by Harvey Church

 Robbie is always taking stupid bets from his friend Benji, but after being pressured into eating some old, canned meat from a brand called Man-Wich, Robbie is more than happy he obliged.

Added: Jan 2022 1,950 words 6,262 views 4.8 stars (12 votes)


The small can sat on the kitchen table between Benji and I. The only thing louder than the silence was the smell of canned meat wafting through the room.

“Dude…” I broke the silence. “How long has that can been hiding in your garage?”

Benji had that dumb smirk on his face. I hated when he pulled that stupid look. It always meant I was about to do something I would regret.

“I have no idea. I found it behind some of my dad’s old gym equipment,” he shrugged. “Probably from when he was doing his bodybuilding competitions, so I would guess, maybe,” he stalled, “ten years? Give or take?”

I shook my head. The can waited patiently in front of me. I picked it up to analyze the torn and faded label wrapped around the circumference. ‘Man-Wich’ was printed in large, bold letters. The color had faded from what I presume was a bright red to what now looked more like a meaty pink. I couldn’t read the caption beneath the logo. The ingredients list was nearly completely faded. I turned the can in my hand trying to find the expiration date.

“It says best…” I read, struggling to decipher the chipped lettering. “Something, something… by 11/18… 2023?!”

“See! It’s totally fine!” Benji smirked again.

“There’s no way this is ‘totally fine’!” I outburst. “Benj, I can smell it through the can!”

I lifted the can away from myself and slipped a finger under the bent tab on the top. I turned my face and cracked the tin lid open. The smell of old meat flushed through my nostrils. I gagged reflexively. The scent only got stronger as I pulled the lid open. My nose burnt the longer I held the can. I couldn’t take it. I tossed it onto the table.

“Oh, come on, Rob! It’s not that bad!” Benji tried to argue. “It’s just… aged.”

I could tell even Benji knew he was just bullshitting.

“Rotten is the word you’re looking for.”

I eyed the can in front of me. The substance inside had the consistency of pulled pork that had been marinating in vinegar for 20 years.

“Oh, fuck,” I gagged. My stomach churned. “There’s no way I can eat all that,” I pushed the can away from me.

“C’mon, Robbie,” he spoke sweetly. He only called me Robbie when he wanted something. “Fifty bucks!” he raised me. “Fifty for just one bite!”

I remained unconvinced. I shot him a face that made sure he knew that.

“Aaand… I’ll take a bite too,” Benji gave in. “But you’ve still got to take the first bite!”

I rolled my eyes. I knew I was going to do something stupid today. I hated giving in to Benji’s dumb bets, but he had a way of always getting me to do what he wanted. Maybe it was because he was bigger than me or just his overconfidence. He had designated himself as group leader since we had first met in middle school athletics. I had always followed his lead, but it’s not like I ever got him to listen to my opinions. However, today would be the day I would be happy I took one of Benji’s bets for once.

“All right, all right, fine!” I threw my arms up. “I’ll eat the stupid ‘Man-Wich’! But I’m not gonna be happy about it!”

I sat at the kitchen table in front of the open can of Man-Wich. Fighting my urge to gag at the stench of old meat. Benji dug through the utensil drawer and handed me a wide spoon. A wider spoon than I would’ve appreciated. My hand shook slightly. I held the spoon to the small can, my wrist frozen in hesitation.

“C’mon, we don’t got all afternoon,” Benji pressured.

I let out a deep sigh and looked back up at him. It’s bad enough I have to eat this shit; I don’t need his additional taunting. Man, fuck peer pressure.

I dug partially into the soup of meat and the point of the spoon tore into a piece of pork. It shredded and lifted with a scoop. I got a spoonful of discolored broth and a piece of Man-Wich that hung over the edge of the spoon. The sight alone of this dripping meat made me sick.

“I’m going to regret this…” I sighed.

I lifted the spoon to my mouth and took a bite. My entire face scrunched as I fought the urge to spit it out. The room temperature meat sat on my tongue. The spoonful of broth sloshed in my mouth. At least its uncomfortable texture distracted me from its overwhelming taste. I threw my head back and felt all the meat slide down my tongue to the back of my throat. A single tear fell from my eye. And then I swallowed.

“Ugh, fuck!” I retched.

I could feel that decade-old stew coating the lining of my throat and the Man-Wich sitting in my stomach.

“See? That was manageable,” Benji fought a laugh.

I shot him a glare, though I’m sure my sweat drenched face was hardly intimidating.

“I know my old man used to throw this stuff in his sandwiches daily back in the day,” Benji overtook the conversation. Probably because I didn’t look like I was in the mood to talk. “So, I knew the taste couldn’t be absolutely terrible.”

Benji approached the table with another spoon in his hand; ready to oblige his end of the bet.

“This stuff is also supposedly hella high in protein. Though, my dad hasn’t talked about it since he stopped using it,” Benji continued.

He dug his spoon into the can of Man-Wich and turned to look at me. A rare look of concern washed over his face.

“Hey, Rob, you feeling all right?” Benji asked. “You know where the bathroom is if you need to hurl or something.”

I barely caught the end of that. My ears were starting to ring, and I could feel the cold sweats begin. Yeah, I was going to need some privacy.

I hunched over the bathroom sink. My fingers curl, trying to find something to hold on to. My head hangs down into the sink and I can still taste that disgusting meat in my mouth. With every heave, I taste the Man-Wich on my breath. My stomach turned and convulsed. I wanted to get it out of my system, but the cold sweats and aching stomach persisted.

I was hyperventilating. My sweat drenched t-shirt clung tight against my skin. I felt sore, like after a full-body workout. I haven’t even been to a gym since high school, but I remembered how that muscle fatigue used to feel. That Man-Wich was really wearing me out. Fuck, my shirt really did feel tight. I could feel the seams starting to dig into my armpits and the sleeves squeezing my shoulders.

“Hey bud,” Benji knocked on the bathroom door. “You doing all right?”

I could tell he was legitimately worried about me. Still, I wouldn’t be hunched over his bathroom sink fighting the urge to throw up if he hadn’t pushed me to eat that stupid can of meat. I can’t believe I let him pressure me into doing this to myself.

“Yeah, I’m fine—” I growled in a deep voice. My eyes widened. That wasn’t my voice.

I picked my head up from the sink. Two large hands clung to either side of it. They looked strong. The type of hands you’d imagine a powerlifter to have. Tough and calloused. They curled reflexively. Large veins popped from the back of them. Who was this?

I lifted my head to face the mirror and a man I didn’t recognize stood in the reflection facing me. A very strong, muscular man. The type of man who most would refer to as an alpha male. He looked at me with his mouth agape and his eyes filled with this… anxiety? It was difficult to describe the emotion in his stare. Somewhere between fear and admiration. I couldn’t name it, but I felt it too. His eyes were my eyes. His body did not belong to me, but the eyes never change.

I puppeteer my hands over my head. His thick arms followed my movement in the reflection. I flex my biceps. His ripple and swell with rock solid muscle. The seams of my shirt sleeves pop and rip as He flexes through them. My shirt was several sizes too small for Him. He looked like He hadn’t fit into a Small since elementary school.

There’s another knock at the door.

“Robbie,” Benji calls again. “You want me to come in there?” he asks.

“No!” I bark in that same deep voice. Now I recognize it as His voice, not mine. “Um, just… give me a second.” I calm my voice down, but it still doesn’t sound like me.

I look back in the mirror. He looks back at me. My shirt was stretched tight across His chest, clearly leaving the imprint of where His pecs hung over His chiseled stomach and where His nipples perked out. I couldn’t help but check Him out. I wouldn’t consider myself gay, but there was something about Him that turned me on. Maybe it was the power in His physique or the way He looked at me in admiration. I wanted to let Him take control.

He pulled his arms down and flexed His chest between His shoulders. The fabric ripped as it struggled against His awesome pecs. The seams of my shirt popped as He outgrew them. I could see His bare cleavage through the new holes in my shirt. I wanted to see more. He grabbed the front of my shredded t-shirt and tore it from His torso. The loud cracking of fabric ripping echoed through the tiny bathroom. He let out a deep sigh of relief—or was that me? I could feel my body breathe unrestrained as His chest heaved in the mirror. No, that wasn’t right.

The door handle rattled as Benji let himself into the bathroom. I thought I told him to wait a minute. Why did he never listen to me?

“Hey! I heard something rip! I just wanted to—” his jaw drops as he gets his first glimpse of His body.

I understood how he felt. But this wasn’t His body, it was mine. I stood finally at the same height as Benji, only I had more muscle mass. My shirt that was torn apart by my new body was lying on the tile floor. The bathroom door creaked as Benji checked out the new me in disbelief. Damn, it felt good to have his full attention.

“Wha—what happened…” he finally found his voice. “How did you get- get so…”

“Huge? Jacked?” I chuckled in my new deep, rich voice. I flexed my right bicep to tease him, but I couldn’t help but check it out myself. “Who cares? Right now, I just need some clothes that aren’t so tiny.”


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