Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Pattersonization (part one)

For a few days now, there has been a post on Phoenix Craigslist where some person is offering a ridiculous amount of money to an author who can 'Pattersonize'.  That is, take a work of fiction, and make it into something that James Patterson would write.  When I say a ridiculous amount of money, I mean it - $50/hour, or $10/page.  Considering that I'm making $0 (hour or page) now, that's a pretty tempting offer.  It's also a pretty silly one.

So!  I am going to 'Pattersonize' something.  And as well as sending it to this gentleman/woman, I'm going to post it here for the enjoyment of everyone who likes bad James Patterson knockoffs and and has a little time to kill.

The original work:

      Joanne Thomas got into the gym, waved hi to the attendant who was so used to seeing her there that he never even checked her card, and stretched quickly before getting on one of the exercise bikes, and setting it for forty minutes. It was already late when she got in, nine o'clock, even later than she usually managed to get here, when the place finally started to empty out. It was hard to get there any earlier, really, with work and the damned awful commute back home, and when she got home she ate, and nothing was worse than working out on a full stomach.
     She tried to get to the gym as often as she could, which was four to five times a week. Ever since she had turned thirty, and ever since she started seeing how her mother was letting herself go, she had made a personal goal to never let herself get to that point. It was different when she had been married, and how hard it was then to keep herself motivated to stay in shape, especially when looking good for Charlie would only make him want to touch her, and there was nothing more vile than the touch of her ex-husband's greedy hands on her skin. She hated it so much that she was only now becoming the woman that she had been before she met him.
     Jo eased off the bike pedals, and upped the difficulty. If she was going to beat the poor thing to death, she might as well burn as much as she could doing it. She was starting to sweat already, the handles of the stationary bike were slick.
     There was one person on a bike halfway down the row, and two more on treadmills on the other side of her, when she started working out. By the time she was finished, there was only one other man in the place, working out his arms, besides her and the female attendant working behind the counter. She took a towel and rubbed the bike down, then her face. She used to hate how gross and wet she felt after working out. Now she loved it. It made her feel powerful, like every drop of sweat was the bad that was being forced out of her body, and only the good was going in. Hard work. Exercise. Determination. Joanne had all of these, in droves. If she hadn't, she never could have escaped from the deranged pervert that was her ex-husband.
     Her legs tingled as she walked over to the drinking fountain and took long pulls of cold water from the low faucet. Then she went to do her laps.
     There was a track on the upper floor of the gym, going around the basketball court that, in the middle of the day, was filled with young kids, mostly students, noisily showing their love of the sport. Teams formed and collided, merging together and forming new teams, until everyone was tired. This late at night, the court was empty, and no one was around except the three racquetball players that always managed to still be playing by the time she to to the track.
     The first two laps were easy. Nice and slow, a cool down from the bike as well as a warm up for the run still to come. The track was empty, just like she liked it. No trying to be polite about lanes, no couples blocking the track by walking right next to each other. Just her and the echoes of her shoes. After her warm up, she did one more round of stretching and waved to the guys in the racquetball court, who finally looked like they were about to call it a night.
     Then she started to run. One lap, two laps. A half mile. At ten, the light for the basketball court turned off, leaving the track lit by the dim emergency lighting by the exit doors and the blinding glare from the racquetball courts, whenever she was on that side of them. As much as her heart was pounding, Jo never gave into exhaustion. Never thought about the jarring thud of each foot hitting the ground, giving her the power to push off, into the next stride. It was flow. It was magic. Her breathing smoothed out into one continuous pattern. In for three, out for three. In for three, out for three.
     So when she heard the sound behind her, it took some time for the thought to sink in through the sound of her own footsteps. Another person was on the track behind her. They were hard to hear, because they were almost exactly in time with her own unhurried pace. The only time she could hear anything was when their strides fell out of time, like two blinker signals at a stop light.
     She wasn't worried. No, not worried. It was a public gym. So she hadn't seen whoever it was get on the track. It didn't mean that it was anything to worry about. But it had thrown her off of her rhythm, and she hesitated to let herself lose herself so completely when there was an unknown around her.
I could just look back, she thought. It's not like it would be weird. They're the one following a woman in the dark. It only took another few seconds to decide her. She wasn't scared. She was a powerful strong woman, and she wasn't scared. So, casually, she turned her head over her shoulder, just to make friendly eye contact. And when she did, she gasped.

So, that's way longer than I expected it to be.  So, instead of posting both of these, I'm going to post the second half, the actual Pattersonization, tomorrow.  It'll be a two-parter, eh?  And yes, I wrote this just now, and no, I didn't actually take the time to reread it for glaring spelling errors before putting it on the internet for everyone to see.  But, y'know, if any are too embarrassing, please tell me while I still have something to be ashamed of.

See you tomorrow!

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