The Offer

[My response for today’s NaBloPoMo Prompt — a pitch from a fictional organization I’d love to work with. As I hope to do with all my daily posts, I’m switching the prompt a little to make it part of my novel’s background story.]

“Nothing, Jimmy.” Dan Jacobs looked over at his friend passively, as the two men sat on the floor of the Bark Bay High School cafeteria, their backs pressed to the short wall behind them, their knees propped in front of them. “I don’t have anything to offer you as my assistant coach. Other than the chance to work with these young people.”

Jimmy shook his head, blew air through his lips. “And do what, Daniel? Tell them what I remember from my fencing days?” He closed his eyes, tilted his head back so it hit the wall lightly. “Twenty years, my man. Twenty!”

“What I saw out there tonight, during practice — ” Dan waved a hand in the direction of the empty cafeteria floor — “was someone who knew the fundamentals. Balance, distance, tempo. The conversation, Jimmy. If that’s what you remember about fencing, that’s all they need to learn.”

Jimmy’s eyes were still closed, his head resting against the short wall. Dan tapped his left forearm with the knuckle of his left index finger. “‘sides, it’s not about what you did back then, that’s important. It’s what you’ve done with your life since then — who you are now, the kind of man you’ve become — that’s what I want these kids to see.”

“A role model?” Jimmy’s head lurched forward, his eyes widened, a sarcastic grin ripping across his face. “Well in that case, you’d be paying what I’m worth on that account.”

“Nah, nothing so obvious. The kids would reject you if you tried to play role model with them. Just be yourself, whatever the hell that means. They’ll respect that.”

“Huh.” Jimmy closed his eyes again, and leaned his head back against the wall.

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