Dark Safari

[Author’s note: this next fiction experiment is set in the world of my still-untitled novel about a high school fencing team in a rural northern American town. This scene would probably not be included in the finished version of the novel, but letting the interaction between these two characters seemed important for the development of the story. It also allows me to explore a theme which greatly interests me.]

Metal chimes tinged lightly in greeting above Dan Jacobs’ head as he pushed open the door leading to the Pizza Place. He scanned the familiar dining area (a column of three narrow wooden booths on the right, a hallway behind leading to the restrooms; a high counter in front of the open kitchen along the back wall; the majority of the floor space taken up with six loosely-arranged red-and-white checkered rectangular tables, each surrounded by four to six plastic-metal chairs), his search halting as he saw a familiar head of blonde hair lift on his far left. Dan Jacobs raised his right hand in silent greeting and kept it in front of him as he navigated the dining area furniture (nudging a metal napkin container and standing menu on one table in his path) until he reached the table where the dim restaurant lighting somehow managed to shine off the golden hair and pearly teeth of Cyrus Hutchinson, standing behind an empty table and greeting Dan Jacobs with an extended right arm and a warm smile.

“I’m so glad you took time from your schedule to meet with me today, Daniel.”

“You’re quite welcome, my friend.” The firmness of Cyrus’ handshake seemed overly formal to Dan, like he was about to be asked to sign a peace treaty. “I understand there was something you wanted to speak to me about?” He raised his right eyebrow. “Something — important?”

Cyrus titled his golden head oddly, as if attempting to nod and shake at the same time. “To tell the truth, there’s many things we need to discuss — ” his face beamed a smile in Dan’s direction — “such as, how my boy is doing with his fencing?”


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