Out For a Jog

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Humor  |  House: Booksie Classic
Don't waste your time being alone.

Submitted: January 14, 2016

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Submitted: January 14, 2016

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Out For a Jog

It was 6:27 AM as Harrison Welch ran awkwardly down a small side street in Santa Barbara, painfully gasping for breath, and looking like he was just minutes away from having a heart attack, one that would surely be the pathetic end to his very ordinary life. He had just retired the month before, and travelled down to California from Idaho to stay with his daughter Wendy, for Christmas. Harrison was seventy five, and anything but in shape, having spent the last thirty five years of his life smoking cigarettes, drinking beer, and getting little, to no exercise. Before retiring he had worked as a plumber, a job that didn’t pay much, but afforded him health insurance, and a little bit of money to set aside every month in an IRA. His wife Lucy had died of breast cancer forty years prior, and he hadn’t felt the desire to be with another woman since…until now.

He had gotten up early that day to go for a jog, a jog that was now a part of his daily routine. Harrison was short, about 5 foot 4, had little hair left on his head, and until the day he retired, had no interest of shedding all the weight that he had gained since his wife’s passing. This year is mine, he thought to himself. This is the year that I’m going to get back in shape, and get back on the horse. He had joined a gym, quit smoking and drinking, dyed the remaining hair on his head back to his original shade of brown, and made a vow to get himself laid before the end of 2016.

The three mile loop that Harrison was taking that morning wrapped around three giant apartment complexes, one of which housed his daughter Wendy. What a shit hole. Why would anyone choose to live in such a dense and dirty place? Harrison disliked big cities, and had what could only be described as a passionate hatred for the entire state of California. America’s dust pan. Wendy was his only child, and despite his extremely low opinion of where she lived, he loved her too much to try and tell her how to live her life, and never refused to take his yearly visit down to Santa Barbara to see her. Most of his trips consisted of him getting too drunk to leave her small apartment, choosing instead to stay seated in front of the television, watching the old black and white movie channel. But, this year was different. This year is mine. This was the first time he had actually ventured out into the hustle and bustle that was The Golden State. The red sweat band that he adorned was quickly soaked with sweat after only five minutes of jogging, and his breath became short after only three, his lungs still trying to evacuate the thirty five years of cigarette tar that had slowly been filling his chest.

The pain was good. He had spent most of his life running from his problems, and it was nice to finally feel pain again, something that now seemed almost foreign to him. He kept his gaze ahead, and tried to imagine that he was running in the Olympics, bolting past his opponents like a greyhound on cocaine. Despite his great difficulty, he had improved quite a lot in the thirty or so days since he started his attempt at getting back in shape.

He stopped at the top of a hill that he had just ascended to catch his breath, and suddenly felt a surge of fear pulse through his entire body. His chest tightened into a knot, and his arms began to tingle. Holy shit! I’m having a heart attack! He clutched his chest, and began to breathe more rapidly. I finally decide to start living healthy, and now I’m going to have a heart attack on the side of the road! On Christmas Eve! Harrison’s whole life began to flash before his eyes, and he saw everything from his earliest childhood memory, to his daughter being born, to the death of his wife, all the way up until the previous month, when he had announced his retirement. He sat down on the sidewalk, putting both of his hands on the top of his head, a method for opening the airways that he had learned from his newly hired personal trainer, and tried to catch his breath. Get a hold of yourself you old fool! This ain’t your time to die! This year is yours! This is your time to live damn it!

After about ten minutes of trying to slow his breathing down, he finally started to feel better. You idiot. You’re fine. He stood up and began to walk down the street, thinking about all the things that he was going to do now that he was retired. His bucket list was short, but honest. It consisted of only three things;

  1. Get in shape
  2. Get laid
  3. Travel

Harrison hated Santa Barbara, and would only go there to visit his Wendy once a year, usually just for a week, sometimes two. The rest of each year he lived in a small town in northern Idaho and kept mostly to himself, choosing to hole up in his small cabin, or fish with his dog Luther. He was a man of routine, and did the same things, the same way, every day. Changing this routine was probably the most difficult thing for Harrison to overcome in making an attempt at a new lifestyle. After all, he hadn’t changed anything about the way he had lived for the last 35 years.

He rounded another corner and saw the entrance to the apartment complex that his daughter lived in. Just another hundred yards, and I’ve made it. A smile began to stretch across Harrison’s face, and he realized that he felt happier than he had in years. The loud cars speeding down the road beside him, something that always annoyed him, seemed almost invisible. He began to laugh at himself, feeling like an idiot for having truly thought that he was having a heart attack. I’m a machine, he thought. I’m invincible.

He came to the edge of the sidewalk, and began to make his way across the last cross street on his three mile loop, when suddenly from behind him came the sound of shrieking tires. He twisted around just in time to see a truck rushing towards him, smoke billowing out from under the tires. He jumped to his left trying to avoid being hit, but was too late. The truck’s right side collided with his hip, pulled his legs under the front tire, and spat him out under the rear bumper, his limp body rolling to a stop in the middle of the road.

Harrison, now on his back with his eyes toward the sky, began to laugh, as a small crowd gathered around him.

“Did anyone get the license plate?!”

“Call 911!” someone yelled.

Harrison knew it was of no use. His time had come. As blood began to spill out of his mouth, the truck sped off, leaving Harrison on the ground, dying in a pool of his own blood, and as he reached his hand out into the sky, his middle finger raised, and a giant grin on his face, he thought to himself… Shit, I fucking love California.

The End


© Copyright 2020 E.C Moreland. All rights reserved.

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