Double-J stared back at his coach warily, like he had just been invited to walk into a dark alley. “You want to fence?” The sabre his coach had tossed rolled slowly towards his feet.
Dan pursed his lips, closed his thoughtful eyes. “Yes — ” the eyes opened, found the teen’s gaze — “I’d like to fence.” He shuffled to his left, squatted next to the large equipment sack that contained the Bark Bay High School fencing team’s jackets, began sorting through the soiled white linen that smelled of old sweat.
The burly teen remained motionless until the sabre tapped the edge of his right foot. “Knees feeling better?” In his four years as volunteer fencing coach, Dan had only donned gear for demonstrating and drilling; when asked to fence, to scrimmage, to compete, he would always refuse, citing the damage from multiple knee injuries in college.
Yet now he stood, pulling a seldom-used large jacket from the sack, holding it above his head like a trophy. “Why should you kids have all the fun?” He turned his excited face towards Jimmy. “Mr. Saunders, would you care to officiate our bout?”
“What in the — ”
“GREAT!” Dan dropped the jacket dramatically in front of him, began searching through the sack of fencing masks. “Double-J, I suggest getting your gear on before the janitors arrive and send us home!”
Swearing under his breath, Double-J picked up the sabre at his feet, then started walking towards the equipement sacks.