Creaking Away

Chapter 2, Blog 3

By Chuck Wells As Told To Ray Hochgesang


“C’mon, old man. Get with it!”

In my conservative program, I had to act as the coach, too.

“Stretch those 48-year-old legs. Make ’em burn. Sssstttrrreettcch. We don’t need any pulled hamstrings on this team.”

“OOOWWW!” screamed the athlete. “That DOES hurt!”

“You big babies make me want to puke. Of course, it’s gonna hurt. Git used to it. Stretch like a man. That’s right. That’s right. Now git your ass out there and hit the track!”

Out into the wintry morning cold, I stepped. The ice crystals on the driveway sparkled in the early sunshine. I paused on the curb. Ever so gingerly, I dipped my toe onto the frosty asphalt.  I took a deep breath – and ran. My feet creaked with each step. They didn’t want to take hold of the rock-cold blacktop.

My heart pounded.

My head pounded harder.

My lungs pleaded for air.

My brain asked why. Why did I have to torture myself? At 6 a.m. no less?

I slowed to a jog. I ran in molasses, my strides slow, slower.

STOP! I have to stop!


Every fiber of human tissue pulsated. I was winded. More winded than I ever recalled. I doubled over, my hands on my knees. This wasn’t how I remembered my high school track days. Straightening up, I tried to clear my cloudy head.

No, I can’t do it. I had to bend over again. Would I pass out?

Squinting back into the sun, I calculated how far I had run.

Oh, about a hundred yards.


“Hey, Wells, why’d ya stop?” yelled my inner coach.

“Screw you!” yelled the athlete.


“You heard me. Screw you, asshole!”

“You’re outta here!” yelled the coach.

“I don’t give a damn!” yelled the athlete. “And you’re a piss-poor coach! You suck!”

“Jackass!” yelled the coach.

“You’re the jackass!”

“No, you’re the jackass!”

“No, you’re the jackass!”

“No, you’re the jackass!”

I looked up. Our paper boy stared. His wild, brown eyes dressed me up and down.

“Mr. Wells, are you all right?”

“Just reliving my childhood, Bubba.”

Sorry, I didn’t know his name.

Without taking his eyes off me, he tiptoed around and sprinted away.

“Damnit!” I cursed. “If only I could run like THAT.”

I crawled back home to collapse into bed. Melinda rolled over, saw me and shrieked.

“What’s wrong?”

I couldn’t respond.

“WHAT is it? Heart attack? You’re having a heart attack?”

I shrugged my eyebrows. That’s all I could move. My breathing felt jagged. Sweat poured from my face. My heart raced. Nerves tingled.

It was official all right. I was an official wreck.

Copyright © 2012 by Chuck H. Wells/Ray Hochgesang

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