Grizzly Guy, Hunky Firemen, Pregnant Swimmer: Oh My!

“What’s up with That Guy?” Penelope nods toward the wiry grimacing little man on the torture machine. He’s making strange grunting guy noises with a face that wrinkles up in agony. His intense powder blue eyes watering at the sides. His strange little body is clad in giant workman boots, blue jeans, big belt and black slinky top over a slight pot belly. For a moment, Penelope was worried that the black slinky top was a body suit for the pool.

Shit. What if Grunting Creepy Man was a swimmer? What if she had to share a lane with him?
She wouldn’t. She’d run back up to the treadmills and walk with DL and watch So You Think You Can Dance rather than share a lane with him.
DL gives him one of her Sicilian Glance Overs. “It’s a Guy Thing.”

He grunts on the machine right next to the one that Penelope wants to do next. But she can’t. His Creepiness exudes into the air with Stay Away from me Vibes.

DL starts on another machine and Penelope follows her, still eyeing him. DL glances over at him again, then announces, “It’s like he’s a Serial Killer.”

Penelope bursts out laughing. DL joins in.
It is so true! He is a Serial Killer! Penelope can’t stop laughing. Why is it so funny? It’s just such an apt description.
Poets. They get it right so much of the time, don’t they?
DL ambles over to the treadmills and Penelope follows her, but she can’t stop laughing as they start their machines and turn on the TVs. Ted Bundy rises from the dead at the Oakland Y.
He is dead, isn’t he?

“I gotta hit the pool before it gets too late,” Penelope says to DL. DL nods. “Don’t let Ted Bundy get to close to you,” Penelope whispers, still giggling.
“Don’t worry about me. I can handle him,” DL says, turning on the Giants game.

Penelope knows this is true. But still, he is creepy. She takes one last look at him, still grimacing on the same torture machine from 20 minutes ago. Of course he would hog one machine. But she wasn’t gonna ask him to move. Serial Killers scared her. Even if she did have the Sicilian Protection of DL close at hand.


“What year is it? Can you tell us your name? Have you felt this way before? Are you dieting?”
The questions come fast and furious from the group of hunky firemen clustered around some poor woman on a stretcher in the women’s locker room.

Penelope wonders what happened to her, but more importantly, is glad she already has her swimsuit on since there are several men in the women’s locker room. Why don’t they send women rescue personal to such situations? What was she supposed to do? It was so strange to have all these men in the women’s locker room. Granted, they were here on a presumable emergency and weren’t concerned with all the naked women strolling about.

Yet none of the women strolling about seemed concerned about the men being in their domain: this seemed quite strange to Penelope. She remembered a time when Sandy was all up in arms about just this sort of situation. Men coming into the women’s locker room without warning. Even if it was for an emergency. Maybe there had been advance warning and all these women gossiping and dressing just didn’t care?

Well, one good thing. They were all big and strong and handsome. And while Penelope felt really sorry for the poor woman who was being grilled on the stretcher; on the other hand, if the Serial Killer ended up following her down to the pool, she knew who to call.


“I saw Marianna the other day. And you know she’s pregnant, right?”
Penelope nods at Handsome Walking Man who works with the beauteous Marianna Snowboarder swimmer who’s moved to Orinda and gotten knocked up.
“Yes, how’s she doing?”
“Oh, she is so great. Why I haven’t seen her so happy ever!” he beams, stretching before his water walking workout.

“Is she still swimming?” Penelope asks, remembering how her sister swam during her pregnancy and how she’d said this made her feel wonderful.
“I don’t know. I don’t think so, but she was playing tennis. She’s just so happy!” he repeats before taking off down the lane.
And Penelope wonders how pregnancy can cause such bliss. It seems like torture to her, but she’s heard how some women just revel in the I am creating life situation. Penelope misses Mariana. She was so lovely and so nice to swim with. They’d split a lane and Marianna was smooth and fast. Just a little faster than Penelope which made Penelope swim just a little harder to keep up.
Cuz who wouldn’t want to keep up with a beautiful Latina in the Pool?

But if she was happy now, well that was all that mattered, right? Though how she could be happy without swimming was a mystery to Penelope.

She glanced up at the clock to check the time. 9:15—time for her last set of kicking. Reaching for the kickboard, she gulped.
Those boots. Big and new and clunky. Why was someone wearing big work boots on the pool deck?
No..... it couldn’t be......

The Serial Killer!?

Of course it wasn’t. Penelope had just imagined that one in her chlorinated haze at the end of what had been a kinda strange evening.

"You finished with the kickboard?" Weary Lifeguard nodded at her. Shaking her head, she grinned, "Nope, got a couple more laps to do, okay?"

"Sure, okay."

And off she zoomed, down the lane, her chlorinated haze lifting with each exuberantly finned kick.


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