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|For my thirteenth birthday I got a bench and a set of weights, and I started working out in my basement every day after school. I loved it, and before long I had earned a reputation as the neighborhood 'musclehead.' Kids in the neighborhood and at school knew I lifted, and liked to feel my muscles as they got bigger and harder, or comment on the changes they saw in my body from summer to summer. By the time I was sixteen I had hardened up and packed on a good fifteen or twenty pounds of fairly solid beef. Of course I did everything I could to show it off -- wearing skimpy t-shirts almost everywhere, and bicycling around the neighborhood shirtless as soon as the weather got anywhere near warm enough to justify it.
I welcomed most of the looks and the attention I got, but once in a while some of it made me uneasy. That's how I felt about Jamie Bodanos, a kid who lived two streets away, just outside our housing development. Jamie was about three years younger than me, a lanky, olive-skinned 13 year-old with a buzzcut and intense, dark brown eyes. Right around the time I turned sixteen, Jamie must have noticed me bicycling around the neighborhood, and he became obsessed. He was completely fascinated by my developing physique, and he would seek me out at every opportunity to ask me questions or check my progress. I could barely leave the house without Jamie rocketing toward me on his beat-up bike to ask if he could hang out with me, or make me flex for him so he could see if I'd grown. And every day he would insist that I let him come over and work out some time. For weeks I put him off, hoping he'd lose interest. But his demands were so frequent and so steady that I finally decided I should just let him train with me one day and get it out of his system. Experience had already shown me that most of the guys I knew loved the idea of working out -- but usually quit after seeing how much sweat and pain was really involved.
The day I finally invited Jamie down to my basement he seemed so excited and happy I thought he'd explode. His eyes grew wide at the mere sight of my little weight bench and my basic set of barbells and plates. I always lifted shirtless, so I didn't even think about it as I stripped off my t-shirt to begin. But I soon became conscious of Jamie's laser-like gaze drilling into me as I demonstrated the various exercises and my muscles flexed and swelled. It was flattering, but also made me incredibly self-conscious, and I figured I'd leave my shirt on if we ever worked out together again.
When it was time for Jamie to do his sets, I was careful to keep the weights fairly low. I remembered what it was like when I was his age and I first started lifting. But, apart from that, Jamie was a skinny kid and didn't seem like he'd be especially strong. To my surprise, however, he was astonishingly powerful for his size. He was also incredibly determined, and in spite of my discouragement he insisted on attempting the highest weights he could manage. On almost every exercise he ended up matching the weight I was lifting. As he smiled proudly at his accomplishment and stared into my eyes, I even had a sense that he could have surpassed me on one or two movements if I'd let him. It was rather mind-blowing, considering the fact that this was his very first workout and I had been training and making steady gains for almost three years.
I figured Jamie would probably spend the next week or two sitting home nursing his painfully over-stressed body. But he showed up for another workout the very next day, and every day after that for the next several weeks. If he was in pain, he didn't show it. He seemed stronger and more energetic every time he came back. Within three weeks Jamie's strength had increased beyond the limit of my 170-lb. weight set. After three years of lifting I had never managed to bench press more than 135 lbs. for eight reps. After only a few weeks Jamie was banging out fifteen to twenty reps with the full 170 lbs., and he was clearly capable of lifting more. His weights on all the other exercises were equally impressive. I used 20-lb. dumbbells for my bicep curls. Jamie loaded each dumbbell to its full 40-lb. capacity, and before long was using wire to hang an additional 10 lbs. on each side.
Naturally, I was beginning to feel more than a little discouraged by Jamie's incredible progress, relative to my own. I even considered calling a halt to our training partnership. The weights had always been my own special domain, and training was something that made me feel accomplished and proud. But I couldn't finally see any point in depriving my young partner of something he was clearly born to pursue. And I figured that in the long run, the competition would only boost my own progress.
I nearly changed my mind about that after six weeks of training with Jamie, when he suddenly decided to start lifting without his shirt on. It was the week Jamie turned 14, and we were halfway through a chest workout when he decided he'd strip down to check his progress. As he posed and flexed in front of the mirror that leaned against one wall of my basement rec room, my eyes nearly fell out of their sockets. While Jamie didn't look any beefier in clothing, I now saw that the six weeks of training had hardened his lanky body into striated, vascular granite. His biceps rose into baseball-sized peaks when he flexed his arms, and a roadmap of veins and muscle fibers criss-crossed his pecs when he bent forward for a "most muscular" pose. "Take your shirt off," he urged, as he pulled me toward him in front of the mirror. "Let's see how you're doing." I hesitantly pulled off my sweatshirt and flexed beside him in the mirror. I was still considerably bigger and thicker than he was. But, viewed beside Jamie's rock-hard physique, my own body suddenly looked puffy and shapeless. I wondered whether I'd ever seen this kid with his shirt off and simply not noticed -- or if he was really some kind of amazing genetic freak.
Over time the answer became clear. Jamie responded to the weights like crazy, and it was as much a mental as a physical gift. He had an instinctive sense of what would make his muscles grow, and because he'd quickly outgrown the limitations of my basement weight set, he was forced to invent new methods to challenge his rapidly developing body. So he would do things like performing fifty push-ups before each set of bench presses, or he'd have me apply heavy, negative resistance to the bar on the downstroke of his bicep curls. I was hesitant, of course, to alter my own training methods at the whim of a fourteen year-old. So for a while I stuck, stubbornly, to my customary schedule of sets and reps. Then one day as I was starting my usual back workout, Jamie let me do my first set and then said, "Unload the bar, we're changing a few things around." I stared at him a moment, feeling I should argue the point, but not quite able to do so. After a second or two he smiled at me and shrugged: "You're slowing me down. No offense, S tevie, but we really need to do things my way." Suddenly it was completely clear to me that in three short months our roles had reversed. My young trainee was utterly in control, and was now teaching me.
The fact is, Jamie's confidence and aggressiveness were growing at least as fast as his body. At the start of our friendship he had been shy and deferential, as befitted a boy three years my junior, and so much smaller physically. But as we had spent more and more time together, and as Jamie had surpassed me in strength and athletic ability, his physical relationship to me had changed, as well. Around the time he began working out shirtless, he also started grabbing and touching me fairly aggressively. Before beginning our workout, or maybe while we were resting or tanning in my back yard, he'd suddenly grab me and start wrestling. He took intense pleasure in his ability to physically overpower me, and he loved getting me in a hold and taunting me with a challenge to escape it or to try and match his strength.
I found myself subjected to daily arm-wrestling challenges, and after a while he'd offer to "even the odds" by doing fifty chin-ups, or three sets of heavy dumbbell curls, before we started our match. I got sucked into the challenge more often than not, especially since he kept increasing the handicap against himself. One day he did fifty strict curls with a 60-lb. dumbbell and then immediately grabbed my hand and began arm-wrestling. As I struggled desperately against him, I noticed that his bicep looked as big as a softball, and was crossed by a vein as thick as my little finger. He let me drain my strength by fighting against him for twenty seconds or so, and then easily forced my arm to the ground and said "Nice try." He didn't even seem winded.
Over the first year of our training together, this behavior increased little by little until I could barely stand it. As if to keep me constantly in mind of his power, Jamie took to raising an arm or lunging at me in a "fake" attack, just to watch me cringe or leap aside defensively while he laughed. I quickly learned that to fight back was hopeless, since it only gave him another opportunity to delightedly put me in my place. And as Jamie's strength and muscularity increased astonishingly, he took ever-greater pleasure in demonstrating his physical superiority. He'd do things like wrapping his powerful arm around my waist and squeezing until I screamed for him to stop. Or he'd suddenly grab the back of my belt in one hand and lift me clean off the ground. Worse yet, he'd wait until we were around other people and he'd grab my butt or slap the back of my head in a completely humiliating way, knowing that I'd turn beet red but wouldn't dare lift a hand in my own defense.
Needless to say, I was miserable. I'd started bodybuilding to feel powerful and self-confident. But now, in spite of my steady progress, workouts were simply a daily reminder that I was under the complete dominance of a fourteen year-old superman. I started trying to skip or cancel our training sessions, or to find any excuse to spend less time with Jamie. But with our shared devotion to bodybuilding as a pretext, he'd pretty much assumed complete control of my schedule and my life. Amazingly, I had even put off practicing and testing for my driver's license because Jamie decided it would steal too much time and focus from our training. He'd meanwhile convinced me to empty my savings account to buy additional weights and benches for our basement gym -- although, the truth was that only he was advanced enough to require the items we'd bought. Jamie was the one benching 375 pounds for reps, not me. And now he was fixated on both of us entering a teen bodybuilding contest in a year or so, and with that goal in mind he stepped up the frequency and intensity of our workouts.
I couldn't deny that I was making great progress. In a year I had added a solid twelve pounds of bodyweight, rising from 160 to 172 while getting noticeably leaner and more defined. But my growth was laughable compared to his. Jamie had weighed just under 130 when he first came to my basement. Now, as he celebrated his 15th birthday, he tipped the scale at an incredible 201 pounds, ripped to the bone on a 5'9" frame, his waist still a tight 27". Every muscle was full and round and hard as steel. Now that we were officially training for a show he insisted, at least once a week, that we strip down and pose side by side in the mirror. These sessions were torture for me, and left me wishing I'd never picked up a barbell. But Jamie had determined that right after he turned sixteen, he would enter -- and win -- the teen division of a major regional competition.
As I approached my eighteenth birthday, my life was as bleak and joyless as it could possibly be. When I stood in front of a mirror alone, I could see that I looked absolutely great, and I knew I should feel proud. But instead I felt weak and small and powerless. The fact is, I had been spending almost every waking moment around Jamie. I realized that it had been months, maybe years, since I'd been complimented and admired for my physique, or felt the least bit validated in return for all my hard work. It was that thought, more than anything, that led me to call Jamie's house (at a time I knew he'd be out) and cancel that day's workout. And then I headed for the park.
It was a brilliantly sunny day, and I knew there would be lots of young guys training -- or at least playing at training -- on the rings and other gymnastic equipment in the park's outdoor rec center. Typically, there were also a group of girls who gathered there on some pretext that was actually an excuse to gawk and marvel at the muscular boys showing off their bodies. Sure enough, there was a sizable audience for me as I arrived on my bicycle, peeled off my t-shirt, and began going through a showy routine of pullups, abdominal raises, front and rear chins, etc. Exactly as I'd hoped, the sight of my sculpted physique was enough to get most of the other athletes to stop what they were doing and gather around me to watch. As I rested between sets, I was bombarded with compliments and questions. Faking reluctance, I let myself be convinced to hit a few poses, and then basked in the group's admiration as I flexed for them.
Someone asked me what I did to get such wide lats, and I demonstrated a behind-the-neck pullup. Someone else wondered how many I could do without resting. By now most of the girls had wandered close to the gym area to watch, so with great pleasure I started pounding out strict, steady pullups as the group counted my reps out loud. My muscles were burning like crazy, but I was in heaven as I passed fifty and kept on pumping.
It was around this time that I heard a familiar "Yo!" and looked up to see Jamie striding cockily toward our group. Quickly sizing up the game, he tore off his baggy sweatshirt and leaped up to a position beside me on the high bar. There was an audible intake of breath as the group got a look at Jamie's competition-quality physique, with arms like tree trunks, and thick, sculpted lats that flared out in a massive "V". I tried to choke back my fury and concentrate fully on the ever-more-painful repetitions. But by now a second group of voices was counting reps for Jamie as he raced to catch up with me, powering out effortless pullups at roughly twice my speed.
At "sixty-three" my hands and wrists failed and I dropped to the ground, breathless and paralyzed with pain. I knew I was being complimented and congratulated by lots of the guys. But my focus was locked on Jamie as he passed sixty-five, slowed slightly at eighty, and then came to a stop after finishing 100 strict pullups. As the crowd whistled and applauded in utter amazement, Jamie took a couple of deep breaths but continued to hang from the bar.
After the group became silent, he said "Someone grab onto my waist," and nodded toward a rangy kid who must have weighed 150 or so. The kid wrapped himself around Jamie's waist and thighs.
With this added weight in place, Jamie resumed his set -- more slowly now, but continuing with a series of powerful, steady repetitions. Lifting what I knew was maybe 350 pounds, my training partner continued, impossibly, to bang out pullups as a single, amazed voice counted his reps and two dozen pairs of eyes looked on, awestruck. After 125 pullups Jamie signaled the kid to let go, and then smoothly dismounted. "Fuckin' pump!" he said, as he ran his hands over biceps more infused with blood than I'd ever seen them. He stood up straight and swung his arms up into a mind-shattering double bicep pose, the sight of which caused some of the kids to literally scream. Jamie's guns had to be 20 inches at that moment, with the two defined heads of each bicep rising into a freaky, double peak. Then he dropped his hands to his hips and did a lat spread. Literally no daylight could be seen between Jamie's torso and his arms, because of the wall of thick muscle that flared out almost horizontally from just above his hips. One of the bolder girls stepped forward and squeezed one of Jamie's lats between her two hands, squealing in astonished delight at the thick slab of solid beef that sprouted from him like a wing.
By now I was on my feet, had picked my bike up off the grass, and was starting away. Jamie bounded after me and slowed my progress by grabbing the back of the bicycle seat in one hand as I mounted it and lifting both me and the bike's rear wheel off the ground as I tried to pedal. White with anger, I swatted wildly at him with my free arm and screamed "Leave me the fuck alone!" He seemed stunned as I raced away, leaving him to the continuing hubbub of astonishment he'd stirred up in the park.
Back home, I double-locked the basement door and began furiously doing bench presses in an attempt to burn off my anger. I pretended I didn't hear when Jamie called my name and knocked loudly on the door for a minute or more. Finally the knocking stopped and I relaxed, figuring that he'd given up, at least for the moment, and might actually give me my space.
And then the basement door exploded toward me, splintering clean down the middle as Jamie charged through it like a locomotive. I jumped to my feet in shock and terror as he stood before me, hugely pumped muscles twitching reflexively and veins visibly throbbing all over his shirtless torso. "What's up?" he said.
I was literally in tears as I screamed at him: "Get the fuck out of here! I'm sick of you and all your shit! I don't want to see you again! Just fuck off!"
"I don't think that's what you want," he said calmly. "I think I know what you want."
"Fuck you! I'm sick and tired of what you think and what you know and what you want! I'm fucking through with you!"
This made Jamie angry, and he moved swiftly toward me, grabbing my wrists in his hands and slamming me roughly back against the basement's concrete wall. My head bounced against the wall and my vision went black for a stunned second. But immediately I was staring into Jamie's furious dark eyes, conscious only of my pounding heart and a feeling of utter weakness and helplessness as he pinned me to the wall with his steely arms. I felt like he could have pushed me clear through the concrete if he'd wanted to.
"Please don't hurt me," I whispered, truly terrified that he was about to punish my insubordination with a bloody beating.
"Why don't you wake up, Steven?" he said. "You think I believe for one minute that you're pissed about me slapping you, shoving you around? You live for it. You've craved this, begged for it, since the moment you realized how strong I was."
"You're fucking crazy," I said, but my voice had broken and my entire body was shaking like a leaf.
"You're weak, and you know it. Just touching strength like mine makes you feel a hundred times more manly than you ever could on your own. Admit it. "
I turned my face from his so he couldn't see me crying. Jamie tightened his grip on my wrists and sharp bolts of pain shot down both my arms until I looked back into his eyes, exactly like he wanted.
"I'm only fifteen," he smiled, "and I'm already more powerful than you've ever dreamed of being. The only time you ever experience true strength is when I let you. When I let you touch my body, let you serve and worship and submit to me. Am I right?"
"Yes." My tears had stopped, and the words came from my mouth automatically, as if without thought or decision on my part. Jamie had completely broken me, and I was helpless to do anything but tell the truth.
"And you knew that the minute you met me, didn't you?"
"Who knows what you want?"
As if to hammer home the point, he doubled the force of his grip and I started sobbing hysterically, gasping for breath in quick, desperate gulps. Rather than release me or let me recover, he put his mouth on mine and kissed me hungrily and greedily for what must have been five minutes. I say "must have been," because the moment he thrust his tongue in my mouth I lost all sense of space, of time, of self. My entire being became a pulsing red light, flashing alternately between the pure sensation of Jamie's crushing strength and my own exquisite pain.
When he'd had enough he stepped away, glanced in the mirror, and appreciatively checked out the amazing pump he was still holding from his feat in the park. Meanwhile, I was frozen against the wall, my arms pinned fast against it where Jamie had held them. I thought, for a moment, that I was stuck there because of a cramp or muscle spasm, a delayed reaction, maybe, to my own exertions. But then Jamie glanced at me, almost an afterthought, and said, "Put your arms down, stupid." As I easily lowered them to my sides I realized that I had been held motionless not by a cramp, but by the overwhelming force of his will -- which had continued to partalyze me even after he had physically let go of my hands.
I watched in a kind of numb trance as he kicked off his Reeboks and his sweatpants, and then tossed aside his white Calvins, exposing huge balls and a big, meaty, erect cock that looked exactly the way I'd imagined it in a thousand secret dreams over the course of the past year. "I could use a massage," he said, stroking his hard dick downward and letting it bounce up in all its rock-hard, potent glory.
For the next hour I licked, sucked, fondled and squeezed every inch of Jamie's godlike body as he continued to pose and admire himself in the mirror. Eventually my lips found their way to his bulging cock and pleasured him hungrily and deliciously, nursing on his big tool like a starving calf until he finally came. Raising both arms in a frightening double-biceps pose, Jamie howled in animal fury at his reflection in the mirror as he shot what felt like a pint of hot sin milk down my throat. My lips clamped on his softening boner as I sucked out every last drop of my Master's precious manjuice. (The word "Master" actually entered my mind as I gratefully licked the last few sticky drops from the head of his dick.)
Exhausted, I slumped to the floor in a quivering heap, my forehead resting worshipfully between Jamie's feet. Without saying a word he stepped over me, gathered up his clothing, and left the basement. For the next six hours I lay there, alternately stroking off to the memory of the encounter, and crying hysterically at the notion that I'd somehow crossed a line and might never see my muscle god again.
The next day he failed to show up for our workout, and he didn't call. I went to bed physically nauseous and lay there in the dark for two days, neither eating nor sleeping. I seriously entertained the thought of suicide. When Jamie showed up on day three, he told me he'd wanted to give me some time to think. He said he'd consider continuing our partnership, but only if I understood that it would be a lifetime commitment. My obedience and devotion would be required every breathing moment from then on. There was, of course, nothing to decide. I would gladly have taken an axe and chopped off both my legs if he had demanded it.
A day or two later, I agreed with Jamie that I would abandon my college plans and take a job immediately after graduation, in order to better support his training. This decision shocked and horrified my parents. My father is anything but weak or cowardly, so I was unprepared for the encounter between him and Jamie that took place in our living room when Jamie and I were summoned there to discuss -- and ostensibly abandon -- the crazy and impractical course we had charted for my immediate future. Over the years I had seen my Dad reduce employees and business associates to tears with the intensity of his anger or displeasure, and I was expecting some version of that when he met with us. But Dad was unprepared for my godlike young friend.
Jamie strode into the room that afternoon in a white tank-top and light-colored, cotton shorts that fully emphasized the mass and rippling power of his body. Through some instinctive adjustment in his diet and training, my partner had managed to swell his physique to an intimidating 225 pounds in the week since my father had called the conference. Dad had only met Jamie once or twice before -- at 185, maybe, and possibly at 195 or 200. The look of simple, animal fear in his eyes was impossible to miss as the massive 15 year-old walked up to him, grabbed his hand in a calloused meathook and said "Hey, Bob, how are ya?" in a tone that clearly conveyed the subtext, "I'm bored with this, so make it quick." (There was also that look Jamie knew how to give, a steady focusing of his jet-black eyes that sent the subliminal message that he could easily pulverize you without breaking a sweat -- and would do so, if necessary.)
In an effort to mediate, I started gently broaching the topic, but Jamie instantly shut me up by raising a finger -- which, in itself, threw my father for a loop -- and then nodded toward my Dad and said "It's between me and him. Let us talk." He slumped into a chair opposite where my father was seated, and stared at him expectantly until my father got over his shock enough to begin. He started listing a series of forcefully reasoned objections to my abandonment of college and career plans. But after letting him go on for no more than fifteen or twenty seconds, Jamie yawned rudely and leaned back in a lazy stretch that conveniently flexed his biceps into a pair of massive cannonballs at the sides of his head.
The gesture would have shut anyone up. But my father's face reddened with fury as he considered the utter disrespect he was being shown. "Are you listening to any of this?"
"Not really." Jamie smiled patronizingly. "I had a killer leg workout, and my blood sugar's a little low." He stood up and stretched his back, apparently unwilling to stay any longer. My father stared at him in mute hatred, as Jamie went on: "Listen, lemme get to the point. I'm in a contest this June, and I'm going to win it. I'll be sixteen. Before I'm eighteen, I plan to get my pro card. That'll take winning a few more shows fairly soon, which means I need to train full time. I need a place to live, I need money for food and drugs, and I need someone to do whatever else it takes so I can just eat and sleep and concentrate on growing big muscles." At that point he winked at me and playfully flexed his massive biceps.
My father glanced at me in disbelief, but I couldn't meet his eyes. Instead I stared unblinkingly at a spot on the floor as Jamie continued: "Now, I don't really know or care what you think about all this, or what you want. But I know what your son wants. I know exactly what he wants. And I know there's nothing you can do to change his mind. Am I right, Steven?"
I felt Jamie's eyes burning into the back of my head, and I channelled some of his courage as I looked my father in the face and said, "Yes."
"I know Steven pretty well, Bob," I heard Jamie saying as my father stared back at me as if at a stranger. "And I know he'd be crushed if I had to find someone else to help me. God knows what he'd do." The veiled threat was unmistakable. "So my advice is not to fight him on this. In fact, if you want your son to continue being a part of your life, I'd suggest you get onboard with this thing. Get on the team." I now joined my father in looking at Jamie curiously. "What I think is you should write Steven a check for two or three thousand dollars, make it that much easier for him to get our plans on track." This was a new wrinkle, and even I was surprised at Jamie's brass. At this point he walked directly over to my father and laid a persuasive hand on his shoulder, subtly challenging him to brush it away or raise any objection.
Naturally, my father did nothing but stand there trying not to look intimidated. Once it was clearly established that Dad didn't have the balls to challenge him, Jamie smiled confidently and said, "I'll let you guys talk it over. Steven, I'm training again at seven. In case you want to be there." With that, Jamie turned to leave. Then he stopped, faced my Dad again, and pulled back his right sleeve while flexing his bicep full-out: "Check it out, Bob. Twenty inches, cold. And I'm only fifteen. I'm going to be the youngest, most promising pro in the sport. You should get on the bus while there's still a seat."
My father and I sat in painful silence for a good thirty seconds before I broke the mood by saying, "Look, I don't think you really --"
But my father was up out of his chair before I could finish the sentence. He looked at me with a combination of hurt and confusion, and said, "I know you're still young. I just hope you're not throwing your life away." And then he left the room.
I ended up not seeing much of my family for the next year or so. But, as it turned out, my father decided to take Jamie's advice and gave us the money to cover the first six months' rent on the ramshackle apartment we found downtown. It was funny, but I soon realized that just about everyone ultimately decided that what Jamie wanted was exactly what they should do.
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