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Roger instantly recognized the voice on the other end of his cell phone.
“Hey, Ricky,” Roger said, “How ya doin’, big man?”
“Yep, Mister Roger, that’s me, the big man! I wasn’t sure if you would know it was me after all this time.”
It was Roger’s turn to chuckle.
“It’s only been a month, Ricky. It takes me longer than that to forget a cute guy.”
Roger could hear Ricky blush.
“Uh, well, the thing is, Mister Roger…”
“You ‘bout ready to come check out the gym? When’s a good time for you?”
* * *
Ricky looked at Roger in awe.
“Fuck,” he thought. “He’s even bigger than he was when I met him. How can anyone be that big?”
Roger looked at himself in the mirror. At 260 lbs. he was now 10 lbs. heavier than Randy Washington, his nationally competitive personal trainer, and 20 lbs. heavier than Carlos Trujillo, his former boyfriend, had ever been. He was exactly 100 lbs. heavier than he had been when he walked into Randy’s gym 10 months previously.
“He’s at my level,” Randy thought. “In other words, massive. And he’s only been training like this for 10 months. What’s he going to be like in another year?”
That thought sent a shiver up Randy’s spine, equal parts envy and awe.
“Let’s you and me check this kid out, Roger,” Randy said, trying to keep his voice cool.
Ricky looked at the two of them quizzically.
“He means we should take your measurements,” Roger said.
“Uh, gee, man, I dunno…”
Roger said wagged his finger in front of Ricky’s face.
“No ‘I dunnos,’ OK? We all gotta start somewhere.”
Ricky thought a minute, then grinned.
“Can we measure you after we do me?”
“Kid, you don’t have to ask HIM twice. I never saw a man so in love with a measuring tape.”
Roger had his usual reaction.
Ricky turned out to be just about the size Roger had guessed: the 22 year old was 5’7 inches tall and exactly 120 lbs., less than half the size of Randy or Roger. The two big men took turns calling off Ricky’s stats:
“Neck, 14 inches.”
“Chest, 34 inches.”
“Waist – damn, boy! – 26 inches.”
“Biceps, 12 inches.”
“Forearms, also 12 inches!”
“Thighs, 20 inches.”
“Calves, 14 inches. Hey, that’s not bad for a squirt like you, ya know?”
Ricky punched Roger’s arm when he called off that last one, then grabbed his hand and grimaced. Randy just chuckled.
“Kinda like hitting a steel girder, huh, boy?”
“Fuck, man, I think I broke my knuckles.”
Roger shook his head.
“You’ll be fine,” he said. “Besides, you wanna lift, right? Can’t get big like Randy here unless ya lift, ya know.”
Randy and Ricky looked at each other.
“He doesn’t get it, does he?” Ricky asked.
“No, man, he don’t,” Randy replied, then handed Ricky the tape measure.
“Go ahead, Roger, show him the goods.”
Ricky stood there open-mouthed, still as a statue, too awe-struck to move. Randy handed Ricky the clipboard and took the tape from Ricky’s hand and got to work, calling off the numbers in a brisk, efficient manner, flourishing the tape as he moved from one body part to another.
“Neck, 23 ˝ inches.”
“Chest, 60 inches.”
“Biceps, 24 inches.”
“Forearms, 20 inches.”
“Waist, 31 inches.”
“Quads, 34 inches.”
“Calves, 24 inches.”
“Kid,” Randy said. “There’s way too many flies buzzing about this time o’ year. You go on and close your mouth now, OK?”
Taking the clipboard from Ricky, Randy glanced down – and it was his turn to stare.
“Shee-it, man! That’s one helluva tent you’ve got in your shorts there!”
“Randy, I think we forgot to take his biggest measurement!”
Randy shook his head.
“No, man, we did NOT forget. That’s one measurement I do NOT take.”
Roger arched an eyebrow.
“Well, not in the GYM, dammit.”
Ricky, for all his flawless olive complexion, was bright red.
“Shi-shi-shiiit, Mister Roger,” he stammered. “Your forearm is as big as my thigh.”
“Yep,” he agreed, “and his bicep is nearly as big as your waist.”
Roger looked at the two charts, his and Ricky’s.
“And my thigh is as big as your chest. Whodathunkit?”
.“Anybody who took one damn look at you would thunk it, moron.”
Ricky gave himself a little shake, like someone had just walked over his grave, causing Randy to look down again.
“Clean up on Aisle 7! Roger, get this boy taken care of, will you?”
Roger escorted Ricky to the locker room, the puppy dog expression on Ricky’s face the only thing taking attention away from the massive wet spot in his gym shorts.
“Yeah,” Randy thought. “Somebody’s gonna take care of somebody, that’s for damn sure.”
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