“Gym Day” by John Sheirer


Rick flicked his workout towel at Ben to get his attention. Ben paused between repetition sets on the butterfly press.

“See her?” Rick whispered, flicking his eyes toward an athletic woman striding on the elliptical machine about twenty feet away. Ben nodded, sweat pooling on his nose. Rick bent down close to Ben’s ear. “What do you think it would be like to do her?” he asked with a leer.

Ben thought of Rick’s wife, Allison, right that minute working her second job keeping the books for a local landscaping business between trips hauling her and Rick’s kids to various soccer games and piano lessons. Allison always had a smile and a kind word for Ben, often suggested fixing him up with one of her friends.

Ben looked from the woman to Rick and replied, “It’s probably almost exactly like being with Allison.”

Rick stopped staring at the young woman on the elliptical and turned a sharp gaze toward Ben. “How do you figure?”

Ben started a new set of lifts, pounding the metal bars together with a resounding clank a foot in front of this face. “Because you don’t love her either.”


John Sheirer lives in Northampton, Massachusetts, with his wonderful wife Betsy and happy dog Libby. He has taught writing and communications for 26 years at Asnuntuck Community College in Enfield, Connecticut, where he also serves as editor and faculty advisor for Freshwater Literary Journal (submissions welcome). He writes a monthly column on current events for his hometown newspaper, the Daily Hampshire Gazette, and his books include memoir, fiction, poetry, essays, political satire, and photography. Find him at JohnSheirer.com.

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