Hemenway's Short Stories: Simon
The gym was crowded, like a bar in Pamplona during a Festival. College students talked by the front desk. Graduate students also talked by the front desk. College students and graduate students did not talk to each other. I did not talk to college or graduate students. I walked down the stairs into the free weight area. I wanted to use one of the benches, but the law students had overtaken them all. Bastards. They had probably never even been to a bar in Pamplona.
One of the law students saw me standing, doing no exercises. His shirt read “Harvard Law School Intramural Basketball”. He asked me, “Hey, are you trying to work in?”
I made my way to the dumbbell rack and started doing biceps curls. That would show the law students. I do not share my benches. As I lifted the weights, I thought of fishing, hunting, and bullfights. 20 repetitions later, I thought to myself, “Stop being so damn sentimental,” and re-racked the weights. Finally, some of the law students were moving away from the benches. They did not have the courage to do another set. Then I noticed who had walked into the free weights area of the gym during my revelry: Simon.
Simon is tall, probably 6’4”. Simon has blonde hair and big muscles. Simon has an accent. Russian, I think. Last week, I saw Simon bench the 105 lb. dumbbells for two reps. I was impressed. It is easy to imagine Simon going to Pamplona to attend a Festival. I have done so many times. Later, I might ask Simon to spot me and help me with some repetitions. Maybe we could talk about Spain and bullfights. I hope he thinks that is manly enough.
“Hey, are you trying to work in?”