Self Image Part 4



An hour later, they drove up to the reservoir in Jim's truck. Blair could see Jim peering into the darkness and looking worried.

"Jim, what's going on?"

"Do you see those fires up ahead?"

"Barely."

"The kids are there. I know them. I know their faces, I know their voices. It's my players. And they are planning something. Sounds like revenge."

"Revenge?"

"Yeah. Two of their own were hurt. They can't let that happen."

"I get that. It's like the team is a miniature tribe, and they lose honor if they let this go."

"Whatever you say, Darwin. I knew I should have had practice today. I might have defused this."

"Maybe. Tribal loyalties can run pretty high. I think it's a good thing you're here now."

"Yeah. Let's go talk to them."

They climbed out of the truck together. Jim led the way through the darkness to where his team were gathered. They were huddled together near some fires. As they got closer, Blair could make out baseball bats and tire irons, as well as bicycles chained nearby.

"What's going on here, boys?"

"Coach Ellison! What are you doing here?"

"It's a nice night. I thought I'd...take a walk. You didn't answer my question, Marcus. What's going on here?"

"Uhhh...just like you said, Mr. Ellison. It's a nice night."

"And Jack here decided to walk with his dad's tire iron? I don't think so. Try again."

"We're going to get them."

Marcus fingered his bat.

"And who would that be, Babe Ruth?"

"The ones who got Billy and Michael. No one messes with a teammate, no matter what!"

"Who are they?"

"It's team business, Coach."

"That makes it *my* business. Who are they?"

Blair stepped forward. "Kevin Jackson and Jeff Graciano, right?"

"Mr. Sandburg?" Jack squinted to see him. "How did you know?"

"I'm right, aren't I? You're going to beat up Kevin and Jeff."

"Yeah. Everyone knows they did it, and we're going to teach them a lesson."

Jim shook his head. "How do you know? None of you were there."

"If we were there, we'd have stopped them!"

"And now all you're going on is rumor. Michael and Billy were beaten up because of rumors."