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Sometimes when we reach for the stars...; Spring of 2014
Topic Started: Sep 20 2016, 06:13 AM (654 Views)
The Burned Handler
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I used to be a handler like you, then I turned into a horse.
[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
((Roderick Kanuho continued from Ceremony, although appearing earlier in the timeline))

Roderick would arrive when he arrived. This was understood. As inevitable as Earth rotating round the Sun. Soon the 2014 Arizona state wrestling championships would be here and Roderick, who had not lost a match in scholastic competition or off-season tournaments since the 2013 state semifinals, would be off again to pursue honour and glory. It had been all he could think about for a month and near the front of his mind all year and now he could practically taste it, feel it in his grip when he closed his hands. He'd spent more time on a wrestling mat or in the weight room than in class and had half a mind to skip classes entirely during this runup in favour of training, training, training.

Coach had laughed and gone "sure, go ahead" until he realised Roderick was serious. Roderick had read up so much on his likely opponents in the tournament he was vaguely sure he knew more about them than their own mothers, watched match videos so often he could reenact them with his eyes closed, drilled moves and situations until while in idle thought doing homework last night he caught himself doodling diagrams of wrestling techniques on his worksheet. People knew where he was going and what he was preparing for and the air was heavy with expectations and hopes and people remembering that last time he almost got to the top of the mountain. Perhaps that was why his teachers were so forgiving.

Now, more than any other time in the season, this little thing he had with Latanna and Olivia and anyone else who flitted in and out of the study group as their needs demanded was essential. It wasn't that he didn't have the brain for his work so much as he didn't have the time, so rather than fill any empty spaces with electives and further classes he chose to have a free period or two. If he was done with his work he could train, if he wasn't he could polish it off.

The faint smell of sweat and a hasty locker room shower radiated off his skin, drawn tight over his muscles. Someone from the school paper'd wanted a sit-down while he wasn't in class, then he'd been off to do a few quick sets in the weight room, then he zipped over to the gym to roll out a mat and spar with some of the teammates. Not running the gauntlet like Coach had been having him do the past few practises, just keeping himself fresh and getting the blood flowing and having them wrestle like some of his opponents would wrestle. In all the commotion, somehow he'd remembered this meeting was a thing.

Some seconds after Olivia, the door swung open again and in he strolled in tank top and jeans, backpack loose over one shoulder. He didn't even need to look where he was going, he knew their table just like he knew the perfect instant to hit someone with a blast double or fireman's carry or lateral drop. All 195 pounds of him stalked over like a tiger through tall grass and dropped into his usual seat, glancing first to Olivia, then to Latanna, and nodding.

"Yá'át'ééh."

No need to ask if he was late. He either was, or wasn't.
MurderWeasel getting impatient
 
Hiya, jerk! Please don't post until edits have been completed, as doing so causes confusion/messes up the queue.


Quote:
 
18:48 Ruggawork I have faith in you!
18:48 Ruggawork and your ass!


Quote:
 
16:35 Kilmarnock Maybe Iktor?
16:35 Kilmarnock Maybe Toben.
16:35 Kilmarnock hard to tell until they make out with me.
16:35 *** mib_6brm7d is now known as Irene


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The Burned Handler
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I used to be a handler like you, then I turned into a horse.
[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
"Girls have asked me but I haven't really thought about it. After State I can decide or ask somebody."

Some of them had been... pushy. Others had at least understood the monumental task before him and where his focus had to be until he returned from Prescott. It was nice to know on some level that he could get attention from girls if he really wanted it - he'd be a stone cold liar if he tried to say advances were never welcome or followed up on or that his eyes had never roamed - but when he didn't it was mostly a distraction. How many of them liked him for him as opposed to his handily tying people in knots on the mat, anyway? The sheer novelty of someone from this hole in the desert doing something of worth made it tough to discern the genuinely interested from the hangers-on and the types to flock to anything that kicks up dust. Roderick shrugged as someone might while guessing whether it would rain that afternoon and gently set his books down before him while speaking.

"I don't see anything weird or improper about it though," he offered after letting his words hang in the air for a moment. He'd noticed Olivia's blush - which he'd greeted with a gentle raise of one eyebrow - and Latanna's continuing insistence on what was or wasn't proper. That remained ever the case even as an idle glance in either's direction would show them as girls who probably wouldn't have any trouble getting a "yes" or two if they just went out and asked people.

"Maybe you'd have fun if you gave it a chance."

...And maybe if Latanna weren't so typically red state in world view, but this was Arizona. Even the weirdly liberal sections of Cochise's student body were still from Kingman. They still carried that weight invisibly around their necks and found themselves beaten into the ground by the sun of the Mojave Desert. Roderick had been trying to stop being the kind of person who would write people off, nobody could help where they were born and when Kingman had its claws in you it was a Herculean task to escape, but he did find himself reminded of that fact in more conversations than he would have liked.

For her part, Olivia was nice, and maybe Latanna could escape that world view if she took that brain of hers and did some critical thinking. Maybe.

Edited by The Burned Handler, Oct 12 2016, 07:32 AM.
MurderWeasel getting impatient
 
Hiya, jerk! Please don't post until edits have been completed, as doing so causes confusion/messes up the queue.


Quote:
 
18:48 Ruggawork I have faith in you!
18:48 Ruggawork and your ass!


Quote:
 
16:35 Kilmarnock Maybe Iktor?
16:35 Kilmarnock Maybe Toben.
16:35 Kilmarnock hard to tell until they make out with me.
16:35 *** mib_6brm7d is now known as Irene


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The Burned Handler
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I used to be a handler like you, then I turned into a horse.
[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
What a strange look to give him in response to a bit of encouragement. Roderick met Latanna's gaze with calm, slightly befuddled dignity, no real steel in his expression but presenting a mountain unwilling to bend before the wind. Whatever, a corner of his mind whispered. Latanna was an odd one even during the times she managed to be all right.

She'd moved on in the space of a thought and Roderick internally shrugged. One day he'd have her figured out but maybe it wasn't today. Olivia remained silent, whatever her own private reasons, which meant it was his job to fill the gap left by Latanna's question.

The essay. Right. The other day he'd had to go to a different classmate hat in hand and confess that, in all the excitement caused by the upcoming tournament, he'd forgotten what the essay was actually supposed to be about. Or when it was due. He'd recovered decently at least, and the evidence was in a little yellow folder he fished from his backpack and delicately placed before him.

"I've a few. Already wrote up an outline for mine and everything."
MurderWeasel getting impatient
 
Hiya, jerk! Please don't post until edits have been completed, as doing so causes confusion/messes up the queue.


Quote:
 
18:48 Ruggawork I have faith in you!
18:48 Ruggawork and your ass!


Quote:
 
16:35 Kilmarnock Maybe Iktor?
16:35 Kilmarnock Maybe Toben.
16:35 Kilmarnock hard to tell until they make out with me.
16:35 *** mib_6brm7d is now known as Irene


Things SOTFers say
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The Burned Handler
Member Avatar
I used to be a handler like you, then I turned into a horse.
[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
Latanna had a tendency to lay out bait for him, little barbs or peeks at her more typical-Kingman worldview she knew would set fire to his blood and get him to bite not unlike a fisherman casting a line. Or perhaps a schoolboy tugging on a girl's pigtails unsure how else to get her attention, given how often she seemed to be after a response of some kind. Maybe she just got a kick out of pissing him off. It had been Latannas and their ilk that committed genocide against his ancestors and even today tried to erase everything about their culture. That the Navajo language and people still existed was probably an unforgivable affront to some. "Five Civilised Tribes" was rich coming from the people who had raped and murdered and burnt until almost nothing was left of this land's true owners.

His thumb pressed hard against the base of his pencil, almost hard enough to snap the instrument in half. Not now, Roderick, keep your head in the game, he told himself. He couldn't afford to snap at someone so close to his day of redemption. He couldn't give Latanna the satisfaction this time, even if she knew exactly what would set him off. It was probably just his nerves and all the stress recently, all the expectations being placed on his shoulders. He wasn't a rampaging monster after all. They were discussing and writing about history, objective facts. What had happened had happened.

He would be training today, that would let him dispel the flash of anger that caused the buzzing in his head and blurred the words on the paper before him. He reminded himself of the fact, sent a little "I heard that" sort of grunt Latanna's way, continued his work. What was there to say on this front they hadn't said to each other tens of times before anyway?

The buzzing continued and continued and continued not unlike machine guns at the Somme. Then he looked up.

It was not his head but his phone, left on the table and set to vibrate. The number on the screen made his expression somewhat resemble a deer about to catch a semi-truck going a hundred miles an hour right to the face. Why now? People knew when he was and wasn't available. It went to voicemail and he knew he'd have to call back soon.

No sound existed in the world. He stared at his phone for a few long seconds as if mortified, then slowly brought his gaze back to his study partners. Startled, embarrassed, apologetic.

"I'm going to have to take that, sorry," he volunteered while packing all his things away again, hurried but efficient movements clearing his space. Amateur mistake, Roderick Kanuho. Screw up like that at Prescott and you're done. "Don't worry, I'll get my essay done. Let's meet up later?"

Their responses, whatever they were, got a little nod but not much else. Everything was gone, phone was in hand, he pushed the seat back in once he stood. He turned to go, took one last look over his shoulder.

"If either of you'd like to go, I think the team's still giving out tickets for the tournament. And hey, let me know if you change your minds on the whole dance thing."

He was off in the space of a thought, almost before words could be comprehended. Just a little note for two people who, like himself, seemed like they really needed to take their noses away from the grindstone and get a little fresh air, just every now and then.

((Continued elsewhere))
MurderWeasel getting impatient
 
Hiya, jerk! Please don't post until edits have been completed, as doing so causes confusion/messes up the queue.


Quote:
 
18:48 Ruggawork I have faith in you!
18:48 Ruggawork and your ass!


Quote:
 
16:35 Kilmarnock Maybe Iktor?
16:35 Kilmarnock Maybe Toben.
16:35 Kilmarnock hard to tell until they make out with me.
16:35 *** mib_6brm7d is now known as Irene


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