All Stories, General Fiction

Take Him to a Better Place by Chris Benjamin

Coach Henden is going to take a puck to the face. All the parents of the B-level kids agree it’s coming; it’s a favourite topic of conversation as we wait for our bitter canteen coffee before our little Hornets in their “gold” (yellow) jerseys stumble onto the ice for the first period. We’ve got a pool on which of the kids on Henden’s Triple-A team will be the culprit and how many months into the season it’ll happen. I say Rogan Flieger before the end of January; he’s got the hardest and most accurate wrist shot any of us has seen on a 12-year old. I saw him moping in the parking lot one time, hours after his practice had finished, when my son Kevin and I arrived at the rink for Kevin’s practice. When I asked Rogan where his mom was he pushed past me leaving a trail of little boy musk and fury. But he lives just down the road so I figured he’d be alright making his own way home. He isn’t a bad kid, just competitive. Fiery, Coach Henden called him, “like myself.”

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