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|It’s all about the attitude.
It’s easier to get respect if you act like you deserve it. For some people, that’s the hard part. It was for me, in the beginning, but after a few days in the BBC all that changed. The other guys in the club taught me about “attitude” and how to use it to get your share. Let’s face it — the guys in life who get what they want are not being selfish, they’re just using what they’ve got to their best advantage. Everyone’s looking out for himself, so you might as well, too. Right?
I couldn’t believe that I — Evan Walker, a former skinny geek — had become a member of the Buff Biceps Club. My first week as an official member of the BBC was great. The students at our junior high weren’t allowed to leave the campus for lunch, so we all spent the last half of our noon hour parading around the school grounds. Now that we were getting into spring and the weather was warming up, it was the perfect time for the BBC boys to shed our shirts and give the other kids something to look at… and drool over… or lust over. The motto of our club could be, “If you’ve got it — flaunt it!” Or even better: “We’ve got it — and you want it!” We gathered at our secret meeting spot in the back corner of the athletic equipment room. There were some dumbbells and stuff back there we could use to pump up a little, and a supply of baby oil we could spread over our skin to make our muscles shine a bit. Not too much — you just wanted a nice sheen on your muscles that made them stand out, looking all buff and hard.
Ryan and Travis did each other’s backs, and I helped our club president, Sean, get a nice, smooth oil job all over his torso and legs. Sean had the best body in our whole class, I think, and naturally he had the best biceps. He pumped them up with a 20-pound dumbbell while I rubbed the oil on his upper arm. To feel that big muscle stretching and flexing under my oil-slicked fingers was a real rush! When Sean put the weight down and struck a pose to admire the pump in his biceps, I nearly lost it! His muscular arms were so-o-o-o hot! Sean saw my reaction and gave me a big smile. “Let’s go!” he shouted and we headed outside.
When the BBC boys showed up, we always got a lot of attention. Girls and guys all knew we would flex our muscles for them if they came up and we thought they were cool. If we didn’t like them, or we didn’t think they deserved a free feel, we’d razz ’em and tease them a little — give ’em a little humiliation for their forwardness. It was like we were holding court and everyone wanted our favor.
The noontime was the only time we got together as a club. Sean had baseball practice after school. Travis was a sprinter on the track team, and he also threw the javelin, which I thought was cool. Ryan had played some basketball in the winter, so I was the only non-athlete in the club. We never worked out together as a club, either. We each had our own set of weights at home, except for Travis, who sometimes went over to Ryan’s house to work out. I think Travis just had a naturally muscular build, although he was especially good at pull-ups, which explained why his biceps were so buff. They made a nice peak when he flexed them. Ryan was the tallest, and his biceps made the roundest ball when he flexed. He also had the biggest vein snaking over the rounded bulge. It wasn’t cool for another member of the BBC to feel your biceps in public, so I didn’t get to feel Ryan’s arm, but it looked very hard. Judging from the reaction of the kids who felt it, Ryan probably had the hardest biceps among the four of us. Sean had the biggest arm. He had the thickest biceps and a really nice shape when he flexed. It was hard for me to compare myself to the others. I was the new guy, but I was working out hard and improving fast. I may not have had the biggest or hardest arm in the club yet, but I got my share of requests to pose and my share of compliments, too.
When my buddy Fred — or perhaps I should say my “ex-buddy” Fred — saw me after school he avoided me. That really pissed me off. I was willing to stay his friend and keep walking home with him after school and stuff. I even told him that it would be good for him to be seen with me — maybe I could help him get in with some of the cool kids in our class — but he had to play the stuck-up asshole and act like he didn’t want my help. What a loser! Last year when we were both scrawny little seventh-graders we were best friends. Now I’ve built up my body and he hasn’t, so he’s all jealous and stuff. I can’t help it if he wants to be a skinny geek all his life. What do you bet, though, if a bully starts picking on him he’ll come crawling to me? We’ll just see what he thinks about my muscles then.
We soon had another eighth-grader who wanted to be a member of our club. He was a Mexican kid named Enrique, but everybody called him “Ricky”. Ricky was a gymnast, and he could do some amazing things with his body. The first time we talked to him about the club, he showed us how he could sit on the floor and put one foot behind his head! I couldn’t believe it! Ricky was so short Ryan called him a midget, but he had muscles everywhere! If you measured Ricky’s arms they were probably the smallest in the club, but on his body they looked huge! His biceps were cool, dude, and they felt nice and hard, too! I voted for him right away. It was fun seeing another kid go through the initiation like I did. Ricky had no problem with the sleeve busting and he had such an outgoing personality it was pretty easy for him to get a teacher to feel his biceps. I worried about him arm-wrestling a ninth-grade jock. But as a gymnast, Ricky had so much upper-body strength that it wasn’t too difficult for him to overpower a kid from the wrestling team who was near Ricky’s weight. Then there were five in the club.
Our noontime outdoor stunts got a little more inventive. Ryan’s favorite game was to find a lovesick couple — the kind who just stood around and gazed into each other’s eyes — and go put his flexed arm right between their noses. Then he’d say something like, “Check this out, baby!” and tell the girl she should dump that wimp for a real man. We’d all stand back and laugh and see what happened next. Sometimes the girl would wrinkle up her nose and stick her tongue out, but you’d be surprised how often the girl’s eyes got big and she would reach up and feel Ryan’s rock-like biceps. It was as if the girls just couldn’t help themselves. The reaction of the guys was sometimes even more fun to watch. You could tell they wanted to get all mad and stuff, but at the same time they realized that Ryan could probably beat them up with one hand tied behind his back. So they’d just kind of frown and complain, but if Ryan gave them a dirty look they shrank back like a scared little mouse. Whenever that happened the rest of us just about fell down laughing. And if the guy wanted to fight, Ryan enjoyed that even more. If there was anything Ryan liked more than flexing his biceps, it was using them to beat up another guy who thought he was tough enough to stand up to him. The rest of us would take bets on whether it would take one or two punches from Ryan to lay the guy out.
Sean could do card tricks and stuff, like an amateur magician, and he had a neat trick he did with a golf ball. He would go up to a group of kids and bounce the ball on the pavement. Then he would say, “Which do you think is harder, this golf ball or my biceps?” The kids would just kind of laugh. Then Sean would hold his right arm out straight and place the ball in the crook of his elbow. He bent his arm round the ball without flexing, until you could only see a little piece of white on the side where the ball wasn’t covered by his thick biceps. Then he started to flex — slowly at first, then harder and harder. Sean would bend over at the waist and the strain would show on his face as he flexed his arm as hard as he could. It was amazing to see how Sean’s biceps grew up around the golf ball as it bulged harder and harder. Sean started grunting until the veins stood out in his neck and his face turned red. He kept this up for about thirty seconds with his arm at maximum flex and his huge biceps pressing against his forearm so hard that the ball was totally engulfed by his massive muscle. Then his arm would start trembling like it couldn’t keep up the flex much longer. With a big final grunt followed by several gasps, Sean would say something like, “There, I think that did it!” He’d unflex his arm and take out the golf ball, and it would be all crushed and flattened into an oval shape with the cover split wide open and almost falling off the core! Everyone would gasp and their eyes would bug out. Then Sean would hand them the ball and say, “I guess my biceps is harder than you thought!” It was a great trick! Of course, it helped when your dad worked in a machine shop and he could use his hydraulic press to flatten a box of golf balls for you.
Travis did a nice trick — one that I’d never seen before. There was a new little tree planted on the school grounds, and the lowest branch was about an inch in diameter and right about at shoulder level for Travis. One day he just walked right up to it and wrapped his arm around the branch, trapping it between his forearm and biceps. Then he looked at the crowd of kids gathered around and said, “You guys want to see the crushing power of my biceps?” Travis flexed hard and his biceps knotted up, and there was this cool crunching sound as the bark started splintering around the point where it was being pinched off by his biceps. Even though it was green wood, Travis just kept flexing harder and harder, crushing that branch with his biceps until the all the wood fibers inside were mashed into a pulp. Then he gave a jerk with his shoulder and the branch snapped right off the tree, still trapped by his bulging muscle. There was a big reaction from the crowd and everyone wanted to feel his muscle. I don’t know how he knew he could do that without trying it first. It was such a cool muscle trick!
Even Ricky had his chance to show off. Some kid had thrown his Frisbee way up into a tree and his friend was struggling to climb up there and get it. Ricky asked me to give him a boost, and I launched him up to the lowest branch, where he began to climb using just his arms. He pulled himself up hand over hand like he was doing a series of one-arm chin-ups, grabbing a higher branch each time. It was so cool to see his legs just dangling and his biceps exploding powerfully as he used the pure strength of his arms to haul himself up there in no time at all. He grabbed the disc, but instead of throwing it down he put it in his mouth so he could come back down the same way and show off some more. Finally, he jumped down to the ground and presented the kid with his Frisbee. His buddy was still trying to climb back down out of the tree. The boy took the disc and said, “Thanks!” Ricky said, “No problem,” then hit a double biceps pose and added, “it’s easy when you’ve got muscle!”
I wanted to come up with my own stunt to show off, but I couldn’t think of anything. Then I saw an old “Hercules” movie on TV and got an idea. I brought a couple of five-foot lengths of rope to school and challenged a couple of normal-sized classmates to a tug of war. I stood in the middle with a rope in each hand and they got on either side to pull me in opposite directions. I had my elbows slightly bent at the start. Their goal was to pull my arms out straight and get me to submit, and my goal was to pull them over the line that Sean marked on the ground about a foot in front of each boy. At the signal to start my opponents went all out. My arms snapped out straight and I worried that I’d made a terrible mistake. The ropes were wrapped securely around my wrists and I felt the strain on my shoulder joints as the two boys dug in with their shoes and leaned back on the ropes. I heard my club mates shouting, “Come on, Evan!” and I tried to concentrate on getting my elbows to bend slightly so I could start to use the power in my biceps. Luckily, one boy got cocky and tried to re-grip the rope farther in. When I felt it go slack for an instant, I managed to get enough bend in my elbows to start my own pull. My muscles didn’t have much leverage, but the shouts from my buddies got my adrenaline pumping. I could feel the cords of muscle in my arms tighten and I managed to bend them a little more. The boys weren’t giving up, and they shifted their feet to try and pull harder. I caught them both off balance at the same time and drew my arms in a bit tighter. My biceps were really bulging now! I was feeling strong, so I took a deep breath and with another surge of biceps power I pulled my arms in until they were almost ninety degrees bent. My friends were really getting excited now. My arms were starting to ache, but it was a good feeling. As I pulled I could feel my lats spread out as wide as they get, and my pecs were bulging with striations where they met at the breastbone. Each boy was close to losing with his toes on the line, so in desperation they pulled with renewed force. I lost a little ground as I felt my arms straighten a bit. I managed to stop them, but the strain on my biceps was becoming enormous. It wasn’t just my one arm against their two, it was my one arm against their whole body! I kept pulling as hard as I could, but they kept digging in with their feet and I wasn’t generating enough force to get them to move. I decided to concentrate on one side at a time. Summoning all my reserve power, I gave a strong, sudden yank with my right arm. The kid teetered a moment, then fell over the line. As soon as he let go I grabbed the other rope with both hands and easily jerked the other kid over the line and onto his face in the dirt.
I let out a yell of triumph and with the ropes still wrapped around my wrists I struck a double-biceps pose. Everyone wanted to come up and feel my pumped-up guns. Their fingers were trying hard to press into my solid flesh, but after that workout each of my flexed biceps was like a rock! It was the greatest feeling in the world, being congratulated by everyone there as I held the pose. Sean told me it was one of the best stunts he had ever seen. I was psyched, man! I really felt I’d proved myself as one of the top guys in our club.
The next day I used my key to get into our secret meeting room and heard Sean and Ryan shouting at each other. I found out Ryan had issued a challenge to Sean for the presidency of the club. He got Travis to second his bid. When those three first started the BBC they arm-wrestled to see who would be the president. Sean beat both of them. Now Ryan wanted a rematch and he claimed if one other member backed him it was enough to force a challenge.
I hadn’t seen it coming, but I shouldn’t have been surprised. I knew Ryan resented Sean and felt that he was the “star” of the club. He also felt Sean didn’t have the proper attitude and needed to be more assertive in his leadership. Ryan took off his shirt and got down on the floor with his elbow propped up. Sean didn’t have much of a choice. He had to defend his honor. Sean thought Travis favored Ryan, and Ryan thought I favored Sean, so Ricky was nominated to be the referee. Right at the start their biceps jumped up into a hard flex and the pressure was intense. For about ten seconds there was no movement either way. Ryan seemed cool and collected. He smiled confidently at Sean.
“You didn’t expect me to be this strong, did you?” Ryan taunted. “I’ve been training for this, Sean ol’ buddy. You’re going down this time!”
“In your… dreams… Ry…” Sean replied, but you could already hear the extreme strain in his voice.
Ryan’s biceps was knotted into that perfect ball with the huge vein snaking over it. It was so defined you could almost count the individual fibers in the muscle. Sean’s arm was thicker than Ryan’s, but it wasn’t as defined. Still, I knew he was really strong and I didn’t give Ryan much of a chance. That’s why my heart began thumping so hard when Sean’s arm started to go down. I saw Ryan clench his jaw and watched as his biceps swelled up bigger than I’d ever seen it. It was a stunning power move that showed off Ryan’s incredible strength. The movement was slow and controlled, but once it started there was no stopping it. Without even straining to the max, Ryan used pure muscle to smoothly force Sean’s strong arm all the way down to the floor.
I couldn’t believe it at first. Ricky slapped the floor and declared Ryan the winner. Sean cursed, then sprang up to his feet and pounded his fist against the wall. But he quickly spun around to shake hands with Ryan and congratulate him. After that, we all did the same. I got up the courage to ask Ryan if I could feel his biceps. He gave me a big smile and flexed his right arm. I squeezed it and felt the densest, hardest ball of muscle I’d ever felt. It was awesome! I had a new hero — and we had a new president.
The first day Ryan was president he said things were going to change in the BBC. There were some kids who had been dissing us around school and even complaining to the vice-principal about us. Ryan said we couldn’t let anyone rag on us anymore. We had to get tougher and let these kids know we would deal with them personally if they didn’t get in line. The honor of the BBC was at stake, he said, and we all stood in a circle and clasped hands and vowed we would take control of the situation and make sure we always got the respect we deserved — or else!
Before we headed out we shed our shirts and got all pumped-up and buffed out as usual, with Ryan pumping extra hard and putting a little more baby oil on his great-looking veiny biceps. When we strutted around on our midday walk, we had that little extra show of attitude — the kind that says, “Don’t mess with us!” Ryan was leading us around the back of the school when he suddenly pointed and said, “There’s one of them!” I couldn’t believe it. It was Larry, a fat kid who was in a couple of my classes. I suppose he could intimidate a few other kids by his sheer size, but he was so overweight you wouldn’t think he would dare insult us behind our backs.
Ryan walked up and started shoving Larry, all the while demanding to know exactly what he said about us and why he thought he could get away with it. Larry kept stumbling backward with each shove until his back hit the wall. Then Ryan grabbed him by the front of his shirt and started shouting at him like a drill sergeant. Larry looked so frightened I thought he was going to pee his pants, but Ryan didn’t stop there. He drew his fist back and threw a punch into Larry’s gut that sent spit flying out of the fat kid’s mouth. Larry probably would have collapsed into a heap right away, but Ryan kept holding him up by the shirt with his left hand while his right fist kept slowly and methodically ramming punches into his bloated stomach. Every time Ryan drew back his arm you could see his biceps bunch up into a perfect baseball of solid muscle. It was so cool! The last punch he threw sunk in so deep I swear his forearm seemed to disappear all the way up to his elbow. That great mass of blubber around Larry’s middle kind of rippled out in giant waves around Ryan’s fist. Larry’s eyes rolled up in his head and he just crumpled to the ground. I’d never seen anybody knocked out by being punched in the gut before. It was so cool! Ryan stood over the quivering mass of Jell-O with his fists clenched and a look of contempt on his face. His dominant hardbody looked so hot standing over his fallen victim, with all his pumped-up muscles glistening in the sun. My heart was pounding as I saw Ryan spit on Larry and issue him a final warning before walking away. It was so great to be the friend of the toughest kid in school.
Over the next few days, we boys of the BBC let everyone know we meant business. Sometimes we’d just grab a kid by the front of his shirt and give him a stern warning. Other times we’d punctuate it with a slug in the gut just to make sure they got the message. It didn’t take much to set us off. If we thought someone was laughing at us behind our backs, or even if they just looked at us funny, we’d go out of our way to confront them and demand the proper respect. Ryan, Sean and Travis almost always gave the kid a slug for good measure. Ricky picked his guy up by the front of his shirt and threw him aside onto his butt. He loved to show people you didn’t have to be big to be strong. When it was my turn, I just flexed my arm right under the guy’s nose and asked him if he would like me to show him what this muscle could do to his face. When he shook his head “no” I clamped my left hand over his face and shoved him down onto his butt in the dirt. My mates all laughed so I guess they liked it.
You’d think that everyone in school would start treating us better after that, but Ryan got hauled into the vice-principal’s office the next week. Someone had ratted on us and was going to have to pay for being a dirty squealer. Ryan made a list of the guys we suspected. We began to plan our attacks better and wait until we could corner one of them in an isolated place behind the school. We also made sure they understood that if they ever went to a teacher or the principal we would make them really suffer There were five of us and we all looked after each other. That was the beauty of being in the club.
I guess we sacrificed some of our popularity, but we definitely were getting more respect. Things quieted down after that and we sometimes had to look for other ways to get our kicks. One day we were all sitting cross-legged atop a retaining wall, kind of bored. Travis called over a seventh-grader and told him to step right up to the wall. The poor kid stood there shaking with his head just above the top of the wall. Travis reached down and grabbed the front of the boy’s shirt and pulled him all the way up just by curling his arms. The kid was helpless as Travis used him as a human barbell to do some curls. I was watching Travis’ biceps knot up into a tight ball as he pumped up. Like all of us in the BBC, Travis had super-strong arms and he loved to show them off. The toes of the kid’s Nikes went skittering up the concrete wall every time Travis pulled him up for another rep. It was so cool! Then Travis discovered if he raised his elbows a little at the top of each curl he could bang the kid’s skull into the railing above our heads. You would see the terrified look on the kid’s face as he rose up, then he’d shut his eyes real tight and brace himself. Travis’ biceps would bulge to the max as he cramped his forearms up all the way and sent the kid’s head — klunk! — into the metal railing. When Travis finally had enough of his workout, he just let the kid go and the boy fell down and collapsed in a heap. It was so funny to see him get up and try to walk straight. He was wobbling around like a drunk. We laughed a lot.
One night I had a dream that I got into a fight and was pummeling everyone around me. They would just come up one by one and I would go “Bam!… Bam!… Bam!” and lay ’em out as quick as you please. My arms were like pistons and my biceps were bulging so hard that the crowd was ooh-ing and aah-ing every time I drew my arm back for another devastating blow. My opponents kept coming at me in a steady stream and they were getting larger and larger, but I didn’t mind. I just kept hitting them harder and harder and they started flying through the air and landing unconscious on top of the growing pile of bodies. I was getting mad because they wouldn’t stop coming at me, so I shouted that I was going to start hitting them so hard that my muscles would tear them apart. The next guy that came up was a huge brute who was mean and snarling, so I told him he asked for it and I pulled my arm way back and felt the bulk of my meaty biceps bulge harder than ever against my forearm. Then I lashed out and threw a punch so deep into the hulk’s gut that I broke right through the skin and the wall of his abs and felt his squishy innards being rearranged by my plunging fist. I pulled my arm out of the hole with a slurping sound and drew back fingers all coated with blood. The big oaf bent over with a shocked look on his face, so I slammed my bloody fist into his chin and shattered his jaw. His head spun around and he started to go down, but before he did I took my left fist and smashed it into his nose. I felt all the bones in his face collapse with a noisy crunch as his face caved in. The huge body dropped to the ground like a boulder hitting the earth. His limbs were twitching as I looked down at the bloody mess that used to be his face. The crowd gasped and took a step back. I held up my red-coated fists, then struck a double-biceps pose and asked who wanted to be next.
I woke up with a smile on my face. That was the coolest dream ever! I wanted to punch somebody so bad!
That noon hour started out pretty quiet. We BBC boys were strutting around as usual, letting all the others admire our shirtless muscular bodies. Then I heard someone muttering behind me. Ryan was leading the way, and I was in the back. No one turned around at first. We couldn’t make out what the guy was saying until he raised his voice a little and we all heard the word, “Nazis…”. Ryan looked over his shoulder and whispered to me that as soon as we got around the corner of the building we would spin around and I would get to punch the guy out. We got closer to the corner and the guy kept following us and muttering under his breath, so Ryan told me to really let him have it. I felt my adrenaline start to pump, just like in my dream. I was getting excited, and my fingers kept curling into fists in anticipation. Whoever this guy was, I figured he must have a death wish. He was really asking for it, and I was going to make sure he got what was coming to him.
We rounded the corner and I felt my heart racing. I clenched my fists so tight I could feel the fingernails biting into my palms. Ryan stopped, whirled around and shouted, “Now!”. As I spun around I raised my arm and drew my fist back to my ear. I was going to aim my first punch right at the guy’s nose and smash his face in, just like in my dream. My whole body was tense, and I felt my biceps pushing up like a mountain. My face was frozen in an angry snarl. I wanted the kid to start peeing his pants right before I landed my blow and turned his lights out.
But everything changed in an instant. My face dropped and my mind became a swirling mass of confusion. My fist trembled up along side my ear, as if it were being held in place by an invisible force. I stared into Fred’s face and felt my stomach churn and my knees start to shake. Fred just stood there with the saddest look on his face. It was hard to describe the mixture of emotions in the look he was giving me. He didn’t try to run or anything. He wasn’t afraid, and he wasn’t going to back down. He just had this look of disappointment in his eyes that cut me to the bone.
I must have looked like an idiot with my fist drawn back, standing there like a statue. Ryan kept shouting at me to hit the guy. I ignored him and tried to catch my breath. Fred and I stared at each other. Finally, Ryan shoved me aside and attacked Fred himself. He laid one of his patented gut punches deep into Fred’s stomach and followed with a head shot that whizzed in front of Fred’s face as he fell back. I really couldn’t tell you exactly what happened next, but the guys who were there said I totally lost it. I remember grabbing Ryan’s shoulder, spinning him around and hitting him. After that it all gets fuzzy, but I guess I blocked every punch that he threw and connected with every one I threw at him. People tell me it was no contest. I sort of remember throwing punch after punch at a guy who couldn’t seem to touch me, and I recall Sean and Ricky pulling me off when I jumped on him and continued to throw punches at him on the ground. But it was so much like a dream, even more unreal than the dream I’d had that morning. Travis stayed behind to look after Ryan as Sean and Ricky quickly ushered me away. When they had calmed me down we put on our shirts and went off to class like nothing had happened. I wanted to go back and see if Fred was okay but they talked me out of it. All the rest of the day I expected to be called to the vice-principal’s office. It was the longest afternoon of my life, but it eventually passed and I went home after the final bell.
Neither Ryan nor Fred showed up at school the next morning. I went to our meeting place at noon not knowing what to expect. I thought I would be kicked out of the club and maybe turned in to the vice-principal like a traitor. The other three were there waiting for me. I asked Sean what he was going to do and he shrugged and said that was for me to decide. I frowned at him and he explained.
“We just took a vote and elected you the new president. Of course, Ryan will have a right to challenge you when he gets back, but I don’t think you’ll have any trouble defeating him after we saw the way you took care of him yesterday!” Sean laughed and the others chuckled along with him. I told them I thought we should cool it for a few days or at least until Ryan got back. I was still trying to sort things out in my head. They all agreed and we kept a low profile. It rained the rest of the week, anyway.
Fred came back to school the following day. I tried to apologize, but he was still giving me the cold shoulder. I guess I deserved that. Ryan didn’t return until the following Monday. By that time his black eye had mostly faded and the swelling on his face had gone down. I tried to talk to him before school but he just said to meet him at noon in the regular place.
At lunchtime I went to our secret room and saw Ryan waiting for me. None of the others had come. I tried to tell him that Fred was my friend.
“Yeah, I know,” Ryan said, putting his hand up to the bruise under his eye. “You should have said something.” The way he said it made me laugh.
“I’m sorry I lost my cool — I didn’t mean to take it all out on you.”
“So you’re the president of the BBC now, huh?”
I shrugged. “You can have it back, if you want.”
“Nah, let’s do this the right way.” He pulled off his shirt and got down on the floor, putting up his elbow. “You just got lucky, Walker… it’s time to put you back in your place. You better watch out… I had a good workout this weekend and my biceps is feeling especially strong!” He twitched the muscle and made it jump up and down a few times, then froze it solid and admired the nice, full-rounded peak it made. I got a twinge inside as I gazed at Ryan’s powerful hard-flexing biceps. He pumped it once to get the veins standing out more. I took a deep breath, stripped off my shirt and got into position on the floor. At that point I didn’t know whether I wanted to win or lose.
We gripped hands and Ryan tugged at my arm a little and gave me a smile. “What do ya think, Walker? Are you still that little wimp from last year, or are you ready to take on a real man?” I smiled right back and looked down at my own arm. My forearm looked just as muscular as Ryan’s. I tightened my grip and noticed the way my biceps responded. I flexed it harder and watched how much it grew as it rose up into a solid peak. I guess I hadn’t noticed before, but my workouts since joining the club had added a lot more muscle to my body. I was still going to the gym four days a week and lifting hard. I hadn’t stopped getting bigger and stronger, and it showed. I looked back up at Ryan and returned his smile.
“I think I can handle myself,” I said.
Ryan shouted “Go!” and began to push. I stopped him and tried to resist the great pressure that was forcing my arm down. His arm looked so strong and solid. Ryan’s forearm was a mass of bulging cable-like muscles and veins. His biceps was the most perfectly rounded ball of steel-like muscle. I watched the big vein throb as it snaked over the top of the bulge. His paper-thin skin looked like it was stretched to the breaking point. Ryan squeezed my hand and moved it down another inch. I felt a shiver inside as I thought about how powerful his muscular arm was. I wanted to feel him use all his strength against me.
“Come on, Walker… don’t wuss out on me! I know you’ve got more than this in that arm of yours.”
I responded to his challenge by tightening my arm all the way and pushing up on his hand with all my might. Amazingly, Ryan’s arm started moving backward. At first I thought he was just toying with me, but when I saw his face redden I knew he was giving it his all. This got me all excited and I kept pushing as hard as I could. We got back to the neutral position and Ryan let out a loud gasp.
“That’s better!” he said, showing his strain by panting loudly between his words. “This time you’d better give it everything you’ve got, because I’m going for the kill! Now we’ll see what you’re really made of!”
He closed his eyes and clenched his jaw, which made his hissing breaths even louder. Ryan’s biceps swelled again with impossibly sharp definition and the skin began to redden as if it was glowing with heat. My arm was going down and I couldn’t seem to stop it. It was like Ryan had thrown a switch and a generator kicked in. His fully-flexed arm was now throbbing with maximum power, and it was forcing my arm down with authority.
A part of me wanted to enjoy the feeling of this tough muscle kid dominating me. But deep down a competitive spirit took hold and would not let me give up. I fought him with everything I had and concentrated on making my arm do the impossible. I had to stop Ryan from moving my arm down further and try to reverse the momentum. I stopped looking at Ryan’s arm and stared at my own arm instead. My biceps was flexing hard, but it wasn’t quite at the level of definition that Ryan’s was. I drew a deep breath and strained with my entire body. A vein I had never seen in my arm before appeared on my biceps… and then another. I stopped his progress and our arms became frozen in place with mine about halfway down. I saw Ryan open his eyes and look at my arm. I gave a grunt and felt a surge of power force Ryan’s hand back an inch or two. This was all it took to get my adrenaline rush started. I stared furiously at my biceps and watched it tighten some more as the individual muscle fibers began to appear under the skin. I felt Ryan’s arm start to move up and I tried to increase the pressure. When we reached the neutral position I took two deep, whooshing breaths and redoubled my efforts. My biceps swelled into a new peak and my forearm thickened with power. I’d never seen my arm get fully pumped like that. Ryan’s arm started to move downward.
Ryan swore loudly, then swore again. I kept pouring on the pressure and his arm kept moving slowly down. He really lost his cool and spewed out a stream of curses. His head flopped back as he let out an anguished cry and all the cords and veins in his neck stood out sharply. I could feel my heart thumping and my energy surging at the thought of dominating the toughest, strongest kid in my class. Ryan’s biceps were my idea of perfection and I was overpowering him with my own super-pumped muscular arm. I savored every moment of the final few inches as I relentlessly forced his hand lower. When his forearm hit the floor, Ryan winced with pain and grabbed his arm.
“Oh man, Evan… you totally destroyed my arm, dude!” he groaned. “I think I pulled something.” He massaged his biceps and tried to shake out his arm. We got to our feet and he slapped me on the shoulder to congratulate me.
“I knew you were lookin’ pretty buff, but I didn’t know you were that strong, man!” He slid his hand down to my biceps. “Can I feel your muscle, Evan?”
I couldn’t believe it. It was so-o-o cool that Ryan was asking to feel my biceps! I felt a mixture of excitement and pride. My head was spinning, man! I raised my arm and flexed. Ryan caressed my biceps with respect. He felt every part of the muscle and clamped his strong fingers around the bulge. I flexed my arm tighter and proudly felt his squeezing fingers being forced open as my biceps swelled to maximum size. “That’s a super arm, man!” he said, approvingly. “I guess you’re the new president after all.” He gave my hard biceps a final squeeze, then turned to leave. “It’s all yours, buddy. See ya tomorrow.”
You never think you’re too young to know better. That’s something your parents say when they need to explain the goofy things you do. But I think that all the changes I’ve gone through in the past few months was affecting my adolescent brain. Anyway, that’s the only explanation I have.
When I became the BBC president, I decided to go to the vice-principal and get official recognition as a school club. We got them to open the weight room at lunch hour so we could invite new members to come and work out with us. The original guys still get to take off their shirts and even display a little attitude, if they want. There’s plenty of flexing and showing off, but we also show the new guys how to use the equipment and get started with bodybuilding. We get respect and popularity at the same time. So far it’s worked out really well.
The school year is almost over, but I’m making our new member Fred my personal project. He may not have the genetics I do, but I’m going to put some muscle on this dude if it kills me!
And it just might!
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