...Boodles first met Chumley at the Brooke Boulevard Athletic and Spiritual Club.
He had woken up thinking it was a Wednesday, and rushed in at 7 a.m. to meet his personal trainer, Lorena, only to find that she was raging at a skinny and quivering man with great cow eyes, who was neither pulling on the various chains and weights in proper order, nor saying the appropriate combination of benedictions and confessions.
"There but for the grace of -" Boodles thought, ashamed and hopelessly aroused at the man's pathetic groveling, wondering who the poor bastard was. Then Boodles suddenly remembered, with a queasy feeling, a meeting he was to have later that day with his boss and realized that it was a Tuesday and not a Wednesday.
Up to that moment, Lorena hadn't seen him, but in an eyeblink, it was too late. She had grabbed him by the hair and strapped him into one of the machines, screaming the whole while in a barely coherent fashion that he better start saying his prayers.
"I believe in one God..." Boodles began wretchedly.
He would have to pay extra for this, and come in the next day as well. He couldn't afford to pay for the training as it was - he'd given up heat and hot water in his apartment to cover the cost - and he was way behind on his Mandatory Consumption Quotient on account of he spent all his money on food and, well, Lorena. Worse, he never seemed to get his puffy and pale body into shape, perhaps because he couldn't stop himself from eating to make up for his dead-end job, his inability to form a lasting relationship with a vertebrate or invertebrate of any sort, and the horribleness of Lorena every other day.
Afterwards, Boodles stood in the shower next to Chumley, the two of them trying desperately not to whimper, Boodles rubbing his wrists to try and get some feeling back into his hands, and Chumley wiping at the bloody scrapes on his shins.
"She's real good, Lorena," Chumley said at last, looking at Boodles in the mirrors that were mounted on the walls across from the shower stalls.
"Yeah, sh-sh-she s-s-s-sure is," Boodles said, trying to stop his teeth from chattering.
It was then he saw something in Chumley's eyes, his sad and watery but beautiful eyes, that made Boodles wonder...
The Swedish word for the day is trosbekännelse. It means credo.
- by Francis S.