Chapter 3X

“Who did you beat last spring?” asked Double-J. “Wasn’t it Josh?” Bernie nodded, then said “there was that girl from Midland, too.”

Yes, Midland High should be there, said Coach Dan. They’re the largest school in the state, they field teams in more sports than most any other, and they’re only about fifteen minutes away from the College. I’m good friends with the coach at Midland, she’s real sharp. They’ve got a good team.

“Midland’s a bunch of losers,” said Double-J. “And Josh,” he said, reaching out with his right arm and nudging Rex, “didn’t he show up for like, two practices, then never showed up after losing in the tournament to Zorro back there?”

Between bites of his roast beef sandwich, Rex garbled out an mwhy gwuess.

“How’d you do against the Academy, Zorro? You face Neil? How many touches did you score?”

“Two.”

“Gwen?”

“I faced her twice, in the prelim and then the elimination. Got three touches against her.”

“Three in the elimination, right, that was to fifteen. How many in the prelim, the five-touch bout.”

Bernie listened to the hum of the car’s engine for a moment before he spoke. “She shut me out in the prelim.”

“So let me get this straight,” said Double-J. “You scored two touches against the Academy’s weakest foil fencer, who didn’t even crack the top ten at the tournament, and when you faced somebody who actually knew what she was doing, you failed miserably. You beat some nobody from Midland, and some guy from our school who was in it for kicks, and dropped out because he was embarassed to have lost to you.

“So what makes you so confident about today?”

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