Mind Over Matter

By Anonymous

"Oh, you are so dead!"

Laughing, Matt quickly tried to get away from Christian. The two were out swimming, and Matt had just unexpectedly dunked his bigger friend. Matt was in shape and a good swimmer, but he knew he couldn't elude his friend for long. Even though Christian was much bigger than Matt, his hugely-built body knifed through the water as well as that of any competitive swimmer, and Matt knew it. In fact, ever since he could remember, Christian had been uncannily good at whatever sport he took up. Although his main interest was bodybuilding, he swam enough so that his natural ability made him more than a match for all but a few.

Still, even knowing he would get paid back and then some, Matt couldn't resist. Christian might be much bigger and better at every sport, but Matt could still catch him off guard and leave him spluttering--for a moment, anyway.

Sure enough, Matt heard Christian closing in. Seconds later, powerful hands grabbed him, forced him down underwater, and held him there for a few seconds before letting go. When Matt bobbed to the surface, coughing up water, he saw Christian grinning as he treaded water not far away. "You oughta know better than that," he said.

"All right, I had it coming," said Matt ruefully. "Anyway, I'm about ready to head in. How about you?"

"Yeah, me too. I just want to do one more lap to the rock and back. Wanna race?"

"Yeah, sure, whatever," said Matt, knowing he had no chance of winning. "Gimme a chance to catch my breath before we . . . GO!" Shouting that, Matt took off swimming towards the rock, getting a jump on Christian. A fraction of a second later, Christian followed, overtaking Matt's slight lead in no time and opening up a sizeable lead of his own. About this time, Matt saw that up ahead Christian had neared the rock, and was about to touch it and turn around when an unusually large wave crashed into him, knocking him into the rock. Alarmed, Matt saw Christian bang his head on the rock and slump glassy-eyed into the water.

Redoubling his efforts, Matt soon reached his friend, grabbed him, and began towing him back to shore. As they neared the beach, Christian began coughing and struggling against Matt. "Lemme go, man," he said. "I'm OK now."

"You sure?" asked Matt. "You hit your head pretty good."

"I'm a little woozy, and my head's banging like a drum, but I can make it to shore on my own."

Letting go, Matt watched his friend closely as the two of them swam slowly to shore. When they reached it, Christian dropped down on the sand and sat there, still partially dazed.

"You sure you're OK?" asked Matt. "You look like you got hit by a truck."

"Yeah, I'm fine," said Christian, "but it feels like my head got split open."

Looking at the back of Christian's head, Matt said, "Geez, you got a big gash back here. Let's go over to the picnic area and clean it up in the bathroom there. Maybe they have a first-aid kit, too. Then we oughta go to the hospital."

"I don't need the hospital, but let's clean up the cut. The salt water in it hurts like a bitch."

* * * * * * *

A few minutes later, Matt was dabbing at the cut with a wet paper towel. "Does this hurt?" he asked.

"No, dumb shit, it feels good. Whaddaya think?"

"What I mean," said Matt with some annoyance, "is does it hurt so much that you want me to stop? We can go to the hospital and have them look at it, and see if it needs stitches. But actually, it looks like it's already starting to heal. I suppose you're not just a stud athlete, you've got super-healing powers, too?"

Christian grinned ruefully. "I don't know, but right now I'd take 'em. I'm not woozy any more, but my head still feels weird--sort of like one of those out-of-body things, only I'm not floating or anything. I can see straight and think straight, and I'm not groggy, but . . . I can't explain it. It just feels weird." Grinning again, he said, "Too bad I'm not made of steel or granite. Then a little bump like that wouldn't faze me."

As he said that, the skin all over his body tingled intensely for a few seconds, causing him to give an involuntary shudder and bang his elbow on the countertop by the sink. When the tingling stopped, he felt the same as before--except that he knew at some deep, inner level that he was different, that his skin was now like armor. As proof, he noticed that his elbow didn't hurt at all from banging it on the counter. Yet the counter had a dent in it, and the formica was cracked and chipped, like it had been hit by a hammer.

"You're sure you're not feeling woozy?" asked Matt. "As klutzy as you are right now, a cop would have you walking a line to make sure you aren't drunk."

Thoughtful, Christian said, "I'm fine." Turning to Matt, he flexed his huge bicep and said, "Feel my arm."

"Look, I know you're huge," said Matt, "but that doesn't mean you're OK. You could have a concussion or something."

"No, seriously, feel my arm," Christian repeated.

"Screw you," said Matt, annoyed. "You might think you're God's gift, but you don't have to show off."

Exasperated, Christian said, "Come on, man, that's not what it's about. I'm trying to tell you that I feel different. But if you won't feel my bicep, go ahead and punch me in the arm instead."

"I'm not gonna punch you," said Matt. "You banged your head, and now you think you're invincible, that's all. And even though it's tempting, I'm not gonna slug a guy who's off his head."

"Oh yeah? You think you could hurt me?" goaded Christian. "Come on you wuss, gimme all you got. A third-grade girl has as much chance of hurting me as you do."

"OK smartass, you asked for it! Maybe then you'll listen to me and go to the emergency room," said Matt as he wound up and punched Christian on the shoulder as hard as he could. Christian felt the punch land, but didn't feel anything more than a tap. For Matt, though, it was altogether different.

". . . God . . . damn!" said Matt through clenched teeth. "I think I broke my hand! What the hell happened? It was like punching a brick wall!"

"Sorry, man," said Christian. "I told you I felt different, but you wouldn't believe me."

Clutching his throbbing hand, Matt said, "Well I believe you now. Congratulations. What the hell is going on?"

"Something must have happened when I banged my head," said Christian. "I told you I feel different inside my head. Not like I'm groggy or stoned, though. I feel normal . . . only different. Remember how I said it was too bad that I wasn't made of steel or granite? When I said that, I could feel my skin tingling, feel it change somehow. It doesn't look any different, or feel any different to me, but somehow in my head, I just know that it's different. Do you know what I mean?"

"No," said Matt. "But I can tell you first hand that your arm feels like a block of granite. Does the rest of you feel the same way?" Rapping the knuckles of his good hand lightly on Christian's forearm, chest and back, Matt marveled, "Un-fucking-believable. It's like you're made of granite." Of course Christian hadn't turned to granite. He looked the same and weighed the same as he always did. But his body now had very different properties, as Matt could attest. "I'll be lucky if I didn't break my hand when I punched you."

"Sorry about that," Christian apologized. His eyes lighting up, he said, "But you wanna see something cool? Watch this!" Making a fist, Christian punched down onto the countertop. Matt looked on, amazed, and even Christian was taken aback at his newfound power. Where his fist struck it shattered the formica, and cracks radiated outward from the impact. But that was the least of it. His fist punched completely through the countertop, leaving a jagged, splintered hole.

"Holy shit, man!" exclaimed Matt. "A sledgehammer wouldn't do that kind of damage. You must have gotten some kind of super strength, too!"

"What, like the Hulk? I don't think so. And anyway, wasn't that scientist supposed to turn into a moron when he bulked up? Still, I wonder . . ."

"What are you talking about, man?" asked Matt, but Christian didn't answer. He closed his eyes and seemed to concentrate. Within seconds, Matt saw that Christian was growing. Ever so slightly, his already huge muscles were expanding, and his frame was growing wider and taller, too. This went on slowly for about half a minute, while Christian clenched his teeth and sweat beaded on his forehead. Suddenly, he clenched his fists, threw back his head and yelled a deep, guttural, "AAAAAARRRGH!" As he did so, his rate of growth exploded. There was an unpleasant sound like plastic being stretched as Christian's form swelled, bulged, widened, and stretched. In less than a minute he stood eight feet tall, with insanely massive muscles, an inhumanly wide frame, legs like oak trunks, and cannonball delts on shoulders far too broad to fit through a doorway. His already exceptional bodybuilder's physique now had an even more exaggerated V-shape. Even though his waist had remained relatively small in comparison to the rest of his mass, his swimming trunks were stretched to their limit. They must have expanded along with him, because if they hadn't, they would have been shredded as he grew. Opening his eyes, Christian gasped and said, "Son . . . of . . . a . . . BITCH . . . that hurt!" With amazed satisfaction, he looked himself over and flexed his massive muscles appreciatively.

Dumbfounded, Matt stared at him. It was still Christian, but he looked like he'd been put through the 150% blow-up on the photocopier, and every muscle had been blown up even more than that. His head hadn't grown at the same rate, if it had even expanded at all, which made the rest of him seem that much bigger and freakier. His hands seemed to have grown a little more in proportion to the rest of him--not so much that they looked wrong, but they were definitely bigger, especially in width and thickness. Matt wondered what kind of power was contained in those huge, thick hands, just waiting to be unleashed. Looking down, Matt saw that Christian's feet had expanded similarly. Each foot was now about eighteen inches long, very wide--maybe nine inches--and very thick. But although their dimensions had changed, Christian's hands and feet were still almost perfect, like all his other features. "Figures," thought Matt unconsciously.

Looking down at Matt, Christian hit a few muscle poses to show off his physique and said, "So how do I look?"

"Like the frickin' Hulk, man," said Matt, the top of whose head barely reached the level of Christian's huge pecs. "Only you're not green, or mutated and ugly."

"I'm not stupid, either," said Christian. Standing with his head brushing the ceiling, he couldn't see his reflection in the mirror, so he crouched down to take a look. What he saw was impressive, even to him. He was immense. His armspan reached from one end of the long countertop to the other. The same handsome face he was familiar with stared back at him from the mirror, but the rest of his body was unbelievable--a solid, living block of muscle. His neck was as thick as a bull's, joining his huge torso between the insanely bulging traps atop his shoulders. Even unpumped, his guns were bigger than a normal person's legs, and his entire herculean body was likewise oversized, ripped, and rock-hard.

Matt was a pretty big guy himself, yet when he looked at their reflection in the mirror, he looked like a scrawny gradeschooler next to Christian. "Damn!" he said. "You'd dwarf Schwarzenegger or Ferrigno, like a man among boys."

"That's for sure," said Christian as he stood again. "And could either of them do this?" He reached toward the sink, and the faucet disappeared inside his enormous hand. The huge fist clenched, and Matt heard a crack and the sound of metal crumpling. Then, as effortlessly as pulling a kleenex from a box, Christian ripped the faucet from the sink, leaving ruptured pipes spraying water into the air. As Matt watched dumbfounded, Christian's other huge hand closed on the spurting pipes. One effortless squeeze clamped the pipes shut, and with one clockwise motion he twisted them into a knot. When he let go, only a small trickle of water came out of the mangled pipes. Turning his back on the sink, he opened his hand and showed Matt the crumpled faucet. "How cool is that?" he said with a bright-eyed smirk. Dropping the faucet, which clanged against the tile floor, he turned to the wall-mounted hand dryer and threw it a devastating punch. His enormous fist instantly crushed most of the hand dryer and drove it into the hole that his punch blasted in the concrete block wall. "This is so fuckin' awesome," he said. "Come on, Matt, let's go back to the beach."

Christian now weighed two thirds of a ton--five and a half times his normal weight--and from where he stood Matt could feel the dull, heavy thud of his footsteps as he strode to the door. Grabbing the handle, with one motion he effortlessly pulled the metal door off its hinges and tossed it aside like an unwanted magazine, where it crashed into the stalls. Crouching slightly, he turned sideways to slide through the doorway. However, when he got halfway out, he paused and grinned. Turning slowly, he forced his massive shoulders inside the doorframe, which was much too small to contain them. As he pushed, the doorjamb bent outward from the strain, causing the concrete blocks on either side to crack as well. Soon, portions of the wall began crumbling on each side of the doorway. Turning completely square, Christian flexed and heaved his massive shoulders, blowing out the remaining portions of the doorjamb and sending broken cement blocks tumbling from the walls on either side. With the doorway destroyed, he grabbed the remains of the metal doorjamb and tore it out. Now completely unsupported, several concrete blocks from over the doorway fell onto him, but they might as well have been styrofoam. They didn't hurt him at all and were nothing more than an annoyance as they bounced off his steel-hard body and fell to the floor. Only smudges of concrete dust and sweat showed that the heavy blocks had hit him at all. Standing unscratched in a gaping hole in the wall where the door had been, Christian twisted the doorjamb into a tangled mess of metal and flung it aside. Dusting himself off, he said to an astonished Matt, "Come on, let's go!"

* * * * * * *

Matt had to hurry to keep up as they walked through the picnic area. Christian wasn't hurrying, but he covered a lot more ground with each stride. Not wanting to have to run to keep up, Matt said, "Hey, slow down. What are you gonna do, anyway?"

At that Christian stopped abruptly, and Matt, who was almost jogging behind him to keep up, had to dart sideways to avoid running into him. His hand was still throbbing, purple, and swollen from hitting Christian before, and he had no desire to find out what it felt like to run into him headlong. He suspected it would feel a lot like jogging straight into a brick wall, and he doubted his momentum would even budge Christian an inch.

Christian rubbed his chin thoughtfully with a huge hand, making his normal-sized head look even smaller atop his massive new body. He said, "I don't know what I wanna do. Maybe I'll go to the gym later and freak everybody out. But I wanna do something now. You have any ideas?"

"First things first," countered Matt. "How did you do get this way, and how long are you gonna stay this way?"

"I don't know exactly how I did it," Christian answered, "but when my head cleared after I banged it on that rock, I just felt different, like I told you before. I don't know any more than that. The first time I knew I could change myself was when I said it would've been good to be made of steel or granite. When I said that . . ." He trailed off and paused thoughtfully for a second before continuing, ". . . Actually, when I imagined it . . . I could feel myself changing. After that, I just knew I could do it. Instead of scrambling my brain, that knock on the head must've opened up something instead. Mind over matter, I guess."

"So can you change yourself back to normal?" asked Matt.

"Yeah," said Christian. "That'd be easy. Actually, I have to concentrate a little to keep myself hulked-up like this. If I quit concentrating, I'd go back to normal. If I don't change back sooner, it'll probably happen when I fall asleep. I hope it won't hurt so much, though. Damn! It felt like I was being pulled apart."

Intrigued, Matt asked, "Can you change yourself in any different ways?"

"Whaddaya mean?"

"Like, can you turn yourself into a bird, or a snake, or a horse?"

Thinking for a minute, Christian said, "I don't think I could. They're just too different from my normal shape. If I practiced a lot, maybe I could. But based on how much it hurt just to get like this, the pain would probably make me pass out, and then I'd go back to normal. I'd be back where I started."

"Aw, come on," teased Matt. "No pain, no gain. You just have to get used to it, ya big baby."

With a serious look, Christian said, "You don't have a frickin' clue how much that hurt. Think of the worst charley horse you ever had, and then imagine having that feeling in every muscle and bone in your body. That's *almost* how painful it was."

"Shit man, no wonder you yelled. Can you change somehow that doesn't hurt so much?"

"I don't know," said Christian. "But I think it's changing my shape that hurts the worst, like when I hulkified myself. It might not hurt so much if I kept my same shape and just grew, but I don't know. I won't know until I try it. Right now, though, since it hurt so much to get into *this* shape, I want to have as much fun as I can before I change back."

"You gonna show Terri?" asked Matt. "You'll freak her out."

"Maybe," said Christian with a sly grin. "Or I might keep it as a surprise." Locking his hands behind his head, he put on an overdone "bad boy" expression, ground his hips, and said, "You think she could handle the Christian-ator? She can barely handle the real deal. The super-size me would be lethal."

"Oh gimme a break," groaned Matt. "You'd be lucky to work 'skank night' at a scuzzy bar."

"Whatever, little boy," grinned Christian, knowing it would irritate Matt. He had always been envious of Christian's bigger physique, so this was probably driving him crazy. "Let's go get something to drink. I'm pretty thirsty. There's a concession stand over by the parking lot."

The two started towards the beach again. Matt noticed that there weren't very many people here today. Since they arrived this morning, only the occasional jogger went by, but that was about it. They were at an out-of-the-way state beach, and since it was a weekday morning, there was hardly anybody around. He didn't know whether that was good or bad. He wanted to see the look on people's faces when they saw Christian, but at the same time, he didn't know how they could explain what happened, or how people would react.

Following Christian across the beach, Matt was amazed at the size of the footprints his friend was leaving in the sand. His own size twelve was dwarfed by Christian's footprint, fitting inside it like a child's foot inside an adult's footprint. And his stride was nowhere near as long as Christian's. He would have had to jump from one footprint to the next. But even though he was marveling at Christian's new size, Matt made sure that Christian didn't see him doing so. The last thing he wanted was for Christian to think he felt inferior. They were good friends, but Matt's envy always galled him a little, and if Christian saw it, it would be unbearable.

Suddenly Christian veered to the side, towards a metal picnic table that was chained to the ground.

"What are you doing?" Matt asked.

"We need a place to sit, and there aren't any tables by the concession stand," Christian answered.

"That one's chained down," said Matt. "Let's see if there isn't another one."

"Nah, let's take this one," said Christian as he crouched beside it. "This chain's a piece of cake." Picking up the chain and holding it with both hands, he nonchalantly pulled it tight between them. His huge muscles tensed only slightly, but the chain stretched and broke like a piece of licorice. "What did I tell ya?" he said, as he stood up. Bending, he clamped a huge hand like a vise on one edge of the metal tabletop and lifted, holding it effortlessly even though he had virtually no leverage. "Wanna race the rest of the way?" he asked impishly.

"Save it," said Matt.

* * * * * * *

When they reached the concession stand, Christian dropped the table nearby and walked up to the window. "Damn," he said. "They're closed."

"I suppose it's too early for them to be open," Matt said. "We'll have to find someplace else."

"Like hell," said Christian. "I want something to drink, and I'm gonna get it."

"Well I don't know what you're gonna do," said Matt, "because the place is closed, and the door is locked. I checked."

Walking over to the door, Christian tried the knob. Locked, just like Matt said. With a frown, Christian tightened his grip and turned. The doorknob snapped off in his hand. Tossing it aside, he put a hand to the door and pushed slightly. No luck. Either the latch held or the door had a deadbolt, because it didn't move. However, even if the door had had a dozen deadbolts, and it wouldn't have made any difference. Christian pounded a fist on the door by the lock, and with this single blow the door flew inward and banged against the wall. Looking at the doorframe, Matt saw that there had been a deadbolt, but Christian's blow was more than a match for it, as the splintered wood along the doorframe illustrated.

"Matt, go in and get us some Cokes."

"What am I, your servant?"

"Hey, I got the door open," said Christian, "and besides, I'm too big to go through it."

"That's your problem, big guy. You want to steal a couple of Cokes, you do it yourself."

"Okay," said Christian. "If you say so." By shimmying through the doorway sideways, Christian was able to get inside the building, but it was a tight fit. The crashes Matt heard from inside the building confirmed that Christian was way too big to move around easily, but that he wasn't bothering to be careful, either. Suddenly a hole exploded in the side of the stand, sending scraps of wood flying. Christian had punched a hole through the wall. "Hey Matt," he said. "Get over here and take these." Going over to the new opening, Matt took four Cokes that Christian handed him through the hole. Soon after that, there were some more crashes from inside, and Christian reappeared in the doorway. "I'm not squirming through this puny doorway again," he said. Putting one hand on the lintel and the other on one of the jambs, he pushed up and out. Pushing up on the lintel raised the top of the doorway up over his head--and it raised a whole section of the roof along with it. At the same time, pushing out on the jamb splintered boards and broke out a section of the wall. Christian stepped easily through the enlarged and widened opening, dropping the lintel behind him. Without part of the wall to support it, the roof sagged precariously, leaving the concession stand structurally unsound. Christian didn't even give it a backward glance. Striding over to Matt, he said, "Give me my Cokes. You keep one, I'll take the other three."

Handing them over, Matt said, "You did all that damage just to get a few Cokes?"

"So what?" said Christian. "I wanted 'em, and I got 'em. Besides, I got one for you, too."

"Oh yeah, thanks," said Matt. "But you can't just wreck shit like this and take stuff."

"Says who?" said Christian. "I can do what I want. Who's gonna stop me?"

"You can't stay this way forever," said Matt, "and if you keep this up, you'll have the cops after you."

"We'll see," said Christian as he sat on the picnic table, which groaned in protest under his weight. Quickly downing the Cokes, Christian said, "Let's get outta here. I feel like heading back into town."

When he and Matt reached the parking lot, he headed straight for Matt's car. Another car was slightly in the way, but Christian didn't veer to go around it. Instead, his massive leg hit the car in stride, just behind the front bumper. The whole corner of the car was smashed, and the car was knocked back several feet, but Christian was unfazed and didn't break stride. Stopping in front of the car, he turned towards it, put one huge foot on the grill, and pushed, sending the car skidding backwards several feet. Satisfied, Christian continued over to Matt's car.

"Whoa, at that size there's no way you'll fit in my car, dude," said Matt.

"Yeah," said Christian as Matt went over to the driver's side, "looks like I'll have to come down for a while." He concentrated briefly, then quickly shrink down to his normal size and mass.

"How was that compared to growing?" Matt asked.

"It hardly hurt at all. A thousand times better," Christian said.

"Well I hope you got that out of your system for a while," said Matt.

"We'll see," said Christian.

* * * * * * *

Back in the city, they drove over to Terri's house. Christian's girlfriend had a small, one-level house with a tiny back yard. Nothing fancy, but pretty good considering her salary and how expensive houses were. Christian knew she was at home today, and he felt like showing off for her.

"Hi guys," said Terri as she let them in. She was a petite blonde with a slightly cheerleader-like demeanor. She wasn't stupid, but she wasn't exceptionally smart, either. She was pretty, easygoing, and in great shape. She was just Christian's type. "What are you doing here?"

Taking her in his arms, Christian kissed her and said, "Oh, just thought we'd stop by. Got anything to eat?"

"You know I don't cook," she said. "Check the fridge and see if there's anything you want in there."

"You go ahead, Matt," said Christian, letting go of Terri. "I'm gonna use the bathroom first." He left Matt and Terri talking and disappeared around the corner.

Not a minute later, they heard a horrible yell and a plasticky stretching sound coming from the other room. Alarmed, Terri shouted, "Christian, what is it?" and raced into the other room. Rounding the corner, she stopped in her tracks and stared in shock at the muscle-bound behemoth standing in her living room.

"Hey baby," said Christian, stretching out his massive arms as though to say, "Here it is, come and get it." He looked down at Terri, who stood immobile in shock, and noticed how small she looked. At normal size, her head didn't reach his shoulder; now, she was practically staring eye-level at his steely, ripped six-pack. She had never looked so tiny, helpless, and inviting as she did right now, and his desire smoldered inside him. He felt like gathering her up and having his way with her right now--though an alarm bell in his head said that he would have to be really careful not to accidentally hurt her in the throes of pleasure. With a smug grin, he said aloud, "You like what you see?"

"Christian?" she said incredulously. "Is that you? What happened?"

"It's me, baby," he said. "The new and improved, super-size me. And I am *way* too much for anybody to handle--anybody but you, that is." Holding out his hand, he said, "Come on, it'll be better than Disneyland. When you ride the Christian-ator, I'll make sure you won't get hurt--but you might pass out on this ride."

But instead of throwing herself at him like he hoped, Terri instead hung back in confusion and slight fear. "My gawd," she said, "it is you. But how did you get this way? And how can I be with you when you're like this?"

"Believe it or not, baby, it's a new talent I have," Christian answered. "I can change my size and shape. It's awesome to be this huge, this powerful. Doesn't it turn you on, too?"

"Well," said Terri, "actually I liked the old you better. Now you're so freaky, it's almost a little . . . well . . . scary." Seeing a look of disappointment and something else flicker across his face, she continued, "I'm sorry, honey, but the old you was perfect. That's all I wanted. Can I have my old Christian back?"

Slightly stunned that she didn't find him more desirable this way, Christian said, "Sure, baby. If that's what you want." He still loved his "natural" self, too. But how could anybody dislike this huge incarnation? He was immense, sculpted from sheer muscle, radiating power. Why wasn't she throwing herself at him?

Oh well. Her loss if she wasn't ready for the bigger and better him. "Still," he said to her, "it hurt a lot for me to get this way, and I wanna enjoy myself for a while before I come back down. I'm gonna take off for a while with Matt. See you later, then?"

Nodding, she said, "Yeah, I'll see you later," and shrank aside to stand by the wall while Christian's huge form moved past her, toward the door.

He paused, looming over her, and said, "Give me a kiss?"

Still in shock, she smiled somewhat faintly and said, "Sure." Stretching up on her tiptoes, she still came nowhere near his lips. She was about to ask him to kneel down when his huge hands encircled her waist, and she was lifted upward. She gave a slight "Eep!" as his incredibly powerful arms lifted her up--but then she found herself looking into her boyfriend's familiar face.

"I'll see you soon," he said, and kissed her. Then, putting her down gently, he carefully made his way out the door, which Matt closed behind them.

* * * * * * *

Christian was unable to fit into Matt's car, so the two of them set off on foot to find a little fun. Christian's gym wasn't too far away, so that was where they went first. Everyone there was absolutely flabbergasted by Christian. From the minute he walked into the weight room, all eyes were on him. Nobody there, not even the hugest, even came close. As Matt said earlier, he was like a man among boys. Christian knew none of the weights would challenge him at all, but they gave him a chance to show off. Loading a couple of barbells to the max, he then took one in each hand and began doing curls with them. Holding hundreds of pounds in each hand, he curled them without apparent effort, and without even breaking a sweat. "I guess that's as good as I'm going to get here," he said. Turning to an awestruck bodybuilder who had come up to watch, he said, "Hold this," and handed him a barbell. Unthinkingly the well-built man took it, but as soon as Christian let go, it dropped to the floor, yanking the hapless guy with it. "Sorry," said Christian. "Didn't realize you were such a wimp." Turning to two others nearby, he said, "You guys. Take this for me." The two stepped forward unquestioningly, not even knowing why they did so. Christian projected an aura of authority, and so they simply obeyed, one taking each end. When Christian let go, they struggled mightily, but were able to half-lower, half-drop the barbell to the floor, although they did so with a modicum of control.

Turning to Matt, Christian said, "These weights are a joke. Let's go do something else."

A few minutes later, they entered the basketball court, where a pick-up game was in progress. "Hey," said Christian, getting their attention. "Whose team are we on?"

"We're in the middle of a game," panted one player, a tall, blond center, as he and the rest stared goggle-eyed at the eight-foot Christian.

"So?" said Christian. "I didn't ask *if* we could play, I asked whose team we're on."

"We'll take you, man," said a dark-haired guard.

"No way," said the blond guy, who was obviously on the opposite team. "That's totally not fair."

"Sounds fair to me," said Christian. "He picked me; your loss. Matt here is on your team, and he's a good shot, so suck it up."


"You wanna make something of it?" challenged Christian.

Shutting his mouth abruptly, the blond guy went back to his position, and Christian and Matt followed him onto the court.

The game was laughable. Playing center, Christian dominated the game. Huge as he was, he ran the floor as well as any of them. On defense he was exceptional, an impenetrable wall, his massive form towering over them and filling the lane. Standing flat-footed, Christian could easily reach well above the rim. Anyone who attempted to drive the lane had his shot easily and contemptuously swatted away--or, just as often, snatched out of the air. Christian had catlike reflexes, and frequently he was able to grab the basketball from midair on its way to the hoop. Then, holding the ball like a grapefruit in his enormous hand, he looked downcourt for a breaking teammate and hit him with a long pass for a layup.

Christian particularly enjoyed dominating the blond center who had challenged their entering the game. Previously, he had been the tallest player on the court, but now Christian stood well over a foot taller than him. In addition to his height advantage, Christian had a huge weight advantage, too. When he took his position, nothing could budge him an inch. Even if the entire team would have come up and pushed, it's unlikely they could have moved him, so when the blond guy tried by himself, Christian found his pathetic attempts laughable. Before long, the other center got frustrated and gave Christian a hard elbow, but he yelped in pain when his elbow hit Christian's granite abs. Laughing, Christian tipped the attempted shot to one of his teammates, then took off down the court. As he thundered into the lane, nobody dared take a charge from him, and he found himself with a clear path to the basket. His teammate fed him the ball, which he easily caught with one hand and dunked. Tired of the game, Christian held onto the rim after his dunk and attempted to swing from it. However, his massive weight simply shattered the backboard and broke off the rim. Dropping the rim, Christian strode over to the ball, broken glass crunching under his huge feet. Picking up the ball and clamping both hands on it, he said, "Game's over, boys." His massive arms flexed briefly, and the ball exploded with a bang.

"We're outta here. Thanks for the game!" he said, tossing the flat, ruptured basketball over his shoulder as he and Matt walked out the door. •

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