The Fifteen Minute Novel: Day 206

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 206: It was somewhat refreshing to see. 

It was somewhat refreshing to see.  ‘Dress for the job you want,’ he brain said as he tried to force his body into the required positions. ‘Or at least dress for the perception you wish to engender.’

The thought amused him and kept him from dwelling on the creaking of his own body as it moved through unaccustomed stretching.  He had hoped that his few weeks of swimming would have been a help. 

‘It probably is,’ James thought feeling somewhat defeated.  Still the usually sleepy Gary was in his element as he warmed up their sluggish bodies.  When they were warm he walked them over to the indoor track for their first trial run. 

James couldn’t help but feel like he was being taken back to remedial gym class to be judged.  His eyes couldn’t help but scan the room looking for bleachers.  He hadn’t smoked since those sneaky moments in school but at the moment he suspected that back with those boys was where he belonged. 

“We’re going to start off with a walk,” Gary told them as they lined up on the tarmac.  “Then we will intersperse short bits of running mixed into the walking.  Gradually there will be more running than walking and then we will extend your running.” They all nodded and in true gym teacher fashion, Gary pulled out a silver whistle on a lanyard from his pocket.

“Just go at your own pace, don’t try to push it to hard and fast on your first day.” Gary blew the whistle. “Walk.” He called. 

They all started walking.  ‘This isn’t so bad,’ James thought. ‘I walk all the time, it’s what my legs do.’

He looked at the others, trying not to look like he was staring.  Terry was keeping pace with him and the two women in casual running gear were walking more or less companionably ahead of them.  Everyone was in their own track but they formed three distinct groups.  The third group was the couple in the high tech running gear.  They seemed intent on ignoring Gary’s advice and were walking as fast as they could without breaking into an actual run.

Just as James was starting to feel comfortable with his level of exercise, Gary blew the whistle and called “Run,” out across the tracks.  The high tech couple as James thought of them, took this as their cue to break into an actual run and fairly sprinted forward, their bodies going all out.  The remaining four of them broke into varying degrees of what James thought of as a trot.

He as sure it was undignified and even though he felt every ounce of his body fat bouncing and jiggling, he was well aware that he wasn’t actually moving any faster than he did when he walked. His breathings grew ragged and his lungs began to burn far more quickly than he thought they would. 

“Breath in through your nose out through your mouth,” Gary called as they passed him.  As James could hear Terry beside him gasping loudly, he knew the message wasn’t meant for him alone and was glad he wasn’t being singled out.

“Like swimming,” James thought.  He managed to get his breath under control rhythmically timing it to his body’s movements as he would in the pool.  It felt strange as he was accustomed to pairing his breath with the movements of his upper body, but he started to get the hang of it.  The whistle blew again.

“Walk,” Gary yelled.  The four of them stuttered to a walk. James was certain the walk was slower than before.  The four of them were closer in distance than they were.  The high tech couple was somewhere out of sight.  James didn’t bother looking for them, but concentrated on catching his breath and calming his pounding heart.

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