[My response to today’s prompt from The Daily Post: Second-Hand Stories]
“Isn’t he from Chicago?” Rune leaned forward in the back seat of the car, placing his elbows on the shoulder rests of the front seat.
“Not the city, one of the suburbs.” Double-J controlled the steering wheel with his right hand at the high noon position, the green-yellow glow from the dashboard illuminating his dark face.
“I heard he didn’t get along with his parents.” Rex turned his lean face to his left, looked back at Rune. “That’s why he came here, to get as far away from them as possible.”
“That’s not what I heard.” Rune waved his greasy hair from his forehead. “Somebody told me, he got in trouble at his old job, teaching in St. Louis. One of his students was gonna get expelled, and he told the school board, If you kick him out, I’m leaving.”
The bark of Double-J’s laughter sounded like an alarm. “What, he tell you that one himself? Sounds like a typical self-promoting thing Danny-boy would do.”
Rune leaned back into his seat, as Rex stared out into the dark road giving way to the car’s advance. Double-J turned a knob on the dashboard, enveloping the interior with loud bluesy rock music. The song ended, and as Rex began speaking, Double-J turned the volume down.
“Only thing Coach Dan’s ever told me is, he came here for the peace and quiet, leave the rat race. But I don’t buy it — nobody comes to live in Bark Bay, unless they have to for some reason.”
“He’s gotta know people talk about him.” Rune’s voice sounded like it came from a distance much further than the back seat. “That there’s all kinda stories about why he came here.” He lifted his chin towards the back of Double-J’s head. “So whadda you think?”
“I think — ” Double-J waited until he was sure Rex was looking in his direction — “that our fencing coach likes to talk, especially about himself. And since I rarely give a shit about what he’s got to say, I don’t particularly care what people got to say about him either.”