by Oonah V Joslin
You’d think we are more or less of a piece on the great treadmill of life. It isn’t so. Some of us are fit and quick and some are fat and slow.
You could even hear it down on the street. JellyBaby – that’s what Gilly’s husband called her, was already out of breath having humped her thirteen stone body up the two flights of stairs to the gym. She could hear the music louder now, pounding already in the bum-bum bum-bum-bump beat it always has that makes your head throb and your ears want to explode. A cloud of chuckling young goddesses tripped past on the mezzanine.
The big glass door felt heavy and pink light flooded out on the bum-bum bum-bum-bump wave. The place smelt of new carpet, perfumed sweat and hot wheels.
“Can I help?”
“Ah! I’m Pat. You phoned. You’ve come for a look round and appraisal?”
“Yes,” she said, breathless. She was expected. It felt like the first hurdle.
Pat made it all sound like a breeze. “Now, do you have any medical conditions or disabilities?”
Gilly enumerated them.
“So – a few. We’d best get you started walking then.”
Gilly was ushered onto a solid looking treadmill and Pat started pushing buttons – incline, age.
“Not too fast,” cautioned Pat, “we want to keep that heart rate down because of those palpitations. We’ll just lower the speed a bit…”
Miss Zero on the machine to the right was running at a steady pace, elbows in synch long legs stretching out towards the church roof – her feet pounding bum-bum bum-bum-bump. Super Gran on the left was on a variable programme and the whee-ee-ee of the mechanism changing speed and incline lost Gilly her concentration so that she moved momentarily backwards and jarred.
“Oops! Careful now – it’s your first time.”
Gilly’s conveyor belt crawled along and her boobs marched up and down.
Pat showed Gilly to a floor mat. “Now just get down with hands behind like this.”
“I can’t – because of…”
“Your wrist – of course. Okay sit on this ball.”
Gilly sat and toppled off backwards then crawled to the nearest machine to help herself up.
“You’ve not hurt you back?” asked Pat in a flurry of concern. “Can’t be too careful with a prolapsed disk.”
At that moment Gilly was more concerned with her prolapsed ego.
“Okay lets try the abs on here,” said Pat loading 14 kilograms of weight onto the next torturous framework – “and PULL – just to chest height… And eight! Well done. Now next we’ll try you on the upright bike. We don’t want to put too much pressure on that knee!”
The vibrating platform nearly shook her fillings out, her cat-stretch was more elephant ride and all the time her rotund belly did a good imitation of her embarrassing nickname.
“You’re going to love it here, Gilly,” enthused Pat. “Before you know you’ll be on our leader board.”
“Most successful – pounds shed, inches lost.”
“You think so.”
“I just know it!”
“So – crunch time,” said Gilly, “How much does public humiliation run these days?”