Saturday, 21 June 2014

Cox! by SJI Holliday

"Row faster, Joan. Come on. Put a bit of weight into it!"
The woman in the training boat bellowed through the loudhailer. There was no need really, her boat was right next to theirs. She could've said it in her normal voice and they'd still have heard. Anita had all but given up, her puny arms not really up for the challenge. Joan was still trying, but she was losing patience.

"That's it, that's it. Back, then forth. No! No! Come on girls. You want to improve, don't you?"
Joan closed her eyes and counted to three before digging in with the last reserves of strength. They were going in circles now. She was convinced that Anita had passed out.
"Push! Pull! Push! Pull! You can do better than this, Joan! Anita - what are you playing at? You need to grip the oars tighter. COME ON!"

Joan held her tongue. She wanted to tell this loud mouthed bitch what she thought of her, but they'd paid twenty quid each for the lesson and she wasn't going to be intimidated any more. She looked at Anita. Her eyes were closed, but her hands were gripping tight, her knuckles white from the exertion and the concentration. She wasn't rowing though, and no matter what Joan did, the boat wasn't going anywhere. She looked down at her rubber-clad feet, dejected. No hanging out with the cute rowing boys now. They were never going to get the hang of this.

"Give it some welly, girls, come o..."
Joan didn't see the impact. It was a blink and you'll miss it moment. She just heard the crack, and the cry. The splash.

She looked‎ up to see Anita's grinning face. She was only holding one oar now, the other floating along beside them, snapped in half from the impact. The loudhailer was nowhere to be seen.

With new-found skills‎, Joan and Anita rowed silently to the bank, smiling.