The first Saturday
“How’s it going?” Rune looked up on hearing Jimmy’s question, mumbled an intentionally inaudible response.
“What’s that?” Jimmy squatted, forearms resting on knees, eyes searching the teen’s face.
Rune looked up. He was sitting on the floor of the main gymnasium at the Academy, the equipment bags of the Bark Bay High School fencing team surrounding him. Left leg fully extended and arm propping up his body, right arm lying on his bent right knee. “Said I’m OK. Just resting before the DEs.”
Jimmy nodded, looked off Rune’s left shoulder. “Butch’s starting again.” He stood up, the awkward expression on his face speaking the displeasure reported from his forty-year-old knees. The back of Jimmy’s right hand wave-slapped Rune’s right elbow as he walked past. “Let’s go.”
By the time Rune had gotten to his feet, Jimmy was standing next to Coach Dan next to one of the fencing strips that had been created on the gymnasium floor with black electrical tape. Annie was helping Butch get connected to the cord coming from the reel at the end of the strip to Rune’s right, her brown pony-tail swaying behind her head as she moved.
“Rune.” Coach Dan’s gravelly voice, upbeat as always. “How’d you do in your pool, my friend?”
Totally sucked. “Didn’t win any. Only got to four once.”
Coach Dan scratched the short hairs of his dark beard, flecked with gray. “Tournaments at the Academy, it’s always a tough field. Remember what I said, only thing I care about is how much you learned today.”
Rune nodded, knowing that his coach was inviting, expecting him to explain what he’d learned.
“No, that’s left, twist it to the right.” Rune turned toward the sound of Annie’s voice, saw Butch staring at her, his round face confused, as if Annie were giving him instructions in a foreign language.