O Captain! My Captain!

free kick

Here’s the fourth and final deleted Jonesy scene before he was banished to the Island of Lost Characters. (Hey, it’s a real place. Ask an author.) You can read the other three scenes here.

After some chatter and questions, with Jonesy in the middle, the other guys drift away. Jonesy, Alex and I fall back.

“Can’t believe you’re replacing me with an army brat. He’ll have you marching and saluting before you can say, ‘Ten-hut!’ Man, he’ll court-martial you for showing up late.”

“Or get Coach to,” says Alex. “I guess you’re bailing at the right time, Jonesy.”

“Bet he’ll want to take over as captain,” I say.

“Or at least lieutenant.” Alex clicks his heels together and salutes.

Jonesy just shakes his head. He bumps shoulders with Alex. “Naw. Captain’s stripes’ll go to you, Alex.”

“That’ll be up to him,” says Alex, aiming a thumb in Coach’s direction.

Then, like he heard every word, Coach starts walking our way. “Would you excuse us, Khalil?”

“Sure thing, Coach.” Jonesy walks away to stack the cones. When he gets past Coach, he turns around and mimes hanging himself.

“Coach, I’m—uh—sorry we were late,” I say. “It won’t happen again.”

I’m expecting that court-martial—or maybe even a firing squad. What I get instead is a much bigger surprise.

“I didn’t pull you aside to give you heck. You two—you’re never late. Or Khalil either. You’re first to the field and last to leave.”

“Uh, thanks, Coach.”

He reaches into his pocket for his wallet, peels off four crisp new fifties and holds them out. Now I’m really confused.

“Good of you to throw him a party.” Coach’s voice is gruff. “Club’ll spring for it—so make it a good one.”

Alex takes the bills. “You bet, Coach. Thanks.”