Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Oops (01/14/10)
TITLE: Elliptically Yours
By Marlene Bonney
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As time went by, as relationships frequently do, our separate interests interrupted our tête-à-têtes. We tried to accommodate each other’s preferences, but as our faults began to reveal themselves we similarly grew impatient with each of them.
“Do you HAVE to creep up on me like that? It gives me the willies!”
“You forgot the milk AGAIN? Now what am I supposed to drink—your coffee?”
We developed restraints, which turned into resentments. Ultimately, we tolerated each other, rarely speaking. I was driven to follow my own pursuits while she was content to lounge around the house. We continued our puzzling relationship because we had become comfortable with things the way they were, and we both disliked being alone.
One particular incident, though, broke the indifference and bonded us for life . . .
It was early spring, when flowers and trees were budding and birds frolicking around our outdoor feeders. One of her favorite pastimes was bird watching, and, since this eventually bored me, I left her admiring gazes to my morning workout in the next room. There sat my newest pride and joy: a brand new elliptical treadmill. All the newest bells and whistles were installed on this Beauty, and I was anxious to try it out. I mounted the platform and spent a few moments setting the controls and pushed the “Start” button. I walked for a few minutes at a sedate pace when I realized I had an audience. She stood in the doorway, disapproval written all over her body.
“Aw, don’t be mad. I’ll only be on this once a day,” trying without success to placate her.
“Humph!” her departing back shaped like an archer’s bow.
“Now don’t you be sticking your nose up in the air at me,” my words muttering at her indignant exit.
Meanwhile, I set the strolling pace a little faster to increase my heart rate. What happened during the next two or three minutes became a comedy of errors worthy of the Guinness Book of World Records.
My workout “room” was actually a storage closet and there was little space to move around the fitness machine. One solitary window five feet up on the wall was next to me. A birdfeeder graced a tree branch outdoors that was gently brushing against the window, and I was absentmindedly aware of the bird chatter as I briskly walked.
Suddenly, I gasped as something flew from INSIDE the room up into the fake windowsill in a blur of fur and whiskers. “BAM!,” as she bounced off the wall onto the treadmill control bar, whopping a button into a loud beep and popping her off and into the air. Landing in back of me on the treadmill with legs flailing every which-way, she tried to regain her footing. Now, in the process of her initial fall, the machine’s pace control knob had been knocked into its highest setting, causing me to literally run for my life to keep from being ejected off the platform, so that I was unable to help her. After her landing at my rear, she bounced off and against the back wall—approximately twelve inches from the treadmill base—which smacked her back onto the speeding platform, fur, screeches and flying legs in the air while I frantically tried to catch up to the head of the belt to press the “STOP” button. It didn’t help that I as laughing at our predicament so hard that I was doubled over. Failing at that, I quickly invented a side dismount that would have scored a ten at the last Olympic gymnastics event, laughing uncontrollably as I watched the poor creature flailing back into the air, hitting the back wall again and flinging back unto the runaway belt. Somehow I managed to unplug the machine, but not before she went into a third sequential somersault exercise. By this time, I was rolling on the floor, laughing so hard I got the worst case of hiccups I have ever experienced, while she crept up on my jiggling tummy for comfort.
“Oopsie-daisy,” I hiccupped helplessly.
Calico languidly licked her front paws, her haughty fascinating blue eyes piercing mine.
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