(PLEASE NOTE:  you have entered into a story in progress.  Please go back to They Had the Right to Remain Silent (1), to pick it up from the beginning.  Welcome and Enjoy)
They Had The Right to Remain Silent
Richard S. Jachimecki
Chapter ( ii )
     “I’M INTERESTED IN A MEMBERSHIP,” she said to the young man behind the counter, “can I look around, maybe get a tour?”
     “You sure can,” he said and smiled, while he gathered together a club brochure and a flier regarding ‘end of the summer’ specials, then handed them to her, “as luck would have it, Thurman’s in right now,” he added.
     “Thurman?”
     “The owner,” he explained, “Thurman Redding. He likes to show the place off personally.”
     Nora Geever had lingered across the street from where she now stood for nearly an hour; on that corner, she sipped her last ‘super- sized’ mocha shake, and summoned inner courage.
     From that vantage point she had watched people enter this glass- encased first floor of the corner building on 29th and 2nd Avenue. Above the windows of each store-front, the health club’s name was emblazoned in mounted chrome letters: CONDITION U. Some members came in work clothes, and carried their gear. Others were already dressed in exercise toggery, which ranged from amorphous baggy sweatsuits, to shimmery spandex outfits that seemed painted on, and left little to the imagination. She observed the raiment choices seemed in direct proportion to the fitness of the wearer. The more body layers one wanted to lose, the bulkier the apparel applied.
     I’m going to look like an Eskimo, she sighed. The straw gurgled at the bottom of her cup as she sucked in the final slushy swallow. Her plan was set in motion. This is what she had to do and here was exactly where she had to do it.
     Now she waited, and skimmed through the literature. She looked up occasionally, then spotted the return of the greeter who’d met her at the counter. She recognized his bright red T- shirt with the neon yellow phrase – UCon, UCan! – on his chest. Next to him was a dark- haired man, approximately five foot- ten, in a micro- knit, navy- blue running suit. The outfit accentuated the dense musculature beneath it. He wasn’t walking so much as springing across the floor. His thighs pulsed with every step.
     “Hello, I’m Thurman Redding. Welcome to UCon,” he bellowed over the rock music thumping throughout the gym. She checked the name on the brochure as they shook hands.
     “A couple of members tagged CONDITION U with the nickname,” he clarified, “UCon got so popular, we adopted it.”
     “Well, I’m Nora,” she said, “this is quite the operation you have here.”
     “I’m pretty proud of it,” he said, “take a look around?”
     He slid a card through a scanner at the top of the entrance turnstile. She forced her way into the mechanism on one side, and with the same effort, out of it on the other side. They walked through the aerobic area with its rows of treadmills, stairclimbers, ellipticals, and rowing machines.
     “What are your goals?” Thurman asked.
     “I don’t want to look like a beer keg with legs, any more,” she replied.
     “Not to worry,” he said, “we’ll set you up for success. You’ll spend a lot of time on these.”
     She observed members using the equipment, armed with their water bottles, towels draped over their necks and earphones plugged into their consoles. Their faces all pointed upward, glued to the TV monitors that ran from one end of the building to the other. Sports, news and entertainment were all represented.
     “You’ll be on a regimen to maximize calorie burn,” he emphasized, “follow the program and you’ll be a killer in no time.”
     “Thurman,” Nora interjected, “you don’t hear that name often.”
     “My father’s a big Yankee fan,” he said, “Thurman Munson was his hero,” he sniffed a laugh, “could have been worse if my grandfather had any say in it. His favorite was Pee Wee Reese. Let’s take a look at the weight machines.”
     They stopped at different stations and Nora watched. Members sat on the contraptions, and pushed or pulled on tubular handles, connected to over- sized bicycle chains, that ran through a series of pulleys. These pulleys terminated at weight stacks of resistance, which went up and down as the members put the machines through their paces.
     “What’s this one?” she asked, and pointed toward an unoccupied unit.
     “Butterfly,” he said, “it works the chest. I’ll show you.”
     Thurman removed his jacket. This left his upper body covered only by a thin tank- top.
     “Whoa, I wouldn’t want to mess with you in a dark alley,” Nora exclaimed.
     “Well, I’ve been at this for a while,” he said, “here’s how it works.”
     He sat in the middle of the apparatus and grabbed the handles, his arms stretched out, fully extended to the sides and parallel to his shoulders. He then brought his arms in front of him, still extended, squeezing the handles together. He did a few repetitions and Nora was mesmerized, his chest grew in front of her, as blood flowed through Thurman’s pectoral muscles.
     “Impressive,” she said.
     As they continued toward the back of the club, Thurman pointed to doorways off the main room. “We’re full service here; aerobic, spinning, and jazzercise classes…Now,” he said, as he began his wrap- up, “to relax we have a whirlpool, sauna, and steam room.”
     “The steam sounds good. Can I see it?” Nora asked.
     “Right this way,” he said, then lead her down the rear hallway, and opened a door, “just be careful not to bump into folks. It gets pretty cloudy in there,” the vapor billowing out as he spoke.
     “Is it always available?” she questioned.
     “We shut it down about a half- hour before closing,” he said, “otherwise its up and running.”
     “I can only come at later times of the day. What are your hours?”
     “We’re open from five in the morning until midnight, seven days a week,” Thurman replied.
     “Those are some long days for you!”
     “I’m not here all the time, but I usually close the place, especially on weekends.”
     “Sounds good to me, where do I sign?” Nora paid for two months and got her membership card.
     “Just swipe the card to go through the turnstile,” Thurman said.
     “I’ll start tomorrow,” she shook his hand once more.
     “I’ll do all I can to help you reach your goal. Nora,” Thurman promised.
     “Believe me,” she said, “you’ll play a big part in it.”
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