Every so often the Minotaur who manages my gym — three hundred pounds of beef who routinely locks out four hundred pounds of weight over his head — goes into training for another competition, and books Friday night appointments three or four weeks in a row. I have to put extenders on the table for this motherfucker. Seriously: they make side pieces for massage tables that slot into the frame, adjusting a bit toward the head or foot as needed. People asked me, back in the day, why I was ordering them when I bought my stationary table. “You know where I hang out, right?” I said.
I cannot close my hands around the Minotaur’s upper arms. Don’t even try to imagine his thighs. I use fists and elbows, mostly. Up either side of his spine are hummocks that suggest a large mole tunneling under there; he does have a neck, but it takes Filipino finger surgery to distinguish it from the mounds of trapezius that bridge the distance between his skull and shoulders. Both of his hip joints make succulent popping noises and shift tangibly when I traction his legs. We talk a lot of shop while I’m working, which makes me notice that I am breathing hard.
My ripped-up, fascia-torn leg — still going from “no problem” to “God kill me now” in a regular rhythm — has been playing merry hell with me for over a week, except for the Friday nights that I work on this guy. After an hour and a half of pummeling what feels like Goodyear tire rubber, my hair is coming unpinned, my glasses are sliding down my nose and instead of broadcasting disabling waves of kicked-balls, hot-wire pain into every reach of my body, my leg feels fine, just fine. (Yeah, I realize I have no balls, as such, but I’ve had the pain described to me eloquently, as one which leaves you sucking wind and unable to focus attention on anything else. For the apogee of the misery that engulfs everything from my sacroiliac joint to my ankle when this thing starts to flare, it will do as a simile.)
I don’t dare tell the Minotaur this, even though part of me just wants him to book time every evening until I figure out what is going on here. He pays me the ninety minute fee, considering I can’t get through that vulcanized bulk in any less time, and I need the money.