Montage, part one

Posted: May 22, 2013 in Fiction, Test Subject

The world spins, and I land flat on my back. Air rushes out of my lungs. After a long second, I gasp. “Good move,” I wheeze. My vision swims a little, but I’ve been getting better. After three months of this guy kicking me around, I’d hope so, anyway. The blue eyes looking down at me aren’t especially friendly, but the guy still gives me a flawless white smile. Master Hadi speaks. I miss what he says because I’m too busy holding in a smart-ass remark about those Cobra Kai jerks. I fail to surpress a smirk anyway.

“You find something funny, Mister Brinks?” Hadi asks.

“No sir. Just enjoying my lesson, sir.” It’s halfway true. I am learning, but I don’t really like sparring with Jace. He’s pretty far beyond my skill level, and he knows it. We’re still in the same beginner’s class, but I don’t know why he hasn’t moved on. No matter. I take up my place in line again, and watch the other combatants. Each pair takes the mat, and Master Hadi observes as they attack. Each fight is stopped as one combatant hits the ground. I should be analyzing everyone’s maneuvers. Should. Instead, I’m thinking of my other self-defense class.

The sparring wraps up quickly. Lots of foot sweeps, a couple of simple trips, one well-placed kick to the chest that lifted the poor sucker off his feet. Master Hadi goes down the line, addressing everyones’ greatest weaknesses. I try to listen in on Jace’s critique. Try and fail. I’ll have to figure this one out for myself. The instructor steps in front of me. “You are too impatient.” I nod. I wait for more. Hadi moves to the next student. That’s it? Damn it. It isn’t just impatience that is landing me flat on my back every damn time. I snarl inwardly.

Finally, he dismisses us. I head for the showers. I won’t take one until after my other class for the evening, but I feel ridiculous walking around in my students’ gi. Most of my classmates seem to be in more of a hurry to leave. I let them push past me. One shoulders me hard, flattening me face first against the green and white tile wall. I push off and see Jace walking backward, smiling. I follow, cracking my own grin, but seething on the inside. “One of these days, man, I’ll catch you,” I tell him. I’m joking, but not really.

“Never happen, pal.” He says in the way that indicates that pal is a substitute for asshole. “I’m outta your league, Brinks.” He’s not smiling now. I let him go. This isn’t the time or the place. I slough off my gi and pull some grey sweatpants and a blue t-shirt out of my bag. I’m dressed and cramming my uniform into my bag in seconds. I jam feet into running shoes, and I’m out. The night air is cool. Fall is setting in, and I am loving it. I break into a jog. It’s an hour walk to Lev’s garage, or twenty minutes at my current pace. I turn off the main road and onto a back street. After two blocks, I cut into an alley.

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