The One Hand Pushup Man

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The One Hand Pushup Man

Genre: Dark Humor, Based on True Story

4 minute read | Short Stories | Fiction

By: Atman Brahman

Eikon emerged from the entrance to the woods. The path was marked by a distinct crevice carved into the large rock formations, as if the rocks were guarding the secret beauty contained beyond. The crevice was dug down at least 15 feet, and was enclosed over the top by two very large rock structures that must have fallen over and come to rest against each other to form a massive arch-like structure. Thick twisting vines hugged and climbed one of the rocks, curling up towards the top with budding bright luscious red flowers all along the way. Was it always like this? When was the crevice formed or what event caused the rocks to form the arching structure? There was no recorded history to detail the matters, so everyone confidently made up their best reasoning and passed it on as truth. We all experience things from different points of view and with different interpretations, hopes, and intents. But the world was so full of disagreement, and maybe it was partly because some things were not experienced, yet people still had their perspectives. But sometimes the story is just a ride to enjoy, remember, and tell; to be enjoyed again. Where some find nothing, others find meaning, and vice versa. Some are just along for the ride.


He felt a vibration in his pocket. He instinctively reached for his phone, although suspicious it might be his imagination causing the phantom of someone wanting to talk to him. His brother Doxa was calling. “What’s up bro?” Eikon answered.

“I am on my way to the store, should I get beer for everyone or are you good?” Doxa asked with excitement about the night’s coming events.

“If it were me, I would grab a keg and probably a couple of nips of whiskey or something. The beer will be drank, trust me.”

“Drank? You mean drunk, you crazy Irish bastard? Well what type of beer should I get? What kind of whiskey?” Doxa asked.

Eikon snickered in his sarcastic, sny seethe: “I can tell these tough decisions are overwhelming you. Maybe you should go home and rest your little brain. I wouldn’t want you to blow a head gasket, so I’ll just take care of it myself.” His signature playful manipulation skewered Doxa right through his soul.

“Alright, alright you don’t have to be an asshole about it.”

“But I am an asshole; born and raised. You are just used to all those amateur assholes, so you are offended by my expertise.” The phone had been hung up already. Eikon trusted that his brother would take care of it.


Eikon had walked about a half mile to the bus stop waiting for the 404 to take him back to his apartment. There were a small group of people waiting for the bus as well.

“Excuse me, excuse me. Yo, man, how you doin today?” One of the men came walking right up to Eikon. He was about 5’9 and maybe 180 pounds with a white tank top, baggy jeans and work boots on. It was definitely apparent that the man had been drinking, although Eikon did not judge, being the booze bag that he was.

Being a little skeptical of this man’s aggressive, care free approach, “Doing alright, how are you?”

“I’m just trying to catch this bus but can you help a brotha out?” The man said.

Eikon was already retreating a bit. He had heard this story countless times, and it was hard to escape in some areas of the city.

“Alright, check this out, I’ll do 30 one handed pushups right here if you give me 5 dollars to catch this bus,” The man said completely straight faced.

Admiring his style and the refreshing new twist on this swindle, Eikon played along. “Haha, are you being serious right now?” He asked.

“Of course! Everyone knows me in this town my man.” Looking across the street the man yelled to a cop who was on foot, “Yoooooo! Brotha! Who am I? Who the fuck am I?”

Without hesitation, the cop responded: A stone cold seriousness on his face but a subtle sarcastic smile peeking through, “Hey, buddy… Shut the fuck up!”

Eikon burst out laughing, not expecting that answer at all, intently looking for a real answer from the police officer.

“God I love this town,” The man said. “I’m the one hand pushup man, everybody knows me.”

Boston was a ruthless city of tough, up-tight, angry people, but there was an amusing hilarity to it when you tapped into the unrelenting sarcastic wit. “Well I have been in Boston for a while and I’ve never heard of you, but sure, I’ll bite,” Eikon said. “But even I can do 30 one-handed pushups. How about this? Do 60 one-handed pushups and give me a sip of that shitty vodka you have in your pocket and I’ll give you ten bucks.”

Cringing a little, the man agreed, “Give me a cigarette and you got yourself a deal.”

Eikon reached into his pocket and gave the man a cigarette. The man promptly put it in his mouth and got down to do pushups. He was already at thirty when the bus could be seen approaching. “Yo, brotha, you got a light?” The man asked politely.

Eikon reached down to light the man’s cigarette as he proceeded to do 60 one handed pushups on the sidewalk. The bus pulled up as Eikon was handing the man a ten dollar bill. He got on the bus and the one handed pushup man went on his way.

Eikon realized that it was a swindle and that the man didn’t need to catch the bus at all, but it was totally worth it just because of the story itself. Where else are you going to see such a comical drunk man smoking a cigarette while doing 60 one handed pushups?


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