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Super Fireman, The
|I was doing homework when my father, Don Volkowicz, was watching TV, just arrived home after a day of extenuating work at the Fire Station. Today they had two major fires to extinguish and he couldn’t get any time to rest. After eating, he sat on the couch with the remote control in one of his hands and a few minutes later, he fell asleep.
I looked at him and tried to examinate the traits of his body: he wasn’t tall, a plain 1.67 m (5’6”) and he didn’t have big muscles, at least not those you would expect in a fireman, he was more of the scrawny type at 66 Kg (147 lbs) with flabby limbs and a little hanging belly. But all he lacked in body he had in good looks because of his handsome face, with a nice jaw, well shaped nose, attractive blue eyes, well cut dark hair and the beginning of an also dark lock-shaped beard. He was a fine 40 year old specimen of man but he felt bad sometimes because he wasn’t big as most of his partners in the Fire Department. He sometimes commented that to the family; but me and my younger sister (just about twelve) always tried to cheer him up, telling him he was the best father in the world. Well, actually, he was quite a good one, particularly because he had to raise us all on his own since Mom had died in an accident about four years ago. As a dad he was understanding and calm, always taking care of us, concerned about our feelings and such.
Lately he’d been bashed in his job for being skinny, particularly he was very upset because after the death of the captain of the Station, Mr. Fanego, the Department officers chose a younger, less experienced fireman for his replacement, Rodriguez; so he was being ordered around by a 30-year-old. Reason for that decision was more a matter of physical complexion than of capacity at stopping fire. Rodriguez was kinda big, he was about 1.85m (6’1”) and with a weight of 98kg (215 lbs), and despite they recognized Don’s trajectory and abilities they preferred the younger agent for they thought a bigger figure imposed more authority. Also my father had to admit Rodriguez had a deep commanding voice while his was thin and laughable.
Next morning my dad went to the Fire Station in Paternal, a neighborhood in Buenos Aires as usual, and prepared with his buddies for the (sometimes) long wait for a duty call. Usually, like that morning they played cards just to pass time, my dad had started some working out to see if he was able to bulk up about a month ago and he used some free time at the station to train, cause they had a rack with some free weights. So far he’s had very little or no results, at least none I could perceive, and I’m very perceptive of male muscle growth. After doing some workout my father joined his buddies, in the table sat Rodriguez and five other guys. Some of them were around their thirties and most at their twenties, they all were pretty big, around 1.82m (6’) in average height and 100 kg (220 pounds) in average weight. But the biggest and strongest was David Quevedo, he behaved like a macho man, he had been a weightlifter and he was 1.90 m (6’3”) 115 Kg (255 pounds), my dad wouldn’t want to get that guy angry. Though he was friendly most of the time, he’d behaved toughly and in an argument he could punch and such so no messing around with him.
My dad had a reason to feel skinny compared to those men, they were all pretty big. That morning while they were playing and doing jokes, talking about Don’s workout that wasn’t actually working out, the phone rang and the station’s secretary, Melissa, told them they received an urgent call. This time it was a real situation: the Atucha Nuclear Power Plant’s core was melting dangerously. When the team heard that, they were shocked, but the commanding voice of Rodriguez made them wake up to their tasks. They dressed up quickly and stepped on the big fire truck hurrying for the place.
When they arrived they realized many other firemen teams were already working, the place was an inferno. Fire was everywhere, not only the spheric core of the Nuclear Plant was in flames but also a lot of sub-units scattered around of the place. Only a few places were still without fire. When they got out of the truck, Rodriguez gave all of them their orders, when my dad’s turn came he received his orders as well:
-You Fabrio are in charge of the fire down there –told Rodriguez while pointing with his finger at a big fire – and you Volkowicz must help him.
My dad was pissed off, he was sent to “help” a younger guy, just because the kid was bigger!! He didn’t complain because the situation was critical.
Rodriguez was actually thinking that my father was too old and small to even hold the hose so he was going to tell him to stay in the station for helping Melissa receive the duty calls and doing the paper work. Well, I think that was most unfair cause my dad was still young in my opinion and the years and years in the job had given him a lot of knowledge. After a few minutes of doing as ordered my dad began to notice fire was not being extinguished properly and new spots of flames were coming up; he began to realize he knew the reason to that and that a similar thing had happened at a fire situation he’s been many years ago. He immediately headed for Rodriguez.
-Rodriguez, I think we’re not doing a good job here. -What!? What’s the matter Don? -I think the strategy is not correct, look at those spots? Fire is reappearing everywhere! We had a situation like this many years ago and what we did was... -Hey, hey, wait a sec!! Who is in charge Don!? Is it you or me!? –Rodriguez interrupted my father- There is no time to discuss about many years ago strategies you old man!! -What did you call me? You must respect my years in the force! -Know what? I don’t care your years in the force so go back to your duty and shut up!
My father hit Rodriguez in the face with his right fist but it wasn’t strong enough to knock him down and Rodriguez quickly recovered, punching my father in the stomach and pushing him. My father was hurt but slowly stood up.
While they were discussing, the other firemen turned to look at them, surprised. -So you’re in charge because you’re bigger, right!? – my dad said ironically and pissed off. -Of course I am, and I know how to end fire, so go back to your duties –Rodriguez answered.
My father returned upset to his tasks, he knew he was right and he could stop the fire a lot faster. While he was walking to his position, thinking about Rodriguez’s words he spotted something that called his attention in an area of the Nuclear Plant that was not in fire. There, a man in a protective suit was handling some glowing tubes that contained nuclear material, the man was trying to take all the potentially dangerous stuff out of the place so no more damage would occur. Don saw in his direction and heard that the guy shouted and could notice the tubes were getting brighter and hotter, something bad was to happen. As fast as he could my dad ran to were the guy was and jumped over him, he took the tube in his hands and the guy in the suit fell to the floor some meters away. Suddenly there was a big explosion that looked like a flash of light. The light bathed Don, going through him, people looking could see his skin trespassed by rays so much his skeleton was revealed through the glow. After the blow my dad was on the floor and his body was smoking. A rescue team in protective suits approached him and amazed that he was still alive, they took his body to the hospital.
At home, my younger sister and me were listening to the radio on batteries about news of the nuclear plant, when the phone rang my sister took it and as the conversation went along she began to cry and then we both hurried to the hospital. Our aunt Teresa called us on the phone and offered to take us to the hospital. Once there, a doctor explained that the situation was critical and that it was very unlikely my dad would survive. “He has received several megawatts of nuclear energy, he is in a coma state, his body seems full of burns everywhere and crackled bones, he’s with assisted breathing right now, luckily his heart is still beating...”, the doctor said. Aunt Teresa, dad’s sister, was concerned as much as we were, and though she tried to look strong for us and give us hope, she was visibly in the need to cry. We decided it was better to stay in the waiting room. As hours passed doctors appeared with news, they said the heartbeats seemed stronger and that they didn’t need to assist my father with machines for breathing. That was great news! We cheered up, still the doctor was warning us that even if my dad survived he might have irreversible sequels. They let us enter the room and could see Don all bandaged, my sister and my aunt began to cry, but I didn’t. Not because I thought as a man I shouldn’t cry, but because I had hope, with my comic book influenced 13-year-old mind I fantasized maybe nuclear radiation was not that bad after all. As days went by my dad was still alive and doctors said his condition was improving, they plainly said it was a miracle.
A week after the accident my aunt was taking care of Don at the hospital while we were at school and suddenly my father moved his hand. She touched it with her finger and Don gripped it. Teresa cried for the doctors, they appeared and said it was signs my dad was getting out of coma. They took him for studies and when they returned the doctor was shocked at the news more than my aunt: “His bones are all welt, and also his skin seems to be healing very quick, this kind of situation is not very usual with these patients!”. Teresa was happy and after school we went to the hospital and she gave us the good news. A few days after that my dad woke and a few days more he could speak. It took only a week more after that (a total of three weeks recovery) when Don was taken out the bandages. Doctors were in awe his skin was completely cured and they decided he would stay a couple of days more for observation. Dad began to feel hungry and doctors said he could eat whatever hospital food he wanted. It was strange to us how much he ate, he usually ate a third the amount he was eating in hospital. As days went by my dad began to walk and he turned perfectly healthy. Nobody could believe it, when asked how he felt my dad said “as good as before the accident, or better”. I was beginning to think maybe I was right, maybe something unusual was going on with him and the radiation. From hospital my dad went home and stayed a couple of days resting, aunt Teresa offered help at home so we lived with her for a couple months. Dad said he didn’t want to rest and he felt very good and wanted to go back on duty but we asked him to stay home because it was too soon. At home we noticed he still ate a lot more food than usual, but we also noticed how well he was curing because he could spend all day playing with me and my sister in the backyard.
After some days at home he decided he should go back to work, when Rodriguez heard about this he called on the phone and told him he was giving my dad job as a receptionist helping Melissa, he said it would be “for a couple of days, until we see you’re fully recovered” , but in fact he wanted my dad to stay there ’til his retirement. That is the way my dad began working again, taking phone calls, tidying up papers and such... he was pissed off but every time he complained Rodriguez told him his orders were not to be discussed.
A month passed by and my dad just did as ordered, only leaving the office to make some free weight training that didn’t give many results, and hanging around with his partners, they weren’t that bad after all. He didn’t realize in the meantime something was going on with his body. After that month dad came home one day and I was the only one to notice. -Dad! Did you look in the mirror, I think you’re bigger than yesterday. –I pointed. -What!? –Don was surprised. Teresa was in the room and she laughed -Maybe you’re just making up things, you read too much comic books- aunt said to me. -Well, I feel different -my dad said and he removed his T-shirt. -Wow!! Danny (me) is right!! You have more muscles! -Teresa exclaimed, after all she was his sister, and she knew him well. She was right, my dad touched his torso to check himself up, he didn’t grow huge but he had more definition in all the muscles and instead of a belly he had a flat stomach. Also I could notice his biceps were beginning to show up. He had almost a swimmer’s build. -Maybe all those workouts are paying off! –Dad said and bent his right arm and a biceps bounced up. -Can I touch it? –I asked. -Of course, son. Then I approached him and put a hand in his upper arm and could feel the muscle appearing was quite hard, but still pretty small. My sister jumped about shouting she wanted to touch also and dad gave her the opportunity. Daddy laughed, Teresa also joined and touched Don’s arms and torso, “Hey! Look at my big brother!” she exclaimed. -I also think you’re taller– I said to Dad (Geez! Was I the only one who noticed?!). -Do you think so? Go get the tape measure! –he said. Me and my sister brought the tape and he brought a scale from the bathroom. His weight had increased in 4Kg to 70Kg (155 lbs) (considering he’d gained all muscle and lost a lot of body fat) and he was 1cm taller (1.68m, 5’6 1/3”). But I knew this wasn’t the end of it for I could clearly see my dad’s muscles were slowly growing in front of my eyes. Days went by and dad’s partners didn’t notice his changes much, but he was still growing, he was adding approximately 4kg (9 pounds) of new muscle and 1cm (slightly more than 1/3”) of added height a week.
A week passed and he was 1.69 (almost 5’7”) and 74kg (164 pounds). That morning at work there was a duty call, and as usual all other firemen could go but my father. When they received the call Rodriguez just pointed at him while saying “you’re not coming!” and my dad had to stay there. He was pissed off and sad, so once everyone had left he went to the weight rack to see if he could get some of his anger out. When he tried and lifted a weight he left the day before, he surprised. “Hey! What the hell!”, he first thought somebody had tried to play a joke, changing the weights. “This thing is light as a feather”, he said, and curled the 9kg (20 pounds) barbell many times as if it didn’t weight much. He then grabbed another heavier one to see if it was a joke, the 15kg (30 pounds) barbell was only slightly heavier to him and he could curl it no problem. He grabbed a 20kg (45 pounds) one and he felt some strain with it but not much, he was perfectly able to curl it. “Holy fuck!” he thought, “I’m stronger!”. There was a place were they kept all kind of fire equipment like extinguishers, hoses, ladders. He tried and see what he could do with them, because sometimes he had trouble lifting up the gear. He first tried the hose that was rolled. The thing weighed a good 20kg (45 pounds) maybe, Don was happy to see he could grab it very easily and manage it. Then he tried the ladder, it was big and weighed about 30kg (65 pounds), he took it with both his hands and put it up and down, happy now he could easily handle it. In a corner there were a couple of red long and thick fire extinguishers that were full and weighing a good 25kg each (55 pounds), he grabbed one in each hand and to his surprise he could lift both of them at the same time. At first dad didn’t connect his gains with the accident, he just thought maybe the workout was paying off, but it was just that all the nuclear power that had been absorbed by the molecules of his body was beginning to manifest.
As time went by my dad’s body continued to grow and so did his physical strength. The third week of growth he was 1.70m(5’7”) and 78Kg (173 lbs), the next one he was 1.71m (5’7 1/3”) and 82Kg (182 lbs). He went from swimmer’s build to beginning of athlete type of build, we could clearly see his back widening, neck growing thicker and arms bigger at 43 cm (17”), thicker legs and everything. And GROWING. Next week he was a good 1.72m and 86kg (191 lbs), he was getting rugby player or weightlifter build, and that’s when the other firemen began to notice. One of them, after cautiously looking at my dad exclaimed something like “damn, you’re getting big, buddy!” -Yes, - dad answered – my workouts seem to be paying off, don’t you think!? -Know what! You should arm wrestle Quevedo! What do you think big man? Quevedo was sitting there and the men looked at him. -Yeah, why not! –Quevedo said, sat on the table and extended his right hand. He knew he was going to win anyway, cause he was still much bigger than my dad. Dad looked at him and put his own hand in place. Both men grabbed their hands, dad wanted to show his new strength so he gripped tight, Quevedo seemed surprised at that strong grip, he wasn’t expecting it. Then one of the guys said “start!” both men began to strain, Quevedo was puzzled, it was being really hard to bend Don’s arm. My dad was holding up perfectly, using his new strength. The guy was in awe, some time passed and both men began to notice they were equally strong. My dad was happy but Quevedo didn’t like it much. As minutes went by both men began to sweat and get tired and their arms were sore. Someone had to give in. A few minutes more and Quevedo’s hand was touching the table. My dad had won. Quevedo couldn’t believe it, his hand was sore and he was angry, but he laughed. -How do you feel uh! After I let you win! Hehehe – Quevedo pretended he hadn’t lost. -You let me win? You looked like you were straining – Don said. -Oh well, yes, I was pretending... Dad knew that wasn’t true, he had truly won Quevedo, besides the big guy was massaging his sore arm. Dad’s arm soreness lasted less than a few seconds, so quickly it cured he was surprised, he didn’t even have to rub his upper-arm.
Time passed and size increased. Next week daddy was 1.73 (5’8”) and 90kg (200lbs) and he was definitely beginning to look like an athlete , his body was wider all over and he began to use new clothes. He had pretty big arms now, 47cm (18 1/2”) Men at the fire station marvelled at my dad’s size increase, he looked better and he walked and moved different. That’s when my dad showed Rodriguez he could lift up all the gear very easily. That obliged him to recognize Don was fit to return to duty, besides the lack of one of the men was starting to get noticed by all the team, so my dad was allowed to go into fire extinguishing again. All the firemen were surprised how well my dad did his job and the heavy stuff he could lift. What they didn’t expect was the ever -growing and ever –strengthening process he was undergoing.
Weeks passed and skinny Don was becoming more and more a hulking super dad. Aunt Teresa, seeing she was no longer needed, left, though she would visit us now and then. The 3rd month since dad’s gone out of hospital he was a different man. He stood to 1.8m (5’11”) tall and weighed a good 118kg (262 lbs), when he met new people they asked him if he was a boxer, bodybuilder or something. At this point he was perfectly aware that the growth had nothing to do with the workouts and he was also getting used to being way bigger and stronger or maybe super – stronger. At home he began to go around shirtless so we could see his perfectly developed torso, he usually wore nothing more than short pants. While he walked his 50cm (20”) upper arms were pushed outward by his huge laterals and his 80cm (33”) thighs bulged with every step. He had also bulky pecs and defined abs. His delts and neck were developed giving a powerful frame to his head, I’d noticed that listening to a small man speaking was very different to listening to a man whose head was attached to a powerful body, for example, since I was just 1.63cm my dad was about a head taller than me now, just being obligued to look UP at him so big and wide while we talked if we were standing or just walking made a huge difference, everything he said seemed more important. I also tried my best not to upset him, though to me his superstrength was awesome and nobody deserved it better than him, it also intimidated me, once we were walking in the park and he just played a joke to me, pretending he was angry and “lightly” punched my shoulder, for him it was a gentle punch but I felt like ten rugby players were hitting me, I had to go to hospital to get my shoulder checked! Doctors said it was taken out of place but bounced back by itself and if the punch had been just a little bit stronger he would have broken the juncture completely. My dad was so sorry, he made sure I knew how bad he felt for that and tried to compensate, he turned extra-gentle with me, giving me all I wanted for a while just to apologize, like extra-money to go out with my friends, paying for electronics stuff I always wanted, etc. That’s what I love from my dad, he is so kind and gentle.
At the fire station Rodriguez was distrustful and jealous of my dad because of his muscle increase and his incredible strength. At first he thought Don was taking steroids, one day when they were at the table waiting for a call Rodriguez had to mention it:
-Don, be sincere with me, do you have a drug problem? -What? –my father was surprised. -Yes, I mean, look at you, your muscles, nobody grows big this fast. You’re on ’roids, right? -I’ll tell you something – my dad stood up and his size impressed Rodriguez - from now on you’ll have to take care the way you treat me, you’d better respect me, ok? -Oh, really? And what are you gonna do about it? –Rodriguez stood facing my dad, he was still a little taller than Don but looked thinner and weaker. My father took Rodriguez from his shirt collar with his big right hand and lifted him up almost 30cm (a foot) over the floor and held him there. -Wanna have a taste of my strength? –my dad said. Rodriguez was amazed. -Ok, ok, put me down! I’m not pissing you off again. -Right. –Don put him down gently on the floor and smiled.
The 4th month since he was out of hospital, was the point in which my dad began to look like a big bodybuilder, he reached 130kg (290lbs) and 1.83m (6’) tall. He was bulky, this time he began to experience other changes like a deepening of the voice, and new thick hair sprouting in his chest and some in his abs and legs; he also decided he would leave a full beard in his face. All these made him look more handsome than ever, with his new muscles, voice and beard he looked manly as hell.
My dad’s growth lasted until the 7th month since he went out of hospital. Since the 4th month he added about 48kg (100 lbs) of pure muscle to his frame making him a 178kg (395lbs) man and his height rose to 1.95m (6’5”), he was the incredible hulk only he was good-looking. The way he moved and behaved gave a handsome and attractive feel to him because he was well-proportioned. His torso, arms and legs were enormous and now he had a deeper louder voice than ever. His strength was ridiculous, having overpowered Quevedo by many many times, he was even much stronger than all the other firemen combined, he could not only lift the gear now, he could easily lift the whole fire truck with firemen and gear inside, he could heft big chunks of walls and columns, he picked up cars like they were made of cardboard, dammit, he was perfectly able to support a 50 store building with his hands if he had to. When he stood up next to Quevedo or Rodriguez he made them look puny, he was 5 cm (2”) taller and 65 kg (144 lbs) heavier than Quevedo and 10 cm (4”) taller and 80 kg (180 pounds) heavier than Rodriguez. His measurements were as follows: 76,5 cm (30”) upper-arms, while Quevedo’s were only 52 cm (20”); 48 cm (19”) forearms, while Quevedo’s were just 34 cm (13”); 96 cm (37”) waist, just an inch over Quevedo’s; 177 cm (70”) chest, while Quevedo’s was 127 cm (50”), 106 cm (42”) thighs while Quevedo’s were just 69 cm (27”). Smaller than Don’s biceps!! 70 cm (27”) calves and 66 cm (26”) neck; while Quevedo’s calves and neck were equally just 46 cm (18”). Just for comparison’s sake, Rodriguez had 40 cm arms (15 ¾”), 114 cm (45”) chest and puny 55 cm (21 ½”) thighs.
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