Number 8

I’m telling you, I’m an organized guy. I work in a lab during the week and I keep things humming along on time. I keep a few stopwatches going constantly.

Sundays, though, Sundays I teach Zumba. Sundays I put on my wife-beater and sweats and I teach a bunch of moms Zumba. It’s a lot like the lab, you know? I’ve gotta have a plan. I choose the music, I decide the moves. I like it, you know?

There’s a few that come every week, like I’m the one hope of escape from their boring lives. As if I’m their only way out. I like the regulars. The girl with the big boobs who always stands right up front – I like to make her shake em. I think about those tits all week and I think about new ways to make em bounce. I devise new moves for her while I wait on my stopwatches in the lab, yeah, I do.

My favorite Zumba girl is the one with no boobs and the skeleton eyes. She’s usually in the second row, over to the side, a little smile on her face the only clue. She always wears a running tank with an 8 on the back. Nobody even suspects the truth about us. She’s sure not giving anything away with those sad eyes of hers.

Zumba is hard as shit. Go ahead, laugh your ass off, I’ll wait. By the end of class, I’m usually wasted. All that fucking jumping around, hip grinding, jazz hands, all of it, it’s too much. My fine motor skills get shot. By the end of class, I can barely operate the buttons to shut off the music. I take my time while the girls wipe the sweat off their pretty faces.

“Hey, Danny, that was awesome,” the short brunette with nice boobs comes up to me.

“Thanks, girl,” I touch her shoulder blade so quick she doesn’t notice.

“I like the new moves,” laughs the blondie with the long legs.

“Yeah, you do,” I agree, eyeing her up and down.

Don’t laugh at me – this is how I remember them. I’m a scientist, remember? Everybody gets broken down. Names are too much trouble.

Skeleton girl stands off to the side, real cool, that little smile on her face. She never talks to anybody but me. I look in her direction and she gives me this sad little nod so I know it’s time.

“Bye, Mr. Danny!” the cute Asian girls say in unison and they hug me. Yes, they do. Mmm, I love their sweaty little bodies.

“See you next weekend, girls,” I say and before I get the words out of my mouth I see skeleton girl slipping out the door. I wait a minute so nobody sees me leave with her and then I head for the door.

“Bye, ladies! Have a hot week,” I call as I leave. May as well give the slowpoke fatties a thrill.

I jog down the steps to the family locker rooms with the private showers. I make a beeline for shower number 8. Our place. Number 8, which I’ve been envisioning all week, number 8 that I printed out real big and hung above my desk in the lab to remind myself, number 8, like a set of dark, sad skeleton eyes.

When I get there, the door is standing open, the number 8 hidden inside where I can’t see it. What the fuck? Skeleton girl is nowhere to be found. We had plans. I back out of the room and suddenly the kids’ screams are coming from fucking everywhere. I feel their hot, grimy little bodies crowding me.

“Hey, dude, are you using this room?” some dad with a dripping kid in tow asks me.

“Yes,” I answer. I walk back in to number 8, slam the door, lock it behind me, and jerk off into the sink while I think about wringing skeleton girl’s neck next week. Afterwards, I rinse off in the shower and then I leave, calm as can be.

I stop for breakfast and while I eat, I consider next week’s moves, minus the neck wringing. I promise, you don’t have to worry. I’ve got zero homicidal intent. I’m just a scientist-slash-Zumba-teacher. Through the clarity of retrospect, the obvious conclusion surfaced: Things don’t always turn out as planned.

29 thoughts on “Number 8

  1. brilliant take on the prompt. Great story and your character is so annoyingly up himself it was nice to see him get ‘jerked off’ (so to speak) at the end! Loved it! 🙂

  2. Haha! You don’t think the web filters at work think the term “jerked off” is porn?

    Good piece, though. I really liked it!

    1. I can’t even guess what criteria the internet uses to judge porn! I’ve just been totally shocked about that all day. I’m glad you liked it! Sorry it wasn’t actually all that dirty after all. 😉

  3. Fabulous story, Christi! Only one little editor comment – you’re not supposed to add anything to the end of the sentence. Otherwise, this piece is brilliant! Love the narrator’s voice. 🙂

    1. Thanks, Suzanne! I have had some doubts about this one, so I really appreciate the compliment. As for the edit, I’ll go change it, but why can we add to the beginning of the sentence but not the end?

      1. If it’s the last line, your piece has to end with the line; if it’s the first line, your piece has to begin with the line. So it’s acceptable to add to the front of a last line or the end of a first line, but not the other way around. With anywhere lines, it’s acceptable to add to either side. Does that make sense?

  4. A scientist/zumba teacher – that’s a unique premise. I giggled a little when he got stood up and was left to his own devices. (Maybe ‘stood up’ isn’t the best way to word it? 🙂 )

  5. Your scientist / zumba teacher has a convincing racing voice. Well told. I’m surprised that he was able to perform in stall number 8 after all that physical exercise! Cheerio, Jane

  6. This is quite interesting. He claims not using their names to be a reflection of his ‘scientific nature’, yet it’s more like a way to turn the girls into commodities he can use. Hopefully skeleton girl doesn’t show next week; her sad eyes touched me. Talk about that guy being a total creeper and jerk!

    1. I agree, Renada, he is such a jerk! I had in mind to leave you wondering whether skeleton girl is even real. Thanks for the thoughtful comment!

  7. Really interesting, strange story. I’m a fan of the writing style here, almost like an old school detective novel – no nonsense, short gritty and to the point. Very cool.

  8. Each week you bring us a new, distinct and unique character. I love their distinct grittiness. You nail the voice every single time!

  9. This is amazing.

    Can you tell me where I find these prompts? I’m guessing it’s part of the Speakeasy, which is part of Yeah Write?

    There’ so many components to Yeah Write I honestly get confused.

    This is just such a departure from who you are. Writing from a different gender’s perspective is uniquely challenging. Also, being brave enough to write such a despicable character – I give you a lot of props, girl!

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