What we talk about when we talk about abs

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John Kenney is a writer in New York.

Alex and [his wife] Cynthia met in 1996 at a gym ... “She would come in right after work and get on the treadmill and do her abs. And finally, I built enough courage ...and I said, ‘I know you are going to go do some abs after. And do you mind if I join you?’ ”



“[US] magazine reported that not only has A-Rod been making late-night visits to [Madonna’s] ... apartment, but he also was at her place soon after his wife, Cindy, gave birth to their second daughter ... possibly as early as the night after his wife gave birth.”

-- New York Post

Madonna’s kitchen, Upper West Side, Manhattan. After midnight. A bucket of ice and a bottle of gin sit on the table between them.


A-ROD: What was I saying?

MADONNA: I wasn’t really listening. Something about a curve ball?

A-ROD: Oh yeah. The thing about a curve ball is that you think it’s way outside the strike zone. I mean, it’s, like, coming right at your head and then, boom, drops right over the plate. It’s embarrassing, to be honest.

MADONNA: We need more ice.

A-ROD: Oh. I had another kid.

MADONNA: That’s nice. When?

A-ROD: Yesterday, I think.

MADONNA: Boy? Girl?

A-ROD: Girl, I think. I forget. Lemme ask you something. What was “Desperately Seeking Susan” about? I didn’t really get it. Like “Tommy Boy,” “Mr. Deeds,” “Toy Story” -- I get those. I see that you’re wearing a leather onesie. Is that comfortable?

MADONNA: Versace made it for me years ago.

A-ROD: Sometimes you sound like you have an English accent.

MADONNA: It’s an affectation.

A-ROD: Yikes. Does that hurt?

MADONNA: I’m really tired.

They drink.

MADONNA: I don’t recognize this city anymore. The meatpacking district used to be so ... it’s a theme park now. Hell’s Kitchen is a suburb. The Upper West might as well be Indianapolis.

A-ROD: Ask me state capitals.


A-ROD: Do taxes bug you? They bug me. People don’t realize that $28 million a year is really only about $14 million. Wanna see my abs?

MADONNA: No, thanks. How’s your marriage?

A-ROD: Good. Pretty good. Not great. You?

MADONNA: Do you ever wonder if there’s true love? If we’re meant to be with just one person for the rest of our lives, if just one person can satisfy every need, grow with you, challenge you, move you, turn you on?

A-ROD: Honestly? I like big boobs. Also, A-Rod’s not my real name.

MADONNA: It’s getting late.

A-ROD: Tell me more about this religious thing ... this kabuki.

MADONNA: Kabbala. It’s a Hebrew word. It means “receiving.” It’s been called the mystical part of Judaism, and it’s a part of Torah study. Some say it’s the true path to Jewish spiritual wisdom. Others say it’s heresy.



A-ROD: My point is that a curve doesn’t look like it’s going to be anywhere near the plate. You’re sure you don’t want to see my abs? Or I could look at yours.

MADONNA: We need more ice. Ya’ want to know the irony?

A-ROD: The what?

MADONNA: The irony is I’m not very materialistic. I just want to be left alone like a normal person whilst at the same time being covered extensively in print, broadcast and online media.

A-ROD: There are days where I’ll do, like, 500 sit-ups. Not all at once though. We’ve got this one guy on our team, Japanese fella; I can’t understand a word he says. We could make out if you wanted.

MADONNA: I’m good. Top off?

She pours more gin

MADONNA: Do you know who Raymond Carver is?

A-ROD: He was Perry Mason.

MADONNA: No. He was a writer. Wrote a lot about relationships. You must have a lot of time to read, on the road, between games and strip clubs.

A-ROD: Totally. Like, how d’ya mean?

MADONNA: Forget it.

A-ROD: Do you think Derek Jeter is cute? I do. Does that sound weird?

MADONNA: I don’t know who that is.


MADONNA: No one saw you come in tonight, right?

A-ROD: I don’t think so. Lemme ask you a question. When you’re acting, in, say, “Evita,” and you’re saying a line, do you know you’re acting or do you really think you’re Evita? And who was Evita? Also, what is “Belgium”? Why is it “England,” “Ireland,” “Scotland” but not “Franceland”?

MADONNA: You’re lucky you’re cute.

A-ROD: People seem to like you. Why don’t they like me?

MADONNA: Could be that you’re here at 3 a.m., shirtless, a baseball glove on your head, while your wife and children are elsewhere.


A-ROD: Seriously though.

MADONNA: Who’s to say? Money, fame, beauty. People are jealous and curious. They think our lives are better. But what they don’t know, what we can never tell them, is that we’re just not that interesting when it comes right down to it.

A-ROD: I missed the last part.

MADONNA: Shhh. Just ... will you please be quiet please?