Going to the gym for Emma Spencer was a treat as a reward for all the “stuff” she had to deal with day in, day out. Although you wouldn’t think it was such a treat when you see her struggling for breath on the cross trainer or trying in vain to keep up with those young pretty things who, she swore, went to the gym just to show off and make older people like her feel bad about themselves. “Why”, she often wondered, “would a girl with a 20 inch waist, sculpted thighs and boobs like two rocks in a bag want to come to the gym and burn less calories than can be found in a cucumber other than to annoy the hell out of normal women and make men want to stick their hands in their pockets in search of relief?”
Emma, in her mid forties, enjoyed the two hours or so she spent at the Finesse Gym twice a week where she did not have to think about work, housework, her mother, children, husband, bills or all the things that demanded so much of her time, energy and emotions. She hated the fact that she was not getting any younger and whilst there were many things she could do about retarding the ageing process, all of these things took a lot of time, effort, self denial and above all, money. Besides, looking good was hard enough but, feeling good was almost impossible to maintain because you cannot massage, wax, exfoliate, moisturise or liposuction how you feel. She felt she was getting old and resented that fact with passion.
Sometimes, she blamed her mother for what she has become because she noticed that since she had children, she began to sound like her mother and worse still, one or two people remarked how much she looked like her. She blamed her husband, David for growing old gracefully and not caring about how he looked, or even how she looked; he just readily accepted new realities as though he had experienced them many times before, even the gradual loss of libido on both their parts did not seem to bother him and if it did, he never admitted it. She also blamed her children for being so clingy, demanding and not grateful for all the things she did and continued to do for them. That last feeling troubled her the most, she adored her children, of course, and she occasionally felt very guilty for feeling the way she did about them and that made her even angrier with them than normal for making her feel guilty about her resenting them taking away her youth. Finally, Emma blamed all her family and friends for once a year reminding her it was her birthday and sending her unfunny “funny” birthday cards that said things like:
“You are 21 for the second time! Here is another key of the door, you must have misplaced the first one”, or
“This is a birthday reminder for you because at your age, you are bound to forget”, or
“I baked a special cake for you, Meals on Wheels will be bringing it round soon.”
On and on, they went. “Who are those sickos who write this crap on birthday cards?” she wondered.
Emma had a routine going on at the Finesse Gym. On Tuesdays and Fridays she went for the “Group Kick Boxing” class for 45 minutes and it was her ambition to be able to kick that damned punch bag once without falling over; she then went on the bicycle or cross trainer for 30 minutes; finally, Sandii (what kind of a name is that, for God sake?), her 12 year old personal trainer motivated her for 30 minutes on various apparatuses (or is it apparati?). Actually, Sandii Smithson was a 27-year-old fitness instructor who probably had 1 gram of fat for each year of her life in her entire body, disregarding the possibility that should the Ice Age unexpectedly return and food supplies dwindle to nothing, she would be in real trouble! Improbable as it was for all of this to happen, the thought comforted her, somehow.
She could not fault Sandii in any way; she was sunny, polite and always encouraging without being patronising. Sandii also had a body to die for; the kind of body, women like her wanted to have and for that matter, so did all the men who watched her go about her work at the Finesse Gym. Sandii was single and shared a flat with an actress-cum-waitress called Jasmine McGuire and a very smooth, to the point of being slimy operator estate agent called George Barnes. Both flat mates were of similar age to Sandii and all three were great friends who largely socialised together. Rumour had it that there was some kind of “ménage-à-trois” going on between them however, they never confirmed or dispelled such rumours.
One Friday, Emma did her kick boxing class and went on the cross trainer but she was feeling flat and lethargic so, she did not put too much effort in to the whole activity. Finally, when it was five minutes before her appointment with Sandii, she stopped, wiped her face and neck of the non-existent perspiration that should have been there but wasn’t and went off to the Health Bar to get a glass of carrot & orange juice. She took the long cocktail glass and sat at her usual table waiting for Sandii to come and join her for the usual 5-minute chat to discuss what areas to concentrate on. She was going to ask Sandii for tummy exercises as she noticed a slight beer belly taking shape around her midriff. She wouldn’t have minded if she was a beer drinker but; she suspected it was bread, or rather wheat; her sworn enemy. The carrot & orange juice that day did not taste as fresh as the name suggested; she wondered how long ago the juice had been extracted.
= Excuse me, are you Sandii’s sweater?
– Sandii’s what?
= Sorry, are you Sandii’s 11:30 trainee?
– Tha’s not what you just said
= No, I did not mean to offend, “sweater” is what we refer to our trainees on count of us making them sweat
– Very amusing, thanks for the compliment. Yes, I am Sandii’s 11:30 sweater. Where is Sandii anyway?
= She has an urgent matter to attend to and she asked me to apologise to you for not letting you know sooner.
– Okay, what happens now, shall I go home?
= Not at all, I am here to offer my services instead of Sandii. My name is Cameron and I will be happy to work out with you if you are okay with it too.
She looked him up and down and checked for any hints of sarcasm, irony, or arrogance and could not find any negative thing about him or his demeanour. He was no more than 25 years old, between 6 and 6 foot 2 inches tall; the white T Shirt with the Finesse’s logo hid his skin but accentuated his toned torso and showed his six-pack very clearly. The short sleeves of the T Shirt showed he had a tattoo on one bicep that said “Love” and a strange squiggle which looked like Arabic on the other bicep. He had thick dark brown hair, which was purposely and carefully tousled to give it the fashionable “just got out of bed” look. The face had a two-day growth with strong jawline, high cheekbones and thick eyebrows that framed and defined the deep-set dark brown eyes that drew you in and held you in their gaze, which you could only reciprocate for a few seconds at a time. Her first reaction was to think what she always thought upon seeing a handsome young man: “Oh, I adore my two daughters but; I wish I had a handsome son to be proud of.” But, there was another feeling stirring deep within her that she had to keep in check as it won’t do to go down the fantasy alleyway, it got you nowhere except to disappointment and embarrassment. Besides, David, the girls and her friends would only laugh at her.
As she laydown on her back, Cameron bent down on his knees and positioned himself at right angle to her and said: “okay, I want you to keep your legs straight and lift your back no more than two inches and reach over with your stretched arms as though you are trying to touch your toes. Do this 20 times please.” She felt vulnerable in the configuration Cameron had devised for her but she did ask him for exercises to help her tighten her stomach muscles. Cameron stayed on his knees next to her throughout this exercise and the two minutes he allowed her to rest; and she wished he would move away a little as she was feeling a little self-conscious being so close to a strange young man.
To her surprise, Cameron made her do the exercise again before he finally stood up, held both her hands and pulled her up on her feet. He then placed a hand on her waist slightly above the hip and guided her towards a machine that formed a right angle cocoon to sit within. She used the machine once before with Sandii but did not like it because the sitting position was low and forced you to have your legs above your trunk pressed against a metal plate which you had to push up against a variable weight set by the trainer. Not only was her trunk lower than her legs, it was at a significant angle whereby her head was lower most. In general, the position was quite undignified and the exercise hard on the lower back and abdomen.
Cameron was not the type to take “no” for an answer, he listened to her mild protestation about the machine, smiled and said he had a couple of tips to help her cope better with it. He let her arrange herself as best as she could and then reached over and lifted her hips with both hands and pushed them up a bit and slightly to the left. She was now getting a little affronted by the forwardness of the young man; not many people have manhandled her so freely without so much as a “Howdy Ma’am”! Again, Cameron maintained a business like attitude to the whole encounter and continued to give practical instructions firmly but without aggression. Cameron gave instructions asking her to push the weighted plate fast with her feet as far as the plate can go and then let it return to the rest position slowly. She pushed slowly and returned quickly, which annoyed him a little and he repeated his instructions and started his count from one again.
Cameron reached over and placed his hands on her knees and explained that he wanted her to push as far as it is possible until her knees locked straight, she was to hold the position for a second or two before slowly returning to the rest position. Satisfied she got the idea, Cameron explained: “the secret is in the rhythm, it makes it more enjoyable”. She wondered what he was talking about and tried to get the rhythm going again. Not only did this last tip make her lose her rhythm, she actually stopped and protested that she was exhausted. He finally relented and let her abandon this wretched torture machine. For the final 10 minutes or so, he had her lie on top of one of those gigantic inflated balls and asked her to roll from side to side without losing balance. That was relatively easy and she acquitted herself better on that.
Cameron gave her a final talking to about doing the floor exercises at home once in the morning and once in the evening to build up the inner and outer muscles of her midriff.
That night after having dinner, watching television and discussing possible holiday destinations with David and the girls, she had her 3rd shower of the day and joined David who was already in bed reading a book on architecture on his Kindle. She flicked through a magazine for a couple of minutes, tossed it on the floor, turned the light on her side of the bed and slid down to her usual sleeping position on her left side and facing away from David.
* Are you okay darling?
– Yes absolutely
* Are you sure?
– Perfectly sure
* Good night darling
– Yes, good night
David switched off his light and slid down on his right side. Emma drifted to sleep with the smell of Cameron in her nostrils and his breath on her face.
Sandii returned to work and all went back to normal. She looked out for Cameron at the Gym and glanced him a couple of times from a distance working with other “sweaters” and she felt a pang of jealousy but, life goes on, she reminded herself.
One Sunday morning, she drove to the supermarket to pick up a chicken and vegetables because the family wanted a chicken roast instead of the lasagne she planned to prepare. As it was 10:05 in the morning, she had no time to fix her make up, do something with her hair or think carefully about what she wore; she literally jumped out of bed, brushed her teeth, then her hair, tied it in a pony tail to get it out of the way, put on a loose T-shirt and a pair of jeans and rushed out. She neither expected to meet anyone she knew, nor she cared if she had, hoping they would be in worse state than her.
Trolley loaded with chicken, potatoes, fresh spinach, carrots, shelled peas, granary bread, eggs, milk and tea bags, she stopped at the chilled dessert counter and was eyeing the tiny tubs of mousses and yoghurts wondering whether to get some for the girls and David when a voice whispered in her ear: “You are a very naughty girl!” Not recognising the voice, she spun round in protest when those brown eyes twinkled and smiled at her. She blushed and began to explain that she wasn’t buying for herself but for the family.
– Why am I apologising? Why are you standing by the dessert counter yourself?
= I often come here to check if my trainees are being naughty and low and behold, here you are!
– I am not one of your trainees, or “sweaters” as you call them
= You will be as of two weeks from now
– What do you mean? Is Sandii leaving or something?
= Something like that. She met a famous actor through her actress flat mate and she has taken up a job as his full time personal trainer
– She didn’t say anything to me last Friday
= Well, she only handed in her resignation yesterday. Dan was not happy at all; we are already short of trainers. Anyway, the rest of us had to share her “sweaters” and you were allocated to me, I protested and begged Dan to have mercy on me but; what can you do?
– That’s annoying!
= I am not that bad!
– No, it’s just that Sandii and I developed an understanding and she knew my body and what it needs
= I will get to know your body soon
For the second time that morning, she blushed and hated him for making her blush; something she thought she stopped doing since she turned 16! “God, that was such a long time ago!” she thought.
– Anyway, I must get on with my shopping; have a nice weekend, or what’s left of it
= Yes, you too. Can’t wait to start working on you
As she queued at the checkout, she wondered if Cameron’s turn of phrase was just a little clumsy or if he was flirting with her. She told herself not to be silly; the guy was young, fit and very easy on the eye of any young woman, why would he be interested in an old bag like her? That night, she had a dream she used to have when she was a teenager where a young man would pick her up and jump over a cliff and they would float gently down for what seemed like eternity. They continued to float until she woke up with a start and found herself sat up right in bed with beads of sweat covering her face and neck. She reached over to her glass of water and drank it all in one go and immediately regretted doing that because she had to get up and go to the toilet; even her bladder was reminding her she was not a young woman any more. She wondered what that dream meant.
Emma saw Sandii for the last time on a Friday; she gave her a good luck card and the two women hugged without much emotion. It was obvious Sandii was happy to be leaving, or at least excited about her new adventure. Cameron came over at the end of the session and the three sat down for a juice at the bar to discuss her exercise regime. Most of the conversation was between Sandii and Cameron; it felt like she was being handed over like a patient between two nursing shifts in a hospital. Finally, with a straight face, Cameron said: “Great, you are in safe hands, see you next Tuesday.” She explained that she will not be coming next Tuesday or Friday as she was going away with her husband on a mini break to Vienna but, she would see him the following Tuesday.
= How was Vienna?
– Amazing, we loved it
= I love Italy
– We went to Vienna, Austria!
= Yes, I know, you said. I am just saying I love Italy
– You confused it with Venice didn’t you?
= If you say so. Now, shall we make a start on this body of yours?
– Yes please but, you have to take it easy on me after my break
= Don’t worry, I will be gentle with you
Cameron was as good as his word and he eased her slowly into the exercise routines. He was also chatty and witty; he seemed to know a lot about Vienna and for that matter Venice. She could not make out this young man at all! He was forward without being rude; he was funny without being sarcastic; he was knowledgeable without being arrogant; but above all, he was flirtatious towards her in a way that confused her deeply. Was it just his gregarious and easy nature or, was he making advances towards her? If it was the former, then she thought she was okay with it. If it was the latter then she needed to deal with the matter head on. For a start, she was happily married to a wonderful and loving man who she had known for longer than Cameron had been alive. She was the mother of two daughters who would be more justified to have designs on Cameron. No, no, no, this was completely ridiculous and she had to put an end to it pretty damn quick.
On the other hand, she asked herself: “What has Cameron really done?” The answer was simple, nothing at all! He just said things, which may be construed one way by one person and quite another way by someone else; sure there was physical contact but it was no more than Sandii had ever done and she never made a big deal out of Sandii’s occasional contact with her waist, legs, shoulders or hips for that matter. So, were she to confront Cameron with her suspicions the whole issue might get out of control to the point of either her being thrown out of the club or Cameron losing his job, and for what? She would never be able to live down the negative attention and rumours that will descend upon her.
She resolved to ignore the entire matter and concentrate on her keeping fit as she had a target of 6kg loss by Christmas. So, for the next few weeks she went to the Finesse Gym and did her routines while Cameron carried on being his usual sunny, amusing, tactile, and slightly cheeky in his conversation with her but, a thoroughly dedicated and hard working professional who cared about his trainees and wanted them to get the most out of their struggle for fitness and weight loss. He occasionally talked to her about his plans and ambitions, he was in a loose relationship with a girl but the girl was not ready for commitment however, he was okay with it because you can’t force these things, he had another part time job to supplement his income and savings as he wanted to buy a flat but he never explained where he had that part time job and she did not ask.
Emma arranged to see her old friend Pippa for lunch and a spot of shopping. She had known Pippa for many years and when Pippa wanted a shopping therapy, she had to have one. Pippa had been divorced for 5 years and she never regretted it, her settlement from her rich architect and philandering husband had been handsome and secured her a life of comfort until she kicked the proverbial bucket, which she made damn sure was placed as far away from her feet as possible not by healthy living, far from it but, by a series of cosmetic surgeries to lift this, tuck that, and nip the other. As far as Pippa was concerned, looking young was all it took to live longer.
Shamelessly, Pippa liked young men who were half her age. She lured them with her manufactured looks, but failing this, then with promise of clothes, holidays, fancy places or simply money; she did not care which as long as they were lured.
Although she and Pippa had little in common, they enjoyed each other’s company for short bursts and that would include the occasional shopping trip at the Mega Mall west of the City. Pippa drove them in her Audi TT roadster and they got there around 11:30. They concentrated on the expensive boutiques and tried all sorts of outfits on. She had no intention of clearing out her bank account; she just wanted to try things on, Pippa however, was a serious spender. After a couple of hours of trying all manner of clothes, shoes and accessories, Emma managed to get a sky blue belt for a dress she had and in spite of the fact it was only the first week of November, Pippa cheered up half a dozen sales staff in as many shops by helping them reach or even exceed their sales targets for the whole month. When they left the sixth boutique shop, Pippa noticed a brand new sports clothing shop next door and said: “oooh look, you might find a track suit in here, I will treat you to one, come on”. Pippa literally dragged her inside and they began looking through the various brands of tracksuits from Adidas to Nike. Pippa was more enthusiastic than she was, urging her to try some on but she wasn’t sure.
= Hello ladies, can I help you?
+ Yes, my friend here wants a very sexy tracksuit
– Pippa, don’t say that! Oh Cameron, what are you doing here?
+ Oooh, you know each other already?
– Yes, Cameron is my trainer at the Finesse Gym
+ I am going to join tomorrow morning!
= Well, this is my part time job, here
– You never said
= You didn’t ask, anyway, you need a new tracksuit then?
+ She does not need one darling boy; she wants one. I am also thinking of getting a full kit so; we would like your undivided attention please, gorgeous!
For the next 45 minutes, Pippa was all over Cameron who did his best to remain courteous with Pippa because he realised she was itching to spend money and Emma tried to keep Pippa under control and avert Cameron’s fixed gaze on her for the duration. Finally, Pippa bought considerably more than she was ever likely to use. To get Pippa off her back, Emma finally decided on an Adidas fashionable but not so practical tracksuit and they headed to the Italian restaurant for a well-earned lunch and red wine.
+ Your Cameron is quite a dish
– He is not “my Cameron” Pippa, don’t be ridiculous
+ Can I have him then?
– Don’t be disgusting, honestly Pippa!
+ Just kidding darling, he is all yours
– Pippa, I have no feelings towards him, he is just my trainer and I am one of many of his trainees, he is half my age for God sake.
+ Well, you could have fooled me darling, the way he was looking at you and as for you, you were as fidgety as a schoolgirl desperate for the loo! I may be a bit of a slut darling but I am not stupid
– Well, I don’t know what you mean; you are wrong on this one
+ Look darling, we have known each other for more years than I would ever admit to; there was something going on in that shop. Admit it darling
– Well, it is easy for you; you are a free agent since you and Derek divorced. I am a happily married woman with two late teen daughters; it is called cheating in my book
+ Thank you for reminding me of the past darling but for your information, I never cheated on Derek when we were together
– Sorry, it was wrong of me to drag Derek into this
+ No, you were right to say what you said, I don’t mind darling
– Anyway, my circumstances are different form yours
Christmas and New Year came and left. January was bitterly cold and snow came on the first day of February. Between Christmas and February she gained back 3kg of the 7kg she was proud to have lost in the previous 3 months. She promised herself to get back into regular exercise in the spring. She had received a number of emails from the Finesses Gym enquiring why she had not been attending her classes and would she be kind enough to contact the centre manager Dan to discuss any concerns she might have. Finally one January afternoon, she replied to Dan giving notice that she did not wish to renew her membership on April 15th and that she would cancel the direct debit arrangements as of that date. She received more emails expressing sadness at her decision and asking her to re-consider. Another email came offering her a 25% on her next year’s membership and she would get a complementary free juice on every visit she made to the Gym over the following 6 moths. When she ignored that final appeal, an old fashion letter arrived from the regional manager expressing personal sadness at the possible loss of a valued customer such as her, offering a 40% discount and a free juice for the entire coming year.
The letter also contained an article extolling the virtues of regular exercise and contrasting that with the alternative sedentary life style and all the associated illnesses. She threw this last missive along all the other junk mail from the local take away pizza, some “trade your gold for cash” company and the persistent double glazing company who offered free fitting and after installation maintenance! That last one was not a clever advertising ploy “if they fitted the darn things well, why would they need after installation maintenance?” she thought to herself.
She was looking forward to the weekend. More precisely, and apart from light housework, she was looking forward to doing nothing more strenuous than lifting the odd glass of wine, making a simple sandwich and flicking through the pages of her book without having to worry about the girls or David who were going to Durham University for an assessment weekend for her A-Level daughter who applied to read English Lit. David volunteered to drive her up and the younger sister just went for the ride and to keep the father and older sister from fighting all the way there and back; it was what they did as a matter of course and the younger sister was invariably the peacekeeper.
The assessment was due to start around 11:00 a.m. on Saturday and finish by 2:00 p.m. the following day. The University offered accommodation to the prospective students but not to their accompanying families. David booked two rooms for himself and his youngest daughter at the Travel Lodge just outside the city to spend Saturday night there. He planned to take his daughter sight seeing, weather permitting, and then an early Sunday pub lunch somewhere before collecting the older daughter and heading back down south on their 200-mile trek.
She waved them goodbye at 5:30 Saturday morning and under protest, David drove away with the girls still in their pyjamas who insisted on changing to day clothes at one of the motorway stops and David could not understand why they couldn’t just put on the usual baggy sweaters and jeans before leaving but, there were many other things David could not understand about teenage girls, including his own daughters so, he kissed his wife and grudgingly got on with it.
Emma spent Saturday shopping for clothes and went to see her mother for a couple of hours to help her with polishing the silver her mother was eager to have done. In the evening, she watched television and went to sleep reasonably early.
She woke up on Sunday around 10:00, went to the kitchen, made herself a cup of tea and went back to bed. She read for a while and finally got up around 12:45, looked out of the window and noticed the skies were overcast with dark clouds. She began to potter around the house; she vacuum cleaned, dusted and polished; she washed, dried, and put the washing away; she smoothed down things, fluffed up other things and straightened everything else. Finally, she had a salad lunch with two large glasses of red wine, cleared up and walked to the lounge, which felt a little too cold. She thought she would start a fire going in the afternoon in time for David and the girls return. But first, a well-earned hot bath was her highest priority.
Emma eased herself into the hot bath and made an audible “mmmm” sound, she let her body relax and mind wander. She thought about her daughters and felt a twinge of love towards them; they were good girls, beautiful (it wasn’t just her biased opinion, many of her friends told her they were), hard working, and generally well behaved, save for the constant fights between David and older one. As for David, she really loved him, he was also hard working, generous, even tempered, dependable and, yes, loyal and faithful.
Her work as a freelance columnist for the local newspaper and her poetry was also occasionally published, both of which provided her with some income for those extra things in life like presents for friends and family; treats for the girls and the occasional make over she had at one of those upmarket salons. On the whole, she felt her life was very satisfactory and if she was pushed to provide a yes or no answer to the question: “Are you happy?” she would have to say: “Yes”. There was no law that stated: “if you are bored or unfulfilled, then you are not happy”. Unfulfilled was a weird and meaningless expression, anyway.
Suddenly the image of Cameron flashed in her mind and she had to sit up and break her train of thought to dispel the mirage. She hadn’t seen Cameron in almost 3 months but, she had many day dreams about him, especially in the early days and every time she received an email from the wretched Finesse Gym urging her to return. She gradually trained herself to think less and less about him by physically changing what she was doing to snap herself back to the ordinary reality of her everyday life. The water began to feel cold so, she had to snap herself out of her daydream. She soaped and rinsed and stepped out of the bath. She put on a long white cotton bathrobe and headed for the bedroom to put on some make up and find some Sunday afternoon casual clothes. She stretched out on the bed for a couple of minutes and turned the radio on. The announcer promised a Sunday Afternoon Play after the news. She thought that would be fun to spend half an hour listening to a good story. However, she remembered the cold lounge and rushed downstairs to start a fire in the lounge fireplace before the play started.
Emma left the fireplace roaring nicely and returned to the bedroom to listen to the play. She peered through the bedroom curtains and was surprised by the heavy deluge outside; the rain was relentless now. The play started so she lay down on the bed to escape in to a world of fantasy for a while.
The doorbell rang; “Damn” she thought, “ I just got into the play! I hope it’s not one of those religious groups trying to get me to convert to their sect.
– Cameron! What are you doing here?
= Why did you stop coming to the Gym?
– What? I wrote ages ago cancelling my membership.
– I don’t see what business of yours it is! Look at you, you are absolutely soaking to the skin, you will catch your death
= I don’t care! I want to know what I did to make you stop coming
– Did the Gym send you?
= Stop making fun of me please!
– Cameron, I am not! Look, come in and dry up before you catch pneumonia or something worse
He only had a T-Shirt and jeans on with a pair of trainers which he took off just inside the front door; she noticed he didn’t have any socks on, “silly boy!” she thought. She ushered him to the lounge where the fire was roaring and the room pleasantly warm.
– I will get you some dry clothes, you had better take these off and I will put them in the tumble dryer for you.
Emma went upstairs and retrieved a pair of David’s tracksuit trousers and an old sweater. She came down again and found Cameron had taken his T-Shirt off with his back to her facing the fireplace. His back was smooth, dark, toned and wet, she turned her face to one side and stretched her arm out and said: “here you are, try these on”. He turned around and reached out to take the dry clothes from her and his hand grabbed hers and pulled her towards him.
They lay on the floor in front of the fire until they both drifted to deep sleep.
Mummy, where are you? We are back!
She sat up with a blind panic! She got up and ran down the stairs to try and explain. David and the girls were standing in the lounge. David said: Darling what’s the matter; you look like you have seen a ghost! The lounge is freezing; we were hoping you would have started a nice warm fire for us!
Emma looked around and could not understand how the lounge was so cold, tidy and no trace of Cameron or his wet clothes.