What the hell was I doing here? Me, Fergus Simpkins, in a Gym! It was preposterous and ridiculous in equal measure. But I had decided that maybe Abby and I needed to do more together. I was now acutely aware of the growing gap between us; I was also equally aware of the closing gap with Beulah and I. The fallout from the Food and Wine Festival had been fairly painless. I had pretty much always kept Abby separate from my work and the people involved, barring Ritchie and Andy. However, it was obvious that Abby didn’t like Beulah on that first (and hopefully last!) meeting. And so, by way of penance I decided to inflict some pain on myself. Abby loved the Gym, and so earlier that morning I asked if I could join too.
‘You!? In a Gym?!’ she chortled.
Her laughter was a bit hurtful, but at least I had put a smile on her face for once. It also made me subconsciously pinch the love handles on my waist. Her laughter then subsided.
‘I thought it would be good for us to have a mutual interest’ I begged.
Abby tilted her head, ‘we have a mutual interest Fergus, it’s called surviving life together without maiming each other’.
I wasn’t sure how serious she was about that remark, she spoke again.
‘Ok, well I am going tonight after work. Meet me there at 6.30, and don’t be late!’.
And so here we were. Abby had changed and was warming up with some stretches. I was stood in my shorts, which were very intimately clinging to my balls and backside with great desperation. I was to be shown around the facilities by one of the Fitness Instructors. Her name was Sally, blonde haired with a Hollywood tan, skin tight electric blue tracksuit and a row of gleaming white teeth that looked like they had never been used. She was fitness personified and far too perfect to possibly be human. I couldn’t help but wonder if the whole place was run by other similar androids. She was very polite in her assessment of my fitness as I tried various pieces of equipment, but I knew she was pissing herself with laughter inside.
After my induction I decided to use the treadmill. As I tried to work out the buttons and decide which programme was right for me, I briefly looked up and there he was. I couldn’t believe it. He walked past Abby as she was starting to feel the burn. He then nodded at her and she raised a hand back in acknowledgement. How the hell did she know him? Nobody wanted to know him; he was Harvey the Twat for God’s sake! I passed the next hour making a spectacle of myself on varying pieces of equipment, whilst keeping a thorough surveillance on him; I couldn’t believe he was here. I looked on as Abby moved from machine to machine with such elegance. I couldn’t help but notice Harvey the Twat was keeping an equal amount of observation on her. I needed to kill him and do it as soon as possible. My problem was that there were too many witnesses present. I could never get away with smashing him over the head with a Kettle-bell, or inserting a Dumbbell into his ear at great force; No, I would have to think of something else. As I watched Abby I could see she was comfortable in her surroundings. As for me; I would rather have spent the day having root canal work performed without anaesthetic.
As Abby and I left the Gym together I saw him again; Harvey the Twat. He saw Abby and I and began his approach towards us. Abby spoke first, ‘Hello Harvey, how are you? Let me introduce you to my husband’.
Harvey smiled that creepy smile of his, ‘There’s no need, we know each other already don’t we Fergus?’
‘We do’ I answered grimly.
Abby grew a little animated, ‘No way! How?’
I felt his slimy presence envelop me, ‘We work together’.
Abby gave a slight shriek, ‘you are kidding?! What a coincidence?’
Harvey fixed his eyes on mine, ‘I didn’t have you down as a ‘work-out’ type of guy Fergus?’
‘I try and do my bit Harvey, we’re none of us getting any younger after all. So you know Abby then?’
I could feel his sense of superiority grow with each vile breath he exhaled.
‘I was having a coffee here after a work-out one night and we just got chatting. You know how it is’
Oh I knew how it fucking was alright. My head was suddenly full of visions of him attempting to be witty and charming as he attempted to chat Abby up over Green Tea and a flapjack. My hatred for him went into hyperspace. I knew Abby could sense the tension, she linked her arm into mine and spoke again, ‘you must have been on this Team Building weekend that Fergie attended recently?’
‘Yes indeed. They are great for bringing the best out in people. It’s amazing how such events untap hidden talents within us all.’
I just wanted to untap his head; whatever that entailed.
‘I can well imagine Harvey. I bet those types of weekends can be very enlightening?’
Abby’s last sentence dripped with liquid gold sarcasm; her grip on my arm strengthened. I decided it best to chivvy things along,
‘Well, we must be going. I don’t know about you babes but I am starving after all that exercise’.
On bidding farewell to the Knob of the year 2011, we drove home in silence, or more to the point we drove home whilst I was silent. I wondered if he knew about Beulah and I. What would I do should he ever tell Abby. I was being paranoid; and I knew he was a Twat but I reasoned he wasn’t that much of one. Abby rambled away about her Mother’s varicose veins and how they were giving her trouble. I just nodded. Later that night we shared a well-deserved Chinese meal, delivered from the Floating Lotus. Abby’s mood was light with an edge of buoyancy,
‘wasn’t it funny meeting Harvey? I had no idea he worked with you?’
I just nodded as I stuffed some Chicken in Szechuan sauce into my mouth.
‘He seems a nice enough guy. What’s he like to work with?’
I didn’t think it right to tell her the truth at the dinner table. I didn’t think it apt to say he was an annoying prick who liked to lord it up over everyone with his own self inflated superiority. I thought it would be very remiss of me to say he was a deity amongst twats the world over. I thought it would be the height of bad manners to tell Abby, whilst she ate her crispy five spiced pork belly, that I would gladly smash his smug face in with a large sledgehammer. So I gave her the abridged version,
I slurped at my Pinot Grigio and helped myself to some prawn toast. I knew the abridged version didn’t wash with Abby.
‘You obviously don’t like him then?’
‘He’s ok, I don’t have a lot to do with him directly to be honest’
We finished the rest of the meal in silence. I offered to wash up but Abby suggested I go onto bed whilst she did it. I didnt argue…..