Coach Time 7J

Coach Dan was certain Jimmy’s statement, as direct and probing as it was, wasn’t really a challenge. Jimmy was seeking information that he’d find in Coach Dan’s response.

The middle-aged English teacher at Bark Bay High School and volunteer coach of the school’s fencing team, scratched his stomach. “My friend, if I were out to change the world, do you really think that showing a bunch of teenagers how to hold a foil without injuring anybody, especially themselves, would be the place to start?”

Jimmy continued his impassive look a moment. Then the corners of his mouth rose, pushing up his cheeks, the lips of his mouth parting to reveal a broad, toothy grin. “Just messing with you, Daniel.”

“I understand. You seem to approach new opportunities with a high degree of caution.”

Jimmy pushed his hands against the cafeteria floor, thin arms and legs lifting his body like tent poles. “I don’t — look for trouble, Daniel. Enough comes my way on its own.”

Now it was Coach Dan’s turn to lunge with a question. “Are you expecting trouble from us?”

Jimmy shook his head. “Your — students seem polite. Respectful.”

“They’re curious, too.” Coach Dan held up a hand, waited for Jimmy to turn fully towards him. “Very curious. They ask me — questions.”

Jimmy studied Coach Dan a moment. “About — your religion?”

Coach Dan nodded. “Never directly. But they are certainly curious about how I feel about being so — different.”

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