After the rower I start punching the bag. Someone told me it was a healthy outlet for aggression. It can be a face, a minor slight, a missed chance, a dull thud of repressed rage. I’m bashing it all into submission, pounding precordial thumps to bring myself back to life. Ten jabs with the left, then ten with the right, followed by a series of combinations. I do this over and over. By the end I can barely raise my arms. I’m a bare chest sheened in sweat rapidly evaporating to a cool dryness like the recently deceased. It’s back to being just a leather bag hanging from a chain. Smeared with blood from my knuckles in an inspissated pattern of abstract art that no one will ever be able to interpret. I need someone to lick my wounds, taste the bitter salt of my flesh. I’ve got nothing left. If I had to protect myself now I’d curl up into a ball. Just play dead.