"Routine at Romain's"
by: Douglas Dodd


Routine at Romain's

Romain's Health Spa is the home of heavy weights and heavy-duty exercise machines, steroids and vitamin supplements, bodily obsessions and sweat, demanding workout routines and more sweat. And it's the home-away-from home of its core membership, a handful of muscular men and buff women who unquestioningly believe the slogan on the spa's T-shirts: "If It's Physical, It's Therapy."
The spa is the brainchild and burden of Tommy Romain, a bodybuilder turned inept businessman. From the time the he opened the spa, his life has become a daily grind of unpaid bills, complaining members, and mostly futile attempts to turn a profit. Meanwhile, despite receiving endless advice on women from his steroid-befuddled cronies, his personal life is equally unrewarding, encumbered as it is with ex-wife, pregnant ex-girlfriend, and rejections from the "hot babes" with whom he tries to establish meaningless yet satisfying relationships. His troubles are compounded by his indebtedness to a local crime boss, and obligation that gets forcibly driven home at each monthly visit from "Jake the Stuffer," a brutal and efficient debt collector named for his habit of stuffing bodies into car trunks.
While Romain struggles to keep his business and love life afloat, and himself out of Jake's clutches, the spa members variously wage their own battles to get fit, get rich, and get laid. Among them are several colorful regulars: Maxwell, a dedicated bodybuilder whose nutritional regimen includes predigested honey and live ants; Connie, a discontented wife involved with the spa's resident ladies man; Delgeddes, the proverbial weakling desperately seeking a better life via a better body; and Gecko, an unscrupulous and universally disliked distributor of steroids and other dubious aids to fitness.
As the story unfolds, Romain's desperation to escape his unrewarding daily routine intertwines with Gecko's growing cockiness and greed. Romain teams up with his sometime associate Boswell, an ethically challenged refugee from the world of corporate marketing, and together the two plot to use Gecko as their pawn in an elaborate get-rich scheme that will free Romain forever from the threat of Jake's ministrations. After much detailed planning and a series of twists and turns involving Gecko, Maxwell, the crime boss and others, Romain and Boswell ultimately triumph and escape to a life of ease on Grand Cayman Island. Meanwhile, Gecko meets his destiny in the form of Jake and, now under new more efficient management, Romain's Spa flourishes as never before.

To contact Douglas Dodd
Please email: CAPTNDOUG@aol.com