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433 Follow-Up Calls



In the Ironman Training Center, Jones sat in front of the phone expectantly with a name list in his hand.

The 24-hour Frogman Challenge had ended, but Jones' work wasn't over yet. He had to make some follow-up calls with students to make check whether or not they had passed the Challenge, and thus check the outcome of his work.

Jones was looking forward to the results of the follow-up calls. He was like a man with a lot of lottery tickets waiting for the winning numbers.

I don't know how many students have passed the 24-hour Frogman Challenge. It is very difficult. I can gain a footing here if 40% of the students can pass, which would be excellent. I might get an extra bonus if half of the students can pass. And if 60% of the students passed... No, that's hardly possible. I don't think any training center in Los Angeles can achieve that.

Jones dialed the first phone number on the list as he was thinking about all this.

"Is this Mr. James? Hello, I'm Coach Jones of the Ironman Training Center. I'm calling to ask if you have passed the 24-hour Frogman Challenge?"

"No! I quit during the 8-kilometer swim because of exhaustion. It's really a shame..." said the voice.

Jones hung up the phone and was in a bad mood. He had expected a piece of good news in his first call-back. But it didn't come. The first student didn't pass the challenge. However, he calmed down and dialed the next phone number.

"Mr. Garcia, I'm Coach Jones of the Ironman Training Center. I am calling to ask if you passed the 24-hour Frogman Challenge? No? Sorry to hear that..."

More terrible news! The optimism in Jones's eyes had disappeared, and nervousness began to grow in his heart.

Calm down. I will get good news in my call to the third student according to the 40% probability of passing. Jones then made the third call.

"Mr. Davis, I'm Coach Jones of the Ironman Training Center. I'm calling to ask if you passed the 24-hour Frogman Challenge? Not you either?"

And the student named Davis suddenly asked, "Are there many students who haven't passed the competition besides me?"

Jones immediately realized that he had leaked the information and he explained at once, "The 24-hour Frogman Challenge is very difficult. And the pass rate is not high. In fact, most of the participants cannot fulfill the competition. Don't be discouraged, Mr. Davis. Just keep training and I'm sure you'll be more likely to pass next year."

Suddenly overwhelmed by negative emotions, Jones hung up the phone. He stopped for one more minute to get back his courage to dial the fourth phone number.

"Hello, Mr. Pop, I'm Coach Jones of the Ironman Training Center..."

What waited for him was another piece of bad news. The fourth student did not finish the competition.

Bad luck today. All of the first four guys didn't finish the Challenge. But I feel that the good news is on its way. Jones blamed the defeat on his luck and tried to comfort himself. And then he made the fifth call.


But another "I quit the competition" welcomed him.

He made six calls. None of the six people passed the 24-hour Frogman Challenge. He expected a good result six times and was disappointed six times, too. The disappointment engulfed him, and he felt more and more lost.

What's going on? Six people and no one passed! Is the 24-hour Frogman Challenge so difficult?

At that moment Jones still hadn't realized that it was the problem of training that stopped the students from finishing the challenge.

Looking at the name list in his hand, Jones was so worried about receiving another piece of bad news in the next call that he didn't even dare to pick up the phone and call the next student.

What I need now is a piece of good news to encourage myself. Jones then searched the list and found the name Cruise.

I remember this guy, Cruise. An excellent sportsman with blonde hair. He will have finished the competition!

Thinking about that, Jones skipped the other phone numbers on the list and dialed Cruise's phone number first. And after a long wait, Cruise answered.

"Is this Mr. Cruise? Hello, I'm Coach Jones of the Ironman Training Center."



Cruise walked into the restaurant to see the fat guy, Hassel, in the corner.

In front of Hassel were two big plates full of food. And Hassel was eating happily with his knife and fork.

He has gotten much thinner since we last saw each other a few days ago. It seems that the physical training class he attended was effective to some extent, Cruise thought and then walked towards him.

"You are much thinner." Cruise sat facing Hassel and pointed to the plates to ask, "But you will be as fat as before if you keep eating so much."

"I was tired to death because of the damn competition. I slept for a whole day and a night to recover. And my training before! It felt like being in hell. It was not easy for me to go through all this. So, eating this is my reward to myself," the fat guy said as he kept eating.

Cruise's face looked melancholy as he thought about the competition. He then called the waiter to order a meal to hide his depression.

"Another for me, too," said Hassel, pointing to his own plate. Then he asked Cruise, "Which beach do you want a job interview at? Some suggestions first. Do not go to the Monica South Cape Beach. I'm going there for my interview. My dream girl is there."

"Job interview? Maybe next year I will have the opportunity." Cruise sighed deeply and then suddenly raised his head in confusion, looking at Hassel. He asked, "What did you say just now? You have a job interview for a lifeguard position?"

"Yes. Three days from now." Hassel nodded seriously.

Cruise stared at Hassel, and he thought Hassel was bragging.

"Are you kidding? The job of a beach lifeguard requires that you pass the 24-hour Frogman Challenge. Are you telling me that you have passed the competition?" said Cruise, leaning back in his chair with his legs crossed.

"Yes, I passed. I mean it. Believe me!" Hassel replied while Cruise smiled disdainfully, which let Hassel know that Cruise didn't believe his words at all.

"I know it sounds fantastic. And even I could not believe it when I woke up." Hassel then took out his mobile phone to show Cruise a photo and said, "Look. It's my certificate!"

Cruise looked at the picture. It really was Hassel's certificate of passing the 24-hour Frogman Challenge.

"Is this a fake one you created with Photoshop?" Cruise looked at the fat man skeptically.

Hassel shook his head at once. "Of course not. Come to my home to see it if you don't believe me. Or, you can check the serial number of my certificate on their official website. Man, we've known each other for ten years. I would never lie to you on this."

"So, you really passed the competition?" Cruise said wide-eyed, staring at his fat friend. Then he asked, "How did you do that?"

"Just everyday training. I have a training plan from Coach Li. As I said just now, the hell-style training. However, I must give him my thanks now. I wouldn't have passed the challenge but for his help." Hassel ate a mouthful of food and then asked, "By the way, you haven't told me which beach you want to go to for the job interview."

"I didn't finish the competition," Cruise said after a pause, deciding that there was no need to hide it from his friend.

"What? You didn't finish the competition? Stop kidding me. That's not funny." Apparently Hassel didn't believe what Cruise said.

In Hassel's memory, Cruise had been a master of sports since his childhood. Cruise was good at almost all kinds of sports, and was the best player on their high school football team, and a college offered him a scholarship. At college, he even ran track and field. Hassel thought he was far behind Cruise in the field of sports. That was a kind of difference that could never be bridged, even through a lifetime of training. What's more, he believed that a competition that he passed would be a piece of cake for Cruise.

Hassel's surprise put Cruise in a worse mood due to the fact that he had lost to this fat guy in sports. He felt insulted, even though they were friends.

Cruise then fell into depression. At the same time, his phone rang. He picked up his mobile phone and saw a landline number.

"Is that telemarketing?" Cruise didn't want to answer, but his cell phone kept ringing, so he answered.

"Is this Mr. Cruise? Hello, I'm Coach Jones of the Ironman Training Center. I'm calling to ask if you have passed the 24-hour Frogman Challenge?" Jones said on the phone.

"No." Cruise's voice was angry, and his attitude was cold.

If it were a few minutes ago, Cruise wouldn't be so cold. But the 24-hour Frogman Challenge had been a scar on his heart since he knew that Hassel passed the competition. Jones's call to ask him about the result of the Challenge was just insult to injury.

Jones didn't catch the chillness in Cruise's words. On the contrary, he asked in disbelief, "I thought you would have passed. Which section did you quit?"

Cruise was hurt again. He just wanted to hang up the phone immediately. But out of politeness, he replied, "The 25 obstacles."

"Oh, that's too bad. You almost finished the Challenge!" said Jones regretfully. And then he began to comfort Cruise, "But you are very close to success. Keep training with me and you will pass the Challenge!"

Jones's words made Cruise unhappier. Seeing the fat guy eating happily across from him and recalling his own training in the Ironman Training Center, Cruise felt he had been fooled and had spent his money in vain.

There's no difference between those exercises in the center and what I do in a normal gym. This Jones has cheated me once and he now wants to do it again! Cruise's tolerance ended at that moment.

"No, I will not go to your center next year. I will not go there again for the rest of my life!" said Cruise angrily.

Jones did not know for a moment how he had offended Jones. He instinctively asked, "Why?"

"Why? Why don't you ask yourself?" Cruise said and then he added, "Do you remember the guy who was with me when I signed up for the training in your center? The fat man you refused! He was trained in another place, and then he went through the 24-hour Frogman Challenge! And I, who have been trained by you for so long, have failed on a wall only two and a half meters high! D*mn you and your physical training center. You cheaters! Sooner or later you will go out of business!"

Cruise hung up the phone angrily and then put the phone number into his blocklist.

Across from him, Hassel, with salad in his mouth, looked at him and was stunned. Hassel then asked, "Did I hear that right? You really didn't finish the competition?"

Hassel even couldn't speak clearly with his mouth so filled with food.