New Fitness Regime

Gary Flitcroft’s wife left him two days ago. He has not shown up for work at the leisure club since then. He drinks tea and listens to Blue Spanish Sky by Chris Isaac on repeat for hours until it loses all meaning. He realises that he had better ring his work, and so he does and tells them he will find another qualified friend to fill in. They tell him they could find someone qualified but as they trust him (he has worked there for fifteen years) they agree, as the replacement will only cost them half as much if not through an agency.

Gary hangs up and turns the volume down before ringing his fat friend Stevo, who he owes a favour to.

“Hi mate … yeah … look, can you cover for me at the gym tomorrow Friday? I will be back by Monday … yeah? Thanks buddy, I will email your instructions and you can drop by in the morning and pick up the access card. But listen as you are quite fat, they might smell a rat, so be inconspicuous … yeah, ok bye”

Stevo puts the phone down and picks up his Xbox 360 pad. He is mad because yesterday Stockport County had been relegated to the lowest tier of English football. He navigates through the menus and joins a game. He selects Xbox music – current disk – and resumes listening to Alexis Jordan. The loading screen finishes and he runs out of spawn, changing to his gnasher shotgun and shooting two rounds for later use as an active reload. He veers left and slides round a barrier and immediately jump rolls forwards meaning to charge the enemy wherever they are. But in mid air, and before the roll part of the dive initiates a distant sniper blows his head off in one remarkably accurate shot leaving him to crash to the ground in shame. The game tells him that XxfuzionZsnipeZ has killed Stevo Pizzas. Just then his fried chicken tea arrives so he quits.

An hour later Stevo checks his email. As expected the instructions for tomorrow are there from Gary telling him of the aerobics fitness class he will teach – predictable stuff about green tea, sit ups and bananas etc. He reads through it and sighs opening Microsoft Word to write his own speech. Muttering things about rubbish County players he begins the short lecture. He is tired after this and so he sets his alarm and gets into bed, which also contains roughly thirty five disintegrating teddies. These teddies are known as The Animals to him and his brother – there is Humpty, Happy Monkey, Cross Monkey, Big Beeb, Little Beeb and many others. He immediately feels happier with them around him after a hectic evening and lets out a big sigh and falls asleep smiling not long after.

In the morning he revs his souped up car down the road loudly and heads for Gary’s house. He is wearing shorts that are too small for him and a curry stained T shirt. Gary sees him through his window and goes to the front door. They say nothing, just a few vague noises and Stevo revs away now with the access card to the gym.

Stevo drives up the green tree lined drive of the club. He parks under one of the big green trees at the rear of the car park and heads towards the main entrance looking slightly ridiculous. He hangs around the food dispensers until the receptionist is distracted by the basket of towels. He quickly saunters over to the turnstile and floats the card over the sensor until it beeps and goes green, the receptionist looks over only briefly thinking he is just a new member and not noticing that his card is red meaning he is an instructor and must clock in. And so Stevo hurries into the male changing room.

Stevo finds the empty hall where his class will be and leans against the window waiting and going over his short speech in his head. He has a very grim frown on his face now looking through the large window to the swimming pool where the fattest woman he has ever seen is standing in the shallow end doing some arm exercises, not getting her hair wet.

Soon the class enters en masse as if they had all been dropped off together in a coach. Leading them in are two young women who are tanned and toned standing at around six foot three each. Stevo sees that their abdomens are repulsively on display to the world with repugnant energy. They are almost the type you see bending all the way over in newsagent magazines and papers showing their bottoms. FHM material for sure, he thinks and makes a quiet noise with his mouth. The two women see him and nudge each other muttering in disapproval. The rest of the gang seem to be nineteen year old geeky boys wearing DC trainers, they probably wear jeans all worn away at the heel where they get trodden on as they walk, thinks Stevo who is still leaning on the window leaving a greasy smear. There are also a couple of forty something men with grey hair who look very physically fit. Their faces are chiselled and serious.

The two women sit front and centre looking intently at Stevo with hostility. The rest sit down and there is a silence. Stevo stands up and takes a couple of slightly insecure steps forward looking comedy tough and wipes his moist brow with his red, podgy hand. He begins

“Hi, I am Stevo your instructor for today.” he pauses and adds in a strange high pitched voice “I’m a County fan.” with grim finality. The two women do not look impressed their hands hanging confidently in front of their crossed knees. He blinks and begins the speech he had prepared, his voice is loud and his stare becomes fixed on a point above them

“For this weekend you will begin by eating six pieces of fried chicken, family sized box of chicken strips, wings, supreme burger, half pound cheeseburger, chips, onion rings, hash browns, and Pepsi. You will have ordered eight pieces chicken, but with the last two (as you are on a diet) you try to flush them down the bog but they get stuck so you shove your hand down into the water and mash up the chicken there so it slides off the bone feeling slimy tendons then flush again and throw the bones out the window for the cats to choke on, wash your hands. Then spend fifteen minutes throwing it all back up into the toilet until your neighbours knock on the wall. By the time this happens you will be sweating and your heart will be racing so you can settle down to watch massage tutorial videos or whatever you do in your shitty little lives.”

With the speech finished Stevo removes his stare from the air conditioning unit on the ceiling and looks on the crowd in front of him feeling oddly serene. The two women’s faces look like two impossibly gigantic frowns of utter disgust, whilst not being taken aback in the slightest. The young men look dumb and the two older men have left. Stevo watches the young men get up and leave talking quietly amongst themselves. This leaves the two women who stand up and stride over to Stevo who is still just stood there. They tower above him. He does not put up much of a fight when they proceed to give him the beating of his life, he merely raises his weak arms and one leg slightly when it begins. One of the fit women starts by kneeing him expertly in his fat belly making him gasp an exhalation loudly in pain, utterly winded. He manages to keep standing but not for long as they work as a team punching him in the face, punching him in the kidneys and ribs repeatedly with hard technical blows. Teeth are lost and his nose is completely smashed, his eyes blackened but still they attack until he is curled up in a ball on the wooden floor. Then they leave with the gym door closing quietly behind them.

Stevo lying in a pool of blood manages to remain conscious feeling his broken ribs. Soon his phone rings in his pocket. He fumbles it out and sees it is Gary, he answers and says

“Hi mate … yeah pretty good mate … ok see you tomorrow, bye.”



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