4. THIS IS ridiculous
5. Two more sets of push-ups and then it’s on to the squats
6. But seriously why is this even happening? How the hell can food keep going in when nothing comes out?
7. It’s not like you’ve skimped out on your workouts or eaten anything different in the past week, the milk and Honey Bunches of Oats from your CVS are the same as the ones from Value King, just more expensive and with a longer receipt
8. But then again, there is the possibility that the new girl Jeannie that you just hired at your CVS might have something to do with the problem
9. Man she’s beautiful
10. Maybe the constipation is a performance-anxiety-type thing that’s manifesting in your head because of her?
11. Because ever since you trained her last week and had that nice little banter with her about JoJo’s on Toonami, you haven’t been able to poop
12. So maybe you’re horribly afraid of saying something stupid the next time you work with her, and the constipation is an anxiety/stress thing related to that?
13. Either way it’s good there’s not much pain aside from the gassy bloating, but still the simple math of input vs. output is worrying
14. Wait is this day five or day six?
15. Hard to tell when every single day is the same as the one before it, but that’s okay because this is exactly how you’ve always wanted to live your life, and now that you’ve finally got your own apartment, you don’t have to worry about Mom and Dad and Kira constantly screaming at you about how unhealthy it is to spend your whole life outside of work in your room like a crazy person, preparing for some ridiculous sci-fi apocalypse that will never happen in a million years according to them, but how do they know what’s going to happen ten or twenty years from—oh shit
16. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 oh Christ that was tough
17. Ten or twenty years from now? How do they know that some war with China or Iran won’t break out and radiation won’t scorch the earth and render all the crops dead, thereby forcing society to descend into chaos and conflict? And why are you so wrong for simply preparing your mind and body for that outcome?
18. Hope for the best and prepare for the worst, isn’t that what Dad always said?
19. So what’s so terrible about doing that?
21. You won’t say anything else, you’ll just wait
22. And then ten years from now, when society has disintegrated and radiation has scorched the earth and your mom and dad and sister come crawling up to the metal door of your lead-lined concrete bunker and start begging you to open up, you’ll just observe them via the closed circuit camera feed and shake your head in disappointment
23. Because by then you won’t even be mad at them anymore, you’ll just feel sorry for them and for how they let their certainty and righteousness blind them to the waiting disaster that had been staring them in the face the whole time
24. And then after a while you’ll turn on the intercom and tell them that they can’t come in because it would be a waste of the precious resources that you can’t afford to just give away to every single person who crawls up to your doorstep because that would be putting both your and Jeannie’s lives in danger, because by then Jeannie will have fallen in love with you thanks to your world-class intelligence and your brilliant foresight of world affairs and your sick ripped body that she can’t keep her hands off of due to the fact that by then she’ll be able to see all six of your abs as if they’re cut out of diamond instead of just that blobby outline of the one ab that’s only visible when you suck in your stomach really hard like you have to now
25. But then, even after you tell your family that they can’t come in, they still won’t listen to you (as usual), so you’ll get a chair and sit down on your side of the door and in a calm voice free of anger and resentment you’ll speak into the intercom microphone and explain the thought process behind your decision to bar them from the bunker, the main reason being the concept of triage, which is the practice of ranking victims of a battle in order of their need for treatment, and you will tell them that this is relevant because according to the principles of triage, you cannot grant them access to the bunker because they are too close to death and to give them any of your precious resources would be the same as throwing said resources into a radiation pit, so unfortunately, you’ll tell them, you cannot open the door, but you wish them the best of luck in their future endeavors
26. And holy shit, how amazing would it feel to finally say all that stuff you’ve wanted to say for so many—
27. Oh Jesus that gas
28. Oh Christ
29. Why does nothing ever come out, not even when you pull your butt apart with both hands? Not a goddamn peep, this is ridiculous
30. Okay last set
31. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 all right whatever that’s enough
32. So squats now
Steve Gergley is a writer and runner based in Warwick, New York. His fiction has appeared or is forthcoming in A-Minor, After the Pause, Barren Magazine, Maudlin House, Pithead Chapel, and others. In addition to writing fiction, he has composed and recorded five albums of original music.