Because it looked a bit on the disgusting side, Den took two towels and draped them over the stationary bicycle. With the bulk of the seat covered, he moved on to the handle and display. Because of the odd way the bike sat, it took about four towels to get it right. He used two more towels to cover any other visible portion of the machine, save for the pedals and any other moving bits. It would not do good to have any of the cloth getting caught up somewhere.

“Damn,” he said.

“Can I help you sir?” The staff representative at the Bright Morning Health Club and Juice Bar startled him.

“Yes,” Den said, not really looking up from his work. “It seems I’ve run out of towels. Could you go get me about four more.”

“Sir, it looks like you already have a fair number of towels.”

Den stopped and finally looked at the young man standing before him. He had a light blue polo shirt, khaki shorts, white socks and sneakers. He wore a name badge that identified the youth both as “Stanley” and as an “Honor Associate.”

“Ah…Stanley is it?” Den said. Stanley nodded. “How does the club here define a fair number of towels?”


“Simple question Stanley. You said I have a fair number of towels. How is that defined?”

“I’m not sure specifically,” Stanley said slowly and with a modicum of hesitance, sort of like how one might approach a strange animal. “Most people use one or two.”

“Ah. Very good. Do you know how long I’ve been coming to this club?”

“No, sir.”

“I’ve been a paying member of this club for three years. I’ve paid my dues regularly and on time. This is, however, only the second time I’ve ever set foot in this place. The reasons are not important. I get busy. I forget. I have other things to do. The list goes on and on. The main point is, now that I’m here, I feel I deserve a little of what I have been paying for. Does that sound fair?”

“Yes, sir”

“Good. Now the way I see it, using your example, my being a member here allows me access to, let’s say two towels per visit. I imagine an average member might come here three times a week. Over a year that is 156 visits. Over my three-year membership that would be 468 visits. Take away the one time I’ve already been here and that leaves 467. Multiply that by a standard two towel a visit limit and you could say I am due the use of 934 towels.”

“Yes, sire, but that’s…”

“Ridiculous, right?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Of course it is. I’m not sure you have over 900 towels available. But if I were to demand them, I would certainly be within my rights as a paid member to use the facilities as I see fit within the rules as they were established. Is there written rule that indicates a limit on towels, Stanley?”

“No, sir. Not that I’m aware of.”

“Do you want to start bringing me out over 900 towels Stanley?”

“I’d rather not sir.”

“I thought not. If you think about it, another half a dozen towels or so doesn’t seem so crazy now, does it?”

“No, sir…if you put it that way.”

“Very good young man, now off you go! Bring me, let’s say, an even dozen towels and we’ll call it a day.”

“Yes, sir.”

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