You may recall that early on in this epic the Gym People canned Stan, who was the annoyingly gung-ho trainer guy whose personality stylings first galvanized my rage to the dangerous levels at which it remained for the duration of the contest. I was annoyed by him and much more intensely annoyed by the loss of him, and it all worked to burn off calories and fuel my furious races across the landscape. It was Stan and the canning of Stan, in other words, that sparked the three-month rage that enabled my stunning success in the overall diet war.
The reason Stan was canned was not made clear to us; he simply disappeared. It became obvious, though, that the longtime gym rat types all knew the score, so, quietly and subtly, using a combination of poke-in-the-ribs e-mail queries and gentle hinting around the scale at the weekly weigh-ins, my friend and I teased out the story. It was not, as I earlier speculated, that Stan's no holds barred approach to weightloss put the gym in potential legal jeopardy if some too-avid dieter destroyed a vital organ or simply died of starvation. No, Stan was fired because he was having an adulterous affair, and the Gym People--or more accurately, one Gym Person, let's call her Oxana--found it distasteful. So Stan had to go and Oxana needed a patsy to take on the responsibility for the weightloss contest. The new guy needs a name. Let's call him... Scooter? No, no, he's nothing like the infamous Scooter you're thinking of. How about Doogie? Doogie is better. The new guy is earnest, very young and puppycute, and concerned with health, just like the original Doogie.
Okay, so poor Doogie assumes the heavy mantle of Wellness Director and begins to try to govern in a poisoned atmosphere of mingled resentment from the Stan factions and lickspittle fawning from the anti-Stan factions. The exercise classes are tough to lead, the weekly weigh-ins chilly and awkward. Doogie begins to find mornings increasingly difficult. The joy he used to find donning the crisp new polo with the gym logo stenciled on the breast is fast draining away.
Meanwhile, all unaware of the torment in Doogie's heart, of how he is being torn this way and that by Oxana and the Stan and anti-Stan factions, the majority of contestants are wildly losing, losing, losing, ignoring the prominent posting of nutrition advice, ignoring the moralizing e-mail bulletins about how we're all in this for our health. Just keeping our collective, sweat-blinded eye on the $750 prize to come. Until the end when we can no longer delude ourselves about the prize because the prize... does not exist. What is in the envelopes at the awards ceremony is not what was supposed to be there. Our hearts break, and some of us, apparently, start complaining pretty hard.
Because guess what!!
Well, first of all, you have to know that the (alleged) girlfriend of Stan has been sending e-mail the entire contest fomenting for the Stan faction to desert. Actually, many of them did desert in the first weeks after the Stancanning, quite without any urging. I was not in the Stan faction or the anti-Stan faction: I was a stateless, lawless mercenary out for number one. But I nevertheless sent a few sympathetic e-mails to Stan's (alleged) girlfriend implying I was in the Stan faction, simply in order to get all the delicious gossip I could out of her. I think I'll call her Iris.
So! After the final weigh-in, Iris writes a jaunty note asking me what happened and who won. So I explain in minute detail all the woe occasioned by the treachery of the Gym People, I express my sympathy for poor Doogie, who was pulled to shreds, and I also explain that on top of it all, I'm probably going to die of organ failure from all the hotboxing and spitting and chemical abuse I put myself through in an as-it-turned-out-totally-unnecessary struggle to lose eight and a half pounds in ten days to defeat Slick, whom I would have defeated anyway without any of it simply by maintaining bla bla blaaa! Basically, I do everything but come right out and announce I'm taking the Gym People to small claims court (I'm not, since that would be supremely idiotic), and then I ask in a roundabout way whether Stan is hiring a lawyer. Iris ignores that question but she does write back and let me know that Doogie deserves no sympathy since he was nothing but Oxana's puppet,
That Oxana got fired!
That Doogie put in his notice Monday and is quitting!
So Doogie will be free at last.
And now we know that there is a power behind even Oxana. She was Darth Vader and we trembled before her lest she stop our breath. We thought her invincible, but all the time there was a shadowy entity calling bigger shots than even she. The Evil Emperor of The Gym People!