Code 99

I arrive at the gym all set to hit the treadmill, lift some weights and just generally wheeze and splutter my way through all of the other gym things. I’m inherently lazy, though, so I’m mainly looking forward to kicking back in the sauna and steam room afterwards.

But as I’m getting changed this sentence is read out over the tannoy: “ladies and gentlemen this is an announcement for all staff – there is a Code 99 in the male steam. There is a Code 99 in the male steam. Thank you”.

No sir, thank you. I was planning to go into, as you call it, the ‘male steam’. But now I’m not so sure. I mean what’s a Code 99? It could be anything.

I ponder this for a while. It can’t be anything too serious. I mean, if it was a heart attack or some sort of terrifying men’s-showers-in-prison-style rape or something, it would surely be a Code 1 and there would definitely be a more palpable panic in the air. Also there was a slight hint of amusement in the announcer’s voice, so it’s definitely not that level of bad.

But Code 99. Quite feasibly that could mean there are at least 99 problems that this gym imagines are within the realms of possibility in ‘the steam’. Presumably a bitch ain’t one, given that this is the male steam. So what could it be? What kind of incident could be bad enough to have its own code but still amusing for staff?

Then it hits me: could it be a shit? Has a man actually done a shit in the male steam?

It doesn’t really matter what it’s code for anymore because that’s in my brain now. I head upstairs for a bit, do some treadmill, listen to Negative Creep by Nirvana – which, by the way, with all the running and sweat and noise and Code 99s in the male steam is just a little too much on the wrong side of hectic for a gym environment. But all I can think about is the incident. I take a sip from the water fountain and as I’m doing so detect a slight whiff of poo. It’s found its way into the water supply, I think.

And with that I go home. I probably won’t be going in the male steam for a while.


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