This is entirely fiction. Completely. Utterly. Except for any true bits
August 18th: 9.01am: Am first in queue of two at sportswear emporia ahead of same whippet thin woman from gymnasium yesterday. She asks after my well-being and am touched when she tells me she fainted ‘when she started’ but now ‘she is addicted’.
9.02am: Offer condolences on addiction and ask if it is drugs or alcohol.
9.03am: Woman – now introduced as Saffron – is in state of hysteria and being helped to seat. Female assistant, labelled Sage, asks if she can assist. Express concern for Saffron and am informed ‘oh she’s just a nutter’ by way of explanation.
9.05am: Am waiting for young man to ‘explore my gate’. While waiting, ponder the wonders of this previously closed world of exercise retailing. Are all involved named after herbs and spices? Why should the entrance to my garden be of interest to the male assistant?
9.10am: Am disappointed to find male assistant is not Tarragon. I had planned a jovial opener referencing the hero in Lord Of The Rings but having met Tom (short for Tomato, perhaps?) am certain the words of Tolkien are not his likely bedside reading material.
9.15am: Am presented with a hamster machine on which I am to run. Apparently the ‘gate’ is in fact ‘a gait’. Tom tries to lighten my terror with ‘this will be your ‘gaitway’ to happiness’.
9.19am: Tom calls across Sage, apparently never having met anyone quite like me. I would like to report my unique running style is a thing of beauty but fear this is unlikely.
9.42am: Express disbelief that running pumps can be more expensive than my first car. While my debit card is being given CPR, Saffron joins me, expressing sympathy at the expense. ‘Fancy a coffee?’
10.41am: Sitting in The Has Bean with Saffron. She is a ‘portfolioist’ which, apparently a lot of young people are today. I speculated that this might be like a contortionist with novelty suitcases which generates more giggles. Pleasantly surprised at effect I am having. Explain First Of Her Name’s plans to shape up for wedding. Saffron offers to ‘take me running’ to get me started.
10.57am: Saffron has taken a call – one of her portfolios needs some ‘zero-gravitying’. Wonder what to do with offer of running help. On one hand the idea of more time with the giggling Saffron is undoubtedly pleasant, fear she will either be disappointed or leave me incapable of managing the stairs. Decide on prudence. Call First Of Her Name to explain offer.
11.24am: First Of Her Name and Saffron have spoken and fixed for a ‘session’ this evening before Saffron’s next portfolio calls on her time.
1.17pm: First Of Her Name teasing about my ‘new girlfriend’. Decide it best to say nothing.
5.41pm: Saffron is waiting in local park. She is dressed in lycra. Decide prudence dictates I spend most of the time in front so cannot be accused of ogling. First Of Her Name also in lycra; Saffron and First Of Her Name discuss merits of Nike versus Adidas. Slightly terrified what I may have unleashed.
6.27pm: I am dreaming. Have apparently jogged round the park and not as a figure of fun. Various body parts have apparently attached themselves to me in the process as I was unaware of their previous existence nor how much pain they can generate. Saffron waves goodbye and sets off for more running. Am stunned and watch her go in disbelief.
6.28pm: ‘Stop ogling her arse.’ Turn to First Of Her Name who is smiling. She adds, ‘It’s a nice arse. Wish mine was like that.’
6.29pm: ‘I prefer yours,’ I say and mean it. ‘Really?’
6.45pm: Sitting in car with First Of Her Name, both of us in fits of giggles. I cannot work the foot pedals after the run. ‘Maybe we should jog home?’
7.00pm: Still in car, still in park, feeling very embarrassed. First Of Her Name incapable with laughter. While First Of Her Name was massaging my thighs, hoping to generate some life in my atrophying limbs, a most unpleasant jobsworth rapped on the driver’s window. When I lowered it to inquire if I could assist he told me to ‘Bugger off, now before I call the cops,’ and ‘Dogging ain’t allowed here.’ I ventured to suggest that we had left Spiro Agnew at home because we couldn’t trust him not to jump up at the wrong moment to be told that ‘threesomes ain’t allowed neither.’
8.10pm: Google explains what the ‘dogging’ reference means. Hear First Of Her Name on phone to First Born, still laughing. Check reflection in computer screen. Decide this sly old dog has still got it.