Chapter 5 – January 3D

“Next tournament’s at the Academy, two weeks.” The Bird sensed that Mr. Jacobs was evaluating the team’s response before continuing. “Won’t have the college crowd this time.” She remembered Annie telling her parents at the team party how the Bark Bay fencers frequently competed against colleges, simply because there were so few high school fencing programs in their area. She felt Mr. Jacobs’ eyes focus on her. “But we have another team outing, a different one, planned before then.”

“Were you able to get a bus?” There wasn’t much hope for an affirmative answer in Annie’s question.

“Didn’t ask. School policy says we need a minimum eight students, and so far we’ve only got five — ”

” — six. Rune says he talked to Double-J at the tournament Saturday, got him to say yes.” Rune nodded in confirmation.

“All right, six. That’s still two short, so unless we get people like Juan or Micky — ”

” — both no, talked to them today. Big Paul’s also a no, Little Paul said he’d think about it.”

“O.K.? Coy?” The Bird wasn’t sure whether Mr. Jacobs was naming other students (she knew there were several occassional members of the team whom she had yet to meet), or making a comment about either of both of the Pauls.

“Told them last week, and Zeph too, but, nah, no way.”

Mr. Jacobs clapped his hands. “No bus, then! We’ll meet here, in the parking lot, Thursday at 5.” The Bird felt his focus shift towards her again. “Are you joining us?”

No, said The Bird. I mean, yes, she said, I’m going up with my mother.

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