Almanac Fiction – Daz Cooper Chapter 4: Cricket training, dreaming

Oh I want to get away
I want to fly away
Yeah yeah yeah

– Lenny Kravitz, “Fly Away

 

– Coops; put ’em on.

 

He’s at training.
Daz is at cricket training. They’ve made the finals.

– Did you see Macca get the slap down today?
– From Rachel, yeah.
– What do you think of her?
– She’s alright.

 

Daz finds her absolutely enchanting. Like a mirage. So he says “she’s alright.”

 

– Of course she’s alright. But do you think I’m a chance?

Here’s Robbo, prize galoot, asking this. Daz wonders how it’s possible. How is it possible that Robbo here can see himself as even the remotest of chances. While Daz himself, infinitely better credentialed, cannot.

Daz doesn’t answer immediately.

– Well? Am I?
–  Course you are, Robbo. You gotta be in it to win it.

 

Daz parrots the supportive line.

– Watch this one, Stevo.
– Don’t do it. Don’t do it.
– He’ll do it.
– Hahaha

 

Of course they have made the finals. They have the best bat in the comp; Johnny, who makes his 75 not out most weeks. Retires. And they have Damo, the fastest Under 16 bowler in the district. He’s lightning. Gets his eight overs each week. A few wickets.

– He won’t do it.
– You reckon?
– Watch this.

 

They all turn to watch as Lehmo reaches the popping crease, full tilt, and delivers…

– HE DID IT!

…a half eaten apple.

– Hahahahahaha
– Hahahahahaha
– You idiot.
– Hahahahahaha

 

While the rest of them scrap over the remaining runs, wickets.
It’s hardly team sport.
It’s shite. No it’s not. It’s not bad.
But Daz Cooper would love to get a go.
Maybe a hit in the middle order one day. Or a bowl before break.
Still. They’re winning.
Everyone asks. Grandparents. Others. “How did you go on Saturday?” And he just says: “we won.”
It’s simple.

 

Prasad is batting.

– You’re wasting my time.

He’s unhappy with the half eaten apple stunt. A time warp of seriousness; officious and blunt. Every item of protective paraphernalia stored lovingly in a brand new kit bag. He has a new bat.

– Coach, these juveniles are wasting my time.

Coach, 25-year-old Jimmy, makes an effort of stopping his laughter.

– You’re right, Prasad.
– I come to training to improve.
– You’re right.
– No one has taught me a single thing all year.
– Hmm.

 

He’s walking out of the nets. Waddling, really.

– And now our important practice time is undermined by this selfish infantile behaviour.

 

Everyone has stopped laughing now.

– Prasad, you got a phone in that coffin?

It’s Damo, flicking a ball to himself.

– Call someone who cares.

– Hahahahaha,

 

==

 

Next morning. Wednesday.
Daz practices in the mirror.
It’s not a mirror. It’s his reflection in the milk bar window.
He’s murmuring.
Quietly.
Daz is putting the pieces together.

– Jools.
– Jools.
– Jools, what are you doing on Saturday night?
– Jools, do you want to come with me to the party?
– Jools, there’s a party on Saturday night. Wanna come?
– Jools.
– Jools.

It’s not working.

 

That’s on Saturday night.
And before that is the cricket semi final.
Saturday morning.
Terrifying.

 

And before that is the big maths test.
Friday morning.
Shite.

Daz flicks his hair from his face.
Sees traffic in the reflection of the milk bar window.
Hears the traffic.

 

So much noise.

 

– Cooper, watchya lookin at?

 

It’s Rachel Spinks, it’s Tess. They have approached without him realising.
And now they’re talking to him.
He likes these two. Admires them; their attitude. They’re wonderful.

 

– Hi Rachel, hi Tess.
– Hi Daz. What are you doing there?
– Ahh, dreaming, I suppose. Just wondering. Yeah, dreaming.
– Right. Of what?

 

– …Do you ever wish it was summer holidays?
– Yeah, every day.
– Yeah. I was dreaming that it was still summer holidays. That I was on the sand dunes. And it was a sunny day.

 

Tess smiles. Rachel laughs. Not a critical laugh, but a laugh of warmth and recognition. She reaches for his hand.

 

– Come on, dreamer. School is this way.

And together they lead Daz Cooper, now freshly removed of all thoughts – thoughts of maths, of cricket, of Jools – all the way to school.

 

==

==

This is the fourth chapter of a wee series featuring yer man Daz Cooper.
Chapter 1: Summer dreams
Chapter 2: Back to school
Chapter 3: Swimming sports

Chapter 5: Hip and shoulder
Chapter 6: Rivers of suggestion

 

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About David Wilson

David Wilson is a writer, editor, flood forecaster and former school teacher. He writes under the name “E.regnans” at The Footy Almanac and has stories in several books. One of his stories was judged as a finalist in the Tasmanian Writers’ Prize 2021. He shares the care of two daughters and a dog, Pip. He finds playing the guitar a little tricky, but seems to have found a kindred instrument with the ukulele. Favourite tree: Eucalyptus regnans.

Comments

  1. Looks like our Daz is heading into Deeper Water. Lucky bugger. Don’t think I ever made a wise decision without a woman’s guiding hand.
    Keep ’em coming ER.

  2. Yer man is going ok

  3. Mathilde de Hauteclocque says

    I WAS glad that my Under12s didn’t make the cricket finals. The freedom of Saturday mornings and all that. But this has just made me want summer to go on and on.
    Although it is a tad warm up for March here in Sydney …
    Lovely, Mountain Ash.

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