The Black Knight Squash Fiction League Match


Chapter 7
by Pierre Bastien

Looking for the Gun

You didn't ask to know what I was thinkin'
I know it was late and I might have been drinkin'
When my passion welled up
And I readied my aim
I didn't know my own name

Wood Brothers  - Loaded

Chris pulled his gray Honda into the parking lot of the squash courts. The lot was half full, a good turnout for a Wednesday night clinic. He saw Bethany’s Bentley parked near the front door of the club and pulled into a spot a few cars down from it.

Chris, unshaven, got out of his car, rocking a white headband, rumpled white collared shirt, white shorts, and white shoes. He popped the trunk and swung around to grab his backpack. The butt of a squash racket was sticking out the top of the pack. He scanned his trunk for the gun for the eleventy-thousandth time. No gun.

He slung his backpack on, one-strap-style, of course, like in high school. He slammed his trunk closed and headed for Bethany’s car, paused for a second to peer in the back window, then headed onward to the door of the Smash Courts facility.

Coming in the front door, he saw Bethany across the room, standing near the front desk holding a clipboard. A dozen players were milling about, getting ready to play. Mostly brown and black faces – the Smash Courts kids. He recognized Jeff, from Bethany’s league team. He also spotted Sadie, Bethany’s daughter, talking to a black kid in a sleeveless red tee.


Bethany’s jaw dropped when she spotted Chris sauntering through the door, flashing his white teeth in a grin. What’s HE doing here, she wondered. She glared at him as he walked over.

“Hey B,” said Chris. “You look pretty official with that clipboard.”

“You better believe it,” Bethany replied. “And you look pretty official in your headband. Here for the cricket match?”

“Ha. Thought I’d join the clinic today. Seems like a good way to get into the game. Say, the other night at the bar, something went missing from my car trunk. Do you know anything about it?”

Bethany started at Chris blankly for a second. “What?” she asked, dumbfounded. Bethany tried to process his question. Did he just accuse me of stealing something? This guy’s just fucking weird.

“Oh nothing,” he said. “Can’t find some of my stuff. Mysterious disappearance. Probably dropped it somewhere.”

Just then, Julian walked up. Bethany handed him the clipboard.

“ALL RIGHT”, he said, drawing all eyes toward him. “Good turnout tonight, and I see we have a couple new players tonight, Nick and Chris. Welcome. Smash Courts kids, you take courts 1-3 and warm up with some channel games. Sadie, why don’t you take Nick and Chris through some drills on court 4. Bethany and Jeff, why don’t you come on court 5 with me.”

Nick turned to Sadie and cracked, “Isn’t it a bit soon for us to start drilling?”

But Sadie wasn’t paying attention. She stared at Chris. Great, an hour on court with this dipshit?

“Hello Chris,” she said.

“Hey Sadie!” replied Chris. “Don’t run me too hard out there!” He paused to admire Sadie in her squash kit.

Sadie stared down Chris for a minute, eyes narrowing, before turning towards the court door and heading in with Nick.

“Who’s that dude?” asked Nick.

“Some creep,” said Sadie. “He’s friends with my Mom. I always get a weird vibe from him.”

“I recognize him from somewhere,” said Nick. He shrugged. “Anyway,” Nick said with a smile, “you gonna let me show you how a true player runs this court?”

“Fat chance,” said Sadie. “You better lace up those Nikes, Nike, ‘cause you’re the one that’s gonna be doing the running.”


As Sadie led Chris and Nick through some drills on court 4, Bethany and Julian watched. Sadie, wasting no time, was running Nick and Chris all around the court.

“She’ll make a good coach someday,” said Julian.

“She seems to take to it, doesn’t she?” asked Bethany. “I appreciate everything you’ve done for her. You know that right?”

“No biggie,” said Julian. “So should I run you around like Sadie’s doing to them?”

“You can try,” said Bethany, “but you know I’m an unstoppable force.”

“That’s funny,” Julian replied, “I always thought of you as an immovable object.”

Bethany whacked him on the butt with her racket.

“Hey!” said Julian, grinning.

Bethany smiled back.

As they turned back to watch Court 4, Chris was staring at them. He was red-faced from running. He broke off his stare as Sadie started the drill up again, sending him into motion.

“So,” said Julian, jerking his thumb towards Chris, “What’s the deal between you and him?”

“Just coffee buddies,” she said.

Jeff emerged from the locker room.

“Alright then,” said Julian. “Let’s get started.”

They walked on court, with Jeff following.


After the clinic finished up, the Smash Courts kids were quick to pack up their stuff and head out. The others sat around on benches, cooling down, enjoying their post-workout endorphin drip.

“So Chris,” asked Julian, “how was your first time on court?”

“I’m wiped out!” said Chris. He was drenched in sweat. “I thought I was in pretty decent shape, but this game really takes it out of you.”

“You looked like a ‘real athlete’ out there,” said Bethany, teasing him.

“And how about you, Nick?” asked Julian. “How’d it go?”

“It’s like Chris said,” replied Nick. “The game really takes it out of you. Either that, or Sadie was pulling some real sadistic sh--”

“Schtuff?” volunteered Sadie. Everyone chuckled, relieved, and stared at the ground for a minute.

Chris stood up and walked over to wall. He put both hands on the wall and stuck his right foot back, stretching his calf muscle. He was standing right next to the planter – the one with the gun stashed in it. Sadie and Nick eyed him, holding their breath as he finished his stretch.

“Your plant looks like it could use some water,” announced Chris.

“Water?” said Sadie and Nick loudly, in unison.

Chris was looking at the crumbly soil in the planter. “Yes. Water. H-2-O. You know, essential to life?” He reached down and touched the soil. “Unless you’re planning on switching over to cactus.”

“Oh yeah,” said Julian. “I should water that sucker.”

“Don’t worry!” said Sadie. “I’ll get that!” She started to stand up, then sat down. “Maybe I’ll get it later.” She looked at Nick.

“Yeah,” said Nick. “I think it’ll survive for another few hours. Seeing as how you’ve been starving it for weeks.”

Sadie let out a nervous laugh. “I guess you’re right,” she said. She stared at Chris, who stared back at her, a smirk creeping across his face.

“So, B,” said Chris, turning toward Bethany. “Tomorrow, want to do that run down to the beach with me?”

“No thanks,” said Bethany. “I think I’ve given myself enough of a run-around tonight.”

“Where do you run to?” asked Jeff.

“Oh it’s pretty far,” replied Chris. “Well, I’d better get home. Going to need the rest, I guess.” He cinched up his backpack, slung it over his shoulder, and headed for the door.

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