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Spadina Literary Review  —  edition 29 page 03


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Hawks and Doves

by Ajay Tulsiani

Andrew twisted the tap to the extreme and raised his face to the cold shower. His body shivered. He grit his teeth and pressed his palms to the tiles of the wall. John had said cold showers are ideal for instant motivation and Andrew needed that. He turned around and let the water hit his back. It had been three weeks since he started listening to John’s lectures. Just two more weeks and Andrew would be a Wild Hawk.

The water made his vest and jeans stick to his skin. Andrew grabbed his vest at the chest and tried to tear the vest apart. He remembered a scene from an action movie he once saw where the hero tore off his vest and fought the goons teasing his wife.

The fabric of Andrew’s vest proved too strong. His motivation faded. He turned the tap closed.

Slowly he walked to his bedroom and changed into dry clothes: experience told him he caught flu easily. The doctor had prescribed pills to be taken in case he got wet in the rain. Andrew looked at the bottle of pills waiting on the side table. Next to it stood a second bottle of pills intended to reduce anxiety. John had told him to throw away both bottles. “Real men don’t rely on pills,” were the life coach’s words.

Andrew didn’t have the courage to throw away the pills, which were expensive moreover. But maybe it was time to sign up for John’s Military Standard Fitness Program. He turned on his laptop and started a Skype call with his life coach John.

John waved his thick forearm in the monitor. An army-green T-shirt clung tightly to his bulging biceps. “Hey buddy what’s up?” he said in a forceful baritone voice.

“Hey John, how are you doing?”

“I can’t hear you, man. Speak up.” John put an open palm behind his ear and leaned forward.

“I said, how are you doing?”

John shook his head. “Still can’t hear you.”

Andrew took a deep breath and screamed into the laptop. “I said, how are you doing?”

John clapped his hands. “Right! That’s how a man speaks. I’m doing good buddy. Just did seventy push-ups and now I’m going to go to Stephen College to give a seminar on how to be tough. So tell me, buddy, how was your day?”

“It was terrible,” replied Andrew. “I ordered a mattress at a local shop and it arrived yesterday but the mattress is defective. It has already gone soft in the middle.”

“I hear you, man. So what are you going to do about it?”

“I called the shop owner in the morning and he said he’d come by to check the mattress in the evening. But he didn’t come. I went to the shop to personally ask him to come. He was busy on his mobile and said he’ll come after two days.”

“What did you say then?”

“I asked him to make sure to come after two days.”

John shook his head. “You don’t have to ask him, you have to command him. You’re the one who has paid him for the mattress. You’re his boss. You pay his salary. You have to speak up and just blast him.”

Sitting on his bed, Andrew grabbed a pillow. “I just got scared. I don’t know, I just wanted to get out of there.”