Myles raised his foil in salute, grinning eagerly at Coach Dan. He completed the salute, then suddenly brightened in surprise. “A referee!” Myles turned to the members of the Bark Bay High School fencing team. “Which one of you cares to direct our bout?”
Rex raised his hand, his tall thin body looking like a flagpole planted in the middle of the cafeteria floor. Coach Dan lifted his mask from the bib, exposing his face, uttered a quick thanks before swiping a salute in the tall teen’s direction. He then shoved the mask down, his face disappearing behind its gray metal, and turned to face Myles, also masked and ready.
Rex got into position outside the center of the makeshift strip. Butch waddled up behind him. “So this is the first bout between you two?”
Myles turned to Butch quickly. “You must be new here.”
“Yes!” Butch’s voice was filled with excited curiosity. “It’s only my third practice!”
Myles turned his gray metal face back towards Coach Dan. “Well, if you stick around long enough, you’ll find out that coach here doesn’t actually like to fence. He’s a teacher, not a fencer. Which makes sense, if you think about it. What’s that they say — those who can, can — ”
“Rex, start this bout before I change my mind.” Coach Dan’s interruption was spoken with the roughness of a curse.