Under the cover of night, Kiki quickly raided her closet until she found her favorite black athletic wear. A flashlight designed to be strapped to the wrist rather than held was just another favorite work out accessory. “Oh no! Where's my mask,” she initially panicked feeling around in the dark. “Thank goodness, I thought I lost you dear pal.” Considering her health mask a 'pal' was just another sign life was turning for the worst. Kiki was not going to rob a bank, instead she was going out for another late-night jog.
She locked the door behind her and disappeared into the night. Given how the disease had been declared a pandemic, the RH-1 caused all the world to constantly panic. Roaring Hunger (#1) resulted in the victim of the disease to be constantly hungry. Eventually, the person who contracted the disease would be compelled to eat continuously until they gained so much weight that they could not move. A TV show 'My Fat Life,' displayed the struggle that a morbidly obese (over 400lbs) individual and their families faced. Soon it would be called 'My Fat World,' featuring everyone.
Passing by the trees, their branches swaying in the winter breeze, a chill raced up her spine. She saw what she feared most, other than RH-1. A police officer drove up to her before she had the time to escape his glance. “Miss, are you aware it is well past curfew,” inquired a solemn police officer. Rather than be accused of lying, she responded “Yes Officer, I know.” “Why then, have you decided to break it? I've seen people missing curfew by a few minutes and let it slide, but your behavior is absurd,” scolded the officer. “Since you asked, I haven't contracted RH-1, but already I'm pushing my luck and have been told by many different doctors that if I don't exercise I might contract diabetes or worse.” A camera attached to the police car to monitor the officer's conduct could be turned off at will. Fortunately, he had done so before speaking with Kiki.
Rather than pulling out a gun, he pulled out an apple as they spoke. “Shocked it's not a doughnut,” asked the Police Officer, chuckling at her expression. “Your doctors are right, trust me. I know how hard it was to give up donuts and milkshakes for fruit and water. But it was that or die my doctor told me years ago. At least all the dieting and working out resulted in my 6-pack...and an attractive wife.”
Escorting her into his vehicle, Kiki would have rather walked home. The 'click' indicating the seat-belt was closed only worked after the Officer adjusted the belt, stretching it out to the maximum amount before it would wrap around her. “OUCH! My goodness, they need to make seat-belts with more fabric,” cried out a distressed Kiki. Returning to the scolding tone, he commented, “Kid, you don't know how lucky you are. Most people would be placed under house arrest, fitted with an actual ankle bracelet monitor and fined several thousand dollars. I don't think you realize how much trouble I might have gotten myself into for turning my camera off to speak with you. It's against protocol, but hopefully my supervisor will believe me when I said it was a technical error. Now BE QUIET and consider asking your parents for some indoor work out equipment. It's for your own safety.” It did not take them long to drive home, and they bid each other farewell. Kiki was grateful for the Police Officer's kindness. He allowed her infraction to slide because she was a minor.
The Officer allowed Kiki to let herself back into her home. Her parents would punish her harshly enough. Her encounter with the Officer caused her to arrive later than she normally did alerting her parents. Kiki's entrance ended her parent's phone call with the police. The initial relief on their faces disappeared in a flash as they learned the horrible truth.
A yelling match between the trio resulted in the father running out into their shed. “I realize you have good intentions, but you don't seem to understand the severity of the issue at hand! There is a reason why people have quarantined ..” her mother trailed off. “Did she say MONTHS honey,” asked her father. Kiki screamed “I hate being cooped up like this ALL THE TIME, day after day, all throughout the night. I WAS making progress with daily jogging, but then all this RH-1 stuff happened! I've been sneaking out at night to jog in peace! The streets are generally empty, I'm not bothering anyone! I just don't get why the whole world has to suffer, not just me.” Working out used to be such a simple task that as a fat girl she took for granted. Now forced inside she realized how much she missed out on, dreaming that maybe if she had acted sooner her life would have been different.
Kiki's father parents both worked together to bring out the biggest piece of equipment they owned... a treadmill. “After discussing the matter, your punishment will be that you have to follow a set schedule of when to use this 'ancient' indoor equipment,” her mother firmly stated, handing her an exercise schedule. The idea of exercising indoors was sickening enough, but looking at the given schedule, it made everything worse. It included a diet of all the healthy foods she hated. Even teenagers recognize when they've gone too far so she had no choice but to agree. Family WWIII would have started if she rebelled.
Putting the heavily used treadmill away, Kiki realized months had passed. She learned that working out is not easy whether outdoors or inside. Realizing she loved being healthy and her Barbie-style figure she thought “Working out indoors isn't so bad,” as she jumped onto the treadmill for another session. RH-1 was cured, but her desire to maintain perfect health, no matter how never would be.
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Given COVID-19 has changed our lives, most of us can relate (whether it involves working out or other issues).
This story did convey that smaller issues can seem larger on a bigger scale. It was good to see the character's mindset change over something that seemed so impossible, then even when the problem was taken away (RH-1) Kiki was still able to work out indoors because she saw the issue differently. Great Read!
(I know it's a rather late reply) Thank you very much Melanie for your feedback. Hi fellow authors and readers! I'm grateful to those who read my work. I feel I ought to mention this story is not part of the 'Not Just Yet,' story universe. Most of the stories do feature characters and/or locations which may appear if I expand my 'Not Just Yet,' stories on this blog into a full novel.