Chapter 5 – January 3E

“Double-J said he’d pick me up on the way, but I have to be back by nine, so we may have to leave early.” The hesitance in Rex’s voice made his face seem even longer than usual.

Mr. Jacobs blinked, the short dark curls of his hair and beard waving as he nodded and took a step in Rex’s direction. “Performance should be done by eight, so that’s fine. You can leave right after the duel ends.” He swept his gaze across the line of Bark Bay high school fencers. “I’m really looking forward to this. I met the stunt coordinator, guy named Ed Nestor — ” he leaned in The Bird’s direction — “said he knows you.”

Yes, replied The Bird. He met my mother back in Hollywood, moved to the city about the same time my mother and I moved to Bark Bay.

“You used to live in Hollywood?” Rune sounded like a child opening a Christmas present.

The Bird shook her head. No, she said, she moved away before I was born.

“Anyway, Ed showed me what he’s got planned for act five, scene two.” The Bird was relieved to hear Mr. Jacobs’ echoing voice cut short her conversation with Rune. “This won’t be like most stage fencing.” He grimmaced and, in a lilting voice that sounded almost painful, mimicked the sound of two blades lightly touching, twitching his head left and right quickly with each sound. “Ting-ting-ting.” He waved a dismissive hand. “This is going to look like a real fight, like Hamlet and Laertes are really trying to nail each other. Thank you, again, for making this happen.” Seeing that he was looking back at her, The Bird looked down with a shy smile.

“And to answer your question — ” Mr. Jacobs’ voice seemed to bend in the air as he turned while speaking to look at Mr. Saunders behind him — “yes, looks like we only have four today. So let’s get on with practice.”


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