WORD LISTS

"The Line Tender" by Kate Allen, Chapters 25–36

July 30, 2022
Twelve-year old Lucy Everhart learns to overcome grief by studying sharks during a research project at Cape Cod.

Here are links to our lists for the novel: Chapters 1–13, Chapters 14–24, Chapters 25–36
rustic
After some debate, we pulled into the Spruce Grouse Lodge. It seemed a little rustic, with cars pulled up to the guest room doors and rooms only on the ground level.
cold feet
He sat down on the foot of the bed with the box on his lap. “After the funeral home gave me the urn, I walked it up to the Headlands. I climbed out on the rocks and tossed half of her into the sea. Then I got cold feet. Maybe I didn’t want to get rid of the whole thing just yet. I brought the rest home and put her on my dresser.”
hoard
Beside the cash register was a spinning kiosk of postcards—ten for $1.00. A bargain. I realized I was already the owner of nine blank postcards featuring photos of loons and lighthouses, but I had the urge to hoard.
traumatic
“Why do you want a boat?” he asked. It was a good question, seeing that being near water was traumatic.
“I need to do a favor for Mr. Patterson,” I said. “He needs to scatter Mrs. Patterson’s ashes on French’s Island.”
eerie
Sookie and Dad read the charts and determined that French Island, or “French’s Island” as Mr. Patterson called it, was a reasonable ride for a small boat. In fact, it was eerie how close it was to Lower Flying Point, where Vern lived.
coax
Mom had her hair in a ponytail, her mouth was open like she was talking, and she was making a weird two-handed gesture, like she was cradling an imaginary volleyball. I’d seen that geeky excitement before from a few of my teachers at school. She was aiming that volleyball at one of Vern’s students and she was either congratulating him on his brilliance, or coaxing him to push one of his ideas to the next level.
deface
I got this devilish feeling and I picked up a pencil and started filling in Sookie’s features. I gave him a pair of Oakley sunglasses and a four-day-old beard. I drew a tank top and a pair of waders like he wore on the boat. I put a Moxie can beside him on the pulpit. I wrote Sookie above his head and made an arrow, in case there was any question. Part of me looked down in horror at how I’d defaced Mom’s work, but the other part of me giggled.
differentiate
“And each tag is set at a different frequency, so you can differentiate between the sharks.”
“What?” I said.
“Each tag has its own special ping,” said Robin.
“So each shark with a tag makes its own noise?” I asked.
“Basically,” she said.
necropsy
“We’ve been seeing the sharks in the news,” I said. “We even had one in Rockport.”
“Sookie’s shark,” she said. “I know. Ray and I were stuck at a conference. We wanted to do a necropsy on that one.”
crustacean
“What’s in the cooler?” I said.
“Dinner.”
Sookie stopped and lifted the lid, presenting a pile of crustaceans, writhing like leggy bugs.
writhe
“What’s in the cooler?” I said.
“Dinner.”
Sookie stopped and lifted the lid, presenting a pile of crustaceans, writhing like leggy bugs.
scavenge
Lobster had always been one of the meals that my dad had prepared on his own. He’d put on a wet suit and go scavenging off Back Beach, bringing home lobster in his mesh bag. He’d boil them in the large pot that was used only for this occasion.
sarcastic
“Given any more thought to tagging sharks with Robin?” I asked. I had already bothered him about it twice that week.
He nodded. Looked me in the eye and said, “No.”
“She said it pays big bucks,” I said, knowing that Robin was being sarcastic.
interrogate
I wanted to burst into the kitchen and interrogate him right then, but Maggie pulled a postcard out of the shoebox. The Twin Lights. “There is one of these that I can’t stop thinking about.”
fiasco
I started to write Fred a postcard, but there were too many words for the small space, so I wrote him a letter instead. I told him about the butter fiasco and asked him when he’d planned on giving me the necklace.
stealthily
When we got to the bookstore, I paused in front and looked up at the three big awnings over the door and windows, the mailbox to my right. As if Fiona wasn’t going to notice, I walked over, pulled the envelope out of my pocket, and stealthily dropped it inside.
abrasion
“Ray is photographing scars, fin marks, and distinctive body markings. Though it’s a little tricky with the decomposition and abrasions from knocking about in the ocean. There is a huge archive of these types of images, and biologists can use the photos to identify white sharks around the world,” Robin explained.
salvageable
Robin pulled out the reproductive organs for a closer look and with what was salvageable of the decayed major organs packed away in coolers, the shark’s carcass began to resemble the empty lobster bodies Sookie had taken away from last night’s feast.
trudge
“Let’s get Dad out of here.”
Once Dad and Mr. P were safely on the sand, I trudged to where the trucks were lined up.
copious
“Nice work today,” Robin said to me.
“You took some copious notes,” Ray said.
“Yeah,” I said. “It’s for a project at school.”
Ray nodded. “Cool.”
placard
I tried to remember what went where, knowing that with Fred and Mom gone, nobody was going to notice if the books were in the wrong places. I reached up to place the book by Cousteau and Cousteau in a gap on the high shelf and saw a black box that had a little metal placard, like an empty placeholder for a name tag.
fixate
I didn’t remember her ever filming this, but then again, when she was here, I never had paid much attention to what she did when she wasn’t with me. But I was fixated now.
starboard
Over my shoulder, I spotted a third harpoon leaning several yards away from the catwalk, loaded with another acoustic tag. I thought about picking it up and waiting near the edge of the catwalk, in case Sookie needed it. The radio crackled. “He’s going for the starboard side.” That’s my side.
girth
I knew this shark as well as any of the adults on the boat. I had drawn its body inside and out—the vertebrae like cartilaginous Legos, the placement of the organs, the fins, and the industrial hinges of the jaw. I knew this shark. I scrubbed one hundred attempts clean with my eraser, trying to get the right distance between the fins or the right amount of muscular girth.
delinquent
I looked at Robin. She seemed both angry and stunned. And maybe worried, like she might have invited some kind of a delinquent onto the boat.
“Lucy,” she said, breathing heavy and talking slowly. “I do appreciate that you tagged that shark. In fact, it’s kind of a miracle. But I would prefer if you left the job to Sookie from here on. Okay?”
sternum
Ray tapped me on the shoulder, and I opened my eyes. He raised his eyebrows, pointed to the headphones, and then he poked himself in the sternum. I didn’t want to give them away, so I held up a finger, as if to tell him I needed one more minute.
opaque
In the North Atlantic, the waves were dark and opaque, but I still looked over the side of the boat, trying to see deeper.
prow
Ray handed me the headphones and moved toward the prow of the boat, steadying himself against the corner of the wheelhouse. I tried to separate the two pings. The rhythm had shifted. The rests were shorter between pings and there was a new sound, Bom, bom, bee, bee, bom, bee. It was dissonant and chaotic. I cupped my hands over the tan plastic ear muffs and said out loud, “It’s Mom.”
dissonant
Ray handed me the headphones and moved toward the prow of the boat, steadying himself against the corner of the wheelhouse. I tried to separate the two pings. The rhythm had shifted. The rests were shorter between pings and there was a new sound, Bom, bom, bee, bee, bom, bee. It was dissonant and chaotic. I cupped my hands over the tan plastic ear muffs and said out loud, “It’s Mom.”
chaotic
Ray handed me the headphones and moved toward the prow of the boat, steadying himself against the corner of the wheelhouse. I tried to separate the two pings. The rhythm had shifted. The rests were shorter between pings and there was a new sound, Bom, bom, bee, bee, bom, bee. It was dissonant and chaotic. I cupped my hands over the tan plastic ear muffs and said out loud, “It’s Mom.”

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