Friday, January 13, 2012


Time was once when Ellie felt perfectly happy to seen in the buff amongst good friends.  Communal changing rooms, skinny-dipping, hell, even the odd shared shower didn't faze her.  This here is the very woman who once spent several glorious weeks tanning it up on the nudist beaches of San Tropez.

However, having since accumulated several children, one badly botched tit-lift, and a lumpy duffel-bag where her belly used to lie, these days she much preferred to own a little privacy whilst disrobing.

Yes, of course she is all too aware of her flabby flesh, which is the obvious reason why she coughed up the certainly not insubstantial subscription to join with a sodding gym in the first place.  How demoralising and cruel to be expected to undress before this plethora of bronzed, vitally young and svelte, anorexic/bulimic stick-insects. 

Ellie continues to curse as she negotiates her sizable knickers off, ever straining to hold her towel together, whilst simultaneously darting the evil glare to anyone who may even be thinking to look her way.  

It's all more than just a tad demeaning, especially when the mutinous towel goes and hits the friggin’ deck.

Thank God for the Prozac she thinks, scraping up the wretched rag, and re-winding it.

Finally, with jogging pants successfully donned, and hair scrunched back into her eldest daughter's elastic hair band, she steels herself ready to enter the ladies-only section of the gym.

Only to meet with further mortification.  

The so-called “ladies only” section appears thickly populated with male fitness instructors, all there to helpfully assist the aforementioned Barbies to further stretch and tone their oh-so-supple torso’s.

What joy.  Here she is in the middle of the set of Baywatch, and guess who the guest beached whale is?

Taking to the treadmill, she thumps around for a bit, belatedly realising what a sound investment a sports bra might be.

Red-faced and breathless, she tunes her earphones into The Jerry Springer Show, and tries to focus on the upset young man on screen who has just discovered his fiancé is not actually technically "one hundred per cent" female, after all, when she becomes vaguely aware of someone trying to attract her attention.  Looking over, she recognises an old acquaintance from her pre-housefrau days.

Ellie hits the stop button and unplugs herself, sucking in her gut as she tries to look pleased.

“Ellie, my goodness, I don’t believe it - God, how long’s it been?”  Her eyes do a quick stock-take, “You haven’t changed a bit!”

Slanderous bitch. Ellie opens her mouth to protest, but is cut short.

“So how have you been?  It’s been a whole ’nother life-time, hasn’t it?”

“And some,”  Ellie shrugs, “Where to start, eh?  You’re looking well, though - good to see you, Melissa!” 

“And you.”

Smiles all round.


“Yes,”  Smile still fixed, “Must press on, eh?  See you in the steam room, perhaps?”

Highly definitely unlikely.  Nodding, “Sure, later maybe.”

Watching her iron bum effortlessly bound up the stairs, Ellie reflects upon the various injustices in life, and at how damn fine the skinny cow still manages to look. Resolving to add an extra vigour to her work out today, tomorrow, and to every other single day of her entire life, she replugs herself into Jerry Springer.

Ten minutes later, she’s ready for either a shower or an ambulance.  

Later, dripping her way over to the private, if rather too cool sanctuary of a lockable toilet cubicle, she modestly towels off and dresses, allowing herself the virtuous and noble smugness that only a soon to be ex-fattie-thunder-thighs can feel.

Joining the hairdryer brigade at the mirrors, she’s surprisingly at peace with the world.  Back on the street, and still enjoying the unexpected and novel surge of endorphin, she is even okay about bumping into Melissa again at the car park - whom she finds is now transformed from merely looking good into now looking simply and utterly stunning.  

Nope, Ellie finds she bears her no grudge whatsoever, hardly.  

In her current state of well-being, she doesn’t even resent Melissa’s Mercedes-Benz, greeting her with an almost genuine smile.

“Hey there, again!”

“Oh, hi!”

Fumbling for her keys, “So where are you living now, are you still at “The Oaks”?”
“God no!  That was years ago - we’re still in Wimbledon though, Priory Avenue.”

That of the mansions and acres of lawn.  Ellie should have guessed.  She dimly recalls the husband is in something to do with venture capital - or assett stripping by any other name.

“How about you, you still have that flat above Allied Carpets?”

“No, no, I sold that after I married, we’ve a house in Eversham Road now.”

“That’s amazing, we’re practically neighbours - I can’t believe we haven’t met up sooner. Look,”  She fumbles in her bag to produce a pen, “What’s your phone number?  We must do lunch one day, what do you think?”

Ellie reels it off, semi-flattered, but doubting she’ll call. It’s a nice gesture.  They say their goodbyes, and drive off.  Barring any other chance meeting, it’s the last Ellie expects to hear from her.

Hindsight is a canny thing, but pretty darn useless when you come down to it.  Neither Ellie nor Melissa have any idea of the life-altering encounter they’ve just had.

(More to come, tomorrow.)


#1Nana said...

Oh how I relate to this one! Can't wait to read what happens next.

Marty said...

Shrinky, this is an outstanding start to a story, I am truly looking forward to reading more!

Tabor said...

You are such a good writer. Hook is set!!

chewy said...

Shrinky! (squinty eyed, pursed lips) Seems you have a whole new story brewing in that wonderful mind of yours. A fun frolic this time? or will you be throwing in a twist? I'll definitely be following.- Chewy

mythopolis said...

OK. This has it all. It is funny. It is painful. And, it is painfully funny. I read it like I was watching a movie open. It reads comically, but has so many cultural commentaries built into it. A woman's image of herself plays out in wonderful funny, and painful ways. I can picture the whole psychodrama! Marvelous! Shrinky, take this on out. I am dying for the next episode already!

Ms. A said...

I can totally relate to Ellie... unfortunately. However, I would never be caught in a gym, much less undressed.

I'll be back for my next fix!

Leslie: said...

ACK! You b***h!!! Leave me hanging like that? I better tune in tomorrow! lol

Li said...

Ugh. I quit the gym years ago and work out in the privacy of my own home :-)) (Although the personal trainers weren't really much to look at anyway.) Will be interesting to see what follows.

Bijoux said...

The only gym I ever joined was populated by senior citizens (then again, I went at 9 am, when most folks are at work!).

Nothing like doing an elliptical machine next to a 70 yr old to make you feel young and spry!

Looking forward to part two!

Joanna Jenkins said...

More, more, more please.
xo jj

Fenstar de Luxe said...

Oh I can relate to Ellie and I haven't even had kids :(
Bring on the next installment.

Shrinky said...

Hi #1 Nana, actually I drew from a bit of personal experience in writing this - I joined a smart London gym when I was at my heaviest, and felt sooooo self-conscious there - ugh!

Shrinky said...

Hey there Marty, great to hear from you again! Thanks for the positive encouragement, it means a lot (grin).

Shrinky said...

Aw Tabor, you sure know how to tickle a girlie pink (grinning wide)!

Shrinky said...

Hi Chewy-Pie, I have a couple of ideas of where I want to go with this - there is def a surprise up ahead, laced with what I hope to be some deliciously dark humour.. time will tell (x).

Shrinky said...

Dan, every time I feel like running away from this plot, I am going to come back in and re-read this comment, you have no idea how much this has motivasted me to keep on. Thank you so much for the wonderful support, it truly lifts me up and encourages me to forge ahead. I so value your visits!

Shrinky said...

Ms A, yeah my gym days are well behind me too, I am very glad to say! Life's too short, eh?

Shrinky said...

Hahaha, Leslie, you slay me!

Shrinky said...

Hi li, ha, I applaude you, personally speaking, the only exercise I take these days is (gently) walking the dog.

Shrinky said...

Bijoux, I wanna' join that gym!!

Shrinky said...

Aw JJ, cheers for that (grin)!

Shrinky said...

Hi there The Fenstar (love that name!), sadly, I reckon most of us gals can feel a little of Ellie's pain, seems to come with being female, eh?

Tabor said...

In answer to your question...I do put my work up for sale here:
and I have sold a little, but not enough to keep my grandchildren in shoes. ;-)

mythopolis said...

Here's my take on it, Shrink...

You should run this story out to anywhere from 13 to 17 episodes. My thinking is that it would then be set to be morphed into a television series. Most such series tend to run 13-17 episodes or so in a viewing season. So crack your knuckles and get back to the keyboard!! : )

MarkD60 said...

Do you have any novels published?

Akelamalu said...

Are you writing about me???? ;)

Looking forward to the next episode.

Barbara Shallue said...

You've been busy!!! It's wonderful!

Shrinky said...

Oh Tabor, are you kidding me? That's so disheartening, it's a crime! Well, at least you must reap the rewards of capturing some absolutely stunning family portraits for you to pass down for posterity.

Shrinky said...

Haha, oh Dan I WISH - wouldn't that be heaven on a stick, eh? Still, dreams cost nothing, and are often reward enough in their own right, eh? It's nice to try on a new life in our own head, and it's far more exciting than the average day-to-day comings and goings of the real one!

Shrinky said...

You flatter me, Mark. I'm great at starting stuff, but not so hot with the finishing of it - you wouldn't believe how many "works-in-progress" I have stuffed away!

Shrinky said...

Ha, priceless, Ake! Actually, it's a lot about ME (at three stones heavier)..

Shrinky said...

Well, thank you for that, Barbara, you've just turned my morning all the sweeter now (grin)!

Suldog said...

Goodness! I haven't been here for three or four days and you've gone and written a novel or something!

And a damned good first chapter it is, if that's what it is. In any case, I had a couple of good laughs, and I'm now intrigued to find out how their lives will be changed. I care about her, which is the big trick and you've pulled it off.

You really are a fun writer, Shrinky. I always enjoy my visits here. Well, off to read the second bit!

Jinksy said...

Thanks for the entertainment this afternoon. ♥