Too Much

Struggling for inspiration these days, and returning to my novel at times like these usually gets my juices flowing. This scene takes place before the events in the January chapter.

“So what, exactly, is a squire supposed to do?” Rune cleared the long cords of his greasy hair from his forehead, revealing a large carbuncle of acne at the edge of his scalp.

“Whatever’s needed.” Annie, her arms through the large ovals of the lame’s sleeveless arms, turned her back towards the restless teen, the unzipped rear of the lame hanging loose. “Start with this.”

Rune struggled with the zipper, as Annie was using the lame with the missing bottom stop. His eyes caught a pair of students from the Academy, standing nearby and each fastening their own zippers, running down the left front side of their lames. Finally aligning the two rows of teeth, Rune pulled up the slider, his shoulders relaxing as the zipper crawled up Annie’s back without resistance.

As Annie twirled back, the Academy pair walked toward the half-dozen fencing strips assembled at the center of the large court. Confident they wouldn’t see his motion, Rune pointed at them. “That’s what we need.”

“What’s that?” Rune glanced over at Annie, who wasn’t, as he’d assumed, looking in the same direction as he, but rather had been clasping the alligator clip of her body cord onto the back of her lame. That’s my job.

“Lames that zip up the front, like those dudes from the Academy.” His arm swept in an arc in front of them. “All these college fencers, too. They’re so much easier to use, you don’t need no help getting them on.” He lifted his arms above his shoulders, like he was about to take flight. “Why can’t we have this stuff?”

“We’re lucky Bark Bay even has a team.” Annie began walking toward the strips, glanced at Rune with a look that silently commanded him to follow. “Besides, back zips can be used by both lefties and righties. And since we never know who’s goin’ to show up at practice, we need to be flexible.”

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