New Years Short Story

Monday, January 3, 2011
This interview took place today between my brain and my body's foreman.
The construction worker slowly swiveled in the padded chair, his eyes searching for something more interesting than the bare, grey walls around him. He eventually saw a fly and followed it with his gaze. Every once in a while, it zoomed away too fast. But he always found it again.

There was nowhere to go. For either of them.

Finally the door opened and a young, pretty woman wearing a grey business suit stepped in. She wore glasses and had her hair in a tight ponytail.

Great, he thought. She was always more uptight when she had her hair in a ponytail.

The woman didn't look at him. Instead, she concentrated on the open manila folder in front of her. She let go of the door and moved into the seat opposite him.

Just before the door closed, the fly escaped.

Lucky fly.

She finished scanning the folder, shut it with a soft slap, folded her hands over it, and looked at him. "We have some problems to discuss."

He shifted uncomfortably in the seat that was too small for him. "Yeah, I suppose we do."

"I'll start."

Of course you will. "Alright."

"I've noticed some unnecessary bulging on the inner thighs, buttocks, and around the middle."

He grunted. "Muffin top."

She blushed scarlet. "I suppose you could call it that."

He scratched his bald head under his construction hat. "Listen lady, I do the best I can with what I've got."

She tapped the eraser of a number two pencil on her folder. "We've been working out at least three hours a week. We've cut back on a lot of unhealthy foods."

He nodded warily. "Yes, but not in the last month."

The tapping pencil stopped. When she grew still, he knew to tread carefully.

"8 months, we've worked our butt off. 8 months. And you know how much weight we've lost?"

"Well, we haven't exactly worked our butt off." He started to chuckle, but her eyes blazed black fire at him. He choked on it and found himself sitting deeper in his chair. "We've, uh, toned up a lot?"

It was like she hadn't heard him. "A pound! One measly little pound!"

He scratched his belly. "Well then, a pound is something."

She stood up in her chair and leaned toward him. "The baby is 22 months old, Foreman."

He shrugged. "Well, the materials are older than they used to be."

It was the wrong thing to say. He could feel the hairs on the back of their head standing on end. "Plus, we've had some setbacks." He tried to placate her. "Three kids are hard on a body. Not to mention the sleepless nights and--"

"I don't care how old this body is or how many children have damaged it. I want it working like it did before."

He felt his face flush with heat. "I'm a working man, not a miracle worker." They glared at each other for a while, and suddenly he was frightened. "Wait, your not seriously thinking of cutting us up?"

She flopped back into her chair in exasperation. "It crossed my mind."

"You wanna hurt us, just so you'll look good in a bikini you'll never wear anyway."

She signed. "No. I'm not going to cut us up."

He found himself relaxing, a tiny bit. But suddenly, things started clicking into place. The increased chocolate, the hectic schedule. Now it was his turn to be angry. He slowly rose and pointed a shaking finger at her. "I know what this is. It's not some random meeting. You do this to me every year."

She wouldn't meet his eyes. "I don't know what you're talking about."

He could already feel the aching muscles, the burning lungs. "Every year it's the same, the chocolate, the candy canes, the eggnog. Less time to work out, but plenty of neighbors bringing chocolates and popcorn balls. And then, then comes the New Year. And the New Year's Resolution." He could barely contain himself now. "And then you work us into the ground."

She crossed her arms over her chest. "Well, if you'd cooperate a little better, we wouldn't go through this every year."

He shook his head in disgust. "I won't have it! I won't!" But it was useless. She was in charge. And even if he gave her an awful stitch in her side or broke her out in a rash, she was going to do it again. He stormed out of the room, slamming the door behind him.

The woman jumped a little when the door banged shut. Then she slowly unwrapped a miniature chocolate Santa. She nibbled off his head. "Might as well enjoy it now." Rolling the aluminum foil into a little ball, she tucked it neatly into her pocket and left the room, her heels clicking on the concrete floor and her toned muffin-top jiggling, just a little.


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