Simply Suicidal

Chapter 12, Blog 1

By Chuck Wells As Told To Ray Hochgesang


The next morning I reported to the high school track by 5:30. Mirroring the same stretches that Geri did, my 48-year-old body was a dead maple tree in a windstorm, ready to snap at the first deadly gust. My 17-year-old coach, however, ran through her warm-ups as if she were made of new taffy. Her legs grew longer with each stretch.

“I bet,” said Ms. Smarty Pants. “If ya did a little yoga, ya might, I’m jist sayin’, ya might be able to get within five inches of touching those toes.”

I ignored her.

With that she scooted down the front stretch. Me, I sat on the ground, bent like a half-baked pretzel. Yes, I could touch my toes. No, I couldn’t put my feet behind my head – yet. Yes, I could do all the normal runner’s stretches. No, I couldn’t do all the ones a high school track star could.

… we’re not kids anymore …

The voice knew what buttons to push. But I pushed back.

“Ralphie already said that, dumb ass.”

That shut it up.

I wrestled my right leg back and then my left, stopping centimeters short of tearing muscle fiber. Instead, my legs sizzled with that burning sensation you feel when you stretch to the limit – and past. My legs were smoking. Geri cruised around, and I joined her.

“You’ll get used to it,” she said and smiled her wicked little grin, but then looked puzzled.

“Ya smell smoke?”


Overheated but loose, my joints moved like cooked spaghetti.

“So what’s the program for today, Coach?”

“Today’s Tuesday, and that means intervals,” said Geri. Pumping along and talking as if she were out for a stroll. “Did they have interval training back in the Dark Ages?”

“Depends,” I said. “Exactly what do you mean by intervals?”

“Intervals,” she said as if anyone would know what she meant. “Intense, easy, intense, easy and so on. You’ve heard of it, right?”

“OK, I guess so. Rockard made us do something like that, but we didn’t call it intervals.”

“So, what did you call it?”

“Suicides, of course,” I said. “They sucked. What’s the big deal?”

Geri stopped and stared at me as if I were from Jupiter. Coach didn’t like it when I played stupid. Problem was I wasn’t playing.

Copyright © 2012 by Chuck H. Wells/Ray Hochgesang

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