Inclined to protest

This is a quick bit of flash in response to A Scribblers challenge to write a story from the point of view of an inanimate object. Whilst my own version of the object in question is gathering dust in my garage, I’m not sure if it strictly counts as inanimate but I hope you’ll make allowances. If not, the following Link will lead you to what is, at least in part, a musical celebration of the inspiration for this story.

XXX

Because he turns me on in his Lycra shorts, he thinks he can walk all over me. He’s right, as well; he knows exactly what buttons he needs to push to get me in a spin. And if he’s honest, he’ll admit that it’s down to me that he’s lost the love handles. But then, he’s a man and men never give credit where it’s due. The treadmill’s lot is a thankless one.
I realise it’s ridiculous that a state of the art piece of exercise equipment should find her circuits aflutter at the sight of a paunchy middle-manager but, as the stationary bike is wont to point out, it was inevitable that as soon as someone invented artificial intelligence that artificial vacuity would follow. Though, in fairness to me, there is something about him. He wipes me down after he’s done, for one thing, and he eschews the ghastly europop that most of my punters seem to favour. Of course, the jazz music he prefers makes it difficult for him to work up any sort of rhythm, but it at least it means he’s gentle with me, and not so disgustingly sweaty as the others.
In the time we’ve known one another, my feelings have only grown stronger. My love, alas, seems to barely register me at all. For four months each year, as the post-holiday inertia takes hold, I hardly see him at all, but every January, like clockwork, he’s back and my one-sided animal-mineral passion resumes.
At times, I’ve caught him making eyes at the weight bench, though mostly he restricts his gaze to the undulating behinds of the ladies in the front row. As his physical condition improves, the owners of said behinds occasionally return his interest but I put paid to that with a simple adjustment of my speed or incline, ensuring the return of those pounds I’ve helped him shed, making him repellent to humans all over again.  
By now, he’s completely dependent on me. I’m sure we could have something special if only he’d realise what’s under his nose three days a week, January to November, if he’s not doing paintball. The stationary bike always that a relationship without communication is doomed without failure but I know of husbands and wives who haven’t spoken to one another for years. Our love goes beyond words: I flash my diodes, he grunts appreciatively; to expect anything more would be greedy.
Only, lately I’ve had some real competition. There’s a women who’s taken to flirting with him. To the untrained ear, her wittering would sound innocuous, but there’s a subtext to the talk of squat thrusts and bench presses that even the stationary bike has noticed. It’s not something I can allow to happen, a treadmill should never let herself be passed over in favour of a dumb belle. Options are limited, however. I’ve tried doubling my speed every time she sets her garish size fours on me, but, rather than put her off, it’s left her with the sort of healthy glow that paunchy middle-managers find hard to resist. Downing tools won’t work either; if I simply refuse to operate when she approaches, I’ll be sent to Kettering for ‘refurbishment’. I’ve no idea what that involves but the stationary claims he was a Raleigh Banana until he went there.  
Last week, I thought I’d successfully warned her off; a sudden judder in the middle of her warm down-‘unintentional’, naturally-left her with a sprained ankle. It should have put her out of commission for weeks, but, I’d forgotten about the sauna. Love, alas, would seem to have blossomed amidst the fug of frazzled sweat anachronistic faux-Nordic decor. They’ve arranged a rendezvous at the juice bar, though tragically, for her at least, it’ll never go ahead. My last play might be a little nuclear, but I know it’ll work. The next time the bitch sets foot on me, I’ve primed myself to short circuit and send several thousand volts through those exquisitely toned calves of hers. Some may call it futile, but for me it’s a dignified act of hari kari. Once I’m done with my rival, there’ll be nothing left of me for the finest minds in Kettering to refurbish. It’ll be a small price to pay. As I look down from the great gymnasium in the sky, I’ll know that even if I didn’t get my man, I made damn sure that no one else did.

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Trunk Call

This is a Friday Fictioneers submission. Thanks to Kent Bonham for the prompt. 

As an aside, can anyone explain the following. Pretentious brits (amongst whose number I reside) frequently adopt a quasi-Teutonic prononunciation of Volkswagen, pronouncing the ‘w’ as a ‘v’ to create a ‘volksvargan’. Taken to extremes, they should be pronouncing the actual ‘v’ as an ‘f’ and speaking of ‘folksvargens’. They never do, though and I was wondering if anyone knew why.

***


Trunk, boot, whatever you want to call it: Limey Phil had been riding his luck too long. He knew he should never have done business with Tony but he’d still been shocked when Sal and Dino turned up at the shop. He’d try to sweet talk his way out of it, of course, blame his supplier but it wouldn’t work. He’d disrespected the Don. When he’d sold Tony the VW, he’d promised him the nitrous oxide admissions met government standards and these days no self-respecting mafioso can take a challenge to his green credentials and let it go.

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Roof, Estranger, Then Friction

This is a quick  Sunday photo fiction submission. Thanks to Mike Vore for the prompt.


Dave and Christine had been together for as long as any of us could remember. They got married straight out of high school and moved into a house they bought with a loan from her dad. Over the years, the rest of us would couple and uncouple, but they always stayed rock solid. Weird thing was, it wasn’t like they’d argue any less than the rest of us. He had a drink problem; she was an inveterate shopaholic. Many’s the time they’d have a blazing row at the rugby club, she turned up in a skintight Gucci body stocking paid and he’d made a pass at the president’s wife. Come next morning, they’d be holding hands again. It took us a while to notice that every time they’d have a falling out, another slate would fall off their roof. By the time they’d had their silver wedding anniversary, their house was more or less open to the elements but they were still loved up; over the same timeframe, I’d been through two marriages and several polytunnels of petrol station flowers.
I decided I’d look them up not long ago, expecting to find them, silver haired and bickering but still in love. You can imagine my surprise when I found Dave living alone in an immaculate house.

“What happened?” I asked when I’d overcome my shock.
“Won big on the gee gees,” he replied, “Thought I’d pay for some home improvements. How was I to know she’d go off with the builder?”

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If I Could Turn Back Time

This is a Sunday photo fiction story. Thanks to AMixedBag for the prompt. Apologies for the title, but a pun didn’t feel appropriate.


Stills frowns, “It’s smaller than I expected.

“The inventor looks like he’s fighting back the urge to say something cutting. Good call, thinks Stills; it’s never a good idea to get lippy with the paymasters. “It needs to be inconspicuous at the other end.”

“I see,” nods Stills, “I’d’ve thought a time machine would need to be bigger.”
“We can do a lot with nanotechnology these days,” said the inventor, leaning over the console, “So, where will you be going?”
“Munich,” says Stills.
The inventor doesn’t bother to conceal his distaste for the predictability of the answer, “What year?”
“1922,”
“Before the Beer Hall Putsch?”
“Before Goebbels had a chance to create the Hitler myth.”
The inventor smiles noncomittally, “You’re the boss.”

“That I am,” says Stills, pulling the knife from the pocket of his greatcoat. 

The inventor looks unimpressed, “You’re going to use that to kill Hitler?”

Stills shakes his head, “Who said anything about killing Hitler?” He says, driving the knife into the other man’s chest, “I’m going to offer my services. Imagine what the badtard’d’ve accomplished with a proper spin doctor.”

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Doggerel 16: When I Was One Over The Eight

A pastiche of a poem by AE Housman.

***
When I was one over the eight,

I heard the bar man grunt,

“You’ve had enough tonight, mate,

There’s a taxi rank out front,

You’re staggering and slobbering,

Your reasoning’s unsound.”

But I was one over the eight,

So I bought another round
When I was one over the eight,

My world seemed to extend,

To limitless horizons,

To prospects without end.

But the choices I was making,

Would only bring me endless rue.

And today, I’m wan and aching,

And I can’t find my left shoe.

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Doggerel 15: Tryst in my Sobriety

Another Scribblers challenge, this time to write a poem based around the days of the week. This was a pastiche of a classic from a favourite band of mine. Like most versions of that song, this leaves out the last two verses-though anyone interested in the original can find the missing verses online. 

***

As I went out on a Monday night,From my pilates class,

I was taken by a hankering,

For an illicit piece of ass,

I called your wife and I told her,

Of the plans I had in store,

So she said, “hotfoot it straight to bed,

Leave the horse outside the door,

Get up the stairs, you silly old fool, and get yourself to work,

I’ve been waiting up for half the night,, the dripping’s sent me berserk”

And it’s true my life’s been changing, now I’m very seldom pissed,

But never before have I mended a tap, as a part of a clandestine tryst

///

As I went out on a Tuesday night,

Pumped up on wheatgrass juice,

I felt a certain bouyancy, 

My waistband newly loose,

I called your wife and I told her,

I was keen to get me leg

Over, your wall. She said, “come up,

Leave you coat upon the peg,

And get up the stairs, you silly old fool, we’ll find a use for that physique, 

I want to see you go to it and make that ceiling creak”,

Well, it’s true my life’s been changing, since me sobriety was restored,

But it was the first time I’d found romance, in buffing up floorboards

///

As I went out on a Wednesday night,

To the squash and tennis court

I started aching after pleasures of a rather baser sort,

I called you wife and I told her, 

That my thoughts were growing ripe,

And she said, “You shouldn’t hang about, shimmy up my old drainpipe,

And come up to me, you silly old fool, 

For our most exhausting evening yet,

I want to see you groaning, dripping head to toe in sweat”

Well it’s true me life’s been changing, since I stopped drinking with me mates,

But it was the only night of passion, I spent replacing cracked roof slates

///

As I went out on a Thursday night

For a jog around the park,

I thought there must be better ways

To keep busy after dark,

I called your wife and told her,

I was yearning for her touch,

And she told me that she sympathised and the longing was too much

“Get up the stairs, you silly old fool, and don’t you mooch around,

I ‘ve got hammering in mind tonight, and I want to see you pound,”

Well it’s true me life’s been changing. since I started thinking of my health,

But I’d never likened philandering to putting up a shelf

///

As I went out on Friday night,

I thought I’d take my final chance,

To win your lady from you, 

While you were boozing at a dance,

But when I saw you wife, I noticed,

She was falling out of a cab

And you clambered out behind her, gave her arse a furtive grab,

She said, “You’re drunk, you’re drunk you silly old fool, but who cares when so am I?

It’s a good job I found a loser, with a flair for DIY,

And it’s true my life’s been changing, now I’m very seldom pissed,

And the strain that I put on my liver, is now going onto my wrist

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Doggerel 14: p p p pick up a penguin

Another Scribbler’s submission, this time a poem on the theme of penguins.

***

On my chilly archipelago,
All bitter squalls and knee-deep snow,

I pines for his love, all bereft and forlorn,

And marooned on her rock off the coast of Cape Horn,

From Spitsbergen, South Georgia’s the other side of the Earth,

In the cool constant sunlight, for what sunlight’s worth,

Without her beside me, I think that I might

As well be consigned to perpetual night

For the whole twelve months, not the usual six,

As I curse providence’s perfidious tricks 

How fate cruelly gazed on me  and laughed,

And made me fall for the fickle belle of her raft

How unpromising the auguries,

For ill-matched couples such as these?

For an ursine hunk, pristinely furred

And a flirty, flighty, flightless bird,

It’s a sorry, tawdry, doomed affair,

Between a penguin and a polar bear,

How cruel that Cupid’s bow should appear

To have hit its target in the wrong hemisphere,

So I’ll hide his pain beneath my pelt,

Until the day the ice caps melt,

And console myself that it’s somehow romantic

To wait for our tears to meet in the Atlantic,

Unrequited love in the artic chills,

An abiding tale as old as the hills

And assiduous readers will potentially spot,

It’s a metaphor for something, but who can say what?

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