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Stories from the Verse
In Verse Proportion
Chapter 70: Slade 191
Table of Contents
Previous chapter: Kondor 195
His class was waiting for him when Slade came outside the next morning, and had already found their partners.
“O.K.,” he began. “Just like yesterday, I want to see each pair in turn.”
They again started with Stumbler and Clumsy--he wasn’t calling them that, other than in his mind, but that was how he remembered them. “You,” he said to Stumbler, “need to improve your footwork. Find some time today to run a few laps, and if you’ve got them, some low hurdles or an obstacle course would be ideal. Then every second or third day do it again. Let’s get those feet coordinated. And you,” he said to Clumsy, “need to work on your hands. Find a stick, about so long,” he indicated a length about that of a drum stick, a bit shorter than his dagger, which he then pulled from his sheath. “I want you to spend--as much time as you would to eat lunch--doing this with the stick,” and he tossed the dagger into the air so it flipped end-over-end, and caught it by the grip. “Do one hand, and then do the other, and then toss it back and forth, but always with that flip in the middle so you’re grabbing the same end. Got it?”
He continued giving individual exercises to each student, addressing specific issues he observed in their technique and ability.
Suddenly a thought hit him.
“Do you guys have,” and they didn’t have a word for tennis, so he had to work around it, “small balls you can hold in one hand that bounce?”
They looked at each other. One of them said, “Why?”
“Agility training,” he answered. “We need one for each of you, and one for me.”
There was a bit of staring at each other, and then one said, “I can get them.”
“Excellent. Tomorrow morning would be soon enough, or if not, well, we’ll work with them when you get them. Now, back to our pairs, let’s continue.”
The hardest pair were Swifty and Agile, but it wasn’t really as difficult as that. Agile just wasn’t as fast on his feet as Swifty, and Swifty wasn’t as quick with the blade as Agile, so he gave them tasks similar to those he had given Stumbler and Clumsy, but made them a bit tougher.
He thought it went well.
There is a behind-the-writings look at the thoughts, influences, and ideas of this chapter, along with twenty other sequential chapters of this novel, in mark Joseph "young" web log entry #443: Versers Acclimate. Given a moment, this link should take you directly to the section relevant to this chapter. It may contain spoilers of upcoming chapters.
As to the old stories that have long been here: