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Joan Cohen | Exclusive Excerpt: The Deepfake


The Deepfake
Joan Cohen

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April 2024
On Sale: April 2, 2024
ISBN: 1647426065
EAN: 9781647426064
Kindle: B0C9HKFW5C
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Also by Joan Cohen:
The Deepfake, April 2024

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(Sylvie is at the gym in her building for a trial session with a trainer named Fielding (Rip).)

He started me on the treadmill and worked his way around the room, explaining the purpose of each exercise and the form to maintain for optimal benefit. I found the gray metal architecture of the exercise stations reassuringly solid. Footrests were right where I needed, hand grips where I instinctively reached to brace myself. He instructed me which muscles to focus on, but the machines isolated the correct ones, keeping me on the physical straight and narrow.

I could have done without the mirrors lining the walls. I knew they were there so that clients could see if they were doing their exercises correctly, but I couldn’t help feeling they were sitting in judgment. Though Rip kept the weights light and the repetitions few, I worried that if I failed to control the weight on the resistance machines, I would be snapped forward, back, up, or down.

“This may sound irrational, but are these machines safe?”

“We haven’t crushed any noses or launched anyone butt-first so far. Your muscles will take care of you.”

“These? I’ve got less muscle than a lox.”

He laid a mat on the floor and told me to lie down. “There’s no such fish as a lox. Lox is smoked salmon. You sound like my father.”

“Your father lacks muscle and eats lox?”

He laughed. “I dare you to say that ten times fast.” He showed me how to position my hands and bend my legs to begin a set of abdominal crunches. “My father was a rabbi in Brooklyn, lox-and-bagels country. He’s gone now.”

My words came out in spurts while I worked to finish the set of fifteen. “I’m sorry, Rip. I don’t mean to get personal, but the name ‘Fielding’ doesn’t sound like a boy out of Brooklyn.”

“As a kid, my dad was a rabid Dodgers fan, at least before the team moved to Los Angeles in 1958.”

I hoped he’d let me lie still while he talked. No such luck. He showed me how to work my obliques and motioned me to begin. “How do you talk and count at the same time?” I asked.

He grinned. “Secrets of the trade. C’mon, get started.” I began my next set. “Dad particularly admired Pee Wee Reese, who was both a great shortstop and friend to Jackie Robinson. Given that Pee Wee came from a poor white family out of rural Kentucky, you’d expect him to be suspicious of unfamiliar ethnic groups, at least back then. He turned out to be a real mensch. Know what that means?”

Thanks to my friend Eileen, with her penchant for appropriating useful phrases from other languages, I was up on my Yiddish. “Uh-huh,” I grunted.

“When I was born, Dad thought about naming me ‘Pee Wee’ but, mercifully, he decided to go with ‘Fielding’ instead. Our relatives told him it was a waspy name, but Dad didn’t care. He said the Dodgers had great fielding, and he knew for a fact that God was a Dodgers fan.” Rip motioned me to stop.

“Finally! So, how did he react when the Dodgers moved to LA?”

“Dad or God?”

“Both.” I laughed.

“My father was heartbroken, but he explained that God had given human beings free will, and they didn’t always use it to make the best choices.”

“No, we don’t, do we.” I couldn’t keep a mournful note out of my voice.

He cocked his head. “We can only schedule discussions of free will for clients’ cardio warm-up time on the elliptical trainer. That’s policy. You need to sign up for more sessions.”

I was tired, as Rip had predicted, but the workout had been satisfying. His snappy comebacks were fun. For a short while, I hadn’t thought about my work pressures or how tight for cash I was. “How can I say no to a rabbi’s son, one who’s no less than the spiritual heir to Pee Wee Reese? I’ll go with the six-session package and see where we are at the end of it.”

He smiled and gave me a thumbs-up.

Wait till I see Eileen, I thought as I crossed the parking lot. I knew she’d be proud of me, given that her definition of exercise included the physical proximity of attractive single men.

 

Copyright © 2024 Joan Cohen

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, digital scanning, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law. For permission requests, please address She Writes Press.

THE DEEPFAKE by Joan Cohen

The Deepfake

Sylvie considers herself a team player at her artificial intelligence (AI) company, but when she uncovers her colleagues’ illegal activities, pleasing everyone becomes impossible. Torn about what to do, she confides in her personal trainer, who’s dismayed not only by the choices she faces but also by her advocacy of AI, a technology he considers dangerous. Despite the barbs the two trade at the gym, they are drawn to each other. If only Sylvie weren’t continually summoned to the Miami estate of her mother and stepfather, where illness, death, a disputed will, and the rekindled ashes of an old flame swirl into a disaster that follows Sylvie back to Boston, bringing harm to her and those she cares about.

 

Thriller [She Writes Press, On Sale: April 2, 2024, Paperback / e-Book, ISBN: 9781647426064 / ]

Buy THE DEEPFAKEAmazon.com | Kindle | BN.com | Powell's Books | Books-A-Million | Indie BookShops | Ripped Bodice | Walmart.com | Target.com | Amazon CA | Amazon UK | Amazon DE | Amazon FR

About Joan Cohen

Joan Cohen

Originally from Mount Vernon, New York, Joan Cohen is the author of “The Deepfake” (She Writes Press, April 2, 2024). She received her BA from Cornell University and her MBA from New York University. Her career in sales and marketing at technology companies led to executive management, and after retirement she returned to school for an MFA in Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts. She is the author of the novel “Land of Last Chances,” published in 2019. She now resides in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, in the Berkshires, with her husband and latest canine addition. Find out more about her at her website.

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