Hey, Listen Here

Chapter 20, Blog 3

By Chuck Wells As Told To Ray Hochgesang


“Was it in an official meet? I believe it must be sanctioned,” Peabody said.

“Well, no, but … ”

“Correct me, please, if I am wrong,” he said. “I believe it must be recorded during a sanctioned meet, does it not?”

“Well, yes but … ”

“And the meet must be sanctioned by … ”

“The USATF.”

“Yes, so please tell us. How close are you to running in such a meet?”

“Chuck, you don’t have to answer that,” said Sterling.

“Fact is, we’re going to Atlanta next weekend,” I said.

“What? Your baby girlfriend and you?” Melinda asked.

“No, Geri is not going … ”

“So, she IS your girlfriend,” Melinda said.

“You don’t have to answer that, Chuck,” said Sterling.

“No, she is not my girlfriend,” I said.

“You said, ‘we,’” noted Peabody.

“My friend Ralphie is going,” I said. “He’s a shot putter.”

“I suppose he’s going to the Olympics, too,” said Peabody. “Or is he your latest romantic  interest?”

Sterling pulled on my sleeve.

“Don’t answer that, Chuck.”

“He’s not my lover. He’s my friend. Melinda, you know Ralphie. Why do you let this go on?”

“You’ve changed, Charles,” she said. “I don’t know what to think anymore.”

“Now, you think I’m a homosexual? You know what? I don’t care if you do.”

“Strike that from the record,” Sterling interjected. “Chuck, I think we need a recess – now.”

“No, we don’t,” I turned to Melinda again. “What are you saying?”

“You’ve changed, Charles,” said Melinda, this time with regret in her voice.

That was enough.

“You’re damned right I’ve changed.”

“Chuck, really, we need that recess,” Sterling said.

“Believe it or not. A human being still has the right to change,” I said, standing up and walking around the table. I stood behind Melinda and Peabody. “Or is that against the law now?”

“See, what did I tell you?” Melinda said to her lawyer. “It’s a midlife crisis.”

“Call it anything you want,” I said. “Since I started running, I feel better. I have more energy. I think better. I eat better. What is wrong with that? Tell me. Damnit! Tell me.”

“You’re acting like a child,” said Melinda. “Why can’t you act your age?”

Maybe Melinda was right, but I didn’t want to hear it.

“Forget it! I’m not turning back now,” I shouted.

“You’re right,” Peabody said to Melinda. “Not only a classic midlife crisis, but I think he  might also be delusional.”

Without another word, Melinda and Peabody got up and walked out.

“Sorry, Sterling,” I said, sitting down beside him. “Guess I should have listened.”

“That’s OK,” said Sterling.”My kids don’t listen to me either.”

Copyright © 2012 by Chuck H. Wells/Ray Hochgesang

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