Badtux the Snarky Penguin

In a time of chimpanzees, I was a penguin.

Religious fundamentalists are motivated by the sneaking suspicion that someone, somewhere, is having fun -- and that this must be stopped.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Fixer [Interim Title] Chapter 3 Part 2

Chapter 1 Part 1 Chapter 1 Part 2 Chapter 2 Part 1
Chapter 2 Part 2 Chapter 3 Part 1
The next thing on my mind was the question of who donated a car to me, complete with a load of rotten meat in the trunk. That, and the state of my pantry, where two lonely packets of ramen noodles were keeping each other company.


Anybody who might have seen my mystery car donor park his load in my parking lot wasn't going to be around at 9AM in the morning. Most of the men worked from dawn until dusk, doing construction, gardening, or other menial chores that the rich needed to keep their glistening glass cubes operating. The men whose business was selling substances that busybodies didn't want sold were in bed asleep. And the women rarely ventured out at night. This wasn't some country club suburb. Things could get rough here at night. So investigation at this end wouldn't happen until evening.

That left the remainder of the morning free for a workout and some grocery shopping. The day was warm for March, sixty degrees, and it was a running day, so I traded the sweats I'd put on early that morning for running shorts and sports bra, which I didn't mind at all because I'm still built like an athlete even though my competitive days are long behind me, and don't mind the looks of admiration. I locked Buddy into the apartment -- German Shepherds are fast, but they're not built to run continuously for miles at a time -- and patted Connie on the head as she smacked her gum and read some vacuous romance novel where a knight in shining armor saved the girl. I hate to tell her, but there is no such thing. She would get used and abused and dumped on the streets in the end, because men were liars. Only one man ever told me the truth, the whole truth, and he was a child molester. The counsellor at the group home had told me I had trust issues. I'd call that the understatement of the century. There is one person on this planet that I trust, and that's myself. Nothing in the last ten years of my life gives me any reason to feel otherwise.

I am not at the peak of physical perfection that I'd reached under Coach Davis's tutelage in high school, but I'm still within 5% of my best times on the track. As short as I am, I have to run a lot of miles in a week to keep weight from accumulating on my frame. I average about twenty miles a week, plus speed work to keep my speed up. It's the speed work that hurts, but it's necessary. I don't push myself with the self-punishing fanatic intensity of the angry and hurt teenage girl who'd relished Coach Davis's attention, but I approach my running workouts with a serious attitude nevertheless. In my business, being able to outrun the security goons, the cops, and random bad guys is a big advantage, considering that I'm not genetically set up to beat the crap out of them.

I try not to get into those situations, but shit happens. As long as I can get a little bit of head start to make up for the fact that my legs simply aren't long enough for a high top speed -- and mace generally suffices for that -- I can outrun almost anybody by simply out-toughing them. Even young guys at their physical peek generally can't run more than forty yards at full speed without running out of gas. Granted, any guy on the track team could run me down within a hundred yards. But those guys are generally too busy being jocks to be muggers, rapists, or murderers. And they certainly aren't cops.

But that ability doesn't come free, which is why I spend three days a week running three miles at a fast pace, spend some time flinging myself up a hill at my top speed then slowly jogging back down it over and over again until it felt like I was about to die when I wheezed to a stop at the top, then run three miles back home at a slightly slower pace. The man in the red BMW, whoever he was, got a good show today. I waved to him as I went by. I had no idea whether he was a random pervert or was following me for a reason, either way, all he was doing was looking, so I didn't care. Much, anyhow. I cared enough to pull a notepad out of my fannypack and write his license plate number and description on it while trying to catch my breath at the top of the hill.

By the time I got home, I felt like I'd been through a wringer, but I'm still young enough that I knew it'd pass quickly. A bit of veg'ing out in the bathtub, a quick snack of ramen noodles, and I was ready to tackle the next things on my agenda: stocking my pantry with something to keep the one lonely remaining packet of ramen noodles company, then finding out what exactly was the deal with the car I'd had towed and the dead meat therein.

Posted by: BadTux / 3/30/2006 10:37:00 PM  


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I am a black and white and yellow multicolored penguin making his way as best he can in a world of monochromic monkeys.

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