|The next day I talked to Carl and to my surprise, he not only was willing to help me with my plan, he was really excited about it. We figured out a time and I got together with him. He had the passes for the bodybuilding show that I needed as well as a few other things. We talked things over and it looked as though everything would fall into place.
The show wasn’t a big one; it was a smaller show that Carl and Mike were doing to get ready for their big show where they hoped to get their pro cards. Still, none of us had actually been to a show in person, so I knew we’d have a great time.
I worked on my surprise every night. The more I thought about, the more excited and scared I got. I really wanted this to work, but I really didn’t think I could pull it off. It was too late for that, Carl was helping me and everything was in place – it was too late to back out now.
Finally, Saturday came and Justin and Mike showed up for our usual workout. Justin could barely control himself; he was so excited about his birthday. Mike and I started loading the bars for our workout. We were doing our best to ignore him, so he finally came out and asked. “Sooooo, Eric. You know what tomorrow is?”
I turned to Mike with a perplexed look, “hmmmm, tomorrow? Oh yeah – that’s right Justin. It’s garbage day. Dad will kill me if I forget again. Thanks, bro.” Mike smiled a half-way smile and we continued doing what we were doing.
Justin frowned. “It’s not garbage day.”
“Yes it is. Every Sunday…” I said in a matter-of-fact voice. Mike got ready to do his first set, while I spotted. He was doing his best not to laugh.
Justin couldn’t take it any longer. “You bastard, you know it’s my birthday!”
I looked over at him trying to fane surprise. “Oh? Oh yeah. Right. Are you guys having a party or something? I love birthday cake.”
A smile came across his face. “I think we’re having cake after dinner – you can come if you want – but you have to bring a present!”
Mike had finished his set. I got ready for mine while he spotted. “You mean you really won’t let me come if I don’t have a present for you? Damn, I’m sorry J-boy, but I guess you’ll have to count me out. I can’t think of a thing to get you.”
“You want me to give you some ideas?” He was starting to sound a little worried.
“No, I’ll probably be able to think of something.” I smiled at him. We went on to finish our workout. I was lost in thought through most of the workout. The timing was going to have to be perfect. If we were going to get to the evening show of the contest, we’d have to be done with dinner by 7:00. I knew it would never happen unless I got some help from Mike.
I didn’t give him any details, I just told him that it would be really important for us to be done by 7:00. He was cool with not knowing the specifics. He could tell that I wanted something to be a surprise for him too. He said he’d tell him Mom that we were going to be going somewhere.
The next morning Carl picked me up and off we went. I was so nervous, that I was shaking. Carl was cool and helpful, and somehow we managed to get through the day. He dropped me off around 4:00 and quickly wrapped the two CDs, shirt and lifting straps that I’d gotten for Justin. I put the three contest passes in a birthday card for him. At this point, it didn’t really matter what order he opened everything, but I just had a feeling that Justin would open the packages before he opened the card. I laughed to myself as I wondered if he got this excited every year.
I headed over to the Williams for dinner. Although it was rare for me to show up in trainers, I figured I could get away with it. Mike opened the door and looked at me. “What, are you planning on going running later? You look like ‘Sporty Spice’ from the Spice Girls!”
“Very funny tough guy. It’s cold out OK? I didn’t feel like wearing shorts.” He seemed to accept that and we turned and walked into the living room. Mr. and Mrs. Williams were sitting there with Justin. They were watching something on TV. Justin got an excited look on his face.
“OK, he’s here! Can we start?” He was talking to his Mom and the anticipation on his face was almost comic. Mike whispered to me ‘he’s been a freak all day’.
Apparently his Mom couldn’t take any more. She agreed to let him open his presents. The first few were obligatory grandparent presents. None of his grandparents were local, so it was just a matter of seeing what they’d sent. The presents were shirts that he’d probably never wear and, of course, checks. He liked the checks.
Next was Mike’s turn. He gave Justin one smaller box, one big one and a card. As I’d guessed, he ripped into the boxes before opening the card. In one box were three shirts. I could see that Mike and I had the same idea. Justin needed some shirts that actually fit him. The other bigger box contained, to my surprise, a really nice compact stereo. Justin’s eyes lit up when he saw it. “ohmygod Mikey! Thanks!”
Mike smiled, “now you can leave mine alone, right?” Justin nodded. “Don’t forget to open the card.” Mike continued. Justin opened the card. Inside were three slips of paper that said: ‘Mike’s Chauffeur Service. Bearer is entitled to one trip anywhere.’ Justin was always after Mike to drive him here or there, so it was a pretty cool gift.
“Cool, Mikey! Are going to wear one of those goony Chauffeur’s outfits?” He didn’t wait for an answer. Mr. Williams handed him two boxes and a card. The boxes contained more clothes and the card had a check. He was about to turn to me, but before he did, his Mom told him he’d better check the garage too. Off he went and back he came with a new mountain bike. It was just like mine except a newer model.
“This is too cool! I love this bike! It’s sort of like yours Eric…” He was checking out and was definitely very pleased with it. Finally he turned to me. I handed him the two packages and card. He opened the box with the shirt first. “How come everyone thinks I need new clothes?”
Mike reached over and pulled at the very tight sleeves on his shirt. “Because none of yours fit you anymore, you muscle bound mutant.”
Justin flexed the arm that Mike had touched. He smiled slyly at Mike, “Jealous, big bro?” Again, he didn’t wait for an answer, instead opening the package with the CDs. I knew he’d like the titles. They were ones I had that he always wanted to listen to. “Thanks Eric! These are cool, you know I love ‘em.”
“Don’t forget the card.” I replied. Apparently he wasn’t expecting anything in the card. He looked down and opened it. I had written something about being like brothers, but I’m not sure he ever read it.
“Tickets to a bodybuilding show?!? No way! It’s tonight!!! We’re going?” He held out the three tickets.
“Well yeah we’re going, but we need to be out of here by about 7:00.” Justin started gathering up the fruits of his avarice. Mike grabbed me by the back of neck. “That’s really cool, Eric.” He said softly. “He’ll be talking about this for months.”
After dinner we headed to the show. It was being held in a theater that held about eight hundred people. We got there just as the fitness stuff was finishing. To my amazement, the place was almost packed. I looked around and found Jonathan. He was saving seats for us. To my amazement, he and Mike greeted each other like best friends. I must have looked a little startled to see it, because Mike noticed my reaction. We got settled just as the teen lightweights were coming on stage. “Oh cool!” Mike said. “There’s teen class too!”
“So you and Jonathan seem pretty tight.” I said, “I shouldn’t be worried, should I?” OK, I’ll admit it. I felt my first twinge of jealousy. After all, Jonathan was pretty damn hot.
Mike turned to me briefly and said just one word. “Please…” And then turned back to watch the show. His hand found its way on top of mine and he squeezed it. That was all it took. That simple gesture reassured me.
One by one the four contestants came out and did their two-minute posing routines. We clapped for each of them, and really cheered for the ones we thought were outstanding. Next it was middleweights. This was the biggest class. There were eight of them. When the second guy came out, Justin almost jumped out of his seat. “Holy shit, I know that guy! That’s Zack Simms! He’s in my class.” For his age, Zack looked really good. He wasn’t going to win the class, but we were all really impressed. “Shit I had no idea he was that built.” Justin said as Zack was leaving the stage. “I’m going to have to get to know him better.”
I told Mike and Justin that I had to go to the bathroom and excused myself. Justin looked at me as I got up, “bathroom? It’s just getting good?”
“Don’t worry, I’ll be right back.” I pushed my way out to the isle and disappeared.
I ran down the side ramp and met Carl at the backstage area. “Where the hell have you been? They almost pulled you out of the lineup.”
“I’m sorry, but I told you I was trying to keep this a secret from Mike and Justin. Which one am I?” I was struggling to get my clothes off. As I did, I immediately hit the floor and started doing pushups.
“You’re number three, and there are still four middleweights to go. You’ve got enough time. I’ll go check you in.” Carl returned after a minute or so and helped me pump up. Even as I was pumping, he was giving me advice. “Don’t forget to smile. Hit your poses hard, follow the music, have fun… and on and on. As the first light heavyweight was announced, Carl started putting oil on me. There were only four guys in the light heavyweight class. Two of them didn’t really belong on stage. They were muscular, but not all that defined. It was going to be between me and one other guy.
I watched the second guy do his routine. He definitely wasn’t very fluid in his movements. I pictured myself doing the same thing. Then I heard them announce my name. I was concentrating way too hard to look, but Jonathan told me later that both Mike and Justin’s jaws hit the floor as they heard my name. They apparently had no idea that I’d entered the contest. My music started and I got scared; I didn’t want to go out on that stage. Carl must have realized it, because before the second bar of the music, he gave me a good push. Out I went to the sound of Joan Jett singing “I hate myself for loving you.”
Carl had suggested the song, and it was great for posing. The words started to run through my head as I started to do my routine. I started out with my hands on my waist, flexing like crazy and trying to look pissed. Joan was singing:
Midnight gettin' uptight Where are you You said you'd meet me now it's quarter to two I know I'm hangin' but I'm still wantin' you
Then I hit my double bi… look pissed I thought to myself – I’m still supposed to look pissed…Joan sang:
Hey Jack It's a fact they're talkin' in town I turn my back and you're messin' around I'm not really jealous don't like lookin' like a clown
‘Now my most-muscular…mean – I’m still looking mean’, I thought. Wow, this was really hard. I couldn’t believe how much energy this took. Then I realized how loud the crowd was cheering! Joan continued on:
I think of you ev'ry night and day You took my heart then you took my pride away Now my legs! Time to smile! Yeah, they’re lovin’ me! This is so cool! Joan was singing the chorus as I alternated legs:
I hate myself for loving you Can't break free from the things that you do I wanna walk but I run back to you that's why I hate myself for loving you.
[To hear the first part of Eric’s posing music, check out: www.geocities.com/rudes_r...es/I/5.ram ]
Now my music was going to change, I had worked on this lousy two minute posing routine for hours every night, and it seemed to be working. This was a song I’d picked. I always thought of Mike when I heard Christina Aguilera’s “I Turn to You.” This was a dance version, and it was great posing music!
I hit my side bicep hard! The crowd had quieted a little with the change of music. Christina sang:
For the arms to be my shelter Through all the rain For truth that will never change For someone to lean on For a heart I can rely on through anything For that one who I can run to...
I spun so my back was to the crowd. Christina was wailing and I hit my back pose. And then I did my back double biceps. The crowd was cheering again, and I was sweating my butt off. Christina continued:
For a shield from the storm For a friend, for a love To keep me safe and warm I turn to you For the strength to be strong For the will to carry on For everything you do For everything that's true I turn to you For a shield from the storm For a friend, for a love To keep me safe and warm I turn to you For the strength to be strong For the will to carry on For everything you do For everything that's true I turn to you
As she finally finished, I turned and flexed both arms as hard as I could. I pointed right at Mike and flexed my abs… and my back… and my legs… I looked him straight in the eye and he knew exactly what I was doing. Just like Christina said, I did turn to him. He gave me the strength to believe in myself and here I was, up on stage doing my best to prove it to him.
[For the second part of Eric’s posing music check out: www.ardent-sun.org/contro...erpuss.ram ]
I ran back to the back stage area. Carl was grinning from ear to ear. He actually hugged me, which I wasn’t expecting. “Pretty damn good for your first time, kid!” he said as he put me down. Damn that man was strong! He looked at me sort of funny as I was dabbing off some of the sweat with a towel. “So, Eric,” he started, “am I just dreaming it, or are you and Mike a little more than best friends?”
I stopped dead in my tracks. I wasn’t quite ready for anyone to confront me about this – especially since I was being confronted by a 275 pound monster of a man right before I had to go back on stage to get the results of my first bodybuilding show. I nodded slowly and carefully at him – watching for his reaction.
Thankfully, Carl was still smiling. “Good for you, kid. We’ll talk about it later. Now get ready, they’re about to call your class back.”
I got in line, and out we went. They announced forth and third place. As I thought, it was going to come down to me and one pretty damn built guy. They finally announced it…
I didn’t win. I got second place. To my amazement, the crowd didn’t like it either. There were boos and cat calls at first, but then everyone applauded for the guy who did win. I shook hands with him to congratulate him. He was two years older than me and he really did have the best body. Back stage he told me to keep competing because he thought I was pretty amazing for only being sixteen. I swear just as he told me this, he winked at me. Anyway, it was really nice to hear, and I was becoming more comfortable with the outcome. After all, I’d only been really getting ready for this show for about a week.
I got cleaned up and put my clothes back on. Carl and Mike put my trophy with their stuff. I couldn’t believe the size of the thing. It was huge for second place, I thought. I walked back up the side ramp and then back down the isle toward where we were sitting. A bunch of people I didn’t even know congratulated me. It was great feeling. Finally I got to where we were sitting. Jonathan shook my hand and told me how good I’d done, and then I got to Mike.
He was smiling broadly and before I could say anything, he grabbed me and hugged me. This was the first public display of affection like this that we’d ever had. I felt a little nervous at first, but eventually I just let him hug me. It felt amazing. “You ARE the fuckin’ man!” He whispered in my ear. “Why didn’t you tell me you were going to do this?”
I could hear the pride in his voice, but I guess I still wanted to hear more. “I wanted to surprise you,” I replied, “…did I?”
“Fuck yes!” He said as he let go of me. We looked at each other, and he was definitely beaming with pride. I felt happy, embarrassed and, I guess satisfied at the whole experience. Being up on stage was definitely a rush like I’d never experienced.
We watched the rest of the show occasionally touching hands or bumping knees. On the way out, Justin saw his friend Zack. They were talking while Mike, Jonathan and I waited for Carl and Mike. Mike had won the overall and Carl had taken second in the heavy weights. They walked over and handed me my trophy.
“Where’s your brother, Mike?” Carl asked. Mike pointed to Justin talking to Zack. “Get him over here, I have something for you guys.” Mike walked over and grabbed Justin. Justin said goodbye to Zack and joined us.
Big Mike reached in his pocket looking for something. “I hear it’s your birthday, Justin. In honor of that, and of Mike’s first contest, I wanted to give you these.” He held out his hand to show us three keys, each with a number on it. “Take ‘em. They fit your lockers at the gym.”
We each grabbed a key and thanked Mike and Carl. Jonathan slapped Mike on the back, “Maybe we’ll see you a little more often now!” We talked a few minutes longer and then headed to the car.
As we walked, Justin and Mike were quizzing me about how I got the idea and when I practiced my posing. I told them everything. Finally Justin asked, “and when did you shave your legs?!?” They hadn’t thought about it until just then. Now I was going to catch endless shit for having shaved my legs.
All the way home they kidded me about it. Justin reached under my trainers and felt my smooth legs. “ooooh Mikey, She is so smooth!” Then he moved his hand up under my shirt. “Her legs aren’t the only things that got shaved! You gotta feel this chest Mikey – those six hairs she had are long gone!” On and on they went.
When we finally got home. We stood out by the car and talked a while longer. Finally I had to ask him. “Mike, do you think it would be cool if you stayed over tonight?” He went and asked his parents, and they were fine with it.
As we walked over toward my house, I asked him almost under my breath. “Ummm, soooo, can it be my turn tonight?” I wasn’t looking at him, I was just looking down slightly as we walked.
He turned his sideways a little just so he could see my face. “You mean..?”
“Yeah… that’s what I mean…”
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