Fat Chance

Fat Chance by Nick Spalding

Book: Fat Chance by Nick Spalding Read Free Book Online
Authors: Nick Spalding
creased, and my hairy gut is hanging over my tracksuit bottoms in plain sight. I’m stooping like an old crone on her way to Snow White’s house, and wobbling around uncertainly on legs that could give out from under me at any moment. In short, I look like a fat, out-of-shape technical writer who’s done more exercise in the past week than he has in the past decade.
    ‘You’re probably right,’ Alice concedes. ‘I did want a last warm-dow n jog around the park—’
    ‘For the love of God, please, no.’
    ‘No. On second thoughts, I think you’re pretty much done, Greg.’ She puts one leg up on our favourite bench and starts her warm-down exercises. ‘Do you want me to give you a lift home?’
    ‘No. I think I’ll try to walk.’
    ‘You sure?’
    ‘Yes.’ Partially because there’s a Tesco Express on the way home where I can buy painkillers, and partially because I’m afraid that if I do get in a car with Alice, she might think of some last-minute training I can do before we reach my front door. I really don’t want to be running along the high street with her beeping her car horn and shouting ‘Faster, you tubby bitch!’ at me until something prolapses .
    ‘Okay.’ She stands up. ‘Well, it’s been fun.’
    ‘Has it?’
    ‘I think so. If you feel like another course—maybe a longer-term commitment—then give me a ring.’
    ‘Okay, I will.’
    No, I bloody won’t.
    ‘Great. I’ll email you the de-brief that I send to all my clients. It’ll contain advice and help for what you should do next in your exercise regime.’
    Never hire a personal trainer again?
    ‘Thanks, Alice.’
    She thrusts out a hand. ‘Best of luck with the weigh-in session today, Greg. I’ll be listening in.’
    ‘Thank you very much.’
    I hope I bloody have lost weight. I can see Alice storming the radio station and taking several innocent bystanders hostage if I haven’t.
    ‘See you later then, Greg.’
    ‘Yeah, goodbye, Alice.’
    And with that she’s gone again.
    My tormentor of the past seven days jogs down the path towards the car park, leaving me in abject misery, and standing next to a park bench I will never visit again for as long as I live. In fact there’s a very good chance I’ll never visit this park again.
    Or anywhere else where there are trees, birds, grass, or sky.
    Ten minutes later and I’m walking slowly through the doors of Tesco Express. The pain in my upper back and shoulder is so acute now that it’s making me a little light-headed.
    I stand in the medicine aisle for a good minute trying to decide on which painkillers to buy. There are the brand names and the cheaper superstore equivalents. I plump for a pack of these as I’ve never been one for trademarks.
    I pick up a box of 200 mg ibuprofen and take it over to the girl at the counter.
    ‘These are quite strong, you know,’ she says as she puts them in a bag for me.
    ‘That’s what I’m hoping,’ I tell her.
    I don’t know what she’s on about, though. The last time I took these pills was when I twisted my ankle last year. Two didn’t touch the pain, so I had to take three in the end to even get a little relief.
    The pain I’m in now is far worse, so I dry-swallow four of the little white pills as I walk back to the house. This should be enough to take the edge off.
    ‘Hi, honey,’ Zoe says as I come through the door. ‘You look awful.’
    ‘Thanks, baby.’
    ‘Have you been run over?’
    I think of Alice’s bulgy eyes and stern expression. ‘Yes, I rather think I have.’
    ‘Well, we’re due at the station in an hour so you’d best go have a shower and get dressed. Remember to wear decent shorts—we’re being weighed today with hardly any clothes on.’
    ‘Okay,’ I agree and slope off upstairs.
    The shower is invigorating and by the time it’s finished I’m actually feeling pretty good about myself. The pain in my back is almost completely gone. Those painkillers are better than I thought!
    I even start to

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