The following piece was presented at Jersey City Writers’ literary event – Superheroes & Supervillains: A Night of Dynamic Dare-do-well and Dastardly Deeds. Please enjoy.
Three friends are waiting for two stragglers at a diner.
Sarah’s Roommate: “I’m telling you, it infects people through bloody nipples. That HuffPo article The Race Monster: Hero or Villain? revealed all about this virus that’s causing people to run countless miles on roads or circles around tracks for fun.
Jack’s Wife: “No way, it needs a much larger surface area to enter…and believe me, the bug bite protruding from my Jack’s thimble sized areola is not nearly large enough. It was the silver dollar-sized blister he got on his foot when he randomly went on his first run. Since then he’s spent paycheck after paycheck on fancy shoes, compression clothing and all these do-dads I can’t even describe.”
Moderator: Enters scene. “You two need to calm down; nobody wants to overhear you two yammer on about tiny titties or funky feet. And FYI, it’s not transmitted through open wounds, it’s ingested orally; the Gatorades and those nasty gels they eat contain chemicals that alter their pain receptors and make them enjoy running. By the way, the bathrooms here are kind of gross.”
Sarah’s Roommate: “Ugh! Don’t get me started on restrooms. Ever since Sarah caught the virus, she’s been absolutely destroying the loo. I thought having a female roommate meant that I wouldn’t have to deal with a guy’s titanic-sized shits and the lingering smells thereafter. But damn, you would not believe the amount of crap that can literally come out of a ninety pound girl after a long run! Those runners are a disgusting bunch!!”
Moderator: “Anyway, how much longer do you think they’ll be? I bet they ran 5 extra miles and then they’ll go home to shower and change…unless they show up straight from their run in their disgusting sweaty clothes, in which case we have to deal with a wet, stanky hug. Wick away fabric my ass.”
Jack’s Wife: “Tell me about it. At least you don’t have to pick up Jack’s dirty clothes or deal with his superstitions. The rancid smell of all his shirts by week’s end is absolutely putrefying. And he leaves worn outfits lying around and gets annoyed when I put it in the hamper, yelling “babe, it was only a light run, I’m going to wear that again!” Or he’ll chide me when I try to toss his raggedy socks and underwear away, claiming they his lucky race day set. And golly! The absolute worst smelling thing in the world are those silly looking toe shoes that he runs in. I think Tide created this Race Monster. It’s the corporations I tells ya.”
Moderator: “If it’s any company that’s making bank from all these runners, it’s Barilla. Have you seen the amount of pasta those two consume before a race? They are like death row prisoners getting one final meal. Good thing they are too high brow to go to Olive Garden, otherwise they’d all-you-can-eat that place to bankruptcy. Buuuuut, on the other hand, they are supporting local small businesses.”
Jack’s Wife: “Yeah, Helen’s pizza has been booming! Just last Saturday I saw a five runners each polish off an entire pie and then ordered cannolis.”
Sarah’s Roommate: “True, the cute barista at Brewshot told me they started opening earlier for runners. I know Sarah goes there at 5AM, gets a cortado, catches a Pokemon while stretching and then runs for a bunch of hours.”
Jack’s Wife: “And the ridiculous amounts of craft beer they consume afterwards! I haven’t had to buy a single six-pack in months since Jack always brings stuff home from Pint.”
Moderator: “Speaking of six-packs, you’ve rubbed it in our faces that Jack’s got some washboard abs now…and I hear your love life has improved because of Sarah as well, no?”
Sarah’s Roommate: “No doubt, Sarah’s friends are all smoking and I love their crop tops, skimpy skorts and especially those running shirts that have the vents so you can see slivers of their glistening backs. And the best part is that they sometimes come over for runner’s yoga…and believe me, they are extremely bendy.”
Jack’s Wife: “Easy there, calm down now before you pop your load. But yeah, Jack’s got so much more definition now and way more stamina…marathon-like endurance if you will.”
Moderator: “Okay, bad puns aside, is this Race Monster a villain…or a hero?”
Sarah’s Roommate: “Are we asking if we prefer our friends to be late, sweaty, disgusting or come with abs, pizza and beers?”
Jack’s Wife: “Well, their marathon is a month away and Jack’s been telling me that there’s a 5K the day before. Perhaps we should enter a couch to 5K program to find out?”
Moderator: “Maybe we can’t truly understand the Race Monster until we’ve run in their shoes?”
The three look at each other for a few seconds and break out laughing.
Sarah’s Roommate: “Fuck that shit! I prefer wake up on the weekends only after the hour hand reaches double digits.”