Lonely housewife seeks latenight jogging spot in winter. Danger! Suspenseful shortstory!
| "The Lady Jogger"
It was late, after 11 p.m., the night was cold, and wintry for Southern California, around Christmas time, as the lone female jogger ran along the lonely, desolate road carved along the bottom of a rolling green hillside, which marked the lower boundary of the suburban subdivision she lived in with her husband, and two young sons.
Six months earlier, she had given birth to her second male child; her oldest son was almost 4 years old now. She wanted to jog in order to regain her pre-baby figure. Like many females postpartum, she felt it needed more work. Actually, she wasn’t that bad, but she thought the benefits of jogging would help her thighs, and hips.
“Pound, pound, pound, pound.” Her feet hit the pavement rhythmically as she listened to her favorite old exercise tape of music on her Sony Walkman. All she could hear was the music of the Pointer Sisters as they sang “Jump”, "Neutron Bomb" and their other hits from that era loudly into her earphones. Dressed in a fleece jogging suit, Nike running shoes, and knitted gloves, her heart pounded in time with her feet and the music, as her warm breath vaporized into the cold, wet night air. A fog rolled in from the ocean, which cut visibility down considerably. Steam rose from her body as the exercise heated her up, as she jogged along. “Pound, pound, pound, pound,” her feet hit the asphalt rhythmically in time with the music in her ears. The only thing she concentrated on was the road in front of her, the cracks in the sidewalk, and the thought of finishing her goal of running three miles for that night.
The cold, wet fog which flowed like molasses to the bottom of the hill gave an ethereal, eerie, oppressive mood to the traffic-less street, with the only light coming from the street lights which glowed as large, round, fuzzy globules of sodium yellow light. The fog brought thoughts of Jack the Ripper movies, and visions of slasher/rapists lurking about for their next victims. Across the other side of the ravine an empty silver ribbon of railroad tracks glistened in the moist night air as they hugged the contours of the bottom of the hill.
All day long she was a slave to her domestic duties as mother, housewife, cook, maid, laundress, etc., ad infinitum. Her daily workout consisted of lifting her 10 pound baby, climbing up and down the stairs of her two story house umpteen times a day, lugging heavy laundry or the vacuum cleaner back and forth, chasing her toddler son everywhere, and so on.
She envied her husband’s freedom of being able to take off from work at lunch time each day, and jog along the beach, since his place of work was built near the beach. All day long she was tied to her house and the children, with no time for herself. Her day began at dawn, yet her only opportunity to jog was at this late hour. This street was down the hill, down the street from her house. With almost no traffic she could exercise in relative safety.
But slowly behind her a green Ford Bronco kept its distance behind her, with no headlights on. She didn’t see it, and couldn’t hear it, because of the headphones she was wearing. “Pound, pound, pound, pound,” her feet slapped the pavement rhythmically. The Bronco crept, stalkingly behind her, keeping its distance. She was almost at her three mile marker. Then she could finish for the night.
Suddenly a bright white light shown from behind her in the street, followed by red flashing lights, and a siren. It was a motorcycle policeman. She stopped dead in her tracks, and took her headphones off. The policeman pulled up next to her, and confused by the sudden intrusion into her thoughts, she huffed, “You’ve got to be kidding, Officer. I wasn’t speeding, was I?” she joked incredulously. Her breath vaporized in the cold night air into a steamy fog.
The Bronco had come to a stop, too, about thirty yards behind her. The policeman said, “M’am, I’ve been watching you jog for the past few minutes, now. Are you aware that you are being followed by that vehicle? Do you need my assistance?”
She let out a little chuckle, and said, “Yes, I’m aware of it, but I don’t need your help, thank you. You don’t understand. My husband works all day, and this is the only time of night that I can come out and jog while he watches the kids. You see, he’s the one driving the Bronco! Our baby is with him, strapped into his car seat, asleep, and our other son is with them, too. That way he can keep an eye on me and the kids at the same time while I jog. Thanks, anyway.”
Then the passenger side door of the Bronco opened, and her 4 year old son jumped out, and ran to her, as she headed back to the Bronco. “Almost 3 miles” would just have to suffice for that night. She and her young son climbed into the vehicle, and the headlights flicked on, in the cold fog, as they drove up the hill, and headed for home for the night. It was almost midnight, and the air was cold, and wet. Christmas was just around the corner.