“Haven’t we talked enough already?” Double-J slid his right arm into his down jacket.
Coach Dan remained seated in his restaurant chair. “Only reason I’m asking for a bit more of your time now — is that I know if Annie accepts the offer to be the fencing team captain, you’re not going to want to talk to me.”
Double-J stopped, his left hand barely into its sleeve. He looked down at his coach. “That’s the most insightful thing you’ve said all evening.” The burly teen took his left hand out from the sleeve, brought it across his body to free his right arm. He sat quickly, arms wrapped around the jacket.
The waitress left, nervousness having returned to her face. She lifted the receipt and money from the table, thanked Coach Dan, do you need change, no thank you, you two hav a WONDERFUL evening. Then the bearded, middle-aged English teacher at Bark Bay High School turned his attention back to the moustachioed senior and part-time employee of Left’s Auto Shop.
“Do you know why I started the fencing team, four years ago?”
Double-J shrugged. “Compensating for blowing out your knees in college?”
Coach Dan blinked. “My friend, in the four years you’ve known me, how many times have I talked about my fencing career?” Double-J replied that he didn’t know. “That’s because I go out of my way not to talk about my past. Like last week, when Butch asked me how many bouts I’d won in college.”
“You said it didn’t matter.”
“And I meant it. Yeah you’ve probably heard me talk about Josef, my college coach, how I met him a few years back, and how he gave me hell for not having a fencing team at Bark Bay already. Yeah, if I hadn’t gotten that kick in the seat of my pants, I might not have started a team. But when I did go to the AD, ask for a little money and practice time, I wasn’t thinking about myself. I went in thinking, what can fencing do for my students?“