Strangers on a Treadmill

by papatoad

Copyright© 2019 by papatoad

Fiction Story: Two men with the same problem decide to help each other out.

Tags: Ma/Fa   Heterosexual   Fiction   Cheating   Slow  

There is no sex in this story.

It was masochistic, but I couldn’t help myself. Thirty minutes on a concept C2 rowing machine, followed by thirty minutes on a damn treadmill. Every day for the past nine months. The only thing that ever changed was the music. I didn’t have a smartphone, but I did have an old MP3 player loaded with anything I could find to deaden the anger. I guess I should say to deaden the pain, but the anger just seemed to grow every day and push the pain aside. Scenarios of revenge played out in my brain as the heavy metal clouded the reality around me. Both exercise regiments could be completed automatically, without thinking or concentrating on what I was doing. For one hour, daily I existed in a self-induced trance, wallowing in a rage, inspired by my wife’s infidelity.

Following a quick shower at the gym, I started my three-mile walk to work. Driving would be more practical, but I found that using the walking time to calm myself was therapeutic. Fifty-eight minutes normally; a bit more if the weather was bad. Not a rapid pace, but good enough to keep my heart rate up a bit. After work, I walked the two miles home at a more leisurely measure.

Weekends screwed everything up a bit, but I was able to fill in the time by working around the house a bit more than usual. I spent more time mowing, pruning and edging. Little jobs, that I seemed to ignore, started getting attention. Painting and caulking started to become important, as time fillers. My MP3 player became my best friend.

I made a good living as a Volvo mechanic. I specialized in commercial diesel applications and my certifications were always up to date. The money was good enough to put my two daughters through college, but we used a second mortgage to offset the tuition costs, rather than encumber the girls with student loans.

I guess you could say that my marital problems were caused by music. My wife, Robin, prefers classical music, which I cannot tolerate. For her sake, I tried for several years to embrace it, but it was not to be. Okay, so we have different choices in music. That doesn’t seem to be enough to break up a marriage, but she decided to carry it a bit further. She became involved with other people who had similar musical tastes, which led to joining and participating in local musical production and appreciation associations. Concert trips were on the group agenda, and she started signing up for as many as she could. Of course she never even considered asking me to accompany her. When the outings started to become overnight, I felt the need to investigate a bit.

Serge Gorski was a pianist. He taught at the local college and played with several of the classical orchestra groups in the area. He regularly made trips to New York, Philadelphia and Baltimore to perform. My wife was infatuated with him. Although she kept it quiet for a long time, it was easy for me to determine that she was indeed his personal travel companion. After getting all my facts together, I waited for the opportune moment and then hit her with it.

“Honey, we have to talk.”

Of course, it did not go as I expected. She denied nothing. Admitted everything and more or less said, “So what!”.

I am not a very clever man. I had no response to her reaction. I had expected remorse and repentance. I got indifference and impertinence.

Our lives changed at that moment. At first, I was overcome with grief and sorrow. The pain was agonizing, but I held it together. I said nothing to my daughters or anyone else. Robin continued as if nothing had changed. She cooked, cleaned and kept the house just as she always had. The only actual change was that I now slept in the guest room. Robin had never worked, so all of her spare time was spent with her social friends. Although we were still living in the same house, it was like brother and sister rather than man and wife.

Her trips and outing became more brazen. Pictures in the newspapers and local magazine-type publications would show Serge and Robin as a couple. There was never a mention of me, or of her being married. As time passed my pain slowly became anger and the anger grew to where I had a hard time controlling it. I did not turn to drink. I turned to the gym.

I lost forty-six pounds. I was in better shape than I ever had been. I was off my blood pressure and cholesterol medicine. The only meal I ate at home was at supper time, and I was easily able to adjust to what Robin cooked. For every pound I lost, I gained ten pounds of bitterness. I was becoming a hateful, miserable bastard. Even my friends and workmates started to avoid me.

And then I met Seymour.

Seymour was a regular at the gym for about two months before I even spoke to him. I more or less kept to myself while I was working out and did very little socializing. A few of us would casually nod to each other or occasionally exchange a quick fist bump. Seymour didn’t mingle. Sometimes, I would catch him talking to himself. When you have earbuds on, you don’t realize that you are singing along with the songs or talking aloud. He noticed that I was smiling while he was musing one day, and from there on we had an easy, casual relationship.

We started doing the treadmill workout together and then I slowly got him using the rowing machine. He was as focused on the exercising as I was and I quickly discovered we shared the same motivation. We began having coffee after our workouts and that led to occasional lunches. Having Seymour as a friend made things a lot easier. I finally had someone to commiserate with. I could vent! However it didn’t mellow things out, it simply made me madder.

Seymour would not run on the treadmill. He would not run at all. Physically he was able to run, but mentally, he chooses not to. His wife, Tricia, was an avid tri-athlete. About five years ago she got on a fitness kick and that is the direction it took. She spent as much time as she could biking, swimming and running. The worst part was that she wasn’t doing it alone. There were marathons and iron-man competitions being held constantly, and she entered as many as she could. Of course, Seymour was never invited along. Gene Dickens was a world-class Iron-man tri-athlete and was happy to offer his escort services to Tricia. Seymour had no trouble finding out that they were sharing transportation, hotel accommodations, meals, and functional gatherings. He confronted his wife. She told him to “deal with it”.

Things came to a head one night, after work, when Seymour and I were sharing a rack of ribs. Robin was in Washington DC with Serge, and Tricia was in Hawaii, for the Kona Iron-man, with Gene Dickens. The ribs would have tasted better with a few cold beers, but we stuck with the unsweetened tea.

“you know, John, we are a pathetic pair of cucks”. Seymour wasn’t laughing when he said it, just shaking his head and looking a bit glum.

“Damn it, Seymour. I am not a cuckold!”

“Oh really. What do you call two guys who know that their wives are cheating on them and accept it?”

I paused for a moment thinking about what he said. I casually waved the waitress over.

“Bring us a couple of long necks, please.”

“Seymour. I am not a cuckold! I will not be a cuckold.”

“Prove it! John, we are both wretched cucks who bury our misery by exercising until we hurt. Do your daughters know what is going on? When was the last time you talked to them? Does your wife talk to your daughters? Thank goodness I don’t have any children to concern myself with.”

I hoisted the cold Yuengling. “What do you suggest?” Seymour just shrugged and picked up another rib.

I started the weekend as I usually do; yard work. I had no idea what the schedule was for Robins return and I could care less. I assumed she would be staying over the weekend. After a light lunch, I met Seymour at the gym.

Tricia would not be back for five more days. She told Seymour that tri-athletes had to decompress, or something like that before the airlines would allow them to fly. He knew it was mostly bull shit but had no interest in calling her on it.

We never finished the session.

“I’ve had it! Damn it, I just cannot and will not do this anymore.”

Seymour grabbed his towel and headed for the showers. Before I finished rowing, he was dressed and rushing out the door. He was right. I knew that we had to do something. I spent all day Sunday planning. I would come up with ideas and immediately find some reason to discard them. The best idea was just to take everything and simply disappear, but I felt that that left me with a big hole; I needed revenge of some type, but against who. It had to be all of them. Four different people had to be dealt with.

Physically, I could never harm Robin. It just wasn’t in my nature. I was pretty sure that Seymour felt the same way about Tricia. However, the two guys were a different story. Murder was out of the question, but how can you inflict pain upon them that will be meaningful. Suddenly everything became clear. I made a quick trip to the garage and found what I needed; A BALL PEEN HAMMER.

Robin came home Sunday evening all aglow. She unpacked, showered and such, but did not share any of her weekend experience with me. I did not bring up the subject. After she went to bed, I stayed up to watch TV.

“John! I ain’t gonna do it. You are nuts, bonkers. I don’t care how bad it is, I am not going to kill anyone.”

“No! No! Seymour! You are not listening. We are not going to kill anybody. We are just going to slow them down a bit.”

“That’s not what it sounds like. I’ve seen that movie; ‘Strangers on a Train’. William Bendix and that other guy turn out to be killers. What you are suggesting is the same thing. I ain’t gonna do it, John.”

“It was Farley Granger, not William Bendix, and we aren’t going to kill anybody.”

“Why are we going to do this, and what will it accomplish?”

“Okay! Seymour, why is your wife so attracted to this guy? What is it that he has that you don’t have, that makes her want him?”

“you know damn well what it is. He is a super world-class athlete. There is no way that I can compete with that. I am nothing but a forklift jockey; an overweight one at that.”

“So he is using his status as a ‘world-class athlete’ to seduce and steal your wife away from you. Do you think that is fair?”


“Seymour, this guy thinks that he is so much better than anyone else that he can take and use any woman he wants. That is the ultimate in disrespect and you don’t want to hurt him. He emaciated you, and you are just going to let him get away with it?”

“John, there is no way that I can confront him.”

“That’s the point. you don’t have to. I will.”

“And what is the trade-off?”

“Well, there is a world-famous piano virtuoso who might need some professional chiropractic manipulations on his fingers. Can you handle that?”

“That depends. Do I have to use a ball-peen hammer?”

“Seymour, use any damn thing you want!”

So, we had an agreement. Seymour was still a little unsure about it, so I said that I would take care of Gene first, and then he would feel better about seeing to Serge. We spent another two hours over a rack of ribs, swapping all the personal information that we had with each other. There were a lot of holes in our plan. The problem was that neither of us the slightest idea what we were doing or how to do it. Gene was the biggest problem because of his physical attributes. I pretty much decided that I would need some type of equalizer.

Now that I had a new special project in my life, I forgot all about my wife and her lover. I took ten days’ accumulated vacation time. I was focused on Gene Dickens. It was far more complicated than I had imagined. He had a regular nine to five job as an insurance adjuster, but the rest of his days were far more complex. Some days he spent hours bike riding when he could squeeze in the time. Most mornings he was jogging and three evenings a week he spent at the local YMCA, swimming laps until the pool closed. On days when it was raining, he worked out at his local gym. Of course two or three times a week, he did get together with Tricia at his apartment.

While I was busy following Gene, Seymour was checking out Serge. We met regularly at the gym and worked out, but did not discuss how things were going. We didn’t even have each other’s phone numbers. That was part of the plan. The only connection we had, was that we were both members of the same gym.

Time was moving on and I had to get something firmed up. He used different bike routes all the time. He never consistently jogged the same course. The best I could come up with was the YMCA after his swimming workout. He parked his car at the rear of the building. I spent a whole lot of time searching for CCTV cameras. I found a few in the front of the building and along the side, but I never saw any in the back.

I discretely picked up a taser on Craig’s List, but I wasn’t sure if it worked or how to test it. It was a risk I had to take. At least it came with an instruction manual. Feeling a bit frisky, I bought a ten-dollar balaclava.

We had been on the treadmill for about thirty minutes chatting about insignificant things when I felt it was time to get serious.

“Seymour. I think you need to take a ten-day vacation as soon as possible. I don’t want to know where you are going, but you have to tell me the dates. Where ever you go, use your credit cards, a lot.” By the time we finished thirty more minutes on the Concept C2 rower, Seymour was beaming. Now I had to figure out where I was going to be going.

It was raining. A slow rain, just enough to make everything wet. It was close to ten o’clock and any minute now Gene Dickens would be coming through the rear door of the YMCA. Gene’s Outback was the only car left on the rear lot. I checked again and still could not find any CCTV cameras. Just in case, I put on the balaclava. He was pissed off when he saw the flat tire. The taser worked exactly as advertised and five minutes later, I was on my way home.

It didn’t make the morning newspaper, but the evening news had a short blurb about a local man who was attacked and injured behind the YMCA the previous night. Action was being taken to have CCTV cameras installed in the area to prevent further incidents. Nothing was said about the type of injuries he received. They had no suspects or motive. I had no idea where Seymour was or when he was coming back. The ball-peen hammer, taser, and balaclava were disposed of in three different dumpsters downtown.

My boss at work wasn’t thrilled when I informed him that I was going to be attending a Volvo-Penta training class for three weeks in Orlando. He couldn’t see where a course covering marine engines would benefit him in any manner. I told him that I would pay for the course and use more of my accrued vacation time. He still wasn’t happy. I left a note in Seymour’s gym locker explaining that I would be out of town until the end of June.

“Robin. I have to go to Orlando for three weeks of training. Would you like to go along, or would you just rather stay home and relax.”

“John, the summer concert season is in full swing. you know how I love the park events. I really would rather stay here. you will be in some sort of class most of the time anyhow, won’t you?”

“Yeah. It is also a bit muggy down there in the summer. I understand why you wouldn’t want to go, but I felt that I had to ask.”

“Thanks, honey. I appreciate the offer, but I’ll probably be more comfortable here. Maybe we can consider a short trip later in the summer. Perhaps a weekend in New England or something like that.”

Of course, that conversation went exactly as I expected it would. Now for the next stage of the plan.

There was no further news about Gene Dickens.

I left at daybreak on Saturday and was planning on two days to get to Orlando, including a stop at the Tennessee Aquarium in Chattanooga. We have to keep our priorities straight. Luckily the school had arrangements for long term rentals that included light cooking facilities. I didn’t want to eat out every day. I did call Robin and let her know that I arrived safely.

The hometown newspaper charged a dollar a month if you wanted to read the paper online. I took care of that as soon as I got settled in. Starting tomorrow I would be carefully checking all the news from home, paying extra attention to the police reports. I was anxious to see if Seymour was going to carry out his end of the agreement. I also wanted to see if he got any grief from the police about the Dickens’ incident.

There was a Planet Fitness within a mile. I got to use my guest privilege card.

The first week of my vacation was boring. The second week was interesting and the third week was great. Of course, I am not referring to my school training. It was top-notch all the way through. I read the whole paper every day looking for something of interest. There was a concert at the Brandywine Battlefield Site which my wife’s paramour had organized. I am sure that she enjoyed that little outing.

At the end of the next week, there was a front-page article about the horrendous attack on Serge Gorski, a local University Professor, and symphony orchestra director. The police seemed to feel it was some sort of professional vendetta since the only damage he received was to both of his hands. A comparison was made to the recent attack on Gene Dickens, but they really could not connect the two. There were no suspects at this time. I spent the rest of the evening with a six-pack of Black and Tan trying to figure out where, when and how, Seymour pulled it off. I really didn’t want to know, but it was fun thinking about it.

One of the Volvo-Penta School administrators notified me the next morning that some sort of official from Pennsylvania had called and verified that I was indeed attending the school and that I had not missed any scheduled classes. I wouldn’t have expected any less. I was curious as to when my wife was going to mention it to me. I hadn’t heard from her in a few days. In preparation for her phone call, I went out and bought another six-pack. The call never came.

The last week of training turned out to be the best. We had a half-day of interviews with potential employers. I wasn’t expecting that. As far as I was concerned, any offer would be a good one. My age, experience, and willingness to relocate gave me a bit of an advantage over most of the other students. I got the offer I wanted and it was an easy choice to make. I decided to make a short stop on my way home to check it out.

There were never any follow up articles in the newspaper about either of the mysterious attacks. Robin never called again.

The Perdido Bay Marina was actually in Alabama, but you could see Florida across the water. Bill Morgan was eager to show me around his pride and joy. In addition to overhauls and repairs, they also had a large multi-level storage facility. Intermingled with the dock spaces were a half a dozen live-a-boards. The crowning glory was a small mobile home in the back of the lot which he said I was free to use. I asked him to tell me more about the storage facility which he said was a favorite with the snowbirds. After explaining the operation, he jokingly asked me if I had any forklift experience. I Immediately thought of Seymour.

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