at the Gym
I've been 6'2", 180 pounds with a 32" waist all of my adult life. One September morning, after a summer of partying, beer drinking, and eating everything in sight, I struggled to snap my jeans at the waist. My belly pushed my jeans below my navel a couple more inches than usual. I took a long look at myself in the mirror and saw the beginning of a small beer gut and decided that I'd better nip this in the bud and head to a gym. I had just moved to a new area 15 miles away from my old apartment, so I needed to find a new one anyway. Once there, they told me of a special they were running on personal trainers, and if I'd like one, they could hook me up. When I accepted, I was told to wait and he'd come talk to me. He arrived and introduced himself as Aaron. His handshake was firm and attached to huge biceps, a narrow waist and muscular legs. He guided me into his office to discuss my plan for losing my small gut and asked if I wanted to start right away, like now. I accepted.
As we left his office
and walked past the reception desk, a guy I know as Joey approached the desk
to sign in. Our eyes met. I used to be roommates with Joey's cousin, but after
a huge falling out, I moved from the apartment the very next day. Joey had
been over a couple of times while I lived there, and it didn't surprise me
to see him at this gym even though I had no idea he lived in this area. He
looked like he worked out at least four times a week. Joey looked at me for
a couple of seconds and gave a quick hello. I'm sure he knew I wasn't friends
with his cousin anymore, so naturally Cousin Joey wasn't going to be overly
friendly with the enemy. I really didn't care. I always found Joey to be a
little full of himself and a cocky bastard.
Aaron put me on a treadmill, set a timer and told me he'd be back. In the distance I noticed Joey approaching Aaron and having a buddy-buddy chat. I figured Joey was a regular here and knew everyone, and I didn't give it another thought. When Aaron returned, he took me off the treadmill and said he had overlooked taking my measurements before we started so that we could keep track of our results. Without hesitation, I followed Aaron back to his office, where he said his measuring tape and calibrator to determine body fat was. Aaron opened the door and motioned for me to enter before him, which I did, and was surprised to see Joey sitting at Aaron's desk, feet up, with his hands behind his head, grinning. Aaron closed the door and stayed behind me, reached behind to click the lock. I had no idea what was going on. After a few seconds of silence, Joey began to speak.
"So, just joined today? Nice running into you. Have you seen my cousin lately?" he asked.
"No," I answered, "Why would I?"
Joey got up from the desk, came around it and walked toward me. In a split second my arms went flying up as Aaron put me in a full nelson. Caught completely off guard, I was momentarily confused and then momentarily immobilized as Joey punched me in the stomach. Aaron's grip was so tight that I couldn't even lurch forward, though my body wanted to. In a few seconds the pain in my stomach hit me almost harder than the punch had.
"That's for bailing on my cousin and screwing him out of rent money," Joey said. An uppercut right in the belly followed and I felt my knees give out, but Aaron yanked me up hard so that my back arched.
"That's for not paying your share of the utility bill," he continued. "Look at you, you got a little soft in the gut, belly boy. Thanks for making this so easy for me," and with that gave me a straight right to the middle of my gut, using my navel as a target. I wanted to fall to the floor and roll up into a ball, but Aaron wouldn't let me, he kept yanking me upright and the pain in my gut took over my entire body. Joey looked me straight in the eye and without missing a beat laid a right, left, right combo right in the belly just below my navel. I hung there, in Aaron's grip, unable to tighten up what was left of my stomach muscles. Joey took a step back and looked me over. "How's your gut feel?" he asked sarcastically while poking me in the stomach with every word.
Up until then, Aaron hadn't said one word. Suddenly his mouth was close to my ear and he said, "How do you like our training methods for losing your gut? It's a little unorthodox maybe, but you won't feel like eating today, I promise."
Joey laughed out loud, "Aaron, give the guy a break, he didn't know he'd be running into me today, or running into my fists, it was just pure luck, for me anyway. Thanks for your assistance my man. You still got him tight? I'm not done yet."
Joey cocked back his fist, took aim at my navel and slammed his fist deep into my soft gut, leaving his fist in place to linger in my flesh. He removed his fist and slapped my gut with his open hand. Even that hurt. Joey turned around, as if to walk away, but not before his elbow came back and hit me square in the stomach while all I could do was remain in Aaron's grip and take it.
Aaron spoke again, "Anytime Joey, you know I like to take advantage of a good beat down opportunity. I think this guy's had it though."
Joey turned back to me, grabbed my checks and asked, "Have you buddy? Have you had enough?" His left fist gave me another uppercut right in my belly. Before I could even react to it, his right fist found its mark just above my navel. Then, with both fists pushed together, he thrust them into my stomach like a cannonball.
I couldn't speak and I couldn't move. Aaron released his grip and I rolled onto the floor clutching my aching gut. They started to talk about me like I wasn't there.
Aaron said to Joey, "Of all the gyms this guy could come to today, what shit luck he showed up here, huh? Did he know you come here everyday?"
"Nope, he had no idea," Joey answered. "The second I saw him I called my cousin. He told me to teach him a lesson he'd never forget. Thanks for helping out. I could have beaten him up by myself, but it's always better to work a guy over with a friend."
"You know it Joey," Aaron answered and they gave each other a high five victory. "I just held him for you though, next time we beat up some punk, let me have a few punches too, you selfish bastard." They both laughed.
Joey looked down at me and said, "Get up. We can't have you groveling on the floor all day belly boy." With that he grabbed me under the armpits and forced me to stand up, then pulled my arms behind my back.
"Aaron," he said, "You want a turn on the belly boy here? I got him."
Aaron stood before me and poked me in the gut, "I don't know Joey, I'm getting no resistance," as he continued to poke at my stomach. Aaron flexed his bicep in front of my eyes and said, "There's a lot of power in this arm buddy, can you imagine how my fist would feel slamming into your gut right now?" He placed his fist on my belly and said, "What about right here? Think you could take a punch in the belly?" He then placed his fist higher, just above my navel and said, "What about here, right in the stomach? Would that be better? I could give you a second to think about it, or I could just punch you wherever the hell I want, I can't decide just yet." I remained silent, and tried to tighten up my gut muscles in case Aaron wasn't just taunting me and was actually going to punch me, but my stomach muscles were beat down and I already had a stomachache from Joey's punches. Aaron pressed his fist into my stomach and as much as I tried to resist, his fist sank in deep and I started to groan.
"Does that hurt belly boy?" Aaron asked. "This is why you wanted to train with me, to lose that gut and be able to resist this kind of force? I could've made that happen for you. I didn't know you screwed over my buddy Joey here, or his cousin, so instead of getting some training, you're going to get a little work over, how does that sound?"
When I didn't answer Aaron, he released his huge fist from pressing into my gut and punched me in the same spot. The ache in my gut was intense.
"Oh yeah, that hurt," said Aaron. "I didn't even punch you very hard. Just imagine if I did, like this." With that he cocked back his arm and slammed his bicep driven fist into my gut, right at the navel. My stomach offered no resistance, his fist sank in deep and I let out a groan. "I think Joey took all the fight out of you," he said.
From behind me, Joey said to me, "Did I? Did I take all the fight out of you buddy?"
These two couldn't get enough of mocking me. I was in a combination of rage and pain.
Aaron gave me two quick punches in the belly, one below left of my navel and one to the right. There wasn't an inch of my midsection that these two goons didn't punch and I hurt all over.
"What do you want to do with him now?" Aaron asked.
"Toss him on the couch," Joey decided. "He can have his stomachache over there for now. We can't let him leave yet. I'm not sure he can walk out here without attracting attention anyway."
"True," said Aaron as he punched me in the middle of my gut. Joey released his grip on me and I fell forward toward Aaron, who took the opportunity to stop me from falling completely by thrusting his fist up into my stomach while guiding me over to the couch.
I hit the couch with a thud, put my hands over my stomach and curled up into a fetal position. I must have passed out for a while. When I woke up I didn't know where I was at first, but the ache in my gut reminded me quickly that I had been worked over pretty good. I sat up and looked around. No one was in sight and it was pretty quiet. I slowly walked over to the door and it was still locked, but I knew Aaron had locked it from the inside, so why couldn't I just release the lock from the inside now and get out? I tried to no avail. I spotted the phone on the desk and went over to call someone anyone, to get me the hell out of that place. It was dead. How was that possible? I was thoroughly confused. I leaned back in the desk chair to stretch out my stomach muscles. It felt better than leaning forward. I realized I didn't have my car keys and wallet. They were in the gym locker I acquired when I arrived earlier. What the hell? I got up and started walking around the office, rubbing my stomach the whole time, trying to keep cool and figure out what to do. I knew they couldn't keep me there forever. Eventually someone had to come back, and the thought of it suddenly sent a wave of panic in my stomach. The thought of them coming back to beat me up again was more than I could think about, and there was no way I could fight them both at the same time, they were just too strong for me to handle. I cursed myself for giving up my martial arts lessons when I was 12.
I heard footsteps coming toward the office door and quickly stepped behind the door so that when it opened I could bolt out. Aaron walked in, saw that I wasn't on the couch, but before he could look around I came out from behind the door, pushed him forward and ran out of the office. An arm appeared out of nowhere and clothes lined me to the floor. In a split second I was looking up at the ceiling, and again the wind had been knocked out of me by the sheer force of Joey's massive arm across my chest. Joey placed his foot across my belly and said, "What? Leaving already?" Aaron came out of the office, pissed off that I had pushed him and said, "Tell this punk that pushing me is not a good idea." Without saying a word, Joey brought his foot down into my aching belly and I jackknifed. I heard Joey speak to someone in the distance.
"Cuz, come here, your old buddy tried to leave sooner than we expected." Appearing above me was my old roommate and Joey's cousin, Paul. He crouched down beside me and calmly said, "So, buddy boy, what's this I hear? You came here for a little workout at Joey's gym and they worked you over instead? That's a damn shame, seems you never know where karma is going to bite you in the ass. You look a little pale, but other than that I can't tell that they beat you up that bad, there's not a mark on your face anywhere."
Aaron interrupted, "He's soft in the belly."
"Hmm, never used to be," said Paul as he poked at my stomach. "Enjoying life a little this summer pal?" He turned his attention to Aaron and asked, "The gym is closed now, right? Is anyone else here anywhere?"
"Nope," answered Aaron, "it's just us."
I finally felt the urge to speak. "Guys, listen. Paul, listen. I'm sorry for everything I did to you. I'm sorry I left you high and dry. I'll pay you all the money I owe you, I'll give you more than what I owe you. I'll act like this never happened, deal?"
Joey answered first. "Paul, you want to let this punk go, you think you can trust him to keep his mouth shut about getting beat up here today? You want to beat him up yourself? Whatever you say goes. This is your gig now."
I was still lying on the floor, Joey on one side of me with his foot on my belly, Paul on the other and Aaron standing in back of me with his arms folded. Paul averted his eyes from Joey to me and said, "I just got an offer I almost can't refuse, Joey and Aaron holding you up while I use you as a human punching bag. This isn't an offer that comes everyday. What do you think pal?" Joey increased the pressure of his foot into my belly and I groaned loudly. Finally, he removed his foot from my aching gut.
"I think I've had enough for one day," I said. "These guys messed up my stomach pretty bad already. Paul, they beat me up for you already, like you told them to. Come on man, I don't want a busted up face, please "
"Whoa, who said anything about busting up your face roomie?" he answered. "What kind of a guy you think I am? I can't leave any marks on you either, so you know what my alternative is," he said as his open hand patted me hard against my sore gut. I grunted. He continued to mock me. "Oh, did that hurt? How bad did these guys beat you up anyway? I'll have to find out for myself." With that he made a fist and thrust it into my gut, which caused me to roll over and curl up. Paul gave Joey and Aaron a message with his eyes and suddenly they picked me up and dragged me over to the weights. They each held one of my arms and put one leg in front of each of mine while I watched Paul pick up a 20 pound one piece barbell that he started doing bicep curls with. After about ten curls, as he brought the weight down, he swung it into my stomach. I let out a groan, it hurt like hell. Every few curls, I'd get slammed in the gut with the weight, but I never knew when it was coming. Joey and Aaron enjoyed watching this, and every so often I heard, "oh yeah, you got him good that time," but I was too busy groaning to know who said it. Paul put the weight back, walked over in front of my face, lifted my head to look me straight in the eye and slammed his bare fist into the pit of my stomach. I lurched forward. Paul pushed my chest up with his left hand and swung his right fist into my gut. Again, he pushed my chest up with his left and swung his right fist into my stomach. This time he didn't push me back up. He tossed a hard low punch into my belly right below the navel. I was going through round 2 of a belly beating like I got from the other guys earlier in the day, and who were now holding me while Paul beat me up. Aaron whispered in my ear, "How's that gut feel partner? Should we get out the tape and measure it?"
I looked down at my belly and saw that it was just hanging there. I wasn't able to suck it in, tighten up any muscles, nothing, just hung there, all loose and beaten up. Aaron took his free hand and started rubbing my stomach up and down, every few inches probing his fingers into various parts of my belly. Every time he dug his fingers into any part of my gut, I could feel that my insides had been rearranged, and it hurt. "This is one fucked up gut now, isn't it? Paulie, look what you did to his gut."
Paul laughed, "Yeah right, look what I did."
Joey chimed in, "I'll take the credit for most of it. I hit him the hardest."
Joey got close to my face and said "tell us belly boy, who hit you the hardest?"
Not wanting to upset Joey, I muttered to him, "You did."
"Damn right I did," he said as his free fist slammed me with an uppercut into my belly.
Aaron spoke to Joey, "Joey, take my new client's other arm for me, he hasn't quite gotten his money's worth for his training session yet."
"Okay buddy," Joey answered. "I got him."
Aaron stood in front of me while Joey had both my arms tight behind my back. Paul stood there as a spectator, thoroughly enjoying watching me get worked over. I wanted this to end and wondered when it would end. My gut couldn't take much more.
Aaron stood to the side of me and started to rub my belly, up and down and in circular motions. It actually felt good. I wanted to do this myself, but couldn't. I closed my eyes. I didn't want to see another fist slam into my stomach, and I didn't want to see Paul's gloating face. My momentary peace was interrupted when Aaron jammed his thumb into my navel and then gripped the surrounding flesh with the rest of his fingers in a claw-like grip and started to squeeze. My eyes opened and my body lurched forward in spite of the grip Joey had on me. When Aaron released his grip on my belly Paul swung a fist into my navel with enough force that Joey released his grip and let me drop to the floor. Then he picked me up by grabbing me under my arms and pulled me up to my knees, holding my arms straight up in the air. Paul stood in front of me and slammed his knee into my stomach. He said, "Now I know how beaten up you are, not quite enough," as his knee slammed into my stomach for a second time. Joey pulled my arms back so that I was on my back on the floor, still holding my arms straight back. Aaron grabbed my feet. They both pulled and had me stretched out completely. Paul stood next to me, and with my gut wide open came down from a standing position and used his knee to pulverize my gut again. He crouched down next to me, rubbed my aching gut a few times and then slammed both fists into my belly. Then he placed one fist into my belly and the other fist into my navel and did a few push ups, up and down, up and down, his fists pressing harder and harder into both parts of my gut with every pushup.
I woke up on the sofa in the office. Once again, I didn't know where I was at first, and the pain in my gut reminded me all too quickly. The first words I remember saying were, "Oh fuck, my stomach."
Joey, Aaron and Paul were all there. Aaron spoke first, "Perhaps the better words would be 'oh my fucked up stomach.' Well, well, nice to see you all awake and refreshed. It's time to send you home. It's almost 3 in the morning. First we need to strike a little deal with you, you understand."
"Sure, what's that?" I asked. "I'll do anything you say."
Joey responded, "See, I told you he'd do things our way."
Paul added, "Yeah, like he has a choice."
"Shut up Paul," said Aaron, who then turned his attention back to me. "As your personal trainer, I suggest you stay in bed a few days and rest that belly. Before you do that though, I want you to tell me exactly what you're going to tell people about what happened to you here today. I'm listening."
"Nothing, nothing happened to me here today," I said.
"Perfect," Aaron stated. "You know that if you think about changing your mind to say anything else implicating me or my two buddies here, the beating you took today will be nothing compared to what the next one will be. Next time we'll turn your stomach completely inside out. Does your gut hurt pretty badly right now?"
"Yeah, it does," I said, holding my hand against my belly, trying not to move.
"Well, that's nothing, "he said. "You got it?"
"I got it," I said.
"Paul," said Aaron, "Anything you'd like from our friend here?"
"Sure," said Paul, "I'd like a year's membership to this gym, paid upfront."
"Done," I said, "Anything else?"
"Yeah, one more thing," said Joey. "I get a kick out of beating up belly boys like you. I want you to set up one of your buddies to come in here, like you did, and Aaron and I will have some fun with him. You let us know who he is and when he's coming, and we'll be ready. I'll give you a month to make it happen."
"What happens if I can't convince anyone to come here?" I asked.
"Then you'll get the same gut work you got today," said Joey. "We'll come find you. It's really very simple."
"I'll do it," I said. "Can I leave now?"
"Sure," said Aaron. "Here are your clothes and your other stuff. Get dressed."
Aaron tossed my jeans and tee shirt at me. I could have left in my gym shorts but he told me to get dressed and I wasn't going to piss him off by ignoring anything he said. It hurt to bend at the waist, but I dropped my shorts and put on my jeans. When I went to button them my distended belly prevented me from easily buttoning at my waist and they were tight. I couldn't suck in my gut, so I pushed them below my navel and let my belly hang over them. I put my tee shirt on over my head and just as I was about to pull it down over my belly, I felt a fist uppercut me in the gut and it sent me down to the floor. I felt two hands tug my shirt over my head and it was Joey.
"Sorry belly boy, I couldn't resist," he said. "That gut is just such a perfect target."
"Yeah," I moaned. "My stomach, my stomach can't take anymore please."
I slowly got up, holding my stomach, and went over to get my wallet and keys from the desk. As I walked past Aaron, he gave me a firm pat on the back that almost sent me flying into the desk. As I put my wallet in my back pocket and grabbed the keys with my other hand, Aaron slapped me with an open hand across my gut. I let out a huge grunt.
"Talk to you soon," he said. "Remember everything we talked about."
"Yeah, I will," I grunted. I thought that if I didn't leave soon, they'd start beating on my stomach again. These guys were relentless and unpredictable. I slowly walked out of the office and Aaron followed as I walked toward the front door. About halfway there I turned to look at him and he made a fist and simulated a mock punch which made me flinch and grab my gut. He said, "Relax, I'm not going to hit you, I need to unlock the door, but I had you going there for a sec, didn't I?" he laughed. I let out a weak smile and said, "yeah, you did." Crazy fuck. Aaron walked in front of me, unlocked the door, gave me a pat on the gut and sent me on my way. I stayed in bed for three days, constantly rubbing my stomach and waiting for it to return to normal. I tried to think of who I was going to set up to be their next victim. I sure as hell didn't want it to be me again. These guys beat up other guys for sport, or for anyone who asks them to for whatever reason. I had to think of someone I didn't like, and how to get that guy to their gym. I just have to do it, they know where I live.