Natural Adversaries

The man swayed drunkenly when he entered the gym. Heather knew he would be trouble. He had an unkempt look about him–not a homeless man, but a construction worker maybe. He wore a green hoodie and a ball cap likely plucked from the recesses of a beer case.

“Hey,” he said to Heather, who used the desk of the cafe as a shield.

“What can I get for you?” she asked, skipping the how-do-you-dos.

“Uh, a beer,” the man sniggered. He thought he was charming. He leaned on the cafe bar and reeked of vodka or just plain rubbing alcohol maybe.

“This is a cafe,” said Heather. “And a gym. (I’m a gymbarista.) Did you want a water or a coffee?”

He waved his arm, thumbing over his shoulder.

“There’s a guy crying back there.”

“Back where?” Heather asked. She thought about the many ways she could incapacitate the drunk without the police seeing her self-defence as excessive.

“Oh, you know.” He leered, elfish face fixed in a drunken smirk. He slipped some sunglasses over his eyes. “I look cooler in these.”


“Just checking the place. The customer service.”


Heather filled up a glass of hot water from the coffee maker, pretending to be busy.

A jingle made her jump.

“Fucking texts,” said the drunk. Heather remembered she kept a 2kg dumbbell behind the bar to roll around like little wagon wheels when she was bored. She wrapped her fist around the handle, hiding it out of sight of the drunk.

“You buy a guy one hooker for his birthday and he gets all pissy…”

Heather wasn’t sure if he was kidding. She was beginning to wonder if he’d ever give her an excuse to scald and clobber him.

“Am I right?” the drunk asked. He held up his fist. Heather threw her hot water at him, but missed–it sloshed over his shoulder. Somehow he didn’t notice, still blinking his beady eyes behind those shades. His fist was still held up. Heather was leaving him hanging. She made to dap the fist with her own, the dumbbell still inside it. The drunk didn’t notice that, either–even when he missed Heather’s knuckles and rapped against the dumbbell weight.

He wobbled his way out of the gym. The fool never knew how close he came to utter destruction, Heather thought. They never do.




Day 345’s three random writing prompt categories were, “A barista,” “Ale,” and, “A compulsive liar.”

More adventures in Heather’s gym cafe. The events of this prompt happened to me just a few minutes ago, almost verbatim (except I’m in a hotel, not a gym cafe, and I rarely attempt to maim my customers).

20 more prompts, kids! We’re almost at the finish line.

– H.

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