He waited in the back of the green room, alone, dancing back and forth on the balls of his feet, psyching himself up. Shifting his weight from one side to the other and pumping his arms, he muttered his mantra just under his breath. The contest to come would be a major battle, but he knew  he was heads above the rest, in the upper echelon–and (his therapist had reminded him) not just literally, though he towered at 6’8″. Still, the competition wasn’t a bunch of pipsqueaks; they were a force to be reckoned with, but he, Chocolate Thunder, could handle them, and he could lead his team to victory. He pumped his arms, flexed his muscles, ran in place, grunted a few times–

“Gordon?!” A sharp call from the doorway. He froze.

“Gordon, come on. The whole team’s waiting on you.”

Chocolate Thunder–Gordon–pinkened but composed himself and gathered up his things: attaché case, pocket protector, graphing calculator, stop watch. “Coming, Coach,” he murmured, and went out to join the Auburn High School Math League Team for the tournament.

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