21st Century Freedom Part 5 by Tristan Drue Rogers

The Free Weights Section

The rules of this establishment have a disdain for the intelligence and culture of its people:


           1. Proper attire at all times: White shirts, belts, baggy pants,

               clothing with rivets, wallets and chains, sandals, and boots PROHIBITED.

           2. No do rags, bandanas, or beanies.

           3. Use safety at all times.

           4. Do not drop weights.

           5. Rerack your own weights.

           6. No loud noises, grunts, or barks. NO CELLPHONES.

           7. If you kill someone here…YOU bury the body. We’ll mop.

           8. Real men do NOT wear pink.

           9. Please do not use the barbells to do Bent Over rows, we

               have bought a T-bar row to overcome this problem.

     Number nine is a new one. I could name three things wrong with that if I’d care enough to dig into the thick of the matter. The only sign I want to read is the Exit. And what cool air was out here; the breeze kissed my wound, as does another gnat.

     Beatman interrupted my dreaming of greener grass with a banging thud on the acrylic glass.

     “I’m comin’!” I’m comin’.

     As I enter, my bare head reflected a translucent bright peel into an aggressive man’s eyes not too far from where Beatman lies. Luckily, in reaction to his slipping stutter of momentum, he only carried his blubbering self-down onto a thin mat that engulfed his fall slightly with help from the cottage cheese of his hip.

     Beatman ran up over to my side. “All right Mac, I just did my additional hundred mid-levels and abs. You?”

     “About to do the mid-levels. Abs, same as you. Might add a leg lift.”

     He wagged his finger. “Three sets of thirty.” Each wag had a meeting of the invisible barrier that grows a finger until three aim north upon the pendulum.


     “Don’t forget we got dips with forty-five plates as our breaks in between.” He walked away without even the want of assurance that I understood him.

     I found a lone mat in the corner below the incorrectly programmed fuzz of the sports channel extending through the hanging television set. I found a sweaty silhouette of greasy fuzz and indentations unassumingly forced onto the mat. In all my years of various gym memberships I have sadly seen this time after tick of the tock.

     The blinded man before, still squatting beside me, where Beatman had exasperated himself earlier, was the delightful shape of a bullet. Only this bullet has rounded edges upon rounded edges and so forth. Almost a burst of smoke or cloud could be in place of his personally ubiquitous hips. He took aim and stumbled into the assumed direction of the water fountain for thirst quenching, or the restroom for vomiting. An imagining of a fork accompanied by pepper seasoning taunted me in an attempt to purge myself of the sweat of my brow towards the consumption of the bullet man’s cottage cheese puff of smoke hips.

     Missing count with such distractions, I assumed the end of my first three sets and proceeded with three sets of ten equally uneventful esoteric abdominal workouts. The music no longer as harshly degrading to such ears bred for melody and intensity as they once were; serendipitously, the songs were an admonition to the outside world, and in turn my winded escape of such a hell that I only sparked upon myself. In such instances of thought one might ask then, Why not wear headphones and quit yer bitchin’? Yes, well, this is endurance training is it not?

     Beatman found me lying still onto the mat with an all-encompassing amount of sweat and turmoil as well as the absence of comfort due to his gift burying itself into my ass, a necessary position to do various lower abdominal/leg workouts, but is far from ideal in my recent assumed life changing.

     “How about those dips, Champ?” Beatman helped me to my feet with his left hand. We walked to his set up after he also helps me with the rolling and putting up of the mat.

     Walking to the prepared station, Beatman set up two chair stands parallel to one another while set innocuously flat. I found him child-like in his wait for approval; his eyes fully sunk into whiteness and the glare succeeded in my looking away. Through the mirror he lowered himself onto the stands with his legs placed onto one and his arms and hands lifting and lowering his body from a right angle onto another into something tighter to and fro for twenty-five reps. Through the mirror an attractive woman glided into the air of testosterone to find her own machine suited for her workouts. Even as the majority of us are within the free weights section, many leave to the machines or less subtly halts all movement and turn to ogle her. Rarely do women come at such hours because of this harassment; however, this woman was wearing skin-tight sweats with her jacket unzipped to allow supple knowledge of the one workout she will not ever need to participate in.

     “Bro, your go.” Beatman plead between breathes.

     I grunted before readying myself. I inhaled—and go. 

     The hand that was given to me held up quite nicely, albeit somewhat painfully, to the point of six reps. On the seventh, a hulking man with a snake-like hood replacing his neck cried out a shriek of horror. And that is when my pain ended.


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