No Happy Endings

There are no happy endings ... unless ... Well, if you want something so badly, there might be the chance, it's going to end badly ...
' ... and they lived happily ever after.' 

That's not real, that's how books end.

Peter put the book onto the table.

In real life, things don't stop there. There is always something else coming up. There is always the next day.

Speaking of which, it was already running late. In fact, it was late, 24 minutes past midnight and the clock still ticking. Tomorrow it would be a regular work day and the alarm clock would ring merciless at six sharp. No point in denying that. It would be best to retire for the night. Better said then done. Some nights sleep wouldn't come that easy and pure logic wouldn't help either.
Five and a half hours sleep wouldn't be perfect, but the next say would still be doable. However, most probably it wouldn't come to that, more likely four.
Peter switched off the light and went for it ...
Random thoughts kept popping up in Peter's mind. It was like carrying small boxes from one corner of the room to another and then yet to another and back to the first corner. Pointless.
And so would be sleeping on the back. His own snoring would wake him up in the end.
It was 12:43 a.m. by now. He knew, he could never sleep on the right side, but it could help for starters.
Not today, though. Music - music would work sometimes. He turned on the music player on his phone ...

'All my bags are packed, I'm ready to go
I'm standing here outside your door
I hate to wake you up to say goodbye ...'
Maybe turn down the volume a bit.
'There's so many times I've let you down
So many times I've played around
I tell you now, they don't mean a thing …'

That could actually work ... in combination with turning to the left side and reducing the volume yet a bit more. Well, it would still take a bit of time …

'You can throw your hands up, you can beat the clock
You can move a mountain, you can break rocks
Some will call that practice, some will call that luck
But either way your going to the history books …'

For sure it will work. The only thing is, at one point you wake up again, because you are annoyed by the music and you have to turn it off. Then you can sleep for good ...
That was, when her face appeared again ...
Then of course there are the regular trips to the loo. An advertisement of a company selling mattresses once claimed, if you have their mattress, you could finish a six pack of beer before bedtime and could still sleep through the entire night. Peter was tempted once to try it, but then suddenly remembered he had never bought that mattress.

***

BEEP BEEP BEEP ... 6 o'clock. Ah, another 10 minutes wouldn't do any harm, would they?
Why not even 10 more minutes. That couldn't be bad, could it?
On the other hand, 20 more minutes sleep wouldn't help much either. No chance, time to get up. Loo first.
Now some exercise. No matter how short the night would be, Peter had always scheduled some time for morning exercise. However, moving 100 kg isn't that easy. So, if three minutes leave you breathless, then that's what it's going to be. One day all this hard work will pay off. Not now, though.
Washing off the night, getting dressed and then breakfast.
Peter put on the kettle and two slices of toast went to the toaster. After a while the machine would repay him with some golden brown slices of toast with a smiley on each one. Peter had thought that might sheer him up every morning. Did it work?
One with cheese and one with jam together with a cup of tea. A few drops of milk in the tea were obligatory.
No need to read the newspaper - no happy endings there, either.
That meant the breakfast wouldn't take that long. After all, Peter didn't need any time for the tea to cool down. He was able to drink it as hot as it came from the kettle, more or less. Maybe that is not healthy, but Peter didn't care. There were other things that weren't healthy either.
Brushing teeth was the only thing left to do before leaving for the office. There was another chance for exercise. Peter had heard of an exercises he could do while brushing teeth, standing on just one food and trying to keep the balance. He wasn't very good in that. It would improve, one day. For the last month, though, there was no improvement. Anyway, that exercise had to be good for something. You'll never know, if you don't try.
Time to leave for work. Peter left the house and went to his car. It was a bit nippy today.

Have I locked the door?

Peter went back to check whether he had locked the door of his flat.

Are all the windows closed?

Peter unlocked the door and went back inside to check all the windows. After he made sure twice. He left again, locked the door again, checked again whether it was really locked and then got into his car.

Are all the windows really closed? Ah, I think, I chance it today.

The drive to the office was relaxed most of the time. The rush hour didn't have any effect on Peter. Most of the other cars were going in the opposite direction. Presumably Peter did something right here. So it was quite safe for him to let his mind wander ...

So, what are we having for dinner tonight? Ah, Mexican would be lovely, didn't have that one in a while ... Oh, isn't there still some chilli sauce in the fridge. Fine, I have some tortillas wrapped with fresh guacamole ... If I can get a nice avocado ... Ah, and with mushrooms and cheese - lots of cheese. Yes, that will be delish ...

Red traffic light. Stop. Now. No problem.

The force is strong in you. That light should turn green now.

Green! Peter continued his trip to the office ...

Anything for pudding? Nah, maybe not today, but I should definitely get some chocolate bars. I think, I have run out of those.

Peter was the first in the office. That wasn't anything unusual. It would, if it be any different. Now at least for an hour he could work in peace. Well, Khan would show up next, but he isn't much of a talker, if you don't trigger him and Ted wouldn't show up before nine, unless a miracle would happen.
The desk was heavily loaded with work. It took only three or four projects in order to accomplish that. Peter was some kind of writer, but usually not many would read it. Who reads a manual anyway, you simply unpack the electronics, connect it and somehow figure things out on your own. Still, who would be buy that junk anyway - things the world doesn't need. Does anyone care for a toaster with integrated Internet radio and text-to-toast function. You can control things with a free smartphone app. It would be outrageous, if it wasn't for free. That would only be a matter of time until they charge extra for it, maybe firstly only for the premium version, but in the end you would have a monthly subscription in order to use the app.
Peter turned on the computer and the hard disk roared to action. Apparently that would take some time, especially with windows needing to process those 30 sudden updates - daily - it downloaded yesterday. This could only mean one thing: time for the first coffee. At home it would always be tea, but at work, Peter was set to coffee mode.
"Morning!"
Khan had arrived, while Peter had gone to the office kitchen to fetch a cup of coffee.
"Morning, nice to see you, Khan."
"Yes!"
Khan wasn't much for the use of words, at least not now. So time to enter the password, check some useless emails and then on with the day's work.
The coffee wasn't any help fighting this sleep deprivation. You can especially notice that when you start scrolling down in your text and suddenly find yourself 20 pages further down than you originally intended. The fact that work today was more boring than usual contributed on the negative time.
9:20 a.m.
"Hola!"
Ted was in the office. That wasn't a new record in being late and apart from 'cerveza' there were no more words Ted could master in Spanish. 
He showed similar symptoms of sleep withdrawal than Peter, but for totally different reasons. However, that seemed to be good. Maybe Ted will be a bit more quiet today. After all, firstly Ted needed to have his breakfast and with a little luck they would make it safely until 10:00 a.m. when they would have their team meeting ... if you could call that team. You could rather call it meeting of uselessness. Sean would be telling everyone the things they needed to do, which they already knew and, if they wouldn't have that stupid meeting, would be doing. Well, maybe Sean would have some extra jobs to get rid of some things he himself didn't want to do - almost everything.
Apart from the usual annoying things, the day at work went by without any incidents.
Peter had a little chat with Carol, the girl at the front desk - work related, of course. Carol was a sweet and lovely person and it for sure was no punishment having to have something to do with her.
At the end of the day - despite of the previous night - Peter could be satisfied with his work output and wasn't ashamed to leave the office exactly on time. 
Luckily, everyone was going in the opposite direction again. A quick stop at the supermarket to get some mushrooms, avocado and chocolate bars and Peter was again in the safety of his home. 
Now he could prepare his dinner the same way as he already imagined on his way to work.
RING RING. The phone rang. RING RING.

No time for that now.

Peter chose to ignore the phone. RING RING. After all he was cooking and didn’t want to interrupt that. RING RING. The phone would stop in time. In fact it just did that.

Usually the phone is ringing, because someone wants something from you, not just because someone like to hear your pleasant voice. I’m not in the mood for that right now and … I have no time anyway.

From then on everything went smoothly. The person who tried to phone Peter didn’t try again and dinner tasted just as he had expected it would, lovely.
What now? What to do with the rest of the day. There were still a few hours left. On the other hand, Peter didn’t have that much sleep last night. So he could have an early night in for a change.
He placed himself and turned on the telly. Oh, another episode of Top Gear. After a few minutes it was evident, he had seen that one already. It didn’t matter …

Oh, what is Vin Diesel doing in that episode of Top Gear? Well, he is not going around that track. What about all those explosions.

Then Peter noticed, it was already dark outside. He had dozed away and woken up a few hours later. Obviously the program had changed. He decided, it would really be the best now to go to bed. So he turned off the television and got ready for the night.

***

97, 98, 99, 100. Well, that was good … for starters. 

Spencer was done with his press-ups. Time to get out outside, breathe some fresh air and do some exercise. He put on his sneakers and went outside to get his bike ready.
“Hello Spencer, how are you today?”
On the way out he met Shannon his neighbour. Somehow she always wanted to get him into a conversation, but he couldn’t see what’s the point of it.
“Fine, thank you.”
“What are you doing tonight?”

Wasn’t that obvious. I’m getting my bike ready and do some exercise.

“I’m exercising. Enjoy your day.”
And off he went giving Shannon no further chance to get him with some more questions or with whatever she was trying to do. Quickly he got to his bike and was ready for action.
Up the street first, then a few turns here and there and he Spencer was out of the neighbourhood, heading towards the countryside. That would be a distance of 5 km, then a bit uphill and downhill for another 10 km and then he would be at his destination.
He parked his bike next to a tree and locked it. Out here it was so quiet and peaceful. No one would disturb him here, when he was running through the woods. There weren’t any other joggers, or hikers or people going for a walk with their dogs. Well, maybe there would, if there would be any proper paths through this part of the forest. But hey, who needs proper paths. Spencer for sure didn’t. So he made his way through the woods, as usual, running, dodging branches and jumping over fallen trees. That was his thing. He was fit as ever and he wouldn’t let anything take this from him.
It started raining, just a few drops, nothing serious. Spencer couldn’t be bothered. He would never take the weather as an excuse for anything, in neither direction.
He would do about 10 km through the woods and then get back to his bike.

Maybe I should think about something challenging for another time.

Spencer was happy, he took such good care of his body. He felt fit and up to any challenge, although most of the exercise he was doing, wasn’t really much of a challenge for him. He could increase the distance or maybe try some other kinds of exercises as well.
For know, though he was satisfied and went back the 15 km home with his bike.
He only hoped, he wouldn’t meet Shannon again.

***

Today Peter had decided for a sleep in, no alarm clock. Whenever his body would say, get up, he would. That obviously didn’t include his bladder. After each brief visit to the toilet, he would return to bed and continue sleeping until the point it wouldn’t work anymore.
It was around 11:00 a.m. when that point was reached. He was feeling okay, at least for a brief moment, but then …

I already wasted half of the day. That’s bad. On the other hand, there is nothing special to do on the weekend anyway. Maybe I can cook up something special today.

Accordingly, after breakfast - though late, but still considered breakfast - he decided to go to the supermarket to see what’s on offer and what special he could whip up afterwards. The supermarket was just about 1 km away. Of course, he could take the car, but he chose to walk as some kind of exercise.

So, if you move your body, you burn up calories and for sure one day, it will repay you.

Walking wasn’t such a great problem for Peter. Even the rain wasn’t disturbing him. After all, it were just a few drops.
About half way to the shop, that guy raced past him on his bicycle.

For sure, he is in better shape and if I do a bit more exercise, things will look better for me, too.

Peter could have used a bit of time today to get out and do some more exercise, but he didn’t feel like it. Walking to the shop should be enough for today and sometimes, well, cooking can be a bit like exercise, too.
Of course, the shop was packed with people, all those who didn’t find time to go shopping during the week and all those, who simply went shopping on Saturday for the sake of tradition.

***

Of course, Emily could have coped without going to the supermarket today, but it was Saturday and at least she would have to check out any special offers. Yes, and maybe fill up her supplies of crisps - maybe there were even some on offer - and some frozen pizzas. One or two bottles of coke for sure would come in handy for the weekend as well.
However, the best thing would be watching people at the supermarket, how they would frantically go through the supermarket with their shopping carts as if next week the end of the world would come and all opportunities to get supplies to survive the impending doom would be lost.
Then there would be the people that have all the time in the world and go slowly through the shop, sometimes blocking the way for shoppers, who were in a hurry. At times you could even see it one their faces they were annoyed because they couldn’t make it faster through the rows.
Indeed, a Saturday morning at the supermarket was always fun. There would always be something happening, you just needed open eyes to see it.
Two bags of crisps would be the least to take, but three would be better. That way Emily would at least have a spare one for emergencies - not that the world would end this weekend, but other emergencies. You could never know.
Here we go again, there was this slightly fat guy with glasses at the fruit and vegetable section. What was he doing? From her perspective it looked like he was sleeping with open eyes in front of the vegetables, much to the annoyance of the bearded man behind him, who just quickly wanted to grasp some tomatoes and move on.
Suddenly the fat guy moved, giving the bearded man an opportunity to get to his tomatoes. Then he would go ‘sleep mode’ again. Really funny.
After a while, though, the guy got really moving, picking up a few vegetables here and there and then he moved on to a different section. Now, that area was boring. Let’s move on and see what else is to see in the supermarket.
Usually the meat counter would be an interesting place to go and see what was going on.
If you were a bit patient, for sure you could meet an old lady there, ordering various little bits of meat and in between changing her orders several times. Again, annoying for other, but fun for Emily. She wouldn’t need something from there anyway. She had her crisps and her coke and the pizzas she would grab just before leaving, that is once she had enough of her people watching at the supermarket for Saturday.
Once Emily had enough of it all she made her way to pay for the goods and wait in line. At one till she saw that fat guy again. He seemed to be a friendly person. He had already let two people pass, who had just one or two items to pay for. However, sometimes you can get surprised by that. You can’t imagine how long it can sometimes take for a person to pay, who comes just with two items to the check-out. There is customer complaint or they have thousands of questions and the sort of thing.
Today, though things seemed to go smooth and there was nothing more special to observe here. Time to go.

***

The trip to the shop had been some kind of disappointment today for Peter. There wasn’t really anything special on offer in regards of fresh vegetables. He had thought hard on what to get, but in the end he decided to have an Indian day today. Therefore he had grabbed some chicken breasts, some yogurt and as he was at least a tiny bit of lucky today, some fresh coriander.
He would have a chicken curry, a potato curry, dal and as a bonus some homemade naan breads. That would make for a nice, comforting and satisfying Indian menu. By the way, it would also feed a few more people.
However, as usual, Peter wasn’t expecting anyone. So everything was for himself. He wouldn’t eat it all up today, but keep some leftovers for the next few days. That’s the way things went these days.
In the past he had the chance to cook for at least one more person, but those times were gone already for a while. He should at one point start to get used to the new situation, but he didn’t.
At least he still enjoyed cooking, although it was just himself who could taste the food. That’s just the way things go.
For a few hours Peter would do some cooking, then have a meal and the rest of the day was open for anything - maybe a movie night. Well, it was always a movie night, some sort of binge watching. Today, maybe he could go for the Back to the Future trilogy. Indiana Jones or Star Wars would have been another option, but since they were more than three movies made it a bit more difficult to manage them all in one go. Of course, you could always split Star Wars into two sessions, but Peter wasn’t in the mood for that tonight.

***

Wine gums - check. Coke - check. Chocolate - check. Everything ready for a great night out to fight the enemies of the realm. Right, computer - check. Mouse - check.
A few more clicks and Kevin was ready to go, ready to fight evil with his paladin and on the way get hold of some nice items and to level up a bit. The night was still young and in 8 hours you can really accomplish a lot. The supplies were sufficient, he was properly rested and he could go to bed at the break of dawn.
First of all, get some new quests and off you go.

Something was going on down at the docks. The merchants were afraid. There were those strange noises at night and already some people had disappeared. For sure that was a job for paladin Stormblade. It was time the merchants could go about there normal business again. Ready for some tiding up.

The first part of the quest was just easy peasy for Kevin, but it turned out there was some greater evil at work there and one thing let to another and some further leads and some further fodder for Stormblade’s sword.
Outside it was already getting darker. The chocolate and coke was still holding up and Kevin got fully absorbed in his quests. Just a normal weekend for Kevin. At times he already had thought about quitting his MMORPG, but then again he simply couldn’t let go.

It would be a lot easier, if someone would just shut down the Internet. That would make things a lot easier, but … that was not going to happen.

It was already Sunday and completely dark outside. Even the streetlights had turned off. Kevin wouldn’t notice anyway. There were more important things to do, some ghouls to slay here, some orcs there, maybe rescue a fair maiden and things like that, just the normal stuff a hero would do.
In a few more hours the light of the day would come back and the time for Kevin to go to bed again would be there.

***

The sun was up and so was Sarah. While yesterday had be mostly grey and a bit wet, this Sunday seemed to be a lovely day. Sunny and lovely - that could only mean one thing, Sarah had to be outside, go for a walk, enjoy nature.
First things first, though, you can only have a lovely day, if you start it well with a nice and healthy breakfast, like some cereal, yogurt and fresh fruit. Strawberries were on the menu today. Just yesterday Sarah went picking strawberries as the season was in full swing.
A cup of green tea together with it and everything would be fine.
Indeed, the weather was promising. So, after breakfast Sarah went out to the park. She packed a book and went outside. It was quite early and so the streets were quite empty. Most people would still be in bed at that time. The neighbourhood was relatively quiet. There were no movements in the house she passed. When she went down the corner, there was some light in a flat upstairs, but otherwise, nothing was going on.
She made her way to the park. The inhabitants of the park were already busy and so Sarah enjoyed her free morning concert from the birds of the park. Apart from that, not much activity here. Maybe a bit later someone would come with his dog, but it wouldn’t really get too busy at that time.
The sun was glistening in the water of the lake in the centre of the park.
Here and there you could also spot a squirrel running across the lawn and then disappear in a tree, although they also can get quite curious at times, especially if they sense someone has some food for them. Indeed, some of the visitors to the park would occasionally feed the squirrels and the ducks of the lake, but that wasn’t Sarah thing, just walk and watch.
At some point, though, she would recline on a bench and take out her book. Today it was a novel from Victor Hugo, The Hunchback of Notre-Dame. She was already a very good way into the book and if the weather remained as it was, she might even manage to finish it today.

***

105 kg - That's what the scales said.

This has to end. I really have to do something about it. 

Peter was serious about it. Outside the sun was shining and there was no excuse. He had to do it, not just a few minutes inside, but this time it had to be the real thing. From today on he would take exercise seriously, he would go running, no matter what. What? Whatever!
Somewhere among his things he found jogging pants and sneakers, he hadn't used those one often, but now was the time and the place. A shirt with that and Peter was ready for action. He could run to the park and maybe around the lake. At least that would be nice.
On with it then. He got outside. A look to the left and a look to the right like he was checking, whether someone was watching him. Then he bravely started running. After about 500 m he was already short of breath and had to slow down towards walking speed. Though it was just a short distance, sweat was already showing and he didn't even make it close to the park.

Damn it! That's harder than I thought.

He didn't want to admit defeat, but he had to. Now walking to the park and maybe around the lake was the least he could do. Or was that even too much?
No, Peter managed to the park, although sweat was spreading to further regions of his shirt and beyond. Well, it was a lovely day anyway, at least as far as the park was concerned. Things were beautifully arranged. The lawn was kept well in order, here and there a few bushes and also some patches with colorful flowers.
Peter went on for a while. Several people also made good use of the weather to take a walk in the park. There was a young couple walking hand in hand, a few people taking their dog for a walk and even a proper jogger.

It's useless. I can't do nothing about it. I'm trapped inside my body and I can't get things right.

A few more meters Peter thought he had enough even of walking and he could use a bench to rest up a bit. Right ahead there was one, but it was already occupied. There was a young girl with curly blonde hair sitting on that bench. She was reading a book. Peter paused for a moment and looked at her for a while. She was quite beautiful in his opinion. Good she didn't notice he was looking at her.

Well, way out of my league!

He was too shy anyway, he could never talk to her. That was really not his thing. He only once mustered up the courage and ... in the end, well, it didn't end good.

There are many other benches in the park. I guess, I just half to keep on walking a bit more.

Luckily the next bench was empty and he could sit down to regain some strength. Then he might have the chance to get back home again. He really wasn't in the best of shape.

***

You can really feel it when someone is staring at you, but Sarah kept focussing on her book, she didn't want the other to realize she had noticed.
After the man had passed she briefly looked up. That guy looked like he was doing some sports, at least he was dressed like it and judging by his sweat stained shirt, he for sure must have tried. Now it seemed he had reached his limits for he had placed himself on the next bench along the path. Luckily, he didn't chose to sit next to her on the bench. That way she could continue to enjoy her peace here and go on with her reading.

'We have just said that Quasimodo had disappeared from Notre-Dame on the day of the gypsy's and of the archdeacon's death. He was not seen again, in fact; no one knew what had become of him.'

Sarah had reached the last chapter of her book. Just a few more pages and she would be finished. She enjoyed reading very much. So she would need to look for another book to read soon. Maybe another classic or something completely different. However, she preferred classics mostly.
After Sarah had finished the weather was still lovely, still good for a bit more of walking. She could go once around the lake and maybe she could grab some ice cream on her way back home.
However, she didn't go the direction that shattered jogger went.
Slowly Sarah went her way, not because she couldn't go faster, but simply to keep in enjoying the beauty of her surroundings as much as possible. There again someone was feeding a squirrel. If you did it right they even would take nuts directly from your hand.


***

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