Rhythm, Part 3

[The conclusion of my response to the Daily Post prompt, Cue the Violins.]

“Seems to me, analogies are good for newbie fencers — ” from his sitting position on the cafeteria floor, his back against the low wall in front of the stage and his arms propped on his knees, Double-J pointed — “Butch, the Bird lady.” He smiled. “Huey.”

Rune’s face flashed in anger as he took a step forward, but Double-J waved in his direction dismissively. “Take it easy. But once you know what you’re doing out there, all this crap about fencing being like music, or a conversation, or a, God help me, metaphor for life, is just a bunch of noise, a distraction.” He stood up abruptly, without any seeming effort. “What I like about this sport is that it’s exactly what it is — a duel between two people. Unless the ref’s a total idiot, the guy who fences better always wins, always. It’s the only honest sport life, the only one that hasn’t been corrupted by greed or phony rivalries.”

Double-J had walked back to the area where he and Rex had been bouting, was now picking up the weapon and mask he had left on the cafeteria floor when Coach Dan had called for a halt. “The only thing fencing is like, is fencing.” He pulled the mask onto the top of his head, the thin black wires of his hair seeming to draw up in. “So if you don’t mind, Coach, Rex and I are tied at three.” He lifted his weapon in a line above Rex’s head, even though Rex was still off strip. “Seems to me that epee’s pretty dumb, but if competing in his weapon was the only way to get him to accept a challenge, what the hell.”

A silence fell over the cafeteria, as Coach Dan and the other members of the Bark Bay High School fencing club stared back at Double-J, poised to resume his bout. Coach Dan didn’t exactly know what should happen next, but felt confident that he should not have the next word, that the response to Double-J should come from the club, not himself.

It was Annie, unsurprisingly, who spoke next. “Rex — how about you resume your bout with Mr. Literal over here.” She shot a glare over at Double-J, her pony-tail whipping behind her head. “And if I had a guitar, I’d play it while you shove your epee down his throat.”


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