|« PREV||INDEX||NEXT »|
The Beginning of Muscle Camp
|"I want in," Dan said, taking a sip of his coffee. He, Terry and Jim
sat around the table. Outside, they could hear the boys playing.
"Well, the project is already pretty far along," explained Jim. "Terry and I have bought the land, and construction has already begun. We're just waiting for another bank loan to start the final phase."
"I've got money," said Dan. "How much have you each put in?"
"We've put in about $750,000 each, either in loans or our own money," said Terry.
"Done," said Dan, reaching for a checkbook. "And if we need more, I'll cover those costs too."
"We're all equal partners here," said Jim.
"Fine. Consider it a loan. You can pay me back. Or not. I don't care. The important thing is..." Dan said, but was interrupted by Monica, who started to refill their coffee.
"The important thing is the kids," she said.
Dan looked at her, then thought better of what he was saying. "Right. The important thing is the kids. Here," he said, pulling out a binder, "this is my research on Ben. We can apply it to the training facilities in the camp. My funding is from DARPA. Their very interested in these boys. So is the US Olympic Committee, Commerce... you name it. They're seen as national assets. An investment in the future."
"They're our kids," said Terry, echoing his wife's message.
"Sure they are," agreed Dan. "But we want them to grow up to be good citizens, right? They have a gift, and it's our duty to nurture that gift. That's what we've been doing! Look at your Tommy or your Wally. There aren't many boys like them, that's for sure," Dan said with some glee. "And there there's my Ben. Look..." Dan pulled out a picture of a baby in a cradle. There were bands attached to weights on each of the baby's hands. "I've been training Ben since the day he was born." Dan pulled out another picture of Ben in his specially designed shirt, then his walker with what looked like a squat attachment.
Terry took the photos, then passed them to Jim. Both had concerned looks on their faces.
"Training?" asked Jim. "But he was a baby. How..."
"Ever hear of B.F. Skinner? He was a psychologist who built a special crib for his kids to help them develop." Dan explained.
"A skinner box?" asked Monica, who seemed to get interested in the conversation.
"Well, in urban mythology, that's what it's called. It was really just a fancy crib to stop his kid from crying. Anyway, that's all I built. A fancy crib to help our kids start building muscle at an early age. And look at Ben. Stronger than either Tommy or Wally. More muscular. And two years younger. And from what I've learned from Ben, I can improve the techniques for the next generation of kids."
Monica grabbed one of the pictures and gasped. "You tortured him!"
Before Dan could respond, there was a loud, ear-piercing shriek from the yard. The parents' eyes turned toward the window when Tommy and Wally went flying backward through the air, arms flailing.
Ben and his father arrived at Tommy's house shortly after eight. Ben had barely slept. All night, he kept talking about how Tommy had won and how he had met his idol. He could barely wait until he could spend time with Tommy.
Wally and Jim were already at the house. The adults had told the children to play in the backyard while they sat and talked.
"Go ahead and play," Dan had told Ben as he went inside.
"Hi Tommy!" Ben said with a big grin.
"Hi!" said Tommy with a bit less enthusiasm.
"Hi!" said Wally, but Ben ignored him.
Both boys were wearing tshirts. They were obviously adult sized shirts that had been cut down for the boy's smaller height. The shirts already were muddy and had grass stains on them.
Tommy looked at the new boy. He was shirtless, and wore cut off shorts. "You may want to ask your Dad to put your shirt on," Tommy said. "You don't want to get dirty."
"I don't wear shirts," said Ben. "I don't like them."
Tommy shrugged. "I got one you can borrow if you change your mind," he said, then turning to Wally, "Come on. You're it." Both boys darted down the yard, Wally chasing Tommy.
Ben stood and watched. Tommy ran to the end of the yard, the darted to the right, Wally right behind him. Wally jumped, trying to tag Tommy, but Tommy ducked out of the way.
"Missed," yelled Tommy who ran back toward Ben. Before he got there, Wally lept, his thickly muscled legs propelling him toward Tommy. He reached around Tommy's thighs, his own powerful arms encircling them, and tackled Tommy to the ground.
"Let him go!" Ben shouted. Before the boy's could react, Ben had grabbed Wally's belt. Ben flexed his own thickly muscled kid arm and pulled with such force, Wally was lifted off the ground while he still held onto Tommy's legs. Tommy,s torso was was on the ground in a position that looked like a push-up. Ben began to shake Wally. "I... said... let... him... go...."
The vibration of being shaken dislodged Tommy's legs, which crashed into the grass.
"STOP IT!" cried Wally who squirmed and struggled to get away.
"Whoa Ben," said Tommy, jumping to his feet. "It's OK. Put Wally down."
Ben looked at Wally angrily. "You don't hurt Tommy!" he yelled, dropping Wally to the ground.
"I wasn't hurting him Nimrod," said Wally. "We're just playing."
"Ya," said Tommy. "I'm not hurt. We're just playing tag." Tommy extended his hand to Wally, who took it. Tommy pulled, his bicep bulging in his shirt, helping Wally to his feet.
"What's tag?" asked Ben with a scowl, staring distrustfully at Wally.
Wally looked at him. "It's a game kids play. The person who is IT runs around and tries to tag the other kids. Haven't you ever played tag?"
Ben shook his head no. "I've never played with kids before. Only my Dad."
"Jeeze Ben," said Wally with some concern. "So you thought I was trying to hurt Tommy?"
"Come on Ben," said Tommy. "You be it and try and tag Wally and me." Tommy started running backwards, away from Ben. A second later, Wally did the same in a different direction.
Ben smiled. He took off after Tommy. Seeing this, Tommy turned around, and started to run full force. He darted to the far side of the yard, then clipped left.
Wally stopped, watching the two. His jaw dropped seeing Ben run. His powerful legs flexed and stretched with grace and speed. He seemed to fly as his calves propelled him through the air, leaping eight to ten feet with every stride. Tommy ran fast, his own legs trying to outpace and avoid Ben, but Ben seemed faster. More agile. As they moved, they looked more like professional football players than kids. Thick arms pumped back and forth for balance. Wide lats pulled at Tommy's shirt and stretched across Ben's back. The boys' thick pec armor heaved on their chests, and Ben's ripped abs stretched and rippled with each step.
Unable to outrun Ben, Tommy turned and ran straight for him. At the last second, Tommy cut to the right, trying to veer around the smaller boy. Ben was too fast. Seeing Tommy's motion, Ben dove at Tommy, grabbing his legs and sending them both to the ground.
"YOU'RE IT!" said Ben with a huge grin on his face and a twinkle in his eye. He jumped up. "Did I do it right Tommy?"
Tommy smiled, getting up. "Ya, I'd say you did it right. Wow. You're fast!"
Wally came over. "See shrimp," he said to Ben, "that didn't hurt Tommy. It was fun."
Ben frowned at him, a look of distrust in his eyes.
"Ben here is tough!" Tommy asserted.
"Ya. Seemed more than a match for you!" Wally rebuffed, smirking at Tommy.
"And you," said Tommy with a laugh, flexing his bicep at his side to remind Wally who had the muscle.
"I'm strong," agreed Ben.
Tommy and Wally looked at each other. "Strong enough to be a super hero?" Wally asked.
Ben shrugged, his mountainous traps contracting into his thick neck and raising the two cannon ball shoulders. "Guess so," he said unsure. "I'm stronger than Tommy," he said, then looked at Wally and added forcefully, "and way stronger than you."
"Prove it, shrimp!" Wally said, punching Ben in the shoulder. Wally grabbed his shirt around the waist, and started to pull it off. Tommy grabbed the back, and helped Wally get it over his thick lats and pecs, and then Wally tossed the shirt at Ben. "Put that on," he ordered.
Ben looked at the shirt. "I don't like shirts," he said. With a bit of dread in his voice, he added, "I don't like the way they press into my muscles."
"That's the point," added Wally, a bit unsympathetically.
"Ya," said Tommy. "When we play super hero, we see who can flex out of their shirt, and who is the strongest. The strongest is the Hulk, and the second strongest is Thing. They're both super heroes."
Ben looked at the shirt. "B...b..but there are three of us."
Wally looked at Tommy. "Who's stronger than the Hulk? Superman?"
"Nah..." said Tommy. "There is this neat creature. The Abomination. He's stronger than the Hulk, but he's a villan not a hero."
Wally shrugged. "So? Thing and Hulk against a bomb... a..."
"Abomination," said Tommy.
"Whatever," said Wally. "So, shrimp, think you're strong enough for this?"
Ben looked at the shirt, then with angry determination in his eyes, he looked at Wally. "I'll show you..." he said threateningly, then put one arm in the shirt and the collar over his head.
Ben felt the shirt's collar pressing into his neck. It felt like it was strangling him. He raised his other arm. He wiggled into the sleeve, but the shirt got caught on his wide shoulders. Even though Wally had stretched the shirt to accomidate his thick torso, seams popped as Ben tried to get it over his body. Wally moved to help Ben, who jumped out of his reach and over to Tommy. Tommy took over, stretching the fabric over Ben's huge muscles and draping it over his abs. The sleeves of the shirt were so tight, Ben couldn't lower his arms, and the fabric stretched to a point where it was obvious that in moments, it would be doomed to be rags.
"Shoot!" Wally said, his mouth agape.
Ben's eyes seemed to be full of tears, and his body seemed to be shaking. "You want to see muscle," he said, his voice cracking, "well here's muscle." In a sudden move, Ben lowered his arm into a most-muscular crab pose. He flexed so hard the shirt literally exploded from his body. Tatters of fabric flew all around the muscle boy, some hitting Tommy and Wally in the face. All that remained was the collar and some dangling remains that clung desperately above his heaving pecs and down his massive back. Ben then flexed his neck, popping the fabric necklace so that it floated to the ground like a feather. "I! HATE! SHIRTS!" he bellowed.
Wally took a step back, not believe his eyes. "We can't even do that," he said, awe in his voice.
Ben looked at Tommy. "Bet Tommy can," he said.
"No," Tommy said, a feeling of inferiority coming over him.
"Sure you can!" said Ben, his hero-worship obvious. "Try."
Tommy looked at Ben. "I'll try," he said, "but I doubt it." Tommy took a deep breath, expanding his chest and causing the seams in his shirt to burst. He raised his arms, flaring his lats and quickly lowered them, flexing his torso hard. Tears formed around the muscle kids pecs and the shirt split down the back and around his traps. Tommy flexed harder, expanding the tears in the shirt around the collar. His face began to turn red as he flexed his muscles larger, trying to pop the shirt as Ben had. "Aaaarrrghhh..." Tommy grunted, but finally gave up. His shirt, no more than rags hanging from the collar, draped over Tommy's torso. He grabbed the collar, and pulled the shirt off. "Sorry Ben, that's the best I can do," he said. "Guess you're the biggest muscle kid around," he added, patting Ben on the back.
"And you know what that means," Wally said with a grin, "Come on Hulk. Let's get the Abomination." Wally hit a most muscular pose.
"Thing need Hulks help!" said Tommy, displaying his own impressive double bicep pose. "Abomination not so tough," he said, winking at Ben.
Ben smiled, catching on, "Tougher than you," he grunted, flexing his own arm below Tommy's. Thick veins appeared on top of Ben's peaked kid bicep as his skin stretched over an arm that dwarfed both Tommy's and Wally's. He looked at Wally, then raised his second arm, flexing his superior kid muscle in Wally's face. "Abominablition stronger than both of you!"
Wally grabbed Ben's arm, feeling the hard flexed muscle as Tommy jumped low, grabbing Ben around the knees and knocking him to the ground. Wally pulled Ben's arm over his head, and getting to his knees, tried pinning it to the ground. While Wally tried to grab Ben's other hand, Ben powered his arm up, easily overpowering Wally's weaker muscles. Wally grabbed Ben's arm again, and this time, using two hand, forced Ben's arm to the ground.
"Need some help here, Hulk!" he said, struggling against Ben.
Ben thrashed, trying to free his arm. Wally had to gulp as he saw the kid's chest and shoulder's pump up and flex trying to break Wally's grip. Tommy moved and grabbed Ben's other arm, forcing it to the ground. Ben thrashed, forcing his arms up, but Tommy and Wally pressed harder. The boys moved to put not only their muscle, but also their weight into keeping Ben on the ground.
"We got him!" cried Wally. "Thing and Hulk got the Abomination!"
A look of panic and terror spread across Ben's face. "Ahhhh," he grunted, his muscles flexing hard, forcing Tommy and Wally to redouble their efforts to control him. "No..." Ben muttered. "No. No! NO!" he cried, then shrieked hard. Ben flexed as hard as he could, forcing his hands up with such fury that both Tommy and Wally flew several feet into the air. Ben started screaming and crying hard.
Wally and Tommy landed on their butts about two yards from Ben, who was pounding the ground with his feet and arms screaming.
"Whoa!" said Wally.
"Ben!" cried Tommy, moving to get up, "It's OK. We're sorry. It's just a game!"
As Tommy spoke, the four parents came running out of the house. Terry ran over to Tommy, while Monica and Dan ran to Ben and Jim ran to Wally.
"Ben, it's OK. Daddy's here." Dan said.
"What's the matter?" asked Monica, in a concerned voice.
"Trapped!" Ben said, between tears. "Couldn't move. Scared." Ben stood up and ran to Monica, putting his arms around her. Monica returned the hug. "I don't like being trapped," Ben weeped. "It scares me."
"Come inside," Monica said, leading Ben into the house. "Would you like something to eat? I have cake," she said.
Ben nodded yes and wiped his eyes.
Dan followed them inside.
"Dan, why don't you wait in the living room while Ben and I talk," Monica suggested, then whispered, "I think this needs a mother's touch."
Reluctantly Dan left.
Outside Terry and Jim spoke with their sons. They both told how Ben didn't know how to play, and seemed to have a grudge against Wally. Tommy expressed some pride that Ben idolized him, "kinda like a kid brother," he added. Neither boy understood Ben's reaction to their game of super heros.
"We had him," said Wally.
"Ya, but then he went crazy," agreed Tommy. "I tried to hold him but he was way too strong. With one hand he tossed me from there," Tommy pointed, "to here."
"And you boys didn't do anything else to him?" Jim asked.
Both boys shook their heads no.
"OK, well, you boys stay out here and play," said Terry, walking back to the house with Jim.
"When can we go to the gym?" Wally asked. "I gotta get more muscle so I can beat Tommy!"
"You wish," said Tommy.
Wally sneered a friendly sneer, then shoved Tommy in the chest.
Tommy laughed, bounced his pecs once then raised an arm into a single bicep that he knew was a couple inches bigger than Wally's. "See this?" he said, the with his other arm shoved Wally in the chest, causing the boy to step back. "When we get to the gym, I'll show you how I'm gonna keep building muscle faster than you!"
"We'll go soon," said Jim, watching the boys as they started running around the yard again.
Inside, Monica was still talking to Ben, so the men went and found Dan.
"Your wife sent me here," he said to Terry.
"Ya, she does that to me too sometime," he agreed. "We talked to the boys. It seems Ben just freaked out. Is it true he doesn't play with other kids often?"
"Don't want the other kids to get hurt," Dan said as a way of an explanation. "You saw what he did to your two boys. Imagine if that happened to some kids without their physical development."
Between the lines, Terry and Jim heard a bit of pride from Dan in the way Ben had apparently beaten the two older boys.
From the kitchen, they heard Monica yell, "Terry, y'all can come in now."
The three men walked in. Monica did not look happy. In front of her were Dan's pictures.
"Sit down," she said sternly. The bachelor father's looked at Terry, who clandestinly shrugged, then moved to sit next to his wife.
"No, Dan, you sit here," she ordered politely.
"Uhm..." he said sitting down.
"No, I'll do the talking for a few minutes." She pulled out a picture of the shirt Dan divised to build his toddler son's pecs and shoulders. "Ben doesn't like shirts, does he."
"Well, lot's of young kids don't like clothes," he said. "My parents always tell the story about when I was three and went running down the street naked. It's a phase. He'll outgrow it. Besides, they don't make kid clothes for boys with muscles like his."
"That's not it," Monica said. "Have you ever asked him?" She pointed to the picture, tapping her finger like a second-grade teacher. "He doesn't like shirts because he feels confined. He feels trapped, like he can't move. He says that he's afraid that he can't move his arms, or that his body is compressed. So he rips out of them."
Dan looked confused.
"It's this shirt!" she shouted at him. "Think about a baby in this. Unable to move. Every motion a struggle. Arms pressed down by the clothes, crushing his body. And this!" She grabbed the picture of the crib. "Ben said Tom and Walter held his arms down. He panicked! He couldn't move. He did what he was trained to do... use everything in him to move the weight to get it off him. A baby... a poor little baby in this... this... torture device!"
Dan looked shocked at Monica's outburst.
"I'm sure Dan didn't mean..." Terry started, but Monica glared at him.
"I just wanted him to grow into all he could be," Dan said softly, picking up the pictures.
"You wanted him strong. The strongest! Did you ever pick him up? Did you ever cradle him in your arms? Did you ever read him fairy tales?" She started to cry.
"I'm a good father!" Dan said.
"Monica... I'm sure Dan did the best he could," Terry said. "Dan, I'm sorry. She gets..."
"It's OK," said Dan. "She's right. Maybe I was a bit too focussed."
"But that's why we need muscle camp," said Jim. "So our kids can be kids. Look, Tommy and Wally naturally wanted to work out. They want to be big and strong. We may have encouraged them a little, but it's in their souls to get huge."
"You have some good ideas," said Terry, pulling out Dan's plan for a gym. "But we also need to make time for them to play and just be kids." He pulled out a plan for a playground, cabins, a school, and the grounds. "Jim and I have the land, and we've started construction. If you're still interested."
Dan was looking at Monica. "I'm sorry," he said. "I only want the best for Ben. I never realized." He put his head down, starting at the crib.
"You men rarely do," Monica said. "I'm sorry I laid into you, but..."
"No, it's OK. You're right. He tried to tell me, but I didn't listen. Maybe..."
"Ben can come here any time to play with Tommy," she said, guessing his next question. "Why not even let him spend the week? Y'all can go and build your little project, and I'll take care of the boys."
Dan smiled. "Thanks." He looked at Terry and Jim. "Ya, I'm in. Show me what you have in mind."
|« PREV||INDEX||NEXT »|
This collection was originally created as a compressed archive for personal offline viewing
and is not intended to be hosted online or presented in any commercial context.
Any webmaster choosing to host or mirror this archive online
does so at their sole discretion.
Archive Version 070326