The Fifteen Minute Novel: Day 203

The Fifteen Minute Novel is a novel written fifteen minutes at a time with each week day’s section starting with the sentence from the previous day. At least it is attempting to be a novel. For now I am just aiming at one continuous story, worked on for fifteen minutes each day. Started Friday January 1st, 2021 (in case you want to search for the beginning. I can’t wait to see where it ends up. It could be good, or it could be a mess. We’ll have to see. For now, here is today’s fifteen minutes.

Day 203: The statement was met with encouraging smiles rather than ridicule.

The statement was met with encouraging smiles rather than ridicule. He didn’t realize until he let the words out how much he feared that he was being foolish.

“So it’s a charity run?” Alice asked. 

“I believe so,” James said.  “Cancer I think, I wasn’t paying too much attention to be honest. I saw the signup sheet and the gym and thought it sounded interesting.” James decided he would make certain that he double checked the charity once he got back to the gym that evening.

‘After all I don’t want to be supporting something I don’t actually support.’

“I thought you looked like you were working out,” Mike said.  He flexed. “I started going to the gym too.  I’m not running a marathon, but maybe a weight lifting competition someday.”

Alice rolled her eyes, careful not to let Mike see. 

James smiled.  “I started going when I realized unpacking was tiring me out,” James said.  “Working at the desk all day doesn’t really build up the strength.  It does build up the cholesterol apparently.”

As expected, the topic shifted from gyms and fitness regimes to health concerns.  As they were all in that expansive age bracket called middle age everyone had stories to tell.  More importantly Mike stopped flexing.  He continued to drop hints about how much weight he could bench but anytime he did Alice steered the conversation firmly away.

“At least I know why you’ve been skipping Happy hour,” Mike said as lunch ended and they all headed back to their separate office cubicles.  “Training for a marathon.”  He shook his head.  James was surprised to see the look was more impressed than amused.  “Didn’t know you had it in you.”

“Me either to be honest,” James replied.  He returned to his office and sat down at his desk.  “I suppose I have no choice but to go through with it now,” James said.  “At least Gary will be happy.”

The rest of the day passed with quiet speed.  James wasn’t certain if he was dreading or anticipating the first training session.  His only experience with running was the mandatory sessions in the school gym to meet the presidential fitness requirements.  Since none of the presidents ever seemed especially fit to him, James always thought of it as a pain.

He wasn’t certain what the training would entail but he doubted it would include sneaking off with his friends for a smoke under the bleachers when Coach wasn’t looking.  James had never really enjoyed the cigarettes, but he had fond memories of the sneaking.

As he left the office, James felt that the traffic cleared just for him.  The path from his office to the gym was mysteriously clear as though the universe itself wanted him to attend the training.  James parked, and picked up his gym bag from the passenger’s seat.  “I hope I have the right gear.”

The bag contained a t-shirt, shorts gym socks and an old pair of sneakers he found lurking in the bottom of the box that contained his shoes. He couldn’t think of any other gear he would need for running, but suspected there would be something he forgot.

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