It was late when he arrived, about 10:48, and Luke thought to himself thats why he went to a 24 hour gym. He had a busy schedule doing contractor work for the US Marine Corps and was never able to work out at a consistent time. Yet, he still made going to the gym a priority. It was his time to process, his time to let go all of the bureaucratic nonsense that was his job.
Luke had begun his military career as a Marine. Originally from the Philippines, Luke had an unparalelled love for America. It was truly the land of opportunity to him, and he wanted to serve his country just like his adoptive family had. He served the allotted four years for them and then decided to make a career out of it.
At the age of 32 his body was feeling the effects of his chosen career, so Luke decided to make a move to contractor work which he could do more so at his own pace. It was a smart move on his part. At the very least, he got to choose when he took jobs that put his life in danger. Which he did often. There was just something about danger that ignited his soul. He never felt more alive than when he was running for his very life with bullets whizzing past his head.
He did not feel that rush now as he was pumping iron, but he was thinking about it as he completed reps. About 10 minutes after he began Luke's phone began to buzz in the duffel bag. Assuming it was another job opportunity he went over to the metal bench grabbing the phone. To his dismay it was not a job, just his buddy Danny.
His buddy Danny was a good guy. A tall blonde man with a hell of a beard and a wicked sense of humor. They had done 2 tours together in Iraq. Somehow they had both comeback, though Danny had been short a leg after the last tour. Since then they had been inseparable. Going to bars on the weekends and running Ironman races together.
The message from Danny read "Click in this link. This is what we are doing this weekend. Already booked our spots, nonrefundable." Luke shook his head silently and cringed at the thought of what Danny was getting him into. Last time he sent a message like this the pair had ended up waking on a boat off the coast of Africa with no way to get home.
Luke clicked on the link anyway. He figured he should at least look at what Danny wanted to do before refusing. When he clicked it, his phone lit up with color. It was a website with a picture of an old red barn in front of a burnt orange and blue sunset. The words at the top of the page read, "Someday Soon Ranch and Equine Therapy Center."
Immediately Luke was pissed. He hated crap like that where people thought they could fix everything with a little bit of horseback riding. He knew that his head was too messed up to be fixed at all, much less by these fools. It was something he had come to terms with long ago. They just wanted his money. He shook his head and then sent a reply to Danny.
"Not a chance in hell man"
"Come on. Hot chicks. Horses. Beers. We are going. They don't even charge Vets. Some hippy Bullshit about giving back." Danny replied.
Luke really didn't want to go, but he knew Danny would keep arguing until he caved so he simply agreed:
"Fine but you owe me."