Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Microstory 1587: Nonstop

I found a treadmill on the side of the road, and started using it the next day. I could literally see the fat dripping off of my stomach as I was running.

A dude riding a bike passed me, looked at me, and said, “if you’re on there, you must be a junkie, you can’t be running.” Unfortunately, it took two months of running on that treadmill before my body could actually move again. I was basically incapacitated. I was barely able to stand or walk. But every time I went to the store, or a restaurant, I told people I was a military veteran. That was all I could remember—how to tell people I was in the military and that I had been hurt. People told me I needed to go to the VA for help, and I thought they were right. They were asking me if I was drunk, which at the time I was not. When I went to the VA, they said, “Well, we can’t give you any drugs because you haven’t been diagnosed. You just had your wrist blown off. But if you stop taking the treadmill, you’ll die.” They didn’t know what was going on with my brain. They were just looking at me like, “you’re scaring us. You need to get off of this machine.” That was the most dehumanizing...

...experience of my life, and I felt like crap for lying to people. I had never heard of stolen valor before, but I knew the whole time that it was wrong. I stopped telling the lie, but that wasn’t my most pressing problem. If I spend more than two days off of this treadmill, the fat I lost starts coming back. It comes back fast, like the frost on a windshield when the heater doesn’t work, and all you have is wiper fluid. It doesn’t stop either. When I first tried to take a break, I gained even more weight than I had when I started using the damn thing. Who would do this to me? Who would leave this cursed treadmill out there for anyone to pick up, knowing what it would do? I learn to run twice a day, just to be safe. I don’t have to run several miles, or anything, but I can’t leave it be for too long. It’s like the machine is a pet, and requires frequent attention, or it’ll start chewing up my shoes. I wish that those were the consequences. I would take a closet full of destroyed shoes over this nonstop life of running. The dude on the bike rides back up to my garage during my workout one day. “There’s a way to stop this from happening, you know. You can even keep all that fat off. All you have to do is give the treadmill to someone else.” What is he, the girl from The Ring? No, I’m not doing that, I’m not subjecting someone else to this horror. It ends here. It ends with me. But I’m not running anymore either. I take the treadmill out to the middle of an empty field, douse it with lighter fluid, and set the wretched thing on fire. I hope that ends the curse, but if it doesn’t, at least it won’t be able to hurt anyone else. The next day, the fat starts to return again, and it doesn’t stop. At my peak, I weigh 1,500 pounds. But then a funny thing happens. I start losing the weight again. It just rolls off me, and I have to take it out with the garbage. I’m happy for a while, satisfied that I broke the curse, but then I start to wonder if I did. Maybe the treadmill can’t be destroyed, and some other poor schmuck just happened to find it out in that field.

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