I’ve already covered how I used to CRUSH my workouts like a sexy beast in the before times so we don’t need to go over that again.  You know it as the truth.  I remind you of that fact to illustrate the point that my legs should be like steel pistons.  Walking all day shouldn’t make me feel like I’m going to die.  Hiking must use different muscle groups and I never got into hiking. 

There’s a big hiking culture in LA but that was never my jam.  I mean if I can’t make hiking shorts look good nobody can.  That’s why I turned down the role of Lara Croft Tomb Raider.  And yes, I did turn it down despite that Variety said, the studio did not pass on me because my boobs weren’t big enough.  My jugs are huge and everyone knows it. 

Don’t beat yourself up about it Ela, you’ve been severely malnourished since coming to the future, you haven’t been sleeping well, you’re been in a state of constant shock, and you’ve been shot at least three times, been bitten by a snake, and that’s all not to mention the fact that you microscopic robots inside of you doing God knows what to your previous insides, it’s no wonder that you’re struggling with trekking cross country.   

That’s all true, and you make a fine point in my defense, but the problem is that Martialla seems to be handling it just fine!  Paul I understand.  He’s more creature than man.  He grew up in this deathzone, he’s been forged by fire into a ugly ball of guts and gristle.  It makes perfect sense that he can travel all day and not cramp up or feel like his ass is going to implode.  And Lucien is fresh out of the tube, he hasn’t had his stamina eroded by bad food and shitty air as much yet.  Plus he was in the military and he’s gay to boot – so he was starting off with a very high fitness threshold.   

But Martialla?  That’s the part that I can’t wrap my mind around.  Is she in better shape than me?  Of course she is, she doesn’t have to waste energy looking good so she can focus purely on practical exercise.   I’m a racehorse, she’s a sturdy old plow mule, I’m a sports car, she’s a rusty old four by four, I understand that. 

But she’s not in that much better shape than me.  She’s got the thick manly build you want for long distance travel but she should still be struggling, maybe a little less than me, but a couple months ago she was picking up my clothes at the dry cleaner and yelling at the pool boy for me – she shouldn’t be used to this any more than I am.

And yet she’s up there with Lucien chatting away about whatever stupid thing they’re talking about while I labor along behind them puffing like a train and wishing that my legs would go numb.  It was enough to make me think about giving myself a shot of the orange nanos but Martialla is right about one thing, we need to be more careful about using them.  I doubt we’re going to find another canister of magic robots any time soon. 

I wish there was a readout or something on the nanotube that would tell us how many are left in there.  Future technology from the past is annoyingly user-unfriendly.  Martialla says that people in the time from which it came probably had some kind of technology installed in their brain that let them interact with tech like this by thought.  But what the hell does she know? 

When they finally called a mid-day halt I flopped face-down into the sticky yet dry stabby yet polleny grass and just lay there.  Martialla came over to give me some mashed-up beetle paste mixed with mung but I was too tired to sit up.   She lorded over me like a sovereign, clearly enjoying my struggle. 

“Do you want me to massage your legs?” 

I wanted to refuse.  I wanted to tell her to die and go straight to hell.  But instead I just plaintively squeaked out a “yes” and wallowed in my shame.  Martialla’s man hands are unsightly to say the least, but they are good for some things, cracking open crab legs for instance, and they’re great when it comes to soothing sore muscles. 

I’ll admit that taken out of context the sounds I was making were more than a little obscene.  Lucien moved away, he said to find some high ground to try and figure out where we were, but I think it made him uncomfortable.  Paul on the hand came over and stood there all but panting like a dog.   

“What the hell is your problem Paul?” 

He took off his backpack and pulled out his stack of 70s girlie magazines “I’ve seen this in here.” 

Martialla shook her head with a chuckle “This isn’t that Paul.  I’m just helping Ela feel better.” 

Paul open one of his magazines and turned it sides “This look like it feel good to her too.” 

I managed to turn my head to glare at him “Paul get the fuck out of here before I bite your dick off.” 

Martialla gave me a totally unwarranted pinch to the back of the thigh as Paul scuttle off with a hurt look “Be nice to Paul.” 

“Why, so he doesn’t skin me alive in my sleep and fashion that skin into a pillow that he humps?” 

She stopped and gave me a hard look “Don’t do that.  Don’t say that Paul is a psycho killer.  He’s saved your skinny ass more than once.  He’s done what he’s had to do in order to survive in this world, don’t judge him.  Look at what he’s been through.  He doesn’t deserve your abuse.” 

I turned onto an elbow to look back at her “Jesus, you don’t really care about him do you?  What the fuck is wrong with you?” 

Leave a Reply