“The Spotter” by Cory Groshek | Narrated by Matt Grant

Matt Grant narrates this story written by CTFDN producer Cory Groshek about a man working out in a 24-hour gym who finds out in a rather unsettling fashion that even though it is after 2 AM, he is not alone in the gym.  Cory, who works out frequently and hosts his own YouTube fitness channel, weaves this tale as realistically as anyone could.  For some, the detail may be too much.  But for those of us who have ever been in a 24-hour gym in the wee hours of the night, or anywhere after 2 AM, by ourselves and alone, for that matter, this story may hit a nerve.  As a cautionary tale, this story teaches us the importance of always being aware of your surroundings.  If you aren’t, you might just find yourself on the receiving end of “a spot.”

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Cory Groshek is a producer, music producer and narrator for Chilling Tales for Dark Nights, as well as an author and YouTube fitness personality. To see Cory's fitness channel on YouTube, click the link below:

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“The Spotter”
Author: Cory Groshek
Narrator: Matt Grant
Sound Design: Cory Groshek
Post-Production: Cory Groshek
Artwork: Craig Groshek  

Music Credits:

Kevin McLeod
Royalty-free Music:

Sound effects:


[table colalign=”center|center|center|center|center|center|center”]
Story Title,Narrator,Author,Release Date,Length,Preview,Purchase
The Spotter,Matt Grant,Cory Groshek,2014-02-13,00:23:45,[sc_embed_player fileurl=”″],[purchase_link id=”7794″ text=”Add to Cart” style=”plain” color=”black”][/table]


I just got a new job. It’s not exactly my dream job, and it’s pretty damn boring, but, hey, it pays the bills. I’m basically a security guard at this local insurance company, and I have to work from 9:00 PM until 2:00 AM every day, including on the weekends…keeping an eye on the security cameras, doing hourly patrols, and checking out any random “bumps in the night” that I might hear. It was either this or bouncing downtown at the night clubs, and I chose this job instead of bouncing because it pays a little better and I get more hours.

Anyway, so I’ve been doing this job for a few weeks now, and I’m starting to think I would have been better off bouncing, because at least with the bouncing I would’ve seen some action – maybe broken up a few fights, knocked some heads, or whatever. I’m not a violent guy, but if I’m backed into a corner, I can fight my way out. Most people I know would say I’m pretty intimidating, too, since I weight train a lot at the local gym six days a week, and I’m a pretty big guy.

That’s another thing that I don’t like about this new job. It totally screwed up my weight training schedule. At my old job, which was a crappy call center job, I used to work 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM Monday through Friday, and so I’d hit the gym at 7:30 AM and be out of there by 8:30 every morning. I had that routine going for, like, three years, but then I got laid off from that job and had to look for a new one, which brings me to now. Now I hit the gym after 2:00 AM, right when I get done with work, and get out of there about 3:00. I usually go about my day after that, and I sleep from noon or 1:00 PM until, like, 8:00 PM, and then I head back to work and do it all over again.

It’s taken me a while to get used to this new routine, but I’m getting it down, slowly but surely. It’s kind of weird, though, working out at 2:00 AM, because I’m usually the only person in the gym at that time of day. Occasionally there will be some truck driver in there, probably stopping to get a quick workout on his way through town, but usually it’s just me. By the way, my gym is one of those 24-hour gyms, where you get a little key fob that lets you in any time you want, which I think is great because of my messed up work schedule.

Anyway, so today I figured I would hit my chest and biceps, and maybe do some shoulder work, too. I just did my back, triceps and some legs yesterday, and I try to hit different body parts on different days so I can recover faster from my workouts. This has been working out great for me over the last few years, and “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” right? So I stick to what works.

When I got to the gym, the lights, which operate by a motion sensor, weren’t even on, which is pretty typical. The place was completely dark, but that just meant that nobody had been in the place for the last half hour or so. When I swiped my key fob, the doors unlocked with a click, I headed in, and the lights magically turned on in the whole gym. Every time that happens, I’m like, “Let there be light!” I crack myself up. And that’s actually one of the benefits of being in there all by myself at 2:00 AM – when I’m lifting heavy, I can grunt or yell as loud as I want, and there’s no stuck-up cardio bunny on the Elliptical or the manager telling me to tone it down.

I start my workout the same way I always do, by doing some bench pressing on a flat bench with some pretty light dumbbells, which to me means 35 pounds. I bust out, like, 20 reps, just to get the blood flowing, and then I sit up and see that ESPN is showing some NBA highlights on the TV on the wall above the weight rack. So I’m just sitting there, giving myself a minute before I grab some heavier dumbbells to put in some real work, and watching the Spurs whoop the Warriors, and I hear the gym doors click.

Hm, that’s weird, I’m thinking. I guess I’ve got company! Hopefully it’s some hot chick that just got done bartending. Aw, man, I love it when smoking hot 20-somethings work out around me in those tight yoga pants they always have on…it totally gets my testosterone levels up.

I turn my head to the left to see who has decided to join me in these early morning festivities, and immediately I get disappointed. It’s not the Maxim model I was hoping for, but rather some kind of creepy-looking dude who looks to be in his mid-50’s…white…with long, almost wet-looking gray hair, like he just came in out of the rain. He’s got a 5 o’clock shadow….and overalls?

Now I’ve seen it all. Did this guy just get done milking some cows, or what? I see he brought a gym bag with him, so hopefully this tool bag has something a little more appropriate to wear if he’s planning on working out. If he starts running on a treadmill in those overalls, I am going to laugh my ass off.

Anyway, back to work. I grab some 90-pound dumbbells – planning on working my way up to the 100’s – and I bust out six reps. I’ve been doing a lot of heavy lifting with lower reps lately, just working on my strength. I take a two-minute break, watching Tim Duncan and Tony Parker doing a post-game interview on ESPN, talking about how they just outplayed the Warriors all game long, and then I see some movement in the back of the gym, out of the corner of my eye. So I turn my head to the right and check it out.

Apparently Mr. Overalls isn’t an avid bodybuilder like me – he’s the cleaning guy. He’s got to be, because he’s in the back there, and he’s plugging in the vacuum cleaner, which he obviously got out of the storage closet. Makes sense. The guy looks like he doesn’t even lift. I’ve seen pre-pubescent girls with more muscularity than this dude.

At this point I’m thinking he’s got the same job that the cleaning lady I used to see every morning when I worked out at 7:30 AM has. That lady would come in right around the time I used to get to the gym to vacuum the whole place, change the trash bags, wipe down the mirrors, and whatever. I guess 2:30 AM is just as good as 7:30 AM to clean this place up, really. I bet this guy got a great discount on his gym membership for agreeing to do this kind of gig, but I’ll be damned if he’d even be able to curl my little sister’s pink five-pound dumbbells. He’d better start using that membership ASAP!

Back to work. I grab my 90-pound dumbbells again, thrust them up into position, and start busting out another six reps. I’m trying to go for five sets total. I figure that by my fourth set, I might bump myself up to the hundred-pounders and see how many reps I can pull off. It feels like a great day for setting a new personal record!

As I’m finishing up the last of these six reps, struggling and gritting my teeth a little, I hear the sound of Mr. Overalls’ vacuum cleaner turning on. I finish my rep with a manly grunt that any respectable caveman could appreciate, drop the dumbbells on the floor, and sit up. I wipe a bead of sweat from my brow with my shirt and look towards Mr. Overalls to see what he is doing, and he is, like, 30 feet from me, by the cable apparatus, and he is vacuuming…but if I didn’t know better, I’d say he was looking right at me. Kind of creepy, but not the first time other dudes have checked me out at the gym. I am quite the stud, after all. P.S.: I’m definitely into chicks. I just want to be clear about that.

Anyway, I’m not here to be eye-candy for some jealous old guy; I’m here to work out. I grab my dumbbells from the floor, set them on my legs, and get ready to thrust them up into position to bench some more when, all of a sudden, Mr. Overalls is standing, like, a foot away from me, on my right side. I didn’t even hear him coming, because the vacuum was still running. What the hell does this guy want, an autograph?

I turn to him with a puzzled, somewhat annoyed look on my face, my hands still wrapped around the two dumbbells resting on my thighs, and I’m about to ask him what his deal is, when he says, “Need a spot?”

The way he said it was kind of unsettling…all deadpan…monotone…

He’s standing there, with his pale white skin and his stupid overalls, smelling like he just got done trying to get dirt off of himself by rolling around in a pile of hay, and he looks like he hasn’t slept in days. His eyes are all bloodshot and his hair looks like he shampoos with goat’s milk. Ugh…

I say, “No thanks, man. I’m good. I got this,” and I expect him to say, “Okay, cool,” like most dudes would, and then go about his own business…but he keeps standing there, not blinking…just staring at me with these two little, beady eyes of his, and he says, “Sure you don’t need a spot?”

I repeat myself, hoping he’ll get the hint this time, being that I’m holding onto these heavy-ass dumbbells and am not in a position to defend myself if he gets weird on me.

“Nah, man,” I said, “I’m good. I lift like this all the time. You can go back to vacuuming now, or whatever you need to do.”

With that, he stared for a brief moment longer; didn’t say anything. Then he turned and walked back to his still-running vacuum. What a creepy son of a bitch this guy is. I’m going to keep an eye on him. Maybe I should go get my stuff, call it a day, and go shower at home. I can always come back later if I feel like it, and maybe then the manager will be in and I can ask him what’s up with Mr. Overalls.

Wait. No…I’m not going to leave now. What the hell should I leave for? I’m one of the biggest dudes that works out here…probably one of the toughest S.O.B.’s in this whole city. I’m not going to be intimidated or driven out by some dude that looks like an extra from Green Acres. I’m going to finish my damn workout and deal with this later. I’ll probably just call the manager and explain the situation. No need to make another trip to the gym on account of one creepy cleaning guy.

So I finish up my last couples sets of bench pressing and go get a drink of water from the water fountain in the back of the gym. After I quench my thirst a little, I notice that the light is on in the yoga room in the back of the gym. Mr. Overalls must be cleaning something in there, since I don’t hear the vacuum running anymore. I peek into the room and, as expected, he’s got a rag and a spray bottle, and he’s wiping down the mirrors that take up the entire north wall of the room. Good for him. Maybe now he can stare at and admire himself instead of staring at me like a fat kid stares at an ice cream cake at Dairy Queen.

I head back to the main gym floor, grab my bench, and prop it up into a 45-degree angle, so that I can get ready to do some bicep curls, which is another way of me saying, “Welcome to the gun show!” Too bad there aren’t any cute chicks in here doing cardio right now. It sure would be nice to have some “scenery” to check out in the mirror while I’m exercising my right to bear arms.

I grab some 15-pound dumbbells, bust out 20 warm-up reps, and then go back to watching ESPN for a minute. Gonna be grabbing some 50-pounders in just a minute…planning on doing five sets of six reps, if I can. Some people tell me I shouldn’t go heavy with my arms like I do with my chest, but I’m like, “Do I look like I need advice on weight lifting from you?” Pssssh, knobs. They read one article in Muscle & Fitness Magazine and all of a sudden they think they’re bodybuilding experts.

I get my first six reps done, take a two-minute break, watch some NFL highlights on the TV, bust out another six reps, take another break, do six more reps, and then I decide that ESPN is kind of boring. I’m wondering what’s going on in the news, so I go grab the remote control off a nearby table, switch the TV to CNN, and Anderson Cooper is on there, talking about some typhoon that just hit the Philippines. I’m glad I don’t live in the Philippines. Place looks like a junkyard after the typhoon got done with it.

I turn around to put the remote back where I got it, so I can finish my last two bicep sets, and…whoa! What the hell, man?
Mr. Overalls is right there, all up in my face, like, six inches away! I take a big step back, never breaking eye contact with him, and put my hands up, palms first, in front of me, as a defensive measure, and say, “Whoa! Where’d you come from? You gotta watch where you’re going, man! I could’ve run right into you!”

Mr. Overalls, again, just stares at me. A few awkward seconds pass, and then he says, “Need a spot?” I’m thinking, “Need a spot…what do I need a spot for? I’m doing bicep curls for God’s sake. Is this guy serious?” Being the nice guy I am, though, I don’t say this out loud. Instead, I say, “Nah, man…I’m just doing some bicep stuff. I’m cool. You don’t need to worry about me.”

With that, I go to sidestep him and go back to my bench to do my last two bicep curl sets, and he sidesteps in the same direction as me, directly blocking me from walking any further. Again, I recoil a bit, taking a big step back. Now I’m a little on edge. This is getting beyond creepy. I’m starting to think that I’m going to have to knock this guy out, and I don’t want to have to do this, since I’d probably kill the guy by accident.

Angrily, I blurt out, “Look, man. I don’t know what your deal is, but I already told you I don’t need a spot. As you can see, I’m a pretty big guy, and I can handle some bicep curls by myself. I’m a nice guy, and I don’t want to be rude, but you are really invading my personal space right now, and I’m going to ask you one time, nicely, to go back to your cleaning, or whatever, and let me work out in peace. Got that?”

I’m expecting this moron to be intimidated, back up, or say something like, “I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to intrude. I will leave you alone” and walk away…but he doesn’t. Instead, he stares again, longer this time than the last. I’m not blinking. He’s not blinking. I swear I can see his right eye twitch a little, and my nervous system is in “fight or flight” mode. I am totally ready to knock this guy’s head off his shoulders if he so much as flinches right now, and then he says, “Sure you don’t need a spot?”

“Man, with all due respect,” I say, “I’m not going to tell you again. I don’t need a spot. Now turn around and walk away. Either that or you can get taken away in an ambulance. Catch my drift?”

Mr. Overalls pauses for a moment, then turns around, apparently not intimidated by me at all, and walks away slowly, going back to the yoga room. At this point, I’m really not sure if I should even try to finish my workout. Hell, I don’t know if I should even try to grab my gym bag, since it’s in a cubby in the back of the gym, probably about 15 feet from the yoga room. My keys are in my gym bag, though…maybe I should just calmly grab my bag, speed walk out of here, and go home. Even if it wasn’t for this dude being so creepy, he’s still completely messing up the flow of my entire workout, and I’m the kind of guy who likes to “get in and get out” when it comes to lifting. I’m all business.

No. Forget it. I’m not going to let this guy get to me. Who the hell does he think he is? He’s so rude. He has to know that if he did what he’s been doing to someone half as nice as me that he’d already have gotten his ass kicked twice over. I mean, really. I think he “smells what I’m cooking” with that last statement I made to him, so hopefully he won’t be any more trouble this morning. If he does bother me again…well, then I guess I will have to handle that situation the same way I’d handle an obnoxious drunk at a bar-close on a Saturday night, and throw him out on the curb.

I’ve only got one more exercise to do, and I think I’ll do some Arnold Presses for my shoulders. It’s a great move, it really is. It’s named after Arnold Schwarzenegger, and nobody knows how to build better shoulders than Arnold. Dude was a legend, and still is!

I don’t need to warm up my shoulders, really, since the bench pressing took care of that for the most part, so I just grab some 55-pound dumbbells, swing them up into position, and knock out eight reps like a champ. I could go a little heavier since I’m only trying to hit six reps; going for maximum strength gains, baby! I swap out the 55’s for some 60’s, rest for a minute or two, and knock out six reps. Yeah – that’s more like it.

At this point, I stop and scan the entire gym, checking all around me and in the mirror to see if Mr. Overalls is anywhere to be found. I am totally ready to take these dumbbells and bash his skull in with them if he starts some crap again, but I don’t see him anywhere, so I execute another six reps. Man, I can’t wait to get out of here, head home, and eat the roasted garlic chicken leftovers from last night that’s waiting for me in the fridge.

Still no sign of Mr. Overalls, thank God. Looks like it’s going to be smooth sailing from here on out, so I get my last two sets of Arnold Presses done, wipe some sweat off my forehead, and get to the back of the gym to get my bag. I check my bag to make sure that that weird bastard didn’t mess around with or steal any of my stuff, and luckily it’s all there. I should’ve gotten my bag earlier and kept it closer to me to begin with but, then again, there are security cameras all over this place, so if somebody was to steal my stuff, I’m sure the police would be able to I.D. that person immediately.

I notice that the light in the yoga room has been turned off. The vacuum, the rag, and the spray bottle are nowhere to be seen, so I take it Mr. Overalls has gone home. I’m not surprised. I can’t believe I even entertained the idea that this popsicle-stick would have attempted to lift some weights. How silly of me. I take one last look around, peeking around corners, checking behind walls and doors, to ensure that I am really all alone again in the gym. It would appear that I am. Maybe I should just “play it safe” and go home to shower but, then again, why waste water at home, which I have to pay for, when I could use the gym’s water, which I’m technically already paying for with my membership? I decide to just take the shower at the gym.

When I get done showering, get my clothes on, and I’m on my way out of the gym, I’m still being a little cautious. Even though I know, in all likelihood, that I am still the only one here, I don’t want to leave open the possibility that Mr. Overalls could pull some last-minute trick and come up behind me, seeing as he’s done it once already. I’m not going to fall for that again. I’ve seen too many movies, and I’m well aware that the psychos always stick you with the knife when you have your back turned.

I make it to the front door, push it open, and step out into the crisp, autumn air. The skies are clear, the city lights are not too bright, and I can make out the Big Dipper in the darkness above me. The streets are pretty much empty, except for a few taxi cabs driving around, and I can hear some dead leaves skirting across the parking lot. It’s getting pretty chilly out…I’ll probably need to start wearing a jacket to the gym soon.

I pull out my keys, pop the trunk of my car with the press of a button, and toss my gym bag in there. Thank God I didn’t have to beat anybody up tonight. I guess I’m going to have to get used to the idea of having to do that, though, since you never know what could happen at that security job of mine. That’s why they pay me “the big bucks,” you know!

I jump in the driver’s side of my car, shut the door, turn on my CD player, and crank up the radio. I don’t normally listen to Top 40, because it’s all mindless dance beats and auto-tuned teeny boppers these days, but a new hip-hop song is on, and I kind of like it. I pull out onto the main road, crack my window open, and start heading home, nodding my head to the badass beat in the song, when I hear the DJ say something over the song. Wow, that’s weird. Did the guy forget to mute his microphone or something? I’ve heard DJs sing over the ends of songs before, but this is a rap song, and I’m pretty sure the DJ is some white dude with no sense of rhythm, so he probably shouldn’t quit his day job.

Anyway, I turn the radio down to see if it was really the DJ talking or singing along, or whatever, because I might just be hearing the sound of college kids through the windows as they head home from the bars. There are a lot of them standing around outside, cigarettes in hand, and they’re just shooting the breeze with each other.  I conclude that it must’ve been the DJ talking over the song, since the kids outside are too far away for me to hear them, especially with the wind blowing in my window.

As I drive away from the downtown area, I realize how nice it is to finally be out of the gym and away from all the annoying dance music that gets played in there. I can never find the satellite radio remote when I’m there, so I usually get stuck listening to techno but, right now, it’s just the sound of the wind and the hum of my tires beneath me. Finally, some peace and quiet – maybe I can relax a little now.

But then I hear some rustling in my backseat. I guess I have the window open too much. I had some empty Wal-Mart bags back there, and one will probably fly up in my face while I’m driving if I don’t shut the window, so I shut the window right away.

Dead silence.

I wait a few seconds, then go to turn the volume back up on the radio, and then I hear it, from the back of my car…

“Sure you don’t need a spot?”

What the f—


[table colalign=”center|center|center|center|center|center|center”]
Story Title,Narrator,Author,Release Date,Length,Preview,Purchase
The Spotter,Matt Grant,Cory Groshek,2014-02-13,00:23:45,[sc_embed_player fileurl=”″],[purchase_link id=”7794″ text=”Add to Cart” style=”plain” color=”black”][/table]