Lil' Dude


By Richard Jasper

December 15th

My parents are still agog. Seriously agog. To the point of wanting to send me to a specialist agog. Not surprising really. You send a skinny, 5'11, 140 lb. 18 year old off to college, he comes back a world class competitive bodybuilder. How often does that happen? Exactly.

I think they're getting over the doctor idea, however. Last night the fridge died and they had a new one sent out by early afternoon, one of those fancy stainless steel double wide jobs. While the delivery / install guys were getting the new one set up, I carried the old one out. That's right -- carried. And then I hoisted it up on the back of the delivery truck.

"Uh, son…?"

"Yeah, Pop?"

He scratched his ear.

"You think you might want to use the ….?"

"…the lift?"

I plopped the old fridge down in the back of the truck before he finished getting the words out.

"Nah," I grinned, stretching my shoulders. "I'm OK!"

Dad just shook his head, then looked me up and down.

"So how much…?"

I raised an eyebrow -- he gestured up and down, side to side.

"Right at 300 lbs., Pop, and about 4 % bodyfat. Check it out…"

I pulled back the sleeve on my baggy sweatshirt and FLEXED.

"25 inches cold -- pretty cool, huh?"

Looking pretty pink, Dad turned around to look at the truck. His hands on his hips, he muttered something that I couldn't quite catch.

"What's that, Pop?"

He laughed.

"At least you're not a girl," he said. "I've always felt kinda bad for that dad whose 18 year old daughter is the world's strongest woman. She outweighs him by a hundred pounds -- just like you do me!"

He grinned, then added.

"I think we can forget the specialist."

I gave him a big hug, twirled him around, his eyes wide, and then he tried hugging me in return -- and failed to get his arms around my back.

"Hrmmmf," he said, clearing his throat. "I better go check on your mother."

I think it's going to be a long break.

I said as much to Chris two nights ago as he was taking me to the airport to drop me off for my return flight home.

"Awww, Li'l Dude…" he started, then he stopped, looking over at me.

"Robert," he began again, " it will be over before you know it. Then you can get back here where you belong and keep on growing, just like you've been doing. I just hope I can keep up with you -- for a while!"

"What do you mean….?" I stammered.

He laughed.

"I mean that your growth potential is beyond belief. Have you noticed that in addition to more than doubling your weight in a single semester you're an inch taller than you were back in August…?"

I gaped. What happed to the Surfer Dude accent? "If you keep growing at this rate for the next 3 1/2 years you're going to need a whole section of the bleachers just for yourself at commencement in 2004."

I started thinking about numbers. I could feel my mouth hanging open -- it has an annoying tendency to do that.

"Uh, maybe I'm slowing down?" I squeaked.

He grinned.

"Y'know, in August that would have been a squeak -- now it's kinda like the roar a bull elephant would make. I wonder if you went through puberty a second time…?"

He reached over and squeezed my left bicep -- unconsciously, I flexed it.

"I don't think you're close to maxing out, Robert. Maybe at some point, but you're not there yet."

He sighed.

"Believe it or not, I think you could still carry significantly more muscle than you already do. There are pro bodybuilders as heavy as you who are three or four inches shorter than you are."

I nodded.

"Still, from what I can tell you're going to be the biggest man anyone's ever seen."

I gulped.

"If I had to guess," Chris continued, "I'd say you're not likely to max out before you get to 400, maybe 450 lbs. And that's just assuming you don't grow any taller."

I shivered slightly, thinking about it.

"And if you keep growing taller…? Well, that's hard to imagine. I just want to be around to see it."

His hand, which had been massaging my bicep, dropped to my forearm, his powerful fingers attempting -- but failing -- to encircle its massive weight.

We pulled into the parking lot.

As he turned off the car, I turned toward him.

"Chris," I began -- and then lost myself in the deep pools of those stunning blue eyes.

"Yes, Robert?"

"You've stopped calling me 'Li'l Dude.' Why is that?"

He dropped his hand to my knee.

"You're anything but little now, Big Man."

"Besides," he added, turning toward me. "I've always wanted to call My Dude by his first name."

"My Dude?"

He looked down a moment, then back at me with something I'd never seen before -- his face with a shy smile.

"My Dude, Robert. The one I've always dreamed about. Another freak like me. The one I want to share my life with."

I gasped.

"If you'll have me, that is."

I had to take a later flight.

Like I said, it's going to be a long winter break. •

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