[Author’s note: The last name of the person talking to Dan Jacobs is Goodman, not Hutchinson. Can’t even keep my own characters straight.]
Dan nodded as he pulled a metal chair back from the table, four metal casters scraping across the laminate floor, skrink. Cyrus’ question was a familiar one to Dan, but this was the first time it had been asked regarding one of his newest students.
“Butch is doing fine, just fine.” Dan Jacobs sat on the chair, pulled it towards the table. Cyrus Goodman also sat, clasping his hands together on the table top. “He’s eager to learn, always asking questions at practice.”
“That’s good.” Cyrus rubbed his hands together, like a camper seeking warmth over a fire. “You know, I’ve never seen my boy so excited about a sport — well to speak truly I have, he’s tried baseball, and basketball, and football.” His voice dripped with derision as he recited the name of each sport. “Just like every boy in Bark Bay, seems like. And every time, Butch would come back home all excited after the first practice, maybe the second. But that enthusiasm would never last. Sooner or later his coach would have him do a drill he’d find difficult, he’d get frustrated and before I know it — ” he leaned back in his chair, threw his arms back — “he’d quit.”
Dan shook his head. “I don’t see that happening. He’s been at fencing practice what, three months now?” He smiled. “When he showed up to the first practice after winter break, I knew he was there for good.”
Cyrus Goodman’s smile was filled with pleasure and relief. “You have — ” he leaned forward over the table — “no — idea — how happy that makes me. Butch loves sports, he’s always been all boy, but he’s always been embarrassed by his lack of athletic skill.”
Dan tilted his head back, as if the memory he now recalled had slapped across his face. “I remember something I told him when he asked about the fencing club, before he joined. He said he wasn’t an athlete, and I told him the same thing I tell everyone on the club.” He stared intently into Cyrus’ eyes. “This club doesn’t need athletes. This club needs fencers.”