'This will help burn off those breakfast rolls," said the man my brother and I have recently employed as our personal trainer. The cold-blooded expression on his face told me we were in trouble.
I tittered, my brother groaned and the personal trainer shushed us before ordering 20 reps of the TRX plank knee tuck.
I don't know why I do it. Not the 8.30am training sessions, rather the litany of lies.
There was no breakfast roll that morning, or the day before. My brother tried to convince him otherwise but he knows it's now a lost cause.
Why the lies? Well, the compulsion to get your sibling into trouble so that you can get a laugh doesn't go away when you become an adult. Equally, the teacher-student dynamic just begs to be tickled. I'll take any opportunity to get a reaction… and what a reaction it gets.
I don't know who's more sadistic, though: the PT for persecuting us with military presses when I tell him my brother ate two boxes of Cadburys Chocolate Fingers while sitting in the bath.
Or me, for knowing I get hoist by my own petard (or in this case TRX suspension straps) when I tell these lines, but continuing to concoct them all the same.
It started relatively innocently. During one of my first sessions a simple query about the nutritional value of fruit juice evinced a rather disproportionate response from our glorious leader. "SHITE," he snarled.
At that point my brother and I made a tacit agreement to stoke his infuriation again and again and again:
"Potato salad with low-fat mayonnaise?"
"Is it okay to have a few Tayto crisps at the side of my sandwich?"
"Sure - if you don't mind wasting your time and money coming to me."
But we soon stopped laughing at that one, just as we stopped laughing at the time he told my brother his "glutes weren't firing" and my brother solemnly declared that he indeed had "gluteal dysfunction".
It was time to take it up a gear. "We had McDonald's at the weekend," I blurted out in the middle of a particularly challenging set of tricep curls one morning. He made me." (For once it was actually true.)
"For f*ck''s sake," my brother muttered. There was a feeble attempt at a defence but he realised it would expend precious energy.
"Oh, really? What did you have?" he demanded. "Just a Chicken McSandwich and chips. Large," I giggled.
"And what did you have?" he barked, turning to my brother. "Big Mac," he sighed in between heavy pants.
"Chips. Also large."
"Keep going because I know there's a milkshake coming."
"No," he railed, beads of sweat dripping down his brow. Oreo McFlurry."
"Okay, do you know what you have to do to burn that off?" he asked me.
I didn't have the answer for this one, probably because I was about to pass out from the seemingly endless set of chest flys.
"Half a marathon," he continued matter-of-factly.
"And you," he said, turning to my partner-in-crime. "Do you know what you have to do?"
"Commit suicide?" my brother offered.
The thing about these lies is that they've become a self-fulfilling prophecy. We went on to pull off what another brother deemed "the hat-trick" last weekend.
It began with a McDonald's on Friday. "Are we really doing this?" I kept asking on the way to the drive-thru. "Jesus, you'd think we were on the way to the euthanasia clinic," my brother said in exasperation. "Yes, we're doing this."
On Saturday it was pizza and chipper chips while on Sunday we went to the cinema to see Ben & Jerry and a movie. That's when I saw my opportunity to take this game to a new level.
As my brother walked away from the counter, balancing a towering concoction of ice cream and a tub of popcorn, I took out my camera. Click-click-click.
My mother knew exactly what I was at without even having to ask. "Go on, send it to him," she laughed, egging me on.
My brother had other ideas. "If you send him that picture that's you and me finished," he snapped. "I'm very serious," he continued, putting on his very serious face.
"Why?" I asked.
"Because it's an invasion of my privacy."
"Oh come on, it's not like you just got papped at the movies."
"Don't send him the photo."
"Alright then, Madonna, I'll protect your privacy during this very difficult time."
I didn't send the photo. I have, however, consigned the image to memory.