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Andy Late Fall
|I was busy when my mom called from Germany...busy bending steel bars into pretzels. She and my dad wanted me to join them for the holidays over there. I hadn't been there since I was a little kid. We have family over there, and my cousins would be all grown up now. It would be cool to see them, and since my dad travels so much, he said he'd upgrade me to business class, which would probably be the only way I'd fit, now that I weighed a solid 425. I told my mom I'd love to come over, and hung up. I went back to bending bars. It was a great forearm workout. My grip was crushing, and my forearms were huge, all veiny and gnarly, looking like caveman clubs. I stopped twisting up the steel when my arms were shaking so bad and my hands could hardly feel the grip anymore. I loved getting them swollen so tight that they felt harder than the steel they'd been busting up. I wanted to check out my German family I went up into the attic, and pulled out an old trunk where my mom kept the family photo albums. I dug down to the bottom, and began to pull out the one from my trip to Germany, but underneath it I noticed an old leather-bound album I'd never seen before. On the cover it said "Foto Album" in big gold letters. It was so old that the binder crackled as I opened it up. Inside were black and white photos of my father's family. The edges were tinted yellow. My grandparents had escaped from East Germany when my father was a little kid. They must have brought this with them. The pictures where full of big-boned, Germanic people. No one seemed to smile back, at least in pictures. They looked hard, but hardy. One picture caught my eye. It was of a big group, probably the whole family. In the back row was a giant of a man, who stood out even among this group of well-fed Aryans. His eyes stared directly into the camera. It felt like he was looking right at me. He looked familiar. He appeared to be about 50 or 60, but still a strapping powerhouse of a man. Carefully, I pulled the picture out of the album and turned it over. Someone, in very precise German handwriting, had written the names of the people in the picture. My grandfather's name was there, and I figured out from there that this man must have been my great-great grandfather. I flipped the picture back over and looked at him again. No wonder his face looked so familiar to me...it was the same one I saw staring back at me in the mirror every morning. The resemblance freaked me out a little, so I turned to the next page, only to find him again, this time on a postcard print. Osche Stark, his name, was printed at the top. He stood, in a bear-skin tunic, wrestling a bear. His massiveness made the bear look small. Again, he looked directly at the camera. I looked at the size and power of him. He had the slightest smirk on his face, as if wrestling this bear was just a joke for him. I imagined what it would be like if he were alive today, with modern training techniques and nutrition knowledge, how far his genetics would have taken him. He would have become a beast, a true superhuman muscle machine....he would have become... me. I lumbered down out of the attic and into my room. At 6'10", 425lbs, I was now having to duck and turn sideways to get thru the doorway. I stripped off my shirt and looked in the mirror. I rolled my huge chest up and down, heaving the chest out so far a tray could have rested on it. Hair growing in so thick, like a mat. Or a pelt. Oh yeah. Beast Chest. Danke, Grandpappy Ochse. Thanks to your freak gene code, and the ten protein shakes I drink a day, my strength and size is growing by every second. At 19, I'm already bigger than you ever were. Probably a lot stronger too. I flexed my arms up and squeezed, watching the thick mounds respond by balling up into huge peaks. Bear would have no chance against these suckers. So huge, I could reach down with my fingers and touch the peaks. Tap tap tap, like stone on stone. Already bigger than grandpa, and still growing. I looked down at the shit-kicker boots I had on. Brand new 18EEE's. My feet were already tight in them. I flexed my feet inside them. Fuck yeh, even my feet were muscling up thick and solid. I could feel the strength of them. I crunched my toes up, and felt a seam pop. I flexed my feet some more, and heard the stitching busting apart like cheap dental floss. The leather tops of the boots spread out as my gorilla feet muscled their way thru out. I kicked the busted up boots off my feet and stood there raging. Teenage mutant genetic powerhouse Freak. I had to tell someone about this. I threw on a tee shirt and some untied sneakers, and headed out of the house and down the block to my friend Cheryl's house. I knew she was home from college on Fall break. She be stunned to see how much size I'd packed on since September. It was dark outside when I turned down her sidewalk, but the porch light was on, and I could see movement. I heard a dude's voice, then Cheryl's. She sounded distressed. "Cheryl, is that you?" I said from the sidewalk. I heard some shuffling, then saw Cheryl step into the light. "Andy?" "Yeah," I answered. She was definitely disheveled. She was pushing her hair back and down from her face. "Hey, Andy, come on up," she said. "You remember Joe Alvarez, from school?" Oh, I remembered him alright. Everyone knew who Joe Alvarez was. The top jock at our high school, Joe's dad was Spanish, and his mom was Israeli. He was swarthy and good-looking, and stuck out like a Mediterranean prince in a sea of white bread Wisconsin kids. The other jocks had nicknamed him "El Aviv". He charmed all the teachers and coaches with his cocky confidence. Most of the kids idolized him. Even the ones who disliked jocks probably envied Joe, his jet-black hair curling in all the right places, his pearly-white smile he flashed at people he caught looking at him. The only people who truly disliked and feared Joe Alvarez were the girls who had dated him. Joe had gotten a wrestling scholarship to Nebraska, and from what I'd heard from some of those girls, it should suit him perfectly. He liked to treat the girls real real nice, then when he had them alone, in car or at someone's empty house, he'd pin them down and take them. And he liked it to hurt. I knew one of the girls from my homeroom. She'd been so friendly and outgoing, till she dated El Aviv. She changed so quickly afterwards, that everyone knew something was wrong, but she wouldn't tell anyone. Except she told me. I was the fat kid that sat next to her. The safe one. She made me swear never to tell anyone, and I hadn't. It was hard, especially two weeks later, when Cindy Lane transferred to another school...after a date with Joe. But I'd made a promise. Now, he was on the porch with my oldest and closest friend. I was pretty sure I had interrupted right before things turned ugly. "You remember Andy, don't you Joe?" asked Cheryl, as he stepped out of the dark corner of the porch. "No," he answered, clearly pissed off at having missed his mark. I stepped onto the first porch step, out of the darkness myself. Joe actually took a step back as he absorbed my size. "Did we play ball together?" he asked me. Clearly my standing with him had gone up when he realized how built I was. "No." "Andy, my god, look at you. You look amazing." Cheryl had always gone for the rough jock look. "I've been hitting the weights," I understated. "Hey, man," said Joe, forgetting his attack on my friend, "I'm home all week, we should lift together. My parents have a full gym at the house. I can't believe I don't remember you from school." "I kept to myself," I said. "Cheryl, you have time to talk?" "I guess so," she said, looking aside at Joe. "Hey, no problem, I was leaving anyway," he said. "My numbers in the book, bro, definitely look me up." He reached out his hand. I took it. I thought for a moment of crushing every bone in his jock hand, crushing it into pulp. But that could wait. He flashed his perfect smile at me and swaggered down the sidewalk, no goodbye to Cheryl. I looked up at her, but she wouldn't meet my eyes, but when I sat down on the top step of the porch, she sat next to me. We watched Joe drive off in his Navigator. "What the fuck were you thinking?" I asked her. I had warned her, without naming names, about Joe, over a year ago. "I don't know, Andy. We dated a couple times right before we went to college, which I didn't tell you cause I knew you'd be mad, and he's been calling me at school all semester. He's been so nice." "And so good-looking." "Well, yeah." "Your parents aren't home, are they?" "No." "Did he hurt you?" "Not...really. He was starting to pin me back against the wall, and when I struggled, he held me harder. He's so strong. When I said, 'No means no, Joe,' he said, 'No it doesn't, bitch, it never does, you all say it, but you know it's not true.' Then I could feel him pushing me down to the floor. I was just about to start to panic when you walked up." "Fuck," I said, staring out at the empty space his SUV had left. "What are you thinking?" she asked me. "You know what I'm thinking." She put her hand on my arm and felt its size. Its strength. "You could do it too," she said. "Hell yeah I could." She squeezed my arm. "OK," she said. "You sure?" "Pound him into a pulp." "Oh yeah," I said, and I flexed my arm for her to feel it swell. I knew I could have taken her right then, carried her up to her room and treated her like a lady deserves to be treated. Taken her for a ride she would never forget. But not on this night, not after what had happened. I had something else to take care of first. |
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