Kid with Sword Skills
Not really a sword, but a stick that he spun between his fingers with great skill. He lunged and thrust and spun the stick like nothing I had seen a kid his age do; he had advanced beyond the imitations of his television and movie heros. He challenged me many times to a sword fight but I knew better than to mess with someone of that caliber. Once, I had seen a pamphlet outside a building downtown that was for a sword-fighting class called Acadamie Duello, and on the other side of the pamphlet was a picture of a girl holding a falcon on her arm. Later, outside of a coffee shop, I would meet that same girl as she walked around the corner with a bird of prey on her arm that she said was actually a Harris Hawk and not a falcon. People with these skills are out there and must know something I don’t, like the existence of some back-alley sword fighting culture of which I should be wary. The sword kid said he knew of Acadamie Duello but had never gone; he had taught himself everything he knew.
Throughout Saturday and Sunday he challenged several people and the first girl to accept did not realize what she had gotten herself into until he attacked her and spun his stick, “for intimidation” as he said, and whacked the sides of her legs. She tried to laugh off the pain because he was smaller and younger than her.
After each competitor and each return to challenge me, I told him that he was going to hurt someone. When I was younger, I was always the one who took things too far, starting with good intentions and ending with travesty, so that teachers seemed to know who I was before I even got to a new school. It was partially why I didn’t swordfight the kid, because I was more afraid for his safety than my own.
Lauren, another Geist volunteer, showed up to our booth on Saturday afternoon and I told her about the kid, but she accepted his challenge anyways when he came calling. Soon, she caught his stick in her hand and then gave him a serious lecture on being respectful and not hurting people no matter if he thought it was just a game. It will be his first of many clashes with women of authority.
On Sunday, when Lauren was away from the booth, he lured in an unsuspecting couple sitting on a blanket near the pond. The one girl, who had clearly never seen the kid in action, figured it would be fun, but soon she was locked in a very real and violent duel.
The fight ended when he broke her finger, or so it appeared when she called "mercy" and dropped her stick to look at a massive white bump that had formed above the knuckle of her middle finger. She held it by the wrist, limp, and asked her girlfriend if it was broken. She was calm about it.
The kid sat on his knees beside her and checked out the wound. “Can I touch it?” he asked and she swatted his hand away with her good one. The two girls mumbled something and then got up to find a medical tent. The kid watched them go and sunk deeply into his own guilt. He paced around and kicked at the grass, and went to throw both sticks away and then hesitated and looked back at the girls. He watched them all the way until they were out of sight and then he sauntered around, quiet.
When he got close to me I called him over to speak to him as people much older than me had spoken to me when I was bad.
“You really hurt that girl.”
“I told you that was going to happen”