Carrying on from the seventh piece.
Bart Hoolbacs sat across from Emily at the dark red picnic table in Coach Walter Flint’s back yard. Slumped, hooded, and with hands crammed into his jacket pockets, Bart wore the markings of a reluctant congregation member or a guilty suspect.
“I can’t help you, Bart, if you don’t tell me what happened.”
Bart kept his face down.
“Coach Flint doesn’t want anyone to know anything,” Emily began. “Your indiscretion is safe with me.”
Bart looked up and smirked. He cautiously pulled his hands out of his pockets and placed them flat on the table, fingertips to fingertips, elbows facing out. “Why should you care? Why does Coach care? I’ve been waiting two years to play in just one game. I’ve shown up at every practice and go all out. I’ve memorized the play book better than half the starters and I’m still a back-up, back-up.”
“A football team is more than the guys that run onto the field and sweat under the stadium lights. Winning is more than those same guys or a group of slightly different guys running onto the field and sweating under the stadium lights.”
Bart sat motionless, so still he might have been holding his breath.
In minimalist fashion, Bart summarized the indiscretion as involving vodka, cough syrup, chocolate eclairs, a book of matches, and the daughter of a prominent community member.
“How old is she?”
“I don’t see why any of this is important. It’s not like we did anything that’s against the law.”
Emily blinked a few times and slowly shook her head.
“Yes, you did…and it has nothing to do with how old either of you are. Chocolate eclairs? That’s just so ph-unbalanced.”
Bart started to laugh.
“So,” Bart said. “What are you going to do about it?”
Emily clasped her hands together as if in prayer. “I’ll take care of it..and no one has to know.”
“What, are you my fairy godmother or something?”
“Just think of me as your cool god-aunt that can drive.”