The Fifteen Minute Novel: Day 204

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 204: He couldn’t think of any other gear he would need for running, but suspected there would be something he forgot.

He couldn’t think of any other gear he would need for running, but suspected there would be something he forgot. ‘After all there are all those ads for running,’ James thought. ‘Why would they be there if you didn’t need specialized gear?’

James entered the building and found Gary standing around with a couple of other people, all wearing clothes suitable for running.  Some were much more high tech looking than what his gym bag held. Gary smiled as he approached.

“Just in from work?” Gary asked.

“Yeah, I just need to change quickly.”

“Not a problem,” Gary said, we have a couple of others still changing as well.”  Gary gestured towards the nearest set of changing rooms and James hurried off, not wanting to keep the others waiting.  The only locker room he used was by the pool and it had a rubberized honeycombed mat over the tiles to both prevent slipping and to help the floor stay dry.  Here there were only tiles with a slightly texturized surface.  It also smelled of lemon scented cleaner.

While the changing rooms by the pool also had the same scent of cleaner, they also had a semi-permanent chlorinated scent to them that marked them as different.  James shrugged off the feeling of changing clothes in a strange place.  Harder to ignore was the presence of the other people also changing in the space.  He was accustomed to having the locker room all to himself. 

Still no one paid him any attention as he dropped his bag on the bench and opened one of the lockers.

‘It isn’t like high school,’ James thought as he began stripping off his work clothes and hanging them in the locker.  ‘No need to avoid locker room bullies and I’m sure reporting them would just get them booted out rather than one of coach’s disappointed looks.’

While James never really had issues with the bully or their year, others did.  Jeremy was a menace.  If his family didn’t have money James would have bet he’d end up as some low level thug.  He had the body mass and took sheer delight in picking out the weakest among them and seeing how much pain he could inflict.  His family’s money and influence kept the repercussions from being light.  Given the money and influence of James’ family as well as the fact that he wasn’t one of the weaker looking boys of their class, kept Jeremy away.  Coach’s belief that the harassment, although he never used that word, would toughen them up and turn them from boys to men didn’t help.  He seemed to feel that gym class was some sort of Darwinian trial.

James strongly suspected that in his time, coach had been much the same sort of bully as Jeremy was. As a rule he stayed away from them both.  His contact limited to the required gym class. He never did any sort of non-required sport.

‘And now I’ve signed up for marathon training,’ James shook his head and finished dressing.  He laced his sneakers, put the empty bag in the locker and slipped the combination lock in the loops of metal designed to hold it.  It clicked shut with a loud and somewhat final sound.

‘Here goes nothing,’ James thought.  He turned and left the locker room thinking that being a complete novice as well as the person who kept everyone waiting would be a bad thing.  In the lobby people had begun to stretch.

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