Chapter 6 – February 14D

The frustrated voice in Rune’s head hoped this was not one of Coach Dan’s ploys, that the man who’s expanding waistline was testing the elasticity of his fencing jacket was actually suggesting the teen surrender to the slings and arrows of his outrageous disappointment.

His more rational voice expected the actual response. “I don’t want you to try, I want you to do. Trying won’t score any touches for you, won’t parry any attacks. Won’t get you to start with your arm instead of your feet.” tap-tap “Every time I see you do something wrong, I’m going to correct you, because that’s my job, as your coach. I’m not going to get inside your head, figure out whether you want to fence well, or why — that’s your business. All I care about, is your execution, whether your making the right choices, doing the right movements, whenever you’re on strip. Whether it’s a tournament, like the one this Saturday — ” a noticeable inflection in his voice on that last phrase — “or here, during practice.

“So let’s take this slow, break it down.” tap tap, Rune crouched into en garde position without further prompting. “Extend.” Rune extended his arm, his coach grabbing the blade of his foil and directing the tip towards his chest. “Lift the front toes — ” he almost lost balance as the front of his right foot lifted, but he held his crouch — “now push, plow with the heel.” Rune felt more like he was falling than lunging, but he kept the line of his foil straight, its tip landing on Coach Dan’s right shoulder. “Very good.” tap tap “Doesn’t doing work a lot better than trying?”

Rune had no idea what his coach was talking about. “Yeah, sure.”

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