Deal's A Deal, A


By Ender

Tony lay on his bed, absent-mindedly playing with a football. The TV across the room was tuned to the local cable sports channel that was replaying last week’s game when he had once again led his team to victory. Instead of watching it he stared into space trying to make sense of the day. Nothing odd or unexpected had happened. But all day he had had the peculiar feeling that something was different and that much of the time he was running on ‘autopilot’ and just being an observer in his own body. And his body had felt odd, familiar and alien at the same time. It reacted flawlessly to his will but the movements felt off. He balanced the football on his index finger, and tossed it into the air and caught it with one hand. He smiled quizzically and shrugged. Tossing the ball again he caught it on his finger and balanced it, saying “Well, there’s nothing wrong with my reflexes,” as he again flipped the ball into the air and caught it.

Tony stretched, set the ball aside and stood up. He continued to stretch, his body had felt unusually tight all day, as he walked to the closet and opened the door to look at himself in the full-length mirror. All he was wearing was a pair of gym shorts there was little left unseen. As he surveyed himself in the mirror, Tony felt something was different about him but could not put his finger on what it was; “I looked the same as always.”

The shaggy dark brown hair hung across his forehead and a few locks fell into his eyes. Large brown eyes, so dark the pupils were barely discernable with clear clean whites. His nose was straight and unremarkable as it was well proportioned to the rest of his face. As was the mouth, it was neither small nor large, and had full lips. The cheekbones and jaw line were strong and masculine. It was the face that he needed to shave most mornings but since he hadn’t today there was noticeable stubble across his upper lip and lower jaw. Tony flashed his well-practiced and extremely effective “Come hither” smile and grinned.

Continuing downward Tony scans the rest of his body. At 6 foot even and almost 180 pounds he wasn’t big, but his impressive definition made his nearly hairless torso look much larger. Broad thickly muscled shoulders and chest tapered into a tiny waist and narrow hips. Had the transition been any greater it would have been comical, but as it was it enhanced his apparent size. The thickness of his lats did force his arms away from his torso but the width of his shoulders kept it from looking unnatural the way it did on a lot of guys. His hips and waist had grown little since his first pubescent growth spurt had transformed him from a short chubby nerd to a taller skinny geek, but not unchanged. The cobbles of his abs were easily visible and a couple of veins snaked from under the waistband on the shorts to be lost in the ripples of dense muscle. Equally clear were the ridges of his serrattus and obliques. Beefy traps spread across and upward to meet the column thick muscular cords of his neck just below where it attached his head to his shoulders. Thick deltoids merged into the bulk of his upper arms, and several veins snaked along their length. Tony popped a double bicep pose and grinned. His pectorals were a pair of thick slabs of beef that nearly met at the center of his broad chest that tapered upward and outward to the mounds of his deltoids. Tony switched to a most muscular pose and chuckled. “Brian’s been trying to talk me into entering that bodybuilder contest in a couple of months… Strutting around all but naked on a stage flexing…” Tony shook his head. “I don’t know… I’m really not that big… but I do have a better body than that SeanG85 twerp from that online bodybuilding forum and he placed first in the contests he had entered… He didn’t have any real competition I guess.”

Tony sighs and says, “I don’t know I guess I’m just tired or I’m coming down with something.” He closed the closet door and flopped onto his bed. After a brief search of his bed Tony finds the TV remote and shuts it off. Before he switches off the light, Tony looks around his room shaking his head, “Everything is the way it should be but it still feels wrong somehow. With the light off he pulls the covers over himself and stares at the ceiling. After a few minutes Tony shakes his head and in exasperation says to him self, “Just leave it alone and go to sleep.” He closes his eyes and quickly drifts off to sleep. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The alarm clock rang and Tony opened his eyes to the semi-darkness of his bedroom. Again he felt the now cool thick sticky fluid starting to dry to his body. “I need to get out more I guess,” he thought; somewhat disappointed that he didn’t get to enjoy the pleasure of the release. He turned off the alarm and turned on the lamp by his bed. As he padded into the bathroom he slipped out of the shorts. He winced as the hairs that had become pasted to the inside of the shorts pulled loose and tossed the shorts into the laundry basket. He relieved himself and then turned on the shower. As it warmed up he checked himself in the mirror and decides that if he didn’t shave the coach would be on his ass.

Tony stepped into the shower. The steaming water felt good as it splashed on his body and ran off. He squeezed some shampoo into one hand and rubbed it into his hair. He worked it into a lather and them grabbed the soap and lathered the rest of his body. He considered a quick jerk off but decided he didn’t have time to enjoy it properly and quickly ran his razor over his face. Tony rinsed himself and shut off the water. He slid the shower curtain back and started to step out of the tub. As he caught sight of himself in the mirror, he stood there for a moment as the water glistened and sparkled on his body. Then he heard his mom calling to him that his breakfast was on the table, he grabbed a towel and quickly dried himself and ran a brush through his hair. Sprinting to the closet he pulled a pair of bone Dockers and a maroon button-down oxford from their hangers and tossed them to the bed. At the dresser he rummaged for a pair of briefs, which he quickly slipped on. He pulled a pair of crew socks out of another drawer and went to the bed where he pulled on the socks, the Dockers and a pair of cross-trainers. He quickly threaded a belt around his waist and filled his pockets with their regular contents. Slipping on the shirt he headed down stairs.

By the time he reached the kitchen he had it half buttoned and was tucking the tails into his pants. Tony mixed his protein shake and chugged it straight from the blender. Sitting down at the table briefly Tony inhaled the oatmeal to his mom’s displeasure. He let his mom hug him as he picked up his lunch bag from the counter behind her. He picked up his backpack and gym bag at the front door and headed outside. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

As Tony made his way to his locker he noted the diversity of his classmates. Tall, short, fat, thin, jocks, nerds, cool, dorky… There were all shapes, sizes and types. Although, with only a few exceptions, three years separated the youngest from the oldest, some look like little kids and other adults regardless of their actual ages. A few stood or sat alone reading or scribbling in notebooks. But most collected in pairs or small groups gossiping, joking, arguing, bragging, debating various subjects ranging from the nature of the universe to whether plain or ribbed condoms provided more enjoyable sex. Generally the members of these groups shared at least one and generally several traits. There were very few groups that violated this model. Those caught Tony’s attention. He got to his locker, stowed his gear and retrieved want he needed for his first couple of classes. As he closed his locker, Tony noticed one of these aberrant grouping.

Mark Tinsley and a couple of his goons, all jocks, were harassing a smaller bookish looking boy. When Tinsley noticed Tony looking at him, he spoke to the goons who turned to glance in Tony’s direction and released their grips on the smaller boy. As Tony started to approach the group Tinsley spoke to the smaller boy and he bolted from the group to be quickly absorbed into the throng that filled the hallway. Tinsley was also on the football team but he and Tony traveled in different circles and didn’t have the same friends. There had been rumors that Tinsley and several of his buddies were doing steroids and that if you wanted them Tinsley was the man to talk to. As Tony came abreast of the three other jocks, Tinsley grinned and spoke, “Hey Canton, how’s it hanging? It’s been awhile…”

The pleasant smile that Tony normally wore faded a bit and he replied, “I can’t complain much… Your right, it has been awhile… since practice yesterday…” Tinsley’s grin quickly faded and briefly the pair locked eyes. Tinsley broke eye contact first and motioned to his companions that they were leaving. Tony continued toward his first class and resumed his smile. -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

As the starting quarterback, a seat at Tony’s table at lunch was highly coveted among those that aspired to raise their social standing. Tony held court at a corner table in the cafeteria. Tony quietly munched on his chicken breasts, broccoli, cauliflower and rice as the other guys swapped stories of cars, sports and their sexual conquests some real but mostly imagined. Tony only half listened to the conversations closest to him, while he considered topics he found more interesting. Today he was continuing his observations of the group behavior of adolescent males that he had started this morning. As he scanned the room Mark Tinsley and his goon squad again caught his attention.

Tinsley and three of his flunkies had surrounded Mike Matthews. Tony knew Mike from his AP Physics and Calculus classes. Mike was a big boy, although Tony was an inch or two taller than Mike, it was possible that Mike outweighed any two of his opponents. Tony shook his head and quietly cursed as he pushed back from the table. As Tony began to trot towards the confrontation, Brian looked around quickly realize what Tony intended and sprinted to fall in a half step behind Tony. Brian’s leap from the table alerted the rest the table that something was going on. Tony and Brian were at the altercation before the rest of the table understood what was happening. By that time Mike had dropped his lunch tray and the goons were pushing Mike back and forth between each other, as if Mike were an oversize medicine ball they were using to play catch.

“Leave him alone Tinsley!” Tony said loudly enough that half of the cafeteria heard him. The aggressors stopped and looked toward Tony.

“Mind your own business Canton! This has nothing to do with you so back off!” said Tinsley. Tinsley nodded to the goon that currently held Mike who then shoved Mike into the arms of one of the other goons.

“I said, LEAVE HIM ALONE!!!” Tony growled as he glared at Tinsley.

“Or what? You and Hossler will beat us up,” Tinsley sneered.

Tony glances behind him and sees that without being asked Brian had followed him into this confrontation. Tony shoots Brian a quick smile, which Brian returns. Tony nods and returns his attention to Tinsley and his goons. By this time several more of Tony group had decided to join Tony and Brian. As they start too thread their way through the crowd; Tony growls at the four goons, “This is the last time I’m going to tell you Tinsley! LEAVE HIM ALONE!!!”

Tinsley sees that Tony is about to be joined by five more jock types led by the wrestler Travis and realizes that the balance of power is about to shift against him. But before withdrawing Tinsley decides to take one more snipe at Mike and Tony. “Is this fat fuck a buddy of yours Canton? About the only thing I can see that he might be good for is to suck your cock,” Tinsley sneered. Seeing that his time had run out Tinsley motioned to the goon holding Mike. Mike is launched at Tony but without sufficient velocity to become fully airborne. The large boy loses his footing in the remains of what would have been his lunch and falls. Inertia causes Mike’s body to slide several more feet coming to rest face down at Tony’s feet. Mark Tinsley and his three flunkies quickly exited the cafeteria.

Mike Matthews lay sobbing in front of Tony. Tony knelt and gently turned the trembling boy over. Mike’s nose was bleeding; tears ran down his face mixing with blood and mucus that flowed from his nose and now covered his mouth and chin. As Tony tried to figure out what to do next he was pushed aside by a lanky guy about his height saying, “You leave him alone you big dumb jock! Haven’t you done enough to him?”

Seeing the bloody mess on Mike’s face Brian darts off to retrieves a stack of paper napkins. Confused by the actions of the lanky guy now trying to comfort Mike; Tony replies, “You may not have been watching that closely but I’m the one who just rescued him.”

“Oh I saw…” the lanky boy retorted. “Why do you jocks feel the need to involve every one else in your turf battles?” Brian returns with a pack of napkins and hands them to Tony.

“Turf battles, what is he talking about,” Tony asks himself. More confused Tony pops the package of napkins open and affords part of the pack to the lanky boy saying, “I’m Tony Canton. I know Mike here because were both in the same calculus and AP physics classes would you mind to very much telling me who you are.”

“Yeah, I know who you are… Ok, so you’re a “smart” jock… But you don’t remember me… well I guess that’s to be expected since you haven’t spoken to me in over three years…” replied the lanky guy as he wiped Mike’s face.

With the additional information Tony realized who he was talking to, “You’re Andy… Andy… Seadar… right? We used to play Yu-Gi-Oh…”

“So you do remember me,” said Andy with mild surprise. “That was before you went over to the dark side and became a jock.”

“The dark side? You were still in middle school and I was starting high school… and other options became available to me,” Tony replied. “Yeah back then I was sort of a porker… I had a growth spurt and that opened some more desirable opportunities to me.”

“Right,” Andy sneered as he helped Mike to his feet. Mike’s nose had stopped bleeding and he wasn’t sobbing anymore. Andy led Mike to the restroom to get him cleaned up.

Tony used the remains of the pack of napkins to mop up most of the mess on the floor. Brian put his hand on Tony’s shoulder and says, “He doesn’t seem to like you much…”

Tony nods and says, “We used to be friends, back in middle school, but I lost track of him and got involved with other things.” Then Tony stood and walks back to his seat followed by Brian and the rest. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Tony followed Mike out of their calculus class. As they entered the hall Tony put his hand on Mike shoulder and spoke, “How are you doing Mike? You feeling better now?” As Mike felt Tony’s hand on his shoulder he jumped and pulled away. “I’m sorry Mike, I didn’t mean to startle you,” Tony apologized.

Realizing it was Tony Mike relaxed a bit. “That’s okay… Thanks for trying to help me at lunch today.” Mike smiled.

Tony smiled, “I was thinking that I might be able to help you keep that sort of thing from happening in the future… You probably don’t know this but a few years back I was a bit of a porker myself.” From the expression on Mikes face Tony could tell Mike didn’t believe him. “I really was, I could show you pictures. I was thinking that, if you wanted, I could help you help you slim down a bit… If you did you wouldn’t be such a tempting target any more,” Tony smiled and returned his hand to Mike’s shoulder.

Mike looked at Tony skeptically and said, “And what do you want in return for your ‘help.’”

“Just the knowledge that I helped a good guy make himself better.” Tony said as he stopped Mike and looked him straight in the eye. “Really Mike… look at it as my payback for my own good fortune.” And Tony afforded Mike his hand.

Mike hesitated briefly and then took Tony’s hand and they shook on the deal and smiling Mike said, “Okay Tony I’ll try.”

Tony stopped smiling and held Mike’s hand firmly enough that Mike couldn’t move it but not so tight as to cause Mike pain and said, “No Mike, you’re not going to TRY. Do you remember what Yoda said to Luke when he said he’d TRY.” Losing his smile Mike stared blankly into Tony’s eyes. “Yoda said ‘That is why you fail’,” said Tony. Then the smile returned to Tony’s face and he continued, “And you WILL succeed at this, right Mike?”

Then Mike grinned and replied, “YES, I WILL SUCCEED!” The pair laughed and started to walk down the hall again.

As they did Tony puts his arm across Mike’s shoulder and asks, “So Mike, you want to get started building the new improved Mike Matthews tomorrow?” •

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