BODYSHOP By Aruna Mettler
PLACE: New Brunswick, New Jersey. Neighborhood Plaza shopping Center. TIME: 1980’sPRINCIPAL CHARACTERS: Rob Smith 35 year old and Daisy Smith 31 years old. Husband & wife Gym owners.They have two children: Boy, Sid seven years old. Girl, Pia five years old.
Antagonist: Janet Dean, thirty year old Jewish American female.
Sara: Exercise instructor, 20 years old college student.
Velma: Exercise instructor, 22 years old college student.
James: Instructor, 30 years old, IT nerd.
Tara: Friend, barters membership to Gym by teaching Belly Dancing. Reads Tarot cards
Serena: Masseuse 40 year old white female. Occasionally teaches Yoga.
Marco: Masseur, 39 year old Hispanic male.

Janet Dean, a woman, thirtyish wearing a halter top and a printed cotton skirt stormed into the Bodyshop.
Daisy: The owner, asked the woman “can I help you?”.
Janice: “Not sure”. She lifts her skirt and pinches her thigh to show the extra weight on her thighs. She claimed to have an important date on the weekend.
Daisy: I will need some information. We have a few specials right now.
Janet : How much?
Daisy, Three month special is $39. And a year Special is $99.
Daisy felt her stomach in knots and felt negative vibes as Janet handed her a check for $39. In a frenzy Daisy decides to hand this customer over to Rob (her husband & business partner). She walked over to Rob and whispers
Daisy: I don’t want to deal with her. She wants to loose 4” in a weekend. I know you can handle her!.
Rob: Hi there. I am Rob and you are…?
Janet: Janet.
Rob: Please follow me to the weight machine.
Janet :Oh! No, I don’t want to.
Rob, Well then let’s begin to measure you.
Daisy watched her and knew she was going to be trouble.

The Gym door swings non-stop as member enter and sign in for their routine work-out. Velma, a 22 year old instructor, tall blonde, long legs, in a maroon leotard announces “Ladies and gentleman it is time to begin. Stretch, Stretch open your palms and reach for the sky.” As she stands on her toes and extends her long arms towards the sky. The group follows her instruction. Some late commers join in.
Rob, 6’2” tall, fair complexion, handsome, mid thirty, dressed in a black jogging suit . Janet, in her New York accent
Janet: God! So noisy. Does she teach this daily?
Rob: Has no accent “Yes, it’s slimnastics. It’s included your membership.”
Janet: I will not come again at this hour. I like quiet.
Rob: Let’s begin with your biceps.” He wraps the tape around her right upper arm and then left. Makes a note on the chart.

Rob completes Janet’s measurements. She has refused to step on the weight machine. He walks over to the Universal Gym.
Rob: I will now set up on a program for you on the weights. These are controlled weights. Fairley easy.
Janet: Maybe for you!
Rob: Let’s begin with the leg press. Just adjust the seat by inserting the pins in the hole so your legs are comfortable.
She sits down and extends her feet to press the weights.
Janet: Do you want me to push a tractor? (sarcastically she says).
Rob; Smiles “Well you want to firm up your thighs, it is hard work.”
Janet: Hey! I don’t like it.
Rob. No problem. Here just remove the pin and choose the weight you can push. Let us begin with 20 lbs.
Velma, 22 year old tall blonde with long legs walks over to the Record player and begins to play Eye of the Tiger.
Velma: “Come on everybody let us rock our bodies.” Several members gather across the mirrored wall. And follow Velma as she screams “Stretch & Stretch reach for the sky”.
Janet: Is it always so noisy?
Rob: This is the 6pm Slimnastics. It is included in your membership. Great for building muscle tone.
Janet: I don’t like the noise. I want to come at night and workout.
Rob: We are open till 10 pm. It’s quiet after 7 pm.


Rob goes home after closing the gym and speaks to Daisy about Janet .
Rob: Do you remember the client that you wanted me to handle?
Daisy: How can I forget? Why?
Rob: she does not like the noise in the crowded gym. She asked me for the key so she can work out off hours.
Daisy: Who the hell does she think she is? No, don’t you dare.
Rob: I told her that the place is quiet after 7pm and we are open till 10pm.
Daisy: I just have a bad feeling about her. I do not trust her. She is a client. We have never and never shall give a key to anyone.
Rob: What’s for dinner?
Mama: (Rob’s mother) Here is your plate. I fed the kids earlier.
Rob: Thanks ma.

NEXT MORNING: Daisy arrives at the gym around 9am. Finds a restless crowd outside the gym door.
Betty: Daisy, Ginny is always late. Why don’t you open the place?
Lucy: Ya, we are wasting time just waiting for her.
Daisy: Ladies, I am here and the gym now is open.
Daisy, climbs the steps like a deer and turns he lights on as she enter. On the left hand there is a room for children with toys and a TV. Room has a large glass window so the kids can see their parents exercising. Dai goes behind the large counter takes out the ledger & receipts books. The phone begins to ring.
Daisy: Good morning. Bodyshop. Daisy speaking may I help you?
She responds to the questions of person on the phone:
Daisy; We are running a Halloween Special. This includes the Universal Gym, resistant bikes, aerobics, Belly dancing, Sauna, showers, Diet Plans, and individually planned programs.
Listens to the person on the phone and sets up an appointment for 2pm in the afternoon.
The gym is getting busy. On the left are Lockers with showers and sauna for men and then for women.
Sara (instructor): Come on ladies and gentleman time to begin!.
Sara, is like a drill sergeant. She stand with her back to the wall of mirrors. She puts on the record “bad girls, bad girls.” Buy Donna Summers.
Sara: Rock, rock, move your booty.
She begins o jog around the red track on the green carpet in the gym. Members follow her as she leads them past men lifting free weights, people on the bikes, members stretching on the floor. Then Sara claims her spot and others form several lines opposite her. Some members begin to get out of breath while examining their bodies in the long mirrors.
Most men are dressed in shorts and tank tops, socks and sneakers. Majority of women are dressed in leotards and tights with bare feet. Some wear leg warmers, sneakers, and others a jogging suit.
Steve Levine a Chiropractor, usually joins the girls for warm up exercises , rides the bike a bit and then sits on the lounge sofa across from the women exercising and stares at their crotch. Suddenly the gym door opens and walks in Sally. With her hands on her hips she looks a Steve.
Sally Levine: I knew I would find you here. There are patients waiting in the office and you are goofing off. How are you going to pay all the bills? Get dressed you have five minutes and get to work.
Sally is his wife and office manager. Steve is a notorious flirt.
Daisy is busy making appointments as well as making weekly schedule for the instructors. Most instructors are college students and work part-time.
After the exercise classes and work out schedule members usually shower, sit in the Sauna. Those who need to get back to work get dressed and leave. Most members attend the gym 3-5 times a week. A few are regulars and come to he gym daily.
Afternoon’s are usually not too busy except on weekends. Daisy usually goes home to take care of her children who are home after school. She tends to their home work and anything else they need. They like going o the Bodyshop with heir mother. They can socialize with other kids and find I more interesting.
Daisy’s mother-in-law prefers to stay home. Cook, watch TV or go for a walk in the neighbor hood.
Daisy, teaches a yoga class and them brings the kids home for dinner. Rob, after work usually takes over the evening shift to manage he gym.
Daisy, teaches a yoga class and them brings the kids home for dinner. Rob, after work usually takes over the evening shift to manage he gym.
Martha and Vince walk in around 5pm.
Rob: Can I help you?
Martha: Yes, I signed up for the six month special. We both signed up. This is our first day.
Rob shakes hands with them and then points to the locker rooms
Rob: Great, let me show you the locker rooms. First one on he left is men’s locker room. And the one on the right is the ladies locker room. Bring you own locks but do not leave anything in the lockers after you finish.
Vince: I just want to do the free weights. I basically know my routine.
Rob: Great. Let me pull your charts up and set you up on your plan. Martha, you are first. Follow me to the weight machine.
Martha follows Rob. Vince shadows her. She steps on the weight machine.
Vince sneaks his foot on it.
Martha: Wo!. My weight went up. Can’t be 150 lbs.
Rob and Vince smile and wink.
Martha in Spanish: Sal de aqui. Sal de aqui!!!
Vince walks away towards the free weights. Rob begins to set Martha on an individual plan.

Janet enters the gym. Dressed in her usual wrap around skirt and halter top and flip flops.
Signs in. Gets her chart from Sara at the counter. Walks upto Rob.
Janet: Hey! You got to show me how to use these machines again.
Rob: Ok, let us walk over show me which one?
Janet: For my thighs.
Rob: Ok, try this leg pully. Just tie the weight cuff on your ankle.
Start with 10 lbs. Let me show you how.
He ties the ankle bracelet and selects the weight and holds on to the bar stretches his leg wide. And back.
Janet: I am getting a headache with all he noise. I cannot exercise like that. Is this woman going o teach every day?
Rob: Yes, the exercise classes are included in your membership also. Come after 7 pm and it is quiet.
Janet: I want the key so I can come at night and exercise in peace.
Rob: Ms. Dean, I simply cannot give you he key to the gym.
Janet: Why not?
Rob: It is against our company policy.
Janet: I have the key to my office front door. I come and go as I darn please. No one stops me.
Rob: Are you an employee of T&T?
Janet: Yes, so?
Rob: That is different. I simply cannot.
Janet: Why not?
Rob: Company policy.
Janet: Who makes the policy?
Rob: The share holders.
Janet: So, basically it is you??
Rob: Yes!
Janet: YOU! Make the policies?
Rob: That is correct.
Janet: Break it! I WANT THE KEY!

Verbal tics or patterns with 3 individuals.
The character are member of the gym. They meet and socialize at the at the gym.
DAVID: Men, I have been working out five days a week and haven’t lost a pound of flesh!
HOSE: Ju, ever tried lifting free weight? That is goanna help.
MO: I pray five times a day to Allah to help me loose weight!
DAVID: Are you serious?
HOSE: Ya! I pray to become President of United States! (laughs sarcastically).
MO: In my religion we leave everything to Allah!
DAVID: And how does that work? Could I leave everything to Jesus? Even too loose weight?
MO: Yes men! Pray and ask for help!
HOSE: Oh! And remember to eat ice cream and have crate of beer. (laughs)
MO: Hose! I will pray for you too.

This dialogue takes place at Rob and Daisy’s home.
MOTHER: Your brother called.
ROB: What does he want?
MOTHER: He wants me to stay with him for a few weeks. He needs my help.
ROB: What help? He does’nt help. I need you here.
MOTHER: Son, he really want me there because his wife has aha nervous break down.
ROB: SHIT! He is lying because of that bitch!


1. From Jhon Gardner’s Sunlight dialogue. P196, 197
After a long time he said, “Millie, I’m in love with you. She turned to face him, taking his other hand, dead serious for all her excitement. “Is that so bad?”
”He was biting his lips together.” Millie forgive me”.
“For what?” She was frightened, knowing already, having known for hours. “I don’t mind Ben. I love you.”
My words
In the early morning hours, after a sleepless night. He was staring at her too afraid to tell her. “Daisy forgive me”.
“Why? What have you done to ask for my forgiveness?” He was too proud ever to admit his mistakes.
“I am sorry I should have told you sooner.”
“I knew something was wrong when the landlord came to speak with me.”

2. The Portable Emerson. Essay’s from his book. P.97

“Knives and muskets, if we meet you in the act; imprisonment. If we find you afterwards.”
“And by what authority, kind gentleman?”
“By our Law”.
“And your law-- is it just?”

My Words

“while lifting heavy weights one must have a spotter.By slip of a hand you could break your ribs.”
“And what expertise do you have so to speak?”
“I know for a fact.”
“I have yet to see you lift even five pounds? “


Letters From A Slave Girl by Mary E. Lyons.
“Dear Uncle Stephen,
This is the truth from my heart, from here to glory. I don’t blame you, and I hope you don’t blame yourself. From where I sit, I say freedom is worth any price. But I am sorry the price you got to pay is never to see Aunt Betty again.”

My Words
Dear Mother,
I write to you with a heavy heart on the death of your sister. A sister is our first earthly friend. I Hope you don’t feel guilty for not being able to see her as often as you wanted to. Her illness had imprisoned her mind and body. She is now free from pain and in a better place. Mama, Have faith in God. Someday you will be together again.

Aruna Mettler

Aruna Mettler was born and raised in New Delhi, India and moved to the U.S. in 1970. She currently lives on an equestrian farm in New Jersey where she embraces her love for animals and nature and especially the “sacred role of trees” that inspire her artwork.

The artist is skilled in several different mediums and art forms which include art with recycled glass, Batik as fine art, sculpture, and photography. You can find her art in numerous private collections and businesses.

Aruna’s exhibitions include solo shows at SmarTvities Gallery at Forks, PA, and Johnson and Johnson, Skillman, NJ. She has also exhibited at Columbia Community Center and the Printmaking Council of NJ, and more.

Her art has been selected for several juried online exhibitions with, through which she has won “Best in Show” and “Merit” awards. She is also the recipient of awards from Grey Cube Gallery and Today’s Photographer magazine.

Adding to her artistic contributions, Aruna has served as a curator for exhibitions held at American University, Washington D.C, and other venues. She also donates a portion of proceeds from her art sales to “The Sunshine Kids with Cancer” sponsored by Berkshire Hathaways.

Aruna received a B.A. degree in Liberal Arts from Miranda House, Delhi University, India, and a B.A. in Social Science and History from Thomas Edison State College, New Jersey, U.S.


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