The Log 13

[Today’s entry references an earlier moment in the narrative, one which you won’t find in earlier posts for “The Log”. When I get around to revising this story, I’ll add that incident so that what you read today will make sense.]

To Rex, it seemed that Jimmy was holding the door open. “So you’re just gonna take it?”

Jimmy hissed, a drop of spit falling on Rex’s cheek. “Hell no. PO-lice wants to ask me questions, they can go ahead, what you wanna know. But you remember when he asked to see my license?” Rex nodded. “John Law had no business asking me for nothing, so I told him to either get a warrant or get lost. No, son, there’s only so much I’m gonna take.”

The forty-two-year-old owner of Squisito’s Catering Service sat back in the driver’s seat of the van, looked out into the black night to the left. Rex recalled another moment from that confrontation, when Jimmy put his right hand on the toolbox that lay on the van’s floor between the seats. Suddenly, it seemed to Rex likely that the box contained something other than screwdrivers and hammers.

“Sorry you have to put up with that.” Jimmy didn’t seem to hear Rex. “People around here, they’re mostly good, but sometimes they just — I don’t know — it’s like you said, about fear and ignorance. Sometimes it gets the better of them.”

“I guess.” Jimmy looked out into the darkness intently, slight annoyance on his face, as if the wet snow that fell was frustrating his view of the stars. He then wiped his mouth with his right hand. “I’m also guessing, you really ain’t asking about me.”

Rex froze, as he did during fencing bouts after his opponent landed an easy touch for leaving his four exposed. Jimmy wiped his mouth again. “And it ain’t got nothing to do with your daddy being part Indian, is it?”

Rex looked back blankly, his voice suddenly gone. “There something you want to tell me, son?”

The teen shook his head, blinked. “No. No, sir.” He opened the passenger door of the van. “I really appreciate the ride.”

“‘member what I told you today, at practice?” The sudden shift in topic kept Rex inside the van. “’bout what to do, when you facing that, what’s that guy’s name, from the Academy?”

“Pine.” Rex scowled at mentioning the name of the one fencer none of the Bark Bay team’s members had ever defeated. “Francis Pine.” Rex bit his lower lip. “You told me to use my height — ”

Ahhhh!” Jimmy waved his hand dismissively. “Not tactics, but attitude. What I said was gonna happen, if you just stood there.”

The teen bit his lower lip again. “That — if I waited long enough, he would come get me eventually.”

Jimmy snapped his fingers, pointed at Rex. “That’s it. So the lesson is, be aggressive, force him to react. And that’s also what you got to do with the world around you. Don’t just sit back and wait for all the fear and ignorance to come find you. Get out there, and fight back against it.”

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