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Deal's A Deal, A
|Tony had stripped off his clothes and had just pulled on his jock strap when Shane walked into the PE locker room. Tony smiled and acknowledged Shane with a nod. When Shane caught sight of Tony, he frowned and turned his back to Tony. He shook his head as he pulled on his shorts, then Tony slipped his feet into his cross trainers. Holding his t-shirt in one hand Tony goes to find Shane.
Shane sits on a bench facing the wall of lockers tying his cross trainers as Tony approached. “Shane we really need to talk this out,” said Tony. “Why are you so upset with me?” Shane ignored Tony and finished tying his shoes and pulls on his t-shirt. “Please talk to me Shane,” said Tony as he gently placed a hand on Shane’s shoulder. Shane jumped to his feet and spun around knocking Tony’s hand from his shoulder.
Shane growls at Tony, “Get out of my face Canton!” And he shoves Tony away from him. Tony stumbled back a few steps from the unexpected blow and Shane stomped out of the locker room.
Hossler had been observing the encounter between his buddies from another alcove of lockers; and after Shane had gone, he went to check on Tony. “Are you okay bro?” asked Brian. Tony was standing against the wall of lockers he had stumbled into and slid partway down.
Tony smiled a somewhat pained smile as he got his feet back under him and said, “I guess so, no permanent damage anyways. I wish I knew what his problem is…”
“Well,” said Brian trying to find the best way to say what he wanted to tell Tony, “I checked around with some of the other guys and I think I know what Shane is pissed about…” Brian paused again looking for the right words.
Impatient Tony says, “Are you going to tell me or do I have to guess.”
Brian took a deep breath and said, “The problem is the way you’ve been acting toward the nerds and geeks for the past few days… You always made it clear that you thought it was wrong to torment the nerds… I and a lot of the guys agree that they have as much right to be who they are as anyone else… Then there is Tinsley and his cohorts that get joy out of making life miserable for any geek they happen across… And there is another group, Shane appears to be a member of this group, they get a kick out of harassing the geeks and nerds like Tinsley but they also want to be buddy-buddy with you and are willing to leave the geeks alone to be friendly with you. It was one thing to ignore the nerds and geeks but for the past few days you’ve started taking an active interest in their welfare and that to them crossed the line.”
Tony shook his head in confusion as he walked out of the locker room and climb the steps to the gym and Hossler fell into step beside him. “Let me get this straight, Shane and others are upset with me because I stood up for Mike and offered to help him get in shape…” Brian nodded… “What’s wrong with that? It’s not like a asked them to adopt a geek.”
“From their point of view that’s exactly what you did when you told Shane that you wanted him to be “nice” to Mike and Andy. And they don’t understand why you suddenly decided to stand up for them now and not last week, last month or last year?” replied Brian.
Tory’s head spun as he realize Brian was right Tinsley torturing Mike was practically a weekly occurrence why did he act this time and not before?
It seemed to Tony that practice today was rougher than usual he wasn’t getting much protection and the defense seemed to take glee when they hit him hard enough that it took him a while to get up. Mike watched today’s practice and even without understanding what he was watching he had gotten the impression that Tony was getting beat on. Mike counted the players as they went in to the lock room and again on the way out. When Mike was fairly sure Tony was the only one let he approached the outside door to the locker room, just as he was about to knock, Brian’s elfin face popped out the door.
“Oh, Hi Mike, I was just going to yell for you,” said Brian with a grin. “After the way the other guys beat on Tony, coach didn’t want to leave Tony here alone… So I hung around so the coach would let Tony stay. Come on in,” said Brian as he pushed the door fully open.
A bit confused Mike asked, “I had counted the people go in from practice and coming back out and there shouldn’t be anyone here but Tony.”
Brian chuckled, “Ah, so that’s how you knew it was ‘safe.’ Actually your count was right Stan the team manager wasn’t out on the field so you counted me going in and Stan coming out.” Brian led Mike to the weight room. “So you want some help to get into shape. Tony told me that your folks weren’t pleased that you want to change. The way I look at it’s your body and your life so it’s your choice not theirs… It’s not like you want to do drugs or go over Niagara Falls in a barrel. It’s only natural for a smart guy to want a good body and there are way too many big dumb jocks in the world. Have a nice build and everybody thinks you’re a sex-crazed dummy. I don’t know you that well yet but I can see a good bit of Tony in you. I guess that’s his inner nerd showing through,” chuckled Brian. As they approached weight room Brian continued, “Tony’s had a rough day and he’s blowing off steam. He’s taking some flack for taking you ‘under his wing’ like this.” Brian led Mike into the weight room and whispers, “That’s 5, 45’s on a side and another 45 for the bar… 495lbs so it will be a while, he’s going for reps.”
Tony stood shirtless in the Squat Rack with the bar balanced on his shoulders as he slowly lowered his body to a point slightly below a seated position and then returned to a standing position. Beads of sweat merged into rivulets the trickled along the striations of his muscles and down the clefts that defined each of them. Tony had started this set before Mike and Brian had entered the room, and on the tenth rep they witnessed Tony began to slow. Brian took up position to spot for Tony if he were to need it. Tony pushed out another nearly four reps before he let Brian help him set the bar on its holder. Brian tossed Tony his towel and Tony wiped his face as he started to run the towel over the rest of his body Tony grinned to Mike saying. “Don’t worry Mike I won’t be expecting you to do that… at least not for a few weeks.”
Tony sat in front of his computer dressed, as was his custom, in only his gym shorts. He had just spent the last hour reassuring Mike that his folks would come around to supporting Mike’s self improvement program and that they just needed to get use to the idea that he wasn’t their “Little Mikey” anymore and hadn’t been for some time. Tony pushed back from the computer and stretched. Then got up and padded into his bathroom to relive himself as he had needed to do for the past half hour. After he had finished Tony grinned at himself in the mirror and ran through some muscle poses and decided that he would enter the bodybuilder contest even if Brian did chickened out.
Tony turned to leave the bathroom but instead he stopped agape, the door no longer opened into his bedroom. Through the door he saw a lavishly furnished office, Tony stepped into the doorway to peer into the room that had replaced his bedroom. For an office the room was huge, the walls were paneled in fine wood.
Two large oriental rugs covered most of the hardwood floor and broke the room into two distinct areas. The end where the door he stood in was located was a sitting area with heavy over stuffed leather chairs and sturdy tables of rich woods. The walls were decorated with an eclectic collection of paintings and sketches; Tony recognized several of the surreal pieces as works by Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali, Hieronymus Bosch, M.C. Escher, and many of the sketches appeared to be by Leonardo Da Vinci.
Many of the more realist works celebrated the male human form, which tied into the various ‘heroic’ male sculptures scattered through the room with several figures of dragons.
A massive desk that appeared to be made of the same wood as the tables at the near end of the room were constructed dominated the area defined by the rug at the far end of the room. The desk faced into the room and was faced by a number of chairs similar to those at his end of the room. These sat more upright than the nearer chairs, a side table matching the other tables and the desk flanked each. The room reeked of wealth, power and masculinity.
Tony thought to himself, “Right, just the sort of place Batman, Lex Luther or maybe Lucifer himself would find homey.”
On the far side of the desk sat a man apparently working on some papers that lay on the desk in front of him. Large display panels sat on the desk flanking him on both the left and right. As Tony watched the man looked up from his papers and then directly at Tony. The man smiled, stood up and came around to the front of the desk. “Ah Mr. Canton, or if I may ‘Tony,’ please come in and make yourself comfortable… We’ve been expecting you.” Tony turned intending to retreat to the questionable safety of his bathroom. But when he did exactly the same scene he had just turned away from greeted him. Tony gasped. On both sides of the doorway was the same room with the same guy smiling at him. Then the man in the room said, “Please Tony come in and have a seat, we have much to talk about…” And the smile broadened to the self satisfied grim of a predator whose prey has no chance of escape… “It’s not like you have much choice in the matter.”
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