On Line Writing Group

On line writing group, Clallam County, WA, including Port Angeles, Forks and Sequim

Short Story, Feeling the Burn

with one comment

A while after I relocated here from Canada, I found the gymnasium in downtown Portland. It was a short bus ride from the apartment I shared with my brother’s family and my sister’s fiance, Dido, and their ferrets. The whole place spelled of pee and litter boxes, mixed with the aroma of the grains and dog kibble they fed the ferrets. Everyone smoked, and most of them smoked and coughed at the kitchen table where they would gather in the morning, one at a time, as they got up. Dido slept in the kitchen, and my brother, his wife and the kids shared the bedroom with the ferrets. I slept on a piece of rubber foam laid across the washer and dryer on the porch. I was saving my tips to move to my own place, but things were so expensive in Portland. I had other priorities. I had read that that I could shrink my butt in twenty days. I also wanted to work my abs, front and back, my distrals, bicuspids and latisimos. I was ready. I was pumped. I had to pull myself into shape. It was the only way I was going to find a fine woman. At the time, I weighed 200 kilograms, and was two meters tall.

The sales manager at the gym promised me I’d drop three pant sizes in the first week. I hoped my best Sunday trousers would fit. I’d never have that “tight, killer body” that I heard so much about, but if I was going to go to the dance clubs I had to lose the a lot of weight.

The gym was overheated. I tried spinning, but the seat was too small, so I asked if they had a stationary bicycle with a bigger seat. The trainer said no, but she said that some of the “larger” clients bring in their own seats. I tried to pump some iron, but they didn’t have any dumbbells lighter than ten pounds, so the trainer said that some of the “less able” clients bring in their own weights. I moved to the corner of the gym, and soon I was feeling the burn, but I discovered I was standing too close to the wall heater.

Paying a hundred dollars US a week for the gym, plus the vitamins, protein drinks, and special attention from one of the certified trainers was all my tip money from my job at my brother’s cafe. I recognized one of the other trainers. He said used to drive for Yellow Cab, and had spent a little time behind bars for selling drugs. He was certified, I know, as he spent a lot of time with the more attractive ladies teaching them how to do the bench exercises and how to firm their buttocks and inner thighs. He had some of his own ideas about calisthenics, I could see.

Gloria was the head trainer. She had a couple of piercings and a tattoo that I could see every time she bent over to help someone or when she was spotting for the heavy lifters. Her tattoo said something like “I love Harley Riders and…”, but that was all I could read, as the words continued further down into what may have been her thong or support garment.

Gloria insisted that I needed a coffee enema to cleanse my system and rid myself of toxics. I said I would have a cup of coffee at the health bar instead. The health bar had some kind of energy drink that everyone seemed to like. The bartender made some kind of slurpy with mangoes, ginseng, bananas, instant coffee, red pepper, Vitamin B-12, and some white powder he kept in a little bag under the counter. Folks would have one or two of these, and instead of leaving, they would head back into the main floor for another hour or two on the equipment. A couple of fistfights usually erupted at this time over who had the first turn on the speed bag. Folks loved those drinks, but I brought my own in a little thermos because the drinks were very pricey. Five or six bucks for a six ounce paper cup, and most of it was foam.

Rod was a gym fixture. He was the first one there every morning. He was huge. No neck, of course, and lots of blue veins sticking out from his arms and his forehead, looking like they may pop at any moment and spurt blood all over the place. All his t-shirts had the arms ripped off them at the shoulder. He even tore the arms off some of his best dress shirts. He wore very tight lycra, short-shorts. I couldn’t look at him, and I tried to keep my eyes above his waist, but the display was so extraordinary and overwhelming, that I had to pretend I was making a cell call every time he was in view. He had a very high voice, and had no body hair, whatsoever. He either lost all his hair to some chemical imbalance, or removed it with a razor or electric shaver. Rod could lift all the weights at one time, so he took to bringing in some extra fifty weights from home. He worked out by himself, in the corner where the floor to ceiling mirrors were hung. He’d take off his shirt, and stand close to the mirror when he worked his arms and chestals. He would talk to himself as he lifted. “Comeon, baby. Comeon. Work it. Do it. You are a god. Comeon. Jesus.” He’d go into some kind of trance, as he lifted and lifted, but I’d never see any sweat. No sweat at all. The blue veins would rise in his neck and arms, and I thought I could see the blood moving through them. They would rise and fall with each beat of his pulse. Scary stuff. Scary.


Written by onlinewritinggroup

May 5, 2011 at 9:03 am

Posted in Uncategorized

One Response

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  1. I LOVE this piece. It cracks me up with that dry humor. I love the description of the apartment at the beginning, and the character’s ignorance of the drinks everyone loved so much. Rod’s talking to himself in the mirror is great, and I love the narrator trying to keep his eyes above the waist. The piece has a very ‘real’ feel to it, and like I said, the description is awesome.


    May 8, 2011 at 3:19 pm

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