She’d stewed for over her decision in the days that followed Roger’s ultimatum. Could she? Should she?
Was she digging herself into a hole that would end up hurting her badly? Was she just connecting to another nasty bastard? He couldn’t be, could he?
Ok, it seemed that everyone knew him but that mightn’t mean much. It could just mean that he was very discrete; but he didn’t seem sleazy the time that she’d seen him and the grapevine at the local shops hadn’t ever spread any dirt about him that she’d heard of.
And Annabel wouldn’t have just dropped her Canadian life; she wouldn’t have, would she? Annabel had gone gouging with him too. Very successfully too according to what Lewis had said. Hell, he couldn’t be any worse than Lewis had been lately and if…
Shit, you’ve got to crack a few googlies before you make an omelet. If he was Annabel wouldn’t, surely she wouldn’t. If he was then she could always vote with her feet. Then again Lewis had said Annabel might be working in the pharmacy and that wouldn’t happen if…
That’s why she was standing, useless and unloved like a dead marine, in the late afternoon sunlight near his front gate. She’d hit the button once, just once, when she’d first arrived, and nothing. She’d rung on her mobile and got tongue tied by his answering machine. Anxious, she paced a little way up the street and then back to his gate. ‘I can’t do this,’ she thought as she walked away from the bloody gate. ‘He’ll be here soon and it’ll be alright,’ she thought as she walked towards the portal.
“Made up our mind have we?”
“Eer yes,” timidly.
“I don’t think that you respect me or yourself at the moment Angie. You’re in your work clobber. Hell the only concession you’ve made is to shake your hair out of the braid it’s usually in at work. I’m too bloody tired to put up with bullshit right now, all I want to do is have a soak. And a brew. Well… maybe a few. In the meantime here’s some things that you should do. First and foremost, whenever you go out your appearance is be an indicator of how you feel about yourself and reflects my standards. So you’ll be smooth as a baby’s arse all-over with your hair down and brushed until it gleams. Oh and, unless you’re told otherwise by either Lewis or me , your clothes will be appropriate for the occasion, stylish and look good on you. Did I say that you will always make time to enhance your innate beauty with understated cosmetics?”
“Yes,” nodded Angie. Annie just grinned inwardly, poor bitch she thought with me standing here in dusty, daggy hand-me-downs, no makeup and straggly hair.
“I’ve heard that you’re a religious dieter with yoyo outcomes.”
“That’s gunna change, K?”
“Bit of a couch potato too?”
‘Me too,’ thought Annie.
“That’s gunna change too. Right?”<
‘Me too,’ thought Annie.
“From here on in you’ll turn up here in traky daks for at least an hour on the mill every am. Bring your work clobber so you don’t waste time. K? That’ll help aerobically. Then after dinner you’ll spend some time ‘toning’. I’ll develop a programme and give the first part when I see you in the morning. K?”
Less reluctant nod.
“Me too,” enthused Annie.
“Yeh, I noticed that Portia’s putting on the pud too. She’d appreciate a half hour in the lineal park at night. Use your treadly. On that you might even keep up going downhill. Once she gets used to heeling the treadly she’ll probably pull like buggery on the uphill bits.”
Rather reluctant nod.
“I’ll rough out an agreement in the next coupladays that’ll formalize our relationship. I know that Lewis has given me a bit of paper, but it’s not even any good for wiping your arse. What I’ll want from you personally is something that will set out agreed parameters, set goals, flesh out consequences of your not attaining those goals and provide me with a modicum of protection if you spit the dummy.”
“Yes, that’s a good idea. Can I…”
“At this stage, you’re it Angie. Its your job to commit things into writing, to set your goals and to lay out a range of consequences if you don’t work hard at attaining the goals you have set, K?”
“…Err… consequences? What consequences?”
“Let your imagination run rife Angie. Think about incentives and disincentives that ought to be available for me to use to encourage you to achieve your goals. Your first challenge will be a treadmill session. C’mon, you can shuck your threads while I set it up.”
‘Haven’t seen a treadmill around here,’ Annie thought as she followed them out to a shed behind the games room. ‘Uh oh… that’s not like any personal treadmill I’ve ever seen,’ as she took in the distinctly innovative device.
“Different isn’t it Annie. Graham and I knocked it up a couple of years ago after I tore my AC joint and couldn’t properly work the dogs. The speed and its slope can be modified to increase or decrease length of stride and work rate. Worked a treat with the Rotts but…”
“Ok On you get Angie Tonight’s thirty minutes. K? Have a shower and tog up before you come back in.”
Thirty-five minutes later Angie sidled across the patio. She’d twigged that she’d been sprung.
“Cut it short Angie?”
“I got really really bored, Roger; but I worked really hard while I was on the machine though.”
“Right. Your job is to go home, write down what you think are your goals, how you’re going to work towards them, and what sort of incentive program you’d expect me to use to encourage you. Tell Lewis what I’ve told you to do. In fact you’d better ask him to help you with it, particularly the incentive/disincentive aspects. K?”
Quizzical male eyebrow.
“Err... Sorry… err… Yes Roger. I’ll definitely ask for his guidance and input.”
“In the meantime I’ll see if I can do to make the treadmill sessions less boring too. So, for now go home and think about it Angie. K?”
“G’night Roger. Night Annabel.”
“Howyagoin ya bloody bludger?”
“That good huh?”
“Yeh, the dishlickers didn’t read the same bloody bible and the leeches at the TAB don’t take IOU’s so I’m fucking skint.”
“Then you’ll be giving the gallops a miss Satd’y and I’ve got a homey so you won’t worry about being lonely and broke.”
“Shit, you’re straining the bonds of friendship ya bloody mongrel.”
“All I want is a simple on/off interface and a gpo for the dog walker OK? It’ll be a safety switch, ideally with a ringpull that shuts down the walker when there’s a sudden pull on it. Ideally it’d be adjustable with a throw weight from say 100 grammes through to about 500 grammes.”
“Fuck, why don’t you just amble into Autobarn tomorrow and pick one up cheap? I suppose you want it bloody waterproof if y’re gunna shove it on the walker?”
“Up yours you prick.”
“Hi Angie. We’re just having breakfast out the back. Want a cuppa?”
“Thanks. Is he in a good mood?”
“Lewis really spat the dummy last night. He said Roger shouldn’t have anything to do with setting goals or suggesting incentives. He spent ages on the computer afterwards.”
“I don’t know, he was on the speaker phone to some bloke last night and they both were very loud and angry.”
“G’day Roger,” timidly.
“You’ll see a lot more of the early morning sun from now on mate. C’mon, You’re going to enjoy the incentive I’ve got for you on the treadmill this morning.”
She was sore. Sore and tired and the timer in front of her had over five minutes to go. ‘Roger, you conniving bastard,’ she’d thought.
“I’ll just tie your hands so you’ll have a bit of difficulty playing with the controls,” he’d said. “Get up on the belt,” he’d said.
Then he’d calmly hung clover clamps on her tiny brown nipples and hooked occy straps from each clamp to a string loop on the front frame of the treadmill.
“Only temporary Angie. The string’ll break if you give it a decent tug so don’t worry about pulling your tits off. K? You can thank Lewis for this one. See you in a bit,” he said as he switched on the walker and went out to the patio.
It had taken a couple of paces and a painful tug on her nipples before she’d matched her speed to that of the belt. Then as it had ramped up she’d bumped into the frame, painfully jarred both clamps and yelped before shortening her steps.
One foot after the other, she’d settled into the oblivion of a tramper. The numb ache of her nipples barely intruding into the numbness of left foot, right foot, left foot, right foot as the timer ticked on and on.
“Times up,” he said as he killed the machine. “Hell,” she’d screamed as one of the clover clamps twisted off as she crashed into the front frame.
“Forgot to stop did we?” he derided.
“Fuck that smarts,” she’d screamed as blood and sensation flooded into the other nipple when its clamp was removed.
“In the future we’re gunna have to quiet you down a bit before the neighbors start whinging,” he said as he untied her wrists.
“Better get a move on if you want a shower before you go to work,” he’d said as he playfully smacked her flabby arse.<
That day I was just like most blokes. It seemed as if everything I did impacted on my overly sensitive nipples. If I moved they were abraded by my bra cups. If I moved near anything they reacted like cat’s whiskers reminding me about the amount of room that I needed to just get around. And all day at work I just knew that I’d be there bright and early tomorrow. ‘Hell, I’m bloody stupid,’ I thought.