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|Since it was the holiday weekend, and Stan's birthday was on Monday anyway, we didn't all get together until Tuesday. It had been a three-day break in our lifting so we were all pretty eager to get started. None of us had lost any strength, though; in fact, we all added a little to our previous lifts. When we finished we were comfortably sore. As we were toweling down and changing back into street clothes, Jonathan went into the house, saying he wanted to get something.
When he was gone, Barry said. "Look, after we're finished here, I want to talk to you guys outside. I have an idea for Saturday." I didn't know what Barry was thinking, but I nodded. Just then, Jonathan came back in. He was holding three small gift-wrapped packages. He handed one of them to Stan.
"Happy Birthday, Stan! This is for our new teenager!"
Stan took the package and started opening it up as Jonathan handed the two others to Barry and me. "These are for you guys too," he said, "sort of birthday presents in advance I guess." I could feel that the package contained a shirt or something, but it seemed real small. As we tore the wrappings away, we saw that each of us had received a pair of posing trunks like Jonathan's -- deep blue, made of a sort of thin synthetic material that reminded me of the sheer elastic stuff they show in the bra commercials on television. Sewn in yellow thread onto the right side of each pair was an emblem. I looked at it more carefully. Three swords with the blades crossing at the tips.
"The Three Muscleteers," I whispered.
"I figured if you guys were going to do a contest, you might as well be posing in something appropriate."
I wanted to give Jonathan a huge hug, but restrained myself in front of Stan. Still, everyone was grateful, and thanked Jonathan more than once. "You can be sure we'll be wearing these on Saturday," Barry said.
"I'm counting on it," Jonathan said. "OK, you guys better get moving; be sure to be thinking about your posing routines. Practice makes perfect."
As we walked out onto the sidewalk, Barry said, "Look, guys, I have an idea. Let's give Jonathan a surprise. I'll put together a posing routine for all three of us. I mean, one routine, you see? We'll all do it together. I think I can think of some moves and stuff that will blow Jonathan's mind!"
For a second, I wasn't sure; after all, this was sort of breaking the unstated 'rules' of the contest, wasn't it? But then I realized that Barry really had a talent for this sort of choreography -- come to think of it, this whole bodybuilding thing was the first thing I'd known him to be really good at. And Barry was right; the three of us doing a coöordinated routine really *would* blow Jonathan's mind. "Yeah," I said, "let's do it!" Stan was nodding eagerly, looking at the sheer blue briefs in his hand.
"OK," said Barry. "Tomorrow afternoon after we finish training, my place."
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