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Boy in the Park, The
|I live near a city park and often walk there on summer days. I had a day off from work, so I went over to the park to enjoy some of the morning sunshine. There was a soccer field there, one that was very busy on evenings and weekends with various league play, but this morning there was simply a group of about a dozen kids having fun in an impromptu game.
I sat on a bench nearby and watched the action. The boys all seemed about the same age, I would guess around 10-12 years old. One boy, however, looked a bit larger and perhaps older. They were playing “shirts” and “skins” and this boy was on the “skins” team. Without his shirt you could tell he was huskier and more athletic looking than the other boys. He wasn’t taller than his fellow players, just better built. He seemed to be faster, too. When a “shirts” player was taking the ball down the field this boy was not only fast enough to catch him from behind, he was nearly always able to steal the ball away and take it in the opposite direction. And he could obviously kick the hardest, too. I watched as he scored goal after goal, whizzing the ball past the goalie, even when the other team cheated and put more than one boy in the net to try and stop him.
Whenever he scored a goal, the boy would celebrate by thrusting his fists high overhead and running around the field with a triumphant yell. Then he would stop, plant his feet, and pull his arms down into a double biceps pose to show off. It was kind of his signature move. Needless to say, I enjoyed watching this athletic young kid strut his stuff, even though the other kids were starting to moan and complain about his dominance.
The boy started attempting goals from farther and farther out, just to make it more difficult for him and to test his range. Finally, he stopped just across mid-field, reared back, and gave a mighty kick as hard as he could. The ball seemed to go off the side of his foot, but his shoe went flying toward the net. He ran after his shoe to retrieve it, then came running over toward me. For some reason, I felt a little nervous and excited as he approached.
He smiled and held up his shoe as he plopped down on the bench next to me. “I broke a lace,” he said. Then he stood up and made a loud whistle through his teeth as he waved the shoe over his head. “Jerry!” he shouted. “I broke a lace!” Jerry waved back at him and continued playing. The boy sat back down and fussed some more with the laces, pulling them out of the eyelets. “That’s Jerry… he’s my best friend,” he said. “My name’s Michael.”
“My name’s George,” I replied. “Nice to meet you, Mike.”
“My-KULL!” he corrected.
“Sorry… Michael,” I said. Well, he’s certainly not shy, I thought.
He took off his other shoe and both socks, tucking them away in each shoe. Then he leaned back against the bench and let out a sigh, blowing air up his face to cool himself off. Michael’s cheeks were flushed and he was still puffing a little. I tried to keep looking at the action on the field and not stare at him too much. Michael was now only wearing a little pair of red nylon running shorts. He had a good tan with nice looking arms and shoulders and a large barrel chest for such a young boy. And even though he was still a kid, whenever he exhaled hard you could start to see where his abdominal muscles would soon be showing on his stomach when he got a little older. But what really got my attention was his legs. As he sat there watching his buddies, Michael started to swing his feet up and down, and every time his legs would swing out straight you could see the muscles in his thighs flex and bulge. I couldn’t help but stare and he caught me looking at him.
“I have to keep moving my legs when I sit down after exercising, so they don’t cramp up. My brother says it’s because my muscles are growing and I shouldn’t worry about it when I get a charley horse, but if I keep working them like this while I cool down it usually doesn’t bother me.”
“I can see how that might be a problem… I mean… with you starting to get big muscles in your legs like that, I can see how they might cramp up once in awhile.” I was stammering a little and sounded nervous. I wondered what Michael would think. He seemed not to notice.
“Yeah, my legs are getting a lot bigger. They’re way bigger than they were in school last year… y’ know why?”
“Why?” I said.
“’Cause I’ve been lifting weights with my big brother this year. My mom didn’t want me to start lifting weights with Darrell until I was a teenager, but we both talked her into it so I could start gettin’ big like he is!” Michael held his legs out straight and started rubbing the big muscles in his thighs. I took a deep breath and swallowed hard.
“How old is your brother?” I asked.
“Darrell’s eighteen. He just moved in with our dad in California so he can get ready for school. He’s going to college on a football scholarship! He’s the coolest brother there is! I miss him already. But he gave me his old weight set and told me to keep using it and one day I’d be even bigger and stronger than he is!”
“So how old are you, Michael?”
“I’m eleven… eleven-and-a-half,” he said. I smiled at the memory of being young enough to care about half-years. Michael wasn’t older than the other boys after all — just more athletically built. Seeing him from a distance I would have guessed he was a couple of years older. I compared his young face and his solid body — it was no wonder the other boys his age couldn’t match up to him.
“Well, you look pretty strong to me already, Michael. I’m sure you’ll be knocking them down on the football field soon, just like your brother.”
“Yeah, I’m signing up for Pop Warner football this year. My mom still thinks I’m too young, but I keep tellin’ her I won’t get hurt because I’m stronger than just about all of the other kids my age. Hey, you wanna see?”
Before I could answer, Michael jumped up and ran to the end of the bench. He grabbed the bench with both hands and started to lift. Incredibly, he easily lifted that end off the ground and I felt myself rising up into the air! As he curled the bench up higher and higher I had to hang on to the back to keep from sliding off! Michael let out a little laugh at the surprised look on my face, then started to lower me back down. But he wasn’t through. As soon as the bench hit the ground he started lifting it once more, curling the end of the bench all the way up until his hands almost touched his shoulders. I held on for dear life again and started to laugh myself. Michael lowered me and tried to lift the bench a third time. This time he was visibly straining and the bench came up slowly as his face turned red. I saw the muscles in his arms shaking and straining with effort. His young biceps were pumped and bulging, and he fought to lift the bench up as high as he had the first time. He got it up almost as far, then lowered it quickly until it hit the ground with a thud.
I didn’t know what to say. I took a deep breath and let it out with a sigh. “Wow!” was all I could manage to utter. Michael rubbed his hands together and flexed his fingers. His upper body was all flushed and the muscles were already looking more pumped. “You sure are strong!” I exclaimed.
“Check it out!” Michael said, as he moved right in front of me and flexed his right arm. The biceps rose up in a lump that was much more rounded and bulging than I would have guessed, despite what I’d just seen him do. Michael squeezed the bulge with his own left hand and then asked me to feel it. My hand was trembling when my fingers came in contact with that young arm and started to squeeze it. His not-so-little biceps was every bit as solid as I had expected, and the muscle firmly resisted my attempts to compress it as my fingers squeezed it several times.
“That’s quite a muscle!” I said. “No wonder you’re so strong!”
Just then Jerry and a few of the other kids came running up. I blushed, feeling embarrassed at the thought of them seeing me feel Michael’s muscles. Jerry asked Michael if he was going to go home and put on some new shoes. He was still huffing and puffing as he tossed Michael his shirt, which he had left on the field. As the kids began talking I suddenly felt out of place, so I stood up and started to leave.
“Are you going home?” I heard Michael’s voice yell after me.
“Yes, I am. Nice to meet you, Michael.”
“Okay… see ya later!” he said cheerfully. It really was a pleasure to meet such a happy, friendly kid.
I walked the block-and-a-half to my house and considered what to do with the rest of my day. Like most people with only one car and a two-car garage, one half of my garage was full of old junk. I decided to finally try and do something about the mess. I backed my car out of the garage and headed back up the driveway when I heard a voice call to me from the sidewalk.
“Hey, is this where you live?” Michael said.
“Yes, it is. Do you live in this neighborhood, too?” He walked right up to me, carrying his shirt and shoes. Once again I tried not to stare at his glowing young body.
“That blue house over there is where my friend Jerry lives. And you can see my house from here too… see that yellow one?”
He stood right next to me and pointed at a house down in the next block. I pretended to see it and said we were practically neighbors. Michael followed me back into the garage and asked me what I was doing. I told him I was cleaning out things and throwing away old junk. He saw an old child’s wastebasket and picked it up.
“You aren’t gonna throw this out, are you? Can I have it?”
The small wastebasket was one I had used in my bedroom as a kid. It was made out of metal and had pictures of baseball players around the outside. I showed Michael how it was corroded and peeling on the inside and told him it needed to be thrown out. I don’t know why I’d saved it this long.
“Maybe it can be recycled, since it’s made of metal,” I said. “I’d probably have to stomp on it a few times to crush it so I can put it in the recycle box.”
“Here, let me try!” Michael said. He took the wastebasket and put one hand on either side and held it in front of his chest, trying to squeeze the sides together. He grunted and strained and I watched the muscles in his arms, shoulders, and chest jump to life again. The wastebasket started to compress from its round shape into more of an oval. Michael relaxed a moment to catch his breath, and I told him I didn’t want him to strain something. I took the wastebasket and put it on the floor. The boy had flattened it enough so that it stayed in place without rolling. I lifted my foot and gave it a stomp. Amazingly, it hardly flattened at all. I was surprised that the metal was that strong after seeing Michael press the sides in a little.
“No, wait… I have an idea!” Michael shouted, before I could give it another stomp. “Let me try something!”
The boy took the little wastebasket and placed it between his legs. My mouth dropped open and I felt my heart begin to pound. I couldn’t believe that Michael thought he could crush that metal can between his thighs! I watched as his legs began to flex and strain against the wastebasket. He grimaced and grunted, and his hands were balled into fists as he concentrated on pressing his legs together. He pushed and strained for about half a minute, and the wastebasket would get narrower and more oval-shaped, but it wouldn’t collapse, and when he relaxed it sprang back a little. I told Michael again I didn’t want him to hurt himself and I tried to grab the wastebasket, but he turned away from me, still holding it tight between his thighs.
“I’ve almost got it… just give me another try!” he pleaded.
This time he put his hands on the outside of his knees to help him crush the can. After several seconds of grunting and straining, suddenly the can let out the loud sound of metal crumpling. A large dent formed in the side of the can and Michael took away his hands and continued to squeeze with just the strength in his legs. His thighs were now bulging larger than I had ever seen them and the muscles were writhing and pulsing as they flexed. The sides of the can were still moving slowly together as Michael crushed the wastebasket between his powerful thighs. I felt a shiver run through me at the thought of how much power there was in those young legs! When the two sides of the can finally came together and touched, Michael took the wastebasket from between his legs and held it up for me to see.
“I told ya I could do it!” he beamed. The middle was all dented and crushed together.
Before I could react, the boy put the wastebasket back between his thighs. This time he was crushing the top rim. The sound made by the crumpling metal was quite dramatic, and the noise made this feat of strength all the more impressive. Soon his strong, young legs had also pressed the top of the can together until it was flattened. He held up the can again and smiled.
I took it from him and shook my head slowly. “I really didn’t think you could do it,” I said. “You weren’t kidding about having strong legs! I’d hate to have those pythons wrapped around me! You’d probably crush me like a… like a…” I stammered and realized how I was gushing.
“Like a tube of toothpaste!” Michael laughed, and I laughed with him. “I’ve always had strong legs,” the boy said, and he pulled his shorts up in front as he looked down and flexed his thighs. There was a nice tan line where the bottom of his shorts had been. I watched the lean, defined muscles in his legs contract into perfect hardness and I let out a little involuntary gasp. Michael kept staring at his thighs as he twitched the muscles on and off, enjoying the way he could make them move under the skin. I stood there with my mouth open and felt my heart thumping. Michael looked up at me and smiled, and I smiled back and shook my head in wonder. This boy was becoming more impressive every minute! I took the wastebasket and placed it over at the side of the garage. I wasn’t going to throw it out now — I was going to save it as a souvenir.
“That was fun! What else have you got?” Michael said. He was full of energy and excited to do more. I was excited, too, but also a little nervous. This muscular young kid was making me feel all funny inside. A little alarm went off in my head. I tried to calm myself down and get the courage to suggest he go home.
“Hey! How about this?” Michael said. He picked up a watermelon I had placed beside the garbage can. I had bought it a couple of weeks ago for a picnic that I ended up skipping. I explained to him that I thought it was too old to eat.
“No… I mean, how about trying to crush this?” the boy said.
“You mean… with your legs again?” I said, not quite believing what he meant.
“Yeah! I’ve never tried anything like this before!”
Although it wasn’t a large watermelon, Michael had a hard time getting the slick fruit to stay between his legs. It was almost too big for him to hold between his knees. Michael began to squeeze his legs together while he held the fruit with his hands at both ends. Those thick thighs of his bulged up again and started vibrating with the strain. I stood off to one side and held my breath. Michael didn’t seem to be getting anywhere, but he was determined not to give up. I wondered how long he would keep it up before he admitted he couldn’t do it.
He relaxed a bit and panted a few times, catching his breath. When he went back to squeezing with his legs I was really impressed with the amount of stamina he possessed. Most kids his age — or any age — would have quit from exhaustion by now. Michael’s determination was quite remarkable.
When the first crack appeared in the top of the watermelon, I gasped out loud. Michael smiled and let go of the fruit with his hands, standing up straight and squeezing as hard as he could with just his thighs. He screwed up his face and bit his lip as he gave it everything he had. His trembling knees were pushing with tremendous force. The straining muscles in his thighs were bulging even harder. The crack started to grow bigger, and you could see it lengthen in short bursts about half an inch at a time. Then Michael gave a little grunt as he grit his teeth and gave it one final powerful squeeze.
I wish I could explain to you the sound that watermelon made as it finally cracked open. The deep sound of the thick rind splitting was amazing! Once the rind was broken, Michael’s muscular young thighs slammed together with such force that the sticky, sweet red pulp and black seeds went flying everywhere! The melon exploded outward so hard that I felt a piece of the wet, sloppy fruit land on my face! What was left of the crushed rind dropped to the garage floor at Michael’s feet.
Michael whooped and hollered like a rodeo cowboy. He jumped up and down, and almost slipped on the mess he made. I took some deep breaths to calm my pounding heart. Then I realized what a problem I now had. Michael was covered with sticky watermelon from the waist down. I needed to clean him up before he could go home. I told him to wait right there while I went inside the house.
The kitchen towels were too small, so I got a couple of large towels from the bathroom. When I came back into the kitchen I saw Michael had stepped inside. I told him to sit in the kitchen chair while I wet one of the towels in the sink. As I wiped him off he was still grinning and excited by what had happened. I rubbed those solid little legs and couldn’t help but feel how muscular they were. He was holding his feet out straight for me and flexing his thighs again. Finally, I handed Michael the wet towel and told him to clean between his legs. He stood up to do it, and I watched him rub down the entire length of his legs one by one. Michael couldn’t do the back of his legs very well, so I had to help him again. I rubbed up his hamstrings and cleaned off his butt as quickly as I could. Then I switched to the other towel to try and get him dry. As I rubbed the back of his shorts I could tell the little athlete was tensing his butt. It felt very hard, even through his shorts and the towel.
“There, I think I got most of it,” I said. “Let me see if your skin is still sticky.” I rubbed both my hands up the back of his legs from the ankle to the calf. Michael went up on his toes, and I felt his little calf muscles grow as they tensed up and became hard. I didn’t know if he was showing off or just trying to be helpful. The skin was so smooth and taut when he did that. I couldn’t resist gripping his strong calves a moment before moving my hands up his hamstrings. I only went halfway before circling my hands around to the front of his legs. Just as I began moving back down I felt his thighs tighten and the knot of muscle just above the knee felt very hard. I stopped and felt the bulge by making a circle with my fingers before I ran my hands quickly down his shins and pronounced him clean. As I stood up the boy was smiling at me — I wondered if he noticed how my hands lingered a bit when he flexed. I smiled back at him and tried to stay cool.
I gave Michael the dry towel and told him to finish drying off. After he was through, I could tell his little red trunks were still soaked and probably sticky, too. When I mentioned this, Michael said maybe we should rinse them out in the sink and started to pull them down. I yelled, “NO!” — perhaps a bit too loud. The boy froze and I told him that we should go back to his house and let his mother handle that. I said I would go with him and explain so he wouldn’t get into trouble. Then as we went out the door I started thinking about exactly what I would tell his mother. Nothing I thought of seemed to be the right thing to say.
For some reason I felt very nervous walking with Michael down the street. At least I remembered to make him put on his shirt, even though it was only a tank top. When we got to his house I insisted on ringing the bell. Michael’s mother was a pretty woman, and younger than I would have thought, considering she had a son going off to college.
“Hello… I’m George Wilson, and I live down the street…”
“Oh, please come in!” she interrupted, smiling broadly. “It’s so nice of you to visit. My name is Ann Thomas. I see you know Michael.”
“Yes. Well… I just met him today. You see… he was at my house… or, I mean… he was in my garage… or, rather…”
“Oh, dear. What happened, Michael? Have you been getting into trouble again?”
“Oh, no… it’s not that,” I assured her. “I mean… it’s kind of my fault he got all messy with a watermelon and…”
“I busted it between my legs, Mom!” Michael boasted loudly. “You should have seen it. It was the coolest!”
“Oh, my… I’m so sorry!” Ann said to me. “Can I pay you for the watermelon?”
I couldn’t believe how sympathetic she was. “No, the watermelon was being thrown out anyway. I just shouldn’t have let him try to bust it open like that. It’s my fault he got all sticky and everything.”
“Oh, I’m sure it wasn’t your fault at all… Michael, why don’t you go change… Would you like some iced tea, Mr. Wilson?”
“Call me George, please. Iced tea would be wonderful, thanks.”
We had a nice talk while Michael changed clothes. I told her everything that had happened and she seemed to understand completely. I breathed a sigh of relief.
“If you think that’s bad, you should see his brother. They both are always bending or breaking things or doing other stunts to show off their strength. I’m proud of them both, of course, but it does get a little taxing at times. I suppose I shouldn’t complain, though. Now that Darrell’s left it seems a little empty in this house.”
Michael reappeared wearing an identical pair of shorts, except these were blue. He didn’t bother to put a shirt on. He sat on the couch next to his mother and she ruffled his hair.
“I was telling Mr. Wilson how you always have to be doing something physical, or showing off.” She poked him in the ribs and he squirmed and giggled. “I swear, Michael’s always trying to get me to count how many pushups he can do, or something…”
“I don’t do pushups anymore, mom… they’re too easy!” Michael complained. He jumped up and ran over to the wall. “Here’s what Darrell taught me to do!”
The boy did a handstand, using the wall for balance. He slowly bent his arms, lowering his body until his nose touched the floor. Then he pressed back up into a handstand without losing his balance. He repeated this four more times, doing five handstand push-ups before kicking back down off the wall. I shook my head in amazement once again.
“You see?” Ann said. “He always has to top himself. That was a new one for me, also. When did Darrell teach you that one, honey?”
“Last week, just before he left. He told me if I ever got bored with push-ups I should try that, so I’ve been practicing in my room.”
“Well, I guess I’m getting another bodybuilder in the family, whether I like it or not!” she said. “Come on, George, I’ll show you an example of what I’ve had to put up with.”
Ann led me to the back door, where some steps led down to their backyard. There were wrought iron handrails on each side of the steps.
“You see how these two bars are bent?” she said. I nodded. The middle two rail supports on the left side of the steps were bent apart, making an opening large enough for someone to crawl through. “Darrell did that when he was sixteen years old, and I couldn’t get him to bend it back in place for me. He said he wanted to let other people see what he did, and challenge them to do the same thing on the other side.”
“I see no one managed to do it, huh?” I said, looking over at the right side.
“Nope!” Michael said. “My brother had just about everyone else on the football team out here to try it, too! Darrell’s best friend Dave saw him do it, so he told everybody it wasn’t a trick or nothin’… just pure strength!”
“I asked our neighbor, Tom, to try and fix it once,” Ann said. “He couldn’t bend those pieces of iron back into place either. He said we needed a big screw-type clamp, or something.”
“Well, I’d offer to give it a try, but I’m sure I wouldn’t be any help. At least not until I’d spent a few months in a gym,” I laughed. I tried to imagine the strength of a sixteen year old kid bending those iron bars. I wished I had been here to see that! Then I looked at Michael and wondered if he would be doing that in a few years.
“Lemme try it, Mom!” Michael said. He knelt down and grabbed the bars. Michael immediately began straining and grunting and those impressive young muscles in his arms, shoulders, and chest bulged once again. He bit his lip and I watched his knuckles turn white as he strained every muscle to the limit.
“Come on, honey, that’s all right. I’ll get it fixed some other time.”
Michael ignored her and gave it a few more grunts and groans before he finally gave up. “Whew, that’s tough!” he said. Ann patted him on the shoulder and ushered him back into the house. Before I followed them, I looked back at the distorted bars. They were clearly bent closer together than they had been! I blinked my eyes and bent down to get a closer look. No doubt about it… Michael had moved those iron bars at least an inch closer! I wrapped my own hands around the bars and gave it a try. I grunted and strained until my arms were shaking. There was no way I could have moved those bars even a fraction of an inch. Just then Ann stuck her head out the door to see what was keeping me. She smiled and thanked me for trying to help. I don’t know if she noticed the stunned look on my face. I decided not to say anything.
When we got back inside I told them I had to be going. Ann said she had to take Michael shopping after lunch, since he was growing out of his clothes almost every month. She thanked me for being good to Michael, and I told her it felt like we were buddies already. I offered my hand to Michael and he shook it by pumping wildly up and down, which made me laugh. Then, as I tried to pull my hand away, he squeezed it a little too hard and giggled when I winced.
I said my good-byes and went out the front door. Michael came out on the porch and called to me.
“Hey, let me know if you ever find anything else you want crushed!” he said. Then he put his fists together at his waist and hit a most-muscular pose. The sinews popped out all over his young body again as the muscles sprang to life. I could only shake my head once more as I gave Michael a final wave.
I walked back to my house and decided I didn’t have the motivation to start cleaning out the garage now. I found the crushed little wastebasket and turned it over in my hands. It seemed like the whole morning had been a dream.
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