Chapter 1R

The Coach turned back to the microphone, only to see Rex already leaning over it and, staring straight at the senior section, raising his foil into the air and shouting, “Double-J, I accept your challenge!” A roar of approval came from the crowd, with the loudest sounds coming from the seniors.

The Coach looked over at the principal, who smiled wryly in return. The Coach shrugged, and the principal looked at his watch, then looked up and nodded as he extended two fingers.

The Coach walked up to the microphone and motioned Rex aside. The chant of dub-ul-jay from the juniors had grown louder, more coordinated after the roar from Rex’s pronouncement. “Ladies and gentlemen,” the Coach cried, “we have time for one last touch!” The crowd shouted its approval, even the juniors stopping their chant to participate.

Double-J turned to Rex, and pointed with his left arm. Rex responded with a flamboyant bow, right leg extended back as he leaned forward, then suddenly stood upright and whooshed his foil in front of him.

The Coach motioned Rex and Double-J to resume their starting positions, and for Bernie and Annie to come in closer for judging. He also motioned with his hands for the crowd to be quiet, knowing that given the excitement in the air this would not be entirely possible, but the crowd at least was able to lower the volume enough for everyone to focus on the bout.

The crowd noise having reached what he perceived to be the lowest he could expect it to get, the Coach sliced down between the fencers with his right arm, and yelled, “Fence!”

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