice and blame them entirely for all flaws in this book.
I’m grateful for Judy Green, April Holland, and Lane Klein, who are not only wonderful relatives but do great unpaid PR.
I thank my agent Laura Rennert for making everything seem easy.
And thanks to John Rudolph—kind person, insightful editor, and user of much red ink.
I’m grateful to my husband, Jeff Garfinkle. After the normal government lawyer he married turned into an obsessed fiction writer, he hardly ever complained.
And I thank my children, who on a daily basis confirm my belief in miracles.
There’s a beautiful naked
girl sitting in my bathtub. It’s two A.M. and the splashing woke me. Or did it? Maybe I’m dreaming. I blink my eyes about fifty times. She’s still there. Still—blond-haired, thin-armed, and round-breasted—very much there. Even with L.A.’s inferior water quality, I can see her clearly. And clearly she’s gorgeous. Just a few melting bubbles play on her shiny skin.
Oh, to be one of those bubbles. One clings to her knee, which pokes above the waterline. The girl’s head is thrown back. Her neck is smooth and pale and long. She holds a champagne glass in the air as if she’s making a toast. Her eyes are closed, but I don’t think she’s asleep. Possibly she’s meditating. Possibly she’s stoned.
I do what any heterosexual seventeen-year-old guy would do: stand frozen at the door with my mouth open and gawk.
Maybe not any heterosexual teenage guy. For instance, if I were a confident, popular guy like Rick The Dick Bowden, I’d probably strip off my L.A. Rams pajamas and join her in the bathtub. Not that The Dick would even own L.A. Rams pajamas. He probably wears a maroon smoking jacket like Hugh Hefner or sleeps in the buff.
Maybe God’s answering my prayers in a big way. Or this could be a practical joke, an excellent one. Or a present. Christmas is coming soon, but I can’t think who would give me a gift like this. My best friend, Evie, wouldn’t do this. The last present she gave me was a glow-in-the-dark calculator, which was very cool, but geek-cool, not cool in the same way a naked girl in your bathtub is cool.
Given the choice, I’d pick the naked girl.
She opens her eyes. They’re Darth Vader black, very soulful and weary.
My heart is going crazy. I think I’m in love.
She looks at me, at the red wallpaper behind me, then finally out the small window at the end of the bathroom. It’s as if she’s searching for something, yearning and needful.
I try not to ogle her body, but I can’t help it. I ask the girl, “How can I help you?”
Her voice is velvet and I almost miss the words. “Who the hell are you?”
She looks around, as if expecting to see people hiding behind the toilet or crouched against the bathroom cupboards. “Jake? Mariel? Where am I? What happened to the Jacuzzi tub? And what is that on the walls?”
I don’t know what to say.
“Is that wallpaper, like, fuzzy, or am I completely wasted?”
“Both, probably,” I say. “You’re wasted and the wallpaper’s flocked.”
“Flocked?” Then she starts shaking with laughter. Every part of her shakes, most importantly her breasts.
I stare at the wall. “It’s new wallpaper. My mom picked it out. She wanted to modernize the room.” Wow, do I sound like a dork.
“This is how your mom modernizes the room?” she asks. “That wallpaper is, like, total seventies.”
“Yes,” I say. “That’s the point. This room actually used to be pink and black, which my mother says was popular in the fifties.” My heartbeat has slowed down, finally. Hearing me pontificate on room renovation could drag the life out of anything.
I feel brave enough to look at her again and force my jaw not to drop. Now I notice her smooth skin the color of Pringles and a scent fresh as—well, fresh as someone in a mildly bubbly bathtub.
“So, what, your mom’s like a Martha Stewart?”
“Who’s Martha Stewart? My brain isn’t exactly in top condition at two in the morning,” I say.
“It’s two A.M.?”
“Not exactly. It was approximately two seventeen when I got out of bed a few minutes ago.” Nerd alert! Nerd alert!
“What the hell went on today?” She blinks like crazy. Is she about to cry? Please, no. I won’t be able to stand it. Not that girls cry in front of me all the time, but when it happens it kills me. Cheryl Thompson cried in Honors Algebra class after she got caught looking at my test answers. I hear Mom cry in her bedroom sometimes.
“So who’s Martha Stewart?” I say, hoping to get the girl’s mind off whatever is giving her the urge to cry.
She swipes her eyes with her hands, and I get to see a close-up view of her breasts—both of them, completely unblocked. They’re the greatest, most fantastic, amazing sight I’ve ever seen. Or probably ever will see.
“Martha Stewart. That zillionaire who makes her own soap and stuff,” she says.
I nod, but have no idea who she’s talking about.
She sniffs in, big, as if taking back all the potential sobs and saving them for someone more worthwhile. “I need to get out of this damn tub.”
No! Please, God, stay!
“Can you get me a clean towel? Large and fluffy, preferby. Ferably.” She’s obviously drunk as a skunk. Finally, she pronounces the word properly—“ pre- fer-ably”—spending approximately three seconds per correctly enunciated syllable.
“I’ll bring you a towel.”
“I still don’t get this seventies look in here. What about 2006?” She shakes her head.
To stave off a possible heart attack, I have to look away again. Yikes! I’m facing the mirror and staring at the naked girl’s reflection.
I close my eyes. “In 2006, they might not even use wallpaper. Perhaps thirty years in the future they’ll just project holographic beams onto walls.”
“Thirty years? Are you drunk too?”
“Twenty-eight years, actually,” I say. “Two thousand six minus 1978. Equals twenty-eight years.” Help! Geek on the loose!
“Yes.” I hold myself back from saying
“You’re telling me I’m no longer at Jake’s house, it’s no longer daytime, and it’s no longer 2006? I’m in a stranger’s house, in the middle of the night, thirty years before 2006?”
“Actually, twenty-eight years.”
“This is so not funny anymore. Jake? Mariel? Mom? Where’s my cell phone?”
“What’s a cell phone?”
“Please, just get me a towel and then get me the hell out of here.”
I rush to the linen closet and pray that the girl will still be in my bathtub when I return.
I’m sitting on a
furry gold toilet lid, wrapped up in a thin
beach towel and slapping my cheeks, hoping to sober up from a horrible hallucination. I put my hand on the wall and feel fuzz, or flock as the guy calls it, and tell myself I’m never drinking again.
What the hell happened tonight?
Think, Shay, think.
My head hurts. I close my eyes.
The last thing I remember, I was in Jake’s Jacuzzi tub. His parents’, really, and Mariel was yelling at me in Spanish. That was it. Nothing, like, incredibly strange. So how did I end up here? And what’s with this boy telling me it’s 1978?
There’s a knock on the door and a whisper. “It’s me. Tyler.”
I crack open the door.
He’s got a big fugly T -s hirt neatly folded in his arms. “You can wear this for now. Come into my room and we can rap.”
“You know. Work it out.”
I shake my head. “I’m not having sex with you.”