“I wouldn’t brag about your conditioning, pal.” Double-J had removed his mask, stepped forward from the line to face Miles. “You’re sucking some serious wind.”
Miles closed his mouth, which had been opened like a bellows. He inhaled deeply through his nose, then let out an appreciative sigh. “That’s better.” He turned to Butch. “I didn’t intend to slight you, I was just making an observation. I’m sorry if you got offended.” He slipped his fencing mask over his head, pointed his foil at Butch, nodded at him to advance.
Butch advanced a step, the tip of his right foot stubbing against the tiled floor, sending him forward awkwardly. Miles watched him, silent, still. Butch regained his footing, crouched down into en garde position (Annie noting quietly that his feet, arms, torso, all were out of position), sighed heavily as he faced Miles. Who had not moved throughout Butch’s stumbling.
The end came quickly, Butch lunging awakwardly only to be parried deftly, Miles’ riposte landing swiftly. Miles turned to the next person in line, ignoring Butch as if he were a fly he had just shooshed away from his meal.