Many years ago I worked at a place where the guys were standing around and talking. Suddenly, someone came up and started bragging about how he had a "running date" with some girl. He seemed proud of this so-called "running date" and seemed to be rubbing it in our faces that he had one with this girl.
After he walked away, someone remarked, "Running date? What the hell is a running date?"
"I don't know..." remarked another.
So what do you, the reader, think of running dates between a man and a woman? It's harmless, right?
Well not for one of the character's in today's new story.
Richard is a fourth degree black belt in Hapkido Karate. He has trained for many years, since junior high school. And now at 36, Richard is a power house! He's undefeatable!
Richard could, of course, be a monster; but everybody knows that being an undefeatable monster isn't the point of martial arts, especially for someone who has reached the great level of body mind and spirit that Richard has reached as a fourth degree black belt in Hapkido Karate. He's very polite and well mannered. He's humble and very thoughtful. And as Richard has always believed, the point of training in martial arts is so that one never has to use it.
But in recent times, Richard has been faced with a conflict. Although striving to make friends and make peace with everyone in his life; Richards’s neighbor, Don, is obviously going out of his way to make enemies with Richard—perhaps even provoke a fight with him. And Richard's patience is growing thin. Don best look out! When the wreath of peace of finally broken in Richard, a tiger shall be released—a furious tiger. And there's no telling what sort of damage Richard might do.
It's Monday, midmorning, and Richard is in his basement practicing katas. He's been practicing his martial arts and lifting weights for nearly three hours this morning. This is how Richard is. He's dedicated to martial arts. Of course he does have some extra motivation which causes him to practice like this today. As you can imagine, it has much to do with the new conflict in his life; the new enemy in his life, Richard's neighbor Don.
It all started a few weeks ago when Richard was moved to the second shift of his factory where he worked. For many years he woke up early and went to work, then came home in the late afternoon hours to work out. He went about life this way. But with the sudden change at work, he would now he have to wake up early in the morning to do his workout before going for a jog through the neighborhood. And it was on one of these new mornings when Richard discovered his neighbor, Elizabeth. She's a beautiful, dark-haired woman with a body that goes well beyond the rating of ten. Richard saw her on this particular morning, jogging some distance ahead of him on the street. It wasn't such a bad thing to release a little bit of that tiger to pick up the pace and catch up with the beautiful woman.
When Richard finally caught up with her, Elizabeth seemed delighted to see him. She played along, and went along with all the introductions.
"Hi, I'm Richard."
And then Richard realized who she was. "Oh, you're my neighbor from across the street."
"Oh, yes!" Elizabeth suddenly realized who he was as well.
"Yeah, I've been moved to the second shift at my job, now." explained Richard. "This means I have to do my workouts in the morning."
"I've been doing this for a long time." informed Elizabeth.
"Well I guess this makes for a pleasant surprise." added Richard.
"How long do you normally run?" asked Richard.
"I usually do about five miles."
"Wow! That's exactly what I do." said Richard. "You must be in really good shape." Then he glanced over to Elizabeth for a second and could see her perfect body with tight ass that was proudly displayed in nearly nude stretch shorts. She wore a sleeveless t-shirt which revealed her youthful, perfect arms. How Richard wanted in that moment to touch them. But good things come to those who are patient. Richard is highly skilled in martial arts which, as you can imagine, goes way beyond physical training. It also involves mental power and mind control. Richard knew that he would have to be patient and wait. He would slowly build up the momentum which could take some weeks before finally touching Elizabeth. But sure enough, he would do it. And it just might involve a kiss. She was beautiful and very alluring. She was someone who Richard definitely wanted. But at the moment, all he could do was run beside her and make small talk while getting to know her.
"So how long have you been in the neighborhood?" asked Richard.
"Eight years..." answered Elizabeth. "When we married we moved in here."
"Oh, you're married?" asked Richard with a surprise. And then he quickly corrected himself. "Oh, of course! I do remember your husband. I'm sorry, I don't get outside to see much or talk to many people. But I do see you two out in front sometimes when I leave. And you've been married for eight years."
Richard struggled in that moment to use his mental powers and evaluate just what exactly Elizabeth meant in affirming she had been married for eight years. At the surface it was a simple answer. She was married for eight years. But her tone was too vague. He wasn't sure if it was a simple answer, or if she implied that she was getting tired of her husband. The more Richard thought about it, the more he recalled that Elizabeth’s husband on a number of occasions did things outside of his home that wouldn't be considered giving his beautiful wife much needed attention. He owned a hot rod in his garage—an old Chevelle from the 1960s. It' wasn't uncommon on a Saturday or Sunday for his neighbor, Don, to be under the car working on it. Shouldn't he have been with his beautiful wife and two children? And then during football season it wasn't uncommon for Don to be in the garage with his friends—about a half dozen or more, around a large screen TV, watching the football game and drinking beer. Again, this wasn't the way for a beautiful wife to be treated. Elizabeth needed plenty of love and attention. Perhaps Elizabeth really meant to communicate that she was unhappy in her marriage with the way she had said she had been married for eight years. And as the moments passed, Richard became increasingly convinced of this. He could almost bet on it.
"So you’re in really good shape, too." commented Richard.
And how long have you been working out?" asked Richard.
"Oh I was a gymnast in high school and through college. I just kept working out through my twenties and I've always been active."
"Very good!" congratulated Richard. "And how old are you now?"
"Well that's double congratulations to you. Not a lot of people our age do this sort of thing. Most people might have played some sports in high school and then afterwards just let their bodies fall apart, afterwards. By the time they are our age; they are fat and out of shape with body problems."
Elizabeth nodded, "Oh yeah... And what about you?"
"Oh, I've been practicing martial arts since seventh grade. I'm actually a fourth degree black belt in Hapkido Karate."
"Wow!" exclaimed Elizabeth. She was definitely impressed. "You are obviously dedicated."
"Oh yes... But it doesn't stop there. I lift weights, and as you can see I run. I do a lot of things like skiing and row boating."
"Oh, so you must be in pretty good shape." cited Elizabeth.
"Indeed I am!"
Richard stayed with Elizabeth the entire run that morning until making it back to their block. At that time Richard asked, "How often do you run each week?"
"Usually three to four days."
"Well if you don't mind; I really enjoyed myself this morning." began Richard. "Maybe we can be running partners—you know, make running dates?"
Elizabeth hesitated for a moment. She's a married woman, and wondered if this might be considered being unfaithful to her husband—making dates with another man. She finally agreed, "Sure..." After all, she wasn't making luncheon dates or evenings out with Richard. She was only running with him. And he seemed like a nice guy.
These running dates between Richard and Elizabeth went on for about three weeks. But then came a late Saturday afternoon, one of Richard's days off, when he was grilling up some chicken and vegetables out on the patio and thinking how lovely it would be if Elizabeth could join him.
Richard started to fantasize about spending more alone time with Elizabeth, have her come over to his house. There could be a time when Elizabeth’s husband was maybe out with friends (he probably didn't care too much about her) and she could come over for dinner. Oh, but she did have a couple of young kids. Perhaps Elizabeth could find a baby sitter for them, maybe drop them off at Mom's house for the evening so she could come over for dinner with Richard—just the two of them.
While fantasizing about this possibility, there was a sudden knock at the front door. Was it Elizabeth? Could it be that Richard's wishful thinking came true?
Richard walked over to the front door to open it with a smile on his face.
But what was this? Standing on Richard's front porch was his neighbor Don, Elizabeth's husband. He wore a somewhat hostile expression on his face and looked angry.
"Hi, can I help you?" asked Richard.
"You sure can!" boldly answered Don. Then he asked, "What's this I hear that you've been going on running dates with my wife, Elizabeth?"
Richard was taken aback. First of all he didn't think there was a problem in doing such a thing. Even more, how did Don find out? Did Elizabeth confess this to him? Richard hesitated before answering, "Ummm... I have been running with her. I see her jogging on the road..."
Don interrupted, "Yeah, from what I understand, you make a point to meet her out here every morning to go run with her. Now what's going on?"
Suddenly, Richard turned angry. His wreath of peace that was learned through all those years of martial arts had been slightly ruptured by Don's inappropriate accusations. "Hey, look! I didn't think it was a problem! And I didn't think I needed anyone's permission to go run with your wife."
"Yeah???" challenged Don. "She's my wife. And I don't want you meeting her anymore."
"And what does Elizabeth have to say about this?" counter-challenged Richard. You see, Richard wasn't frightened. He studied Don and realized it would be easy to take him. He was just a little outraged with the way Don was treating him and the way he was overreacting to what he had discovered. It further irritated him to hear an attempted order from Don that he could no longer run with Elizabeth.
"Oh you don't have to worry about what my wife has to say about this." corrected Don. "Just understand that I'm telling you to stay away from her. You will not be running with her anymore. I know people throughout the neighborhood and they see what you have been doing. And no one thinks it's right. So consider this your warning..."
Richard quickly interrupted, "A warning??? Excuse me??? Did you say warning? You're warning me?"
"Yes, I'm warning you." affirmed Richard. "There will be no more running dates with my wife, understood?" With that, Don turned and walked away.
Richard could feel that the wreath of peace had seriously been ruptured because of his neighbor, Don. It was so bad that he somewhat trembled while closing the front door, not because of fear, but because of overwhelming outrage for having been disrespected and mistreated so badly by his neighbor. Don had no business talking to Richard that way, much less making a demand that he could no longer run with Elizabeth. Richard was really enjoying the running dates with her. And he realized that these running dates were good for her. It was good for her to spend time with a nice guy like Richard.
It almost sounded like Don was a terribly jealous and possessive husband, probably insecure. He was the perfect candidate to receive a good lesson from Richard. He needed to learn that he couldn't just warn people while telling people what they can and can't do. Elizabeth, after all, was a grown woman and perfectly capable of making her own decisions. She could think for herself; and if she wanted to leave the house for the morning to go for a running date with Richard, she should be able to do so.
And so this is why, on the following Monday morning, Richard was downstairs in the basement, intensely practicing his katas. Every kick and every punch he imagined it was Don's face. He fantasized going across the street to knock on Elizabeth's door.
But it was Don who answered. "What the hell do you want?"
"I'm here for your wife." answered Richard.
"I thought I told you to stay away from my wife." reminded Don.
"Well you have no right doing that!" declared Richard. "Who the hell do you think you are?" And with that, Richard unleashed the tiger—powerful kicks and punches that cracked open Don's face, and breaking bones throughout his body. You see, Richard is one of those guys who can deliver twelve strikes in one second. He’s that fast! And it was all done to help the woman that Richard was learning to like more and more. She needed Richard to save her, save her from the horrible marriage of being neglected by a husband who only cared for his hobby and obsession with sports. Richard needed to save her from a horrible husband who is jealous and possessive while not allowing her to think for herself. Richard learned to hate these types of men in life. And it looked like he had one living across the street. He was just going to have to teach him a really good lesson.
While fantasizing, Richard continued with his explosive jump-fly kicks. And towards the end of the workout that morning, he beat the hell out of his punching bag. Now, finally, he was ready for a Monday morning running date with Elizabeth.
At some point in their short-lived relationship, Elizabeth gave Richard her phone number. Richard dialed the number that Monday morning and waited.
"Hello?" It was the voice of Elizabeth cautiously answering.
"Hi Elizabeth! It's Richard! Are you ready for our Monday morning running date?"
Elizabeth sighed, "You know, Richard, I can't anymore."
"You can't? Why?"
Elizabeth explained, "The neighbors told my husband about our running dates, and he was not happy about it."
Richard sighed, "Oh, yeah, he came to the door on Saturday and pretty much ordered me not to meet you anymore."
"Yeah, and we should probably obey his wishes." reinforced Elizabeth.
"But Elizabeth?" challenged Richard. "What about us?"
"I don't know what to say." answered Elizabeth. "I mean it was nice running with you, but it wasn't that important." With that, Elizabeth ended the call.
Richard was going to have to find a way to reach Elizabeth and finally rescue her from the horrible life she lived.