After changing in the locker room, Frieda entered the main floor. Darn it. An elderly man was on her elliptical machine. She walked before him and smiled prettily beckoning his attention. When he removed his earbuds she said, “Excuse me, sir, this is my machine.”
He gazed at her in disbelief. “I don’t see your name on it.”
“It’s reserved for me. Every Tuesday and Thursday at 6:00.”
“I didn’t see a reserve sign.”
Frieda leaned forward laying her hand on his. “Please. There are other machines available.”
“I’m in the middle of my workout,” he argued.
She gave a doe-eyed stare he couldn’t resist. “Pleeeaaase.”
“Alright,” he said giving in, yet letting his disgust be known.
Frieda didn’t care. All she cared about what was going to happen in three…two…one… She sighed heavily as he strode across the gym and onto the mat where several boxing pummel bags hung from the ceiling. Her spot was the best in the gym to watch him lead that evening’s kickboxing class, as she admired every inch of the 6’2” slender muscular dreamboat with long dark hair pulled back in a loose manbun and his light-colored eyes highlighted by the black muscle shirt he wore. She plugged earbuds into her ears and played, Bonnie Tyler’s “I Need a Hero,” as she peddled furiously the elliptical..
She knew little about him, only that his name was Sergei Masing and he was Estonia’s middleweight boxing champion, which she read in the gym’s teacher guide. That was enough for her. She didn’t need to know more to cement Sergei as a fantasy icon and twice a week she sought her favorite elliptical machine to watch him bark commands and demonstrate moves to those taking his class. Actually, taking his class, she never dared. She had herself on a self-administered restraining order. She wasn’t allowed within twenty feet of him because she was sure she would make an absolute fool of herself.
After swooning and drooling from her water bottle for an hour, she didn’t bother showering or changing in the gym. She grabbed her bag containing her work clothes and laptop and headed outside, carelessly strutting her sweaty self.
Outside, a light rain fell and it suited her just fine. A quick stop at Tesco’s grocery store and then home. However, week nights at the grocery story often came with its own kind of stress – people not paying attention and having little consideration for others.
Frieda picked up her basket, took a deep breath and went into her shopping zone.
He followed her into the store, providing her necessary back up. Nearing the bin of tomatoes, Frieda grew annoyed by two gossiping ladies. Sergei stepped up and knocked the ladies’ heads together and smashed their faces into the heirloom tomatoes.
When they fell to the floor, Frieda stepped up to pick her produce. “Roma’s or Heirloom?” she asked Sergei.
“Are you making sauce or salads?”
“Salad,” she responded.
“Then you’re going to have to go with heirloom. They are delicious with just a touch of oil, vinegar and a touch of salt. That’s how my mother used to make it in the old country. Anyone else I need to rough up?” he asked in a deep, sexy Eastern European accent.
Freida surveyed the produce section. “I’m going to need some mushrooms.”
“On it!” He removed the AK-12 Russian assault rifle47 he had strapped to his back and used the butt of the rifle to knock people down who got in his way. Once he cleared the aisle, he reached for a package of mushrooms. “Button or cremini!” he shouted to Frieda.
“Button!” she yelled across the produce section.
Once they conquered the produce section, they headed down the other aisles. Sergei shoving people into shelves when their carts who got in Frieda’s way. She was making record time when she reached the register.
Behind her, a customer shoved his purchase on the conveyor, causing hers to collapse before the belt. “That’s it!”
Sergei replied and beat the crap out of the customer until he bled on the floor.
The store clerk looked over the conveyor belt and then at Sergei. She snapped her gum and rolled her eyes. “Now
I’m going to have to call someone to clean that up. If you’re going to beat people up, do it outside.”
Frieda shrugged, admiring Sergei’s machismo. “He can’t help it. It’s what he does.” She grabbed her grocery bags and headed out of the store followed by Sergei. With him behind her, she felt empowered and she could take on any foe.
When she walked up to her door to her flat, Sergei rushed ahead. Once inside, he removed his Makarov pistol from a holster, checking the dark hallway. Slowly, he stalked up the steps with his gun ready to take down any intruder. When he neared her door, he called out, “Clear!”
Frieda followed behind, carrying the groceries. She fumbled with the bags as she let herself and Sergei inside. Setting down her groceries, she wiped perspiration from her brow and admired sweat glistening from his muscular biceps. She jumped in to his arms. He carried her to the shower. There was no better way to come clean than with a dirty, dangerous man.