XII. Carnal Compliance
The man shook his butt while he walked, and it seemed to be a maneuver he'd practiced and perfected over time. Cait exaggeratedly imitated him. He walked into an athletic club near the shopping district we'd walked passed earlier. It was called 'Panther Gym'. The windows were plastered with pictures of muscled men in tiny workout shorts. None of them were remotely smiling, and they all appeared to be wearing makeup.
"This joker would go into a place like this," said Cait, "follow my lead." She walked inside. The meshed man was actually an employee. He was attaching one of the large jugs to a water cooler in the lobby. The room was loud with techno music and a display of power bars clustered the glass reception desk. Instead of price signs the boxes were labeled individually by caloric value.
"Hello!" He said without looking at us.
"Hi!" said Cait as she leaned against the desk, "You ignored us earlier when I asked you where the bus stop was. It's okay though because we were actually just on our way to this gym. I didn't realize it was so close. How ironic is that?"
"Sounds like fate," he said dully.
"You're so right."
"Are you interested in joining Panther Gym? We have some great deals right now if you are." His voice was flamboyant, which also seemed to be an attribute he'd practiced and perfected over time.
"We certainly are. We're actually training to do a couples iron man," she put her arm around me.
"That is so cool. I've always wanted to do an iron man," he said, "Well right now we're running a buy one membership get the other membership half off, with a reduced monthly fee from $60.00 a month to 55. For both of you, with the membership fees and the first month, it would be $205 right now. That includes all of the classes, except for Turbo Ass which is $10 per session because it's like amazing, and access to all of our facilities 24 hours a day. We can take another $20 off if you live within a mile of Panther."
Cait looked at me. "That sounds pretty close to what we've been looking for babe," she said.
"Do you have a sauna?" I said.
"Oh gosh yes. We do however have a strict policy about carnal activities in both the sauna and pool here at Panther. You'll have to sign some compliance paperwork if you do end up joining today," he said.
"Oh is that right?" said Cait.
"We've had some issues in the past, unfortunately." He laughed. I felt a little sick to my stomach at the idea of it all.
"Some people just have to ruin it for everyone don't they," said Cait.
"Oh it is a shame!" he said.
"So is there a free trial period we can initiate? I'd like to try the machines to make sure they're adequate before I sign anything."
"I can assure you, they're more than adequate. Panther is ranked the number 1 gym in west side Chicago, and we have a very professional staff... and very expensive equipment."
"That's important. Very good very good. But is there anyway we can try it out today before we sign?"
"I can give you a potential membership pass. It's $5 per person though, and they're only valid for 30 minutes."
"Let's do that. Do you have apparel we could buy or borrow? We didn't really plan ahead obviously," said Cait, pointing out our attire.
"What I'm gonna do for you today is hook you up with some Panther tops and bottoms. I normally only give them for free if you buy a membership, but you two seem pretty serious," he said.
He sifted through a pile of tank tops and handed us two small black shirts with matching shorts. The tank tops had Panther eyes which insinuated nipples, and the shorts had tails on the butt. On the back of the top it said, "Ready for my cat fight... Thanks Panther."
"Oh perfect! This is great!" said Cait, holding up the shirt.
"I know right? We just got those in. They are so fierce," he said, making a cat scratch motion with his hand.
"I'd only like them better if they were mesh," said Cait.
"Oh I know! I obviously agree," he said, pointing to his shirt.
"You know I meant to compliment you about that shirt when we first walked in. You just don't see enough mesh these days," she said.
"Couldn't agree more. I actually sell my own clothing line. I'll give you a business card before you leave today. I make mesh everything. And when I say everything, I mean everything," he said. Cait laughed riotously and we signed the day pass paperwork, including the sheet labeled, "Carnal Compliance".
"I'm Claire by the way," said the mesh man, as he collected our paperwork.
"I'm Sloan and this is my girlfriend Clark," said Cait. I sucked my cheeks into my mouth to stop myself from laughing. Claire led us through the gym to the women's locker room towards the back of the building.
"So how long have you been together?"
"About a week," said Cait, "Facebook official that is. We've been involved for a few months though."
"Well congratulations! It's not true until it's public," said Claire.
"That's pretty much my credo," said Cait.
The locker room door said "Panthettes", and before we walked in to change, Claire reminded us that the room would be under serious surveillance.
"Well isn't that a shame!" joked Cait.
"I'll meet you both in 30 minutes to sign the membership!" said Claire as he walked back to the lobby.
No one was in the small locker room, thankfully, but I could hear water running from the showers.
"Honestly I don't want to be anywhere near rooms that have had to be under surveillance because of carnal activities, Cait." I said.
"Oh relax BABE! Just put on your panthette outfit and let's go get ripped."
We changed our clothes and examined ourselves in front of the mirrored wall. Cait's outfit was absurdly small on her, and her boobs and stomach were spilling from the fabric.
"Look at the eyes on those girls," she said, attempting to stretch the cotton without ripping it.
"I'm actually very creeped out by this entire thing," I said.
"Blame Whim Day."
"I blame you."
"Honey stop.. We'll talk about it when we get home. I don't want it to turn into a... cat fight!" She made a cat scratch gesture like Claire had done.