Fiction Prompt –– Phys Ed
The President's Fitness Test. An annual event of anxiety and entertainment that amped up the usual mood of gym-class through my youth.
The opportunities for hilarity –– always close to hand in a mixed-gender high-school class where the gym teacher had a tendency to turn nearly purple with emotion when anyone did anything vaguely teenager-esque –– were legion. I don't remember much pantsing going on, but there was definitely some flatulence (both inadvertent AND deliberate), and the odd fainting.
My buddy, Judy Hall –– she had green eyes and lived in the farmhouse that my great-great grandparents once owned –– was a wiry farm kid, astonishingly fast with the sit-ups, always in the top rank. My own best skill was hanging on. I could suspend myself overhand for what seemed like ages, thinking about something else.
Which brings us, by a wide-ranging path, to a writing warm-up.
*No surprise, since the country grows ever less fit, that the test was discontinued in 2012.
His husband said it over and over: Damont couldn't take a picture to save his life. And this one, the last image on his trusty GoPro, was no exception.
According to several witnesses, Damont was attempting a selfie, holding the camera at arm's length, squinting into the sun. Possibly hungover –– he was vacationing in the Keys with his family after all –– his hand wavered visibly, so his last expression is lost to us.
And then came the curious chain of events that led this tourist from Detroit to his unlikely demise at the fangs of a spray-painted king cobra on the beach in Key Largo early one Easter morning.
"Ain't that the truth," Theresa said as she snapped the picture.
Susan snorted dismissively, but Bobbi laughed with her usual abandon, one big hand on the straining knot of her sarong, the other inching down her sloping belly. Catching her breath after a long minute, Bobbi managed to wheeze out, "Falling! Coconuts!"
Theresa shrugged, but Susan could tell that she was inwardly pleased. Theresa played tough, but the woman loved an audience.
"Cuckoo for coconuts over here." Theresa made as if to order drinks from the non-existent pool-boy. Bobbi was inching the sarong back up her formidable front and didn't hear the quip. Susan pretended she wasn't listening. You couldn't just give her the laugh.
"Ooh, look!" Bobbi said, pointing with her free hand. "Freaky pool float!"
Later, Susan thought it might have been the funniest and most gruesome thing any of them ever said, but then Theresa was running into the water, yelling "Call 911! Call 911!" in her paramedic's voice, and Susan was pawing at and then upending her straw satchel, trying to find the goddamn phone.
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