Good Evening Darn Swimming Pool,

Be damn sure about this, after my doctor, you will be the next entity to be sued. She out of her well run practice and you never to sit foot again in a public gym. There I was, just slightly out of breath coming down the shopping centre’s escalator and taking my doctor at heart when she said that now was the time to start going to gym.

As a law, church, state, gender abiding citizen, I acknowledge profound wisdom when directed at me and so I immediately went off to buy me state of the art clothing to be in smashing style when going to gym. Luckily I still carried three credit cards from the previous economic binge times and I had to apply all of them rather seriously to bring a late shy smile to the sales lady’s face.

This way or that way, I was quite excited when I first strolled into the madhouse. Sorry, I mean the gym. I am not sure whether I looked like Bon Jovi or Meatloaf, perhaps more Bradd Pitt-Joly, when I entered that gym door, but I sure got some welcome attention. I tried to do a few high fives with some very pretty girls and a massively muscled man, but he was the only one that really took my joy on. Although he most likely had been looking similarly to my very own bodily state three weeks ago or so, he had done a good job in the meantime and now was in real good shape. This he wanted to show off as he high fived me to the floor. Boy, did I hit that floor with a joy! To think that I too would be looking like that in three weeks’ time and that one of those cool gymnastic girls would then also come over to touch my muscles with similar awe.

I got up with eagerness, looking at his muscles, looking at my muscles and realizing that it was actually not that bad looking. In less than three weeks, sure as hell, I would conquer the gym and then Manhattan. I then took on the muscle machines, but succeeded within eight minutes and a few seconds to get so entangled that they urgently called various people over the intercom to come to my rescue. I must have made a huge impression on those people because one of them even told me he was called Doctor. I did ask him whether that was in Physics of Philosophy but he looked at me rather strangely before starting to hurt me with some bloody sharp darts.

This is what one calls maturity. Emotional intelligence. Wisdom to realize when to change course. I realized that I was never supposed to be a ballooned man. No sir, rather like Ryk Neethling. That was more me. A bloody streamlined body. The gliding of lean muscles over my godly structure. Violins to sing my praise. No savage drums or reggae music. No, me, I, Ryk Neethling and Leonardo de Vinci have it in common. Subtle taste. Not the broad lines of mediocre existence. Rather those fine lines dipping into sublimity.

I thus decided rather to become a swimmer. There was no reason to change my gym gear, it was tight fitting enough, but I did get myself designer’s goggles and the most beautiful fluorescent yellow swimming cap.

Mother Theresa, I came down those stairs from the gentleman’s changing rooms to the swimming pool like Greta Garbo daring the angels to better her version of human movement. My mood fluctuated between Greta and Clark Gable, but it was the same human desire. Or predicament. We all were profoundly in awe with me.

I took to the water. Like a fish. Like a beenbek or a sole. To my left were bloody school girls cleaving through the swimming pool like they had propellers and not lungs and mere feet. I took them on. Boy, I took them on. I was the man. The athlete. The Olympic medalist in the making. I could almost hear Ryk clapping for me.

There was though some misunderstanding. I thought that it was all about the first twenty five meters. The winner to be medaled. His praise to be sung. The speaker system of the gym to draw attention to the speed of light that had been broken by a new local hero.

Those girls. They were still too young to know how to react to life. They just continued swimming. Fifty fcn meters and repeating it in nauseating fashion.

I really was flabbergasted. Ryk Neethling would have been too. Of that at least I was sure.

I took them on again. Those primary school bitches. Now it was war. Now it was Dunkirk, the Alamo, George Bush gunning for oil.

I took off. My dear sympathetic friend, just imagine this. The whirling of my arms like blades cutting sharks to sushi, a Leonardo de Capri determined to save the Titanic and the world by himself.

I swam. Boy, I swam. And then somehow I lost my sense of direction. I still do not know what exactly happened, but it all went horribly astray. You have those black lines at the bottom of the pool showing you the way forward to the other side. All one really had to do was to follow that black line and get to the other side in front of the babies, before you black out in loss of consciousness. How difficult could that be?

I gave it a good go.

This was what happened next. Unclear, but a version of what happened got to the local newspaper the next week. There was even a photograph of me, but you could not clearly identify me because of all the water and unnecessary splashing.

I hit the rope between the lines in the swimming pool on a ninety percent angle. 90%. Head on. How I made that fateful turn, I really do not know.

All I really can remember was that I hit the black plastic rope so hard that my teeth got stuck in the material. A split second before that my finger nail got blooded when I hit that black rope with blazing speed. The rope protecting the line and right of way for swimmers did not taste like licorice. It tasted like horrible plastic and it did not want to let me go.

I had to struggle fiercely with it. Mean time the young angels were going toe and froe and no one came to my rescue.

I eventually succeeded to free myself from the black rope. When I looked up a proud mother over watching her swimming little angel was laughing. Not in appreciation of her little turbo boat throttling along, but at poor bloody me. I was shaking like a leaf in stupor.

I gave her a last chance to get back to her human side. I surrendered and started to turn belly up like a drowning potbellied fish.

She should have jumped into the pool like a true human being to save me from further embarrassment and perhaps even from tragic drowning.

She did not.

She just continued to look at me and laughed at me.

She did not see that both my gums and my thumb’s nail were bleeding.

She just saw a spectacle whilst her darling was cleaving the ocean of her own dreams.

I got out of that pool. I got out of that gym. I got out of the parking area and I got myself sort of safely home.

Then I took a hammer. I hit my other thumb with the hammer. I was trying to establish whether the pain of the hammer was similar to the pain of me hitting the black rope in the swimming pool.

It wasn’t. The hitting of my thumb on the black plastic rope on that ninety percent angle in the swimming pool was much more painful.

Especially when I saw that sweet mother laughing her head off looking at me.

So, what can I say? I just continued to hit my other fingers with the hammer too.

To see to what levels pain could go.

Mark Stutterford.