I went to the gym a little later than usual today, with my hair pinned up in some kind of bouffant, piled high on top of my head. I don't know why; it just turned out that way. Thankfully I'd been wearing it like that all day, so at least some tendrils had escaped to make it look ever so slightly less severe, as if there had been a light breeze wafting through the windows of the queen’s carriage during her daily jaunt through the pastoral glade.
I walked into the near-empty gym, but spotted a fireman right off the bat—they’re always dressed in blue with the logo on their shirt. I thought, hm, the truck must be in back…wonder if my married guy is here? I walked toward one long row of exercise bikes and there he was, sitting all alone, reading a book while he pedaled, a young and gimpless John McCain. I could not believe my utter good fortune. All thoughts of my beehive were immediately replaced by the sheer force that drew me like a poltergeist to the bike closest to the fireman. I was there before I knew it, and have only God to thank for steering me away from the bike directly next to the fireman to the bike that would leave one machine between us, the very least I could do to maintain a modicum of social propriety and gym etiquette.
“Hello!” I cheerfully barked. No one had ever been happier to see anyone else ever in life.
“Hello!” he barked back. I would soon learn that yelling is part of a fireman’s job.
Somehow I got situated on that bike and never mind the marble-sized bump that has been growing on my tailbone for a good three months, just one more vagary of the autoimmune disorder that God has smote me with to obviously keep me out of morally questionable situations just like this. But I didn’t care if it felt like I was sitting on a raw Brussels sprout; nothing could have prevented me from getting on that bike.
After some small talk that made my heart soar, I remarked on the book that my fireman was holding. “Whatcha readin’?” I asked sexily.
He showed me the cover and I saw that it was a novel by Charles Dickens. Hm. A little bit of polter went out of my geist.
“Why are you reading that?” I asked, trying for the jillionth time in my life to stop my face from contorting into arrogant disdain.
“To improve my vocabulary,” my fireman responded.
“I’m sure that’ll come in handy the next time you time-travel back to 19th century Britain,” I said. A brief snort of contempt then escaped from my snout.
Our pleasantries having turned unpleasant, my fireman eventually said goodbye and wandered off to the treadmills with his friend Pip. I continued to ride my bike, friendless except for the parasitic twin that was growing out of my butt.