My Shower Gel

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Am lying on my back, trying to stare at the ceiling. Well, it’s not really a ceiling, it’s the roof. The inside is a rusty color, like something you’d see in those DumuZas adverts.  The result of sufficient oxygen and enough moisture. A haze of  thick moisture and salt claim the air. I can smell the ocean just outside the door. Smells like dirty socks dipped in hot water. Not the most pleasant of smells. The breeze is however lovely, if you can get past the hot dirty socks. Makes one feel both lazy and romantic at the same time.


The bench am lying on is inclined. Aslay is in my ear, mourning his mother; making me all emotional. And serenading his girlfriend in the process.

What a multi-tasker!!!

It’s Thursday.

Half past four or thereabout.

It’s possible that am still a little buzzed. I know because I feel very good.

I rarely feel good these days. Bills, payments, responsibilities and all.

It’s immorality hot. Probably 33°C… It feels like 42°C though.


Am trying to push the weight on the bar; 80 Kg in all. Back in the day, when I had the back of Spartacus and the will of Hannibal, I would have done it with ease. Much like tearing a piece of paper or munching a packet of peanuts. But now, reckless imbibing and occasional smoking have made me weak. Well, plus the fact that I took a two-year hiatus from the gym.


My trainer walks around the room, encouraging one person here, and chatting up a bunch of ladies there before moving on to another person. I can see three ladies pouting their lips and snapping away on their phones. New members I conclude… The trainer says a not-so-kind word to them then moves over to my station. Encouraging me to do my reps faster. She always seems to believe that I have some strength in me that I don’t know about.

You should lift heavier weights than these.” She keeps telling me.

I always disagree. My will power also agrees.

She has called me an overfed baby on more than one occasion. All light intentions, I hope.  I don’t take offence, I find it flattering. Who wouldn’t?


This gym is set right on the shore of the ocean (or is it beach?). Where speedboats and mini-yachts park. My boda-boda guy brought me here, claiming I looked like the place; which is supposed to mean I look rich.

Am not.

It’s a sight to behold.

Makes you feel rich even if you are not. But then again the entire region gives one the feeling of a retiree. Makes you wanna sleep all day. And party all night. Like elsewhere, the girls that frequent the gym are something else. Many gym girls always are.


At one corner of the gym,  not far from my bench, is a group of girls who clearly seem to have better places to be. The trainer, Miss E, gestures some form of exercise to them. They reluctantly imitate what she does. One of them actually looks like a frog jumping in and out of water. She is the color of an overripe mango and bears the weight of three people – much of it around her equator. The trainer keeps encouraging them, with a voice that would make one lift a bag of cement from the floor with ease. The frog’s eyes dance around the room as she absent mindedly does the reps. I can’t help but stare even as I struggle with my own routine. It is a very sad sight. Then our eyes lock, just as am making that face that people make when they lift heavy loads. She looks at me like am an eggplant. And I can feel her stare, trying to laugh at me. The eyes tell a similar tale – they mock me.


In a moment, ‘the frog’ will come over and ask me for water, which I will reluctantly offer her. And she will gulp all of it down, and hurt my feelings in the process. I invite her to join my session.

“I don’t do weights,” she replies without effort or emotion.

I love the voice though I don’t appreciate the tone. Somehow she finds the strength to keep talking to me even as I grunt on with my dead weights. I struggle to concentrate though I keep spacing out of the conversation (or rather monologue). All the while, I can feel the trainer giving me the stink eye. She must not appreciate her establishment being turned into a meet-match place. Every time I feel her (the trainer) looking my way, I smile and stare back. Denying her the chance to speak. The frog will raffle through my backpack, looking for another bottle of water. She will not find any.


After about forty-five minutes of lifting and pulling and pushing and climbing and skipping, I decide to go take a shower so that I scatter away to do other things. I jump into the shower and stand under the stream of water for a minute before reaching for my bag. I search for a while before I realize my shower gel is gone.

I can clearly remember putting the tub in my bag, but now I can’t find it.

I think I should call the CID…


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