The following is based on a true story:
Daniel didn't know what he was doing. To the untrained eye, all he was doing was pulling a pair of shorts out of the closet. That was all he was doing. But the simple event of taking a pair of shorts out of the closet set into motion a series of events what would, without a doubt, kill him.
Daniel's brain thought to itself, as he pulled the shorts off the shelf said
" These are my running shorts" it chortled "Why did I just chortle? And why are running shorts funny? I run! I mean I did go to the gym this year. Three times!"
Three times. It was sad. Daniel and Savannah never got to ten times. Never even got to five. Never got to get a treat. Never even made it a whole week. These thoughts also broke into Daniel's head. He didn't mind going to the gym. He liked it. In fact he felt pretty good about it. And as far back as Daniel could think, he never minded running. He hated the beep test in high school, but at this moment in time he was sure that he hated the voice of the man on the tape, far more than he actually hated the act of running.
" Why don't I run?" thought Daniel's thoughts. "You can run everywhere. People run on my road all the time. I have more right to run there than they do. It'll be fun"
So Daniel threw on the shorts, a t-shirt, and pulled his one pair of running shoes out of the pile of shoes at the end of his bed.
"There" thought Daniel. "All ready"
He sprinted out the front door, toward the road. Eagerness was setting in. This was fun, running was fun, is all his brain could think. Easy-peezy-lemon squeezy, was an actual phrase that his mind uttered to itself.
Unfortunately Daniel skipped a crucial step in the running process. One that becomes ever more important after not running for a good four months. Daniel forgot to stretch. Daniel on the other hand was an idiot. Not a complete one. He did remember that stretching was important while on the road. Of course Daniel is an extremely self-conscious idiot. He didn't want the neighbours a good half mile away to see him stretching in the middle of the road. he had dignity.
Daniel's dignity was the least of his worries. Because the day was a sweltering 28 degrees, and the humidity far beyond anything a normal human being could withstand, Daniel was having a hard time running. He had only gone about a quarter of the the distance he had set out to do, and he was, as per expected, gasping for breath like a trout fresh out of water. Now Daniel, as we said, is an idiot. He has dignity. Dignified runners didn't run out of breath so soon. Daniel was a dignified runner. So instead of simply letting himself catch his breath he held it.
"This" Thought Daniel's brain "Is the way to do it."
Now Daniel is not a doctor, but even a sensible person should be able to tell you this is a bad idea. This does not give you more energy. This makes you feel like you are about to throw up. What you should do is slow down. Walk a while. Catch your breath, and ease back into a light jog. Now as Daniel was sure that the neighbours a mile a way were watching him intently, through some sort of telescope, and not doubt judging him, he couldn't do that. He kept running. Not because he was driven, but because he was very very self-conscious.
"Just.....( GASP)... to those trees" Thought Daniel. " The won't seen me past those trees"
In his mind the trees were not that far away, an athlete could have made it them. Daniel is not an athlete. He is not an athlete in any sense of the word. But Daniel has that most athletes do not have is a crippling sense of self-doubt, and low self-esteem. He is also paranoid that the entire world is out to get him. Daniel made is past the trees.
Free from the glaring eyes of the neighbours a half mile away, Daniel Nearly collapsed. He was was flushed, he could feel it. He was dying he was sure of it. This is what death felt like His legs were rubber. Not in that funny way, like when he waved his arms around, and pronounces rubber "Wubba". This was a corpse like rubber. As I said, Daniel is no doctor, so he wondered is rigor-mortis, could actually set in before the person was death, because to Daniel that is what it felt like. But as I said before, Daniel is an idiot. Did he turn around, did ne head for home. Did he try and seek medical attention because his heart was sure to explode. No, Daniel had dignity. He was going to go to the spot he said he would. He was going to make it, even if, as he expected, it killed him.
" Jesus... God.. Mother- F**ker... LORD have MERCY!" Were the only words Daniels oxygen deprived brain could muster.
Now, in a car the place Daniel was headed to was not that far. It was the end of his dad's field. It is not a big field. But even a doctor would advise you that is you are on the brick of cardiac arrest, you should not walk it. Daniel did. He made it to the end of the field, turned around expecting to see his house, a mere spot in the distance. He didn't he could see his driveway relatively clearly. He could also see a car coming.
Daniel has dignity. He is sure of it. If nothing he has is dignity. He put his hand to his face. It was sweaty and hot, and flushed. He pushed his mop of humidity magnified curls out of his face, and tried to regain a sense of calm. He was just on a leisurely stroll he said. That is what the person in the car will think. But his extreme paranoia got to him.
"They will this I am this winded and gross after being on just a leisurely stroll" He thought "They will think that I am this out of shape, that simply walking can make me look like this"
So Daniel decided to start running again. He was not coordinated, because of his corpse legs, and he was so tired he could barely lift them. But he was going to run until the car passed him and he then he could walk again. He could do it. He could run until this car passed him, and was no longer able to glare at him through their mirrors. He could do that.
The only this was that this car was going incredibly slow. It was going the speed of a a half dead deer dragging itself off the road after being hit. Which Daniel was sure to imitate if the car didn’t speed the fuck up. But it didn’t. And in Daniel’s mind it was the least of his worries. As he was running, for the sake of the car, he had passed the sufficient ground cover ie) trees. That blocked the neighbours view of him. Even if the car passed him, he still had what seemed like miles left to go before he was able to stop running.
By the grace of god himself, the car driver must have had a leg cramp stomped on the gas, because the car passed him. It passed him just before he was in plain sight of the neighbours house. Although this was a small blessing for Daniel. He couldn’t stop. Paranoia is a powerful tool. He was sure that even if the neighbours didn’t see him stop running and start walking, they would for sure have seen him run past, and then see him walk past they would surely think him a giant loser. This he couldn’t take. He had to get past a small shrub which he was sure was large enough to hide him if he was to cross the road.
Now at this point Daniel is sure that he will not make it home. He is sure that that he will die, and his only wish will be for a small glass of water. Now, I am not sure if Daniel is some sort of savant, of if the mind truly is more powerful than expected, but with his sham of a body Daniel made it past the shrub. He made it.
“ LORD! MERCY! ME!” were the only words left in Daniel’s vocabulary. As he made his gut wrenching halt from full on zombie like run to dead walk. Thankfully his drive way was only a ways away. He was sure to make it. No Universe not matter how ironic it was, would have him die before he was able to make it at least to his yard, where he was sure to be found, at least by the next time his father had to cut the grass.
Miracles happen everyday. A miracle is the only way to explain how Daniel made it home. He trudged across is lawn, Tear welling in his eyes, whether they were tears of joy because he made it home, or because sweat had fallen into his eyes, making them water, he couldn’t say.
He lifted his legs up the steps to his front door, because they wouldn’t do it themselves. As he entered he considered taking the entire jug of water off the cooler, and pouring it over himself. But he was fairly sure he would have to clean it up, and he didn’t have the strength. And besides, Daniel had dignity.
He must have drank 24 glasses of water before his thirst was quenched. Afterwards, he could just lay on he bed. His vocabulary simple “MERCY” at this point. For the next half hour, this is what he did. When he could summon the strength he was able to sit and stretch his dead legs a bit to ensure that perhaps tomorrow he would be able to walk. He then was able to crawl to the bathroom, and into the shower which he left on cold, and was able to sit there and cry.
Afterwards, whether it was because the shower was magic, or because he had lost his short term memory due to lack of oxygen, Daniel was sure that it hadn’t been that bad. It was. Maybe it wasn’t the worst thing, but it was definitely a terrible experience. And a good story.
Now as promised, the events of pulling the shorts off the shelf set into motion events that would surly kill him. This is true, because this story occurred yesterday, and today Daniel saw the shorts again.
Running is the event that will kill Daniel. He is sure of it. Yet he did it again.
Although one must note he is not the sanest person. He did just write the whole thing in third person.