Jason was gone and he wasn’t coming back. Ten years of Roger’s life, gone in an instant.
Now what? he thought.
He had a job, he had a house, he had friends. He had a large check from the life insurance company.
“The house and the friends I will keep,” he said to no one in particular.
As for the job:
He liked his colleagues, he’d been working there five years, and he’d spent 10 years before that working up the career ladder in other cities. His boss…
“What a bimbo…”
She’d arrived six months earlier and within six days he knew it was going to be a struggle.
“Any time you’re ready,” he’d told Jason, “I’m ready, too.”
Juggling their careers had turned out to be much easier than either had expected but Jason was the one with earnings potential so when he’d said, “I think it’s time for us to leave” where they’d been previously, Roger had not demurred.
He was where he was because of Jason and Jason was no longer there. The friends helped, of course, but work, formerly a mainstay, now sucked.
Fuck it, he thought.
The life insurance was enough to support him comfortably for at least 2-3 years, even without Jason’s income. And it would pay for COBRA, so he wouldn’t have to worry about health care. (Roger was reasonably fit and in pretty good shape but he was 40 and “you never know what might happen,” his mother always said.)
“That’s fer damn shure…”
So he resigned.
His colleagues were worried more so than they were appalled. “You’re not supposed to be making major changes at a time like this,” they pointed out. On the other hand, they didn’t like the Bimbo any more than he did and several were also looking for a way out. “We hate that it occurred under these circumstances,” they said, “but we understand. Taking a year off is not going to hurt you professionally.”
The Bimbo, of course, was delighted.
“What are you going to do now?” his friends asked.
“You’ll see,” he told them.
And that’s how it started.
At the gym, Roger told the P.T. Director:
“I’m 40, I’m single, and I’ve been interested in bodybuilding all my life. I’ve lifted for a long time but I’ve never felt like I was getting anywhere with it. It’s time to take it to the next level.”
Shawn gave him a thumbs up.
“That’s what we’re here for and…”
Roger interrupted him.
“And I have some particular requirements. I want a trainer who is a guy, someone I can be impressed with, someone who isn’t freaked out by the fact that I’m guy and talk openly about my life. You think you can manage that?”
“Not a problem. We’ve got at least a couple of guys who ought to fit the bill.”
Roger met Chris, his new trainer, the next day. Like Roger, Chris was just exactly 5’11” tall, ditto the short blondish-brown hair, and the All-American good looks. On the other hand, Chris was 25 to Roger’s 40, 200 pounds of incredibly chiseled muscle to Roger’s big, beefy but not particularly refined 230 pounds.
“You’re a big fella already,” Chris said. “What do you want?”
Roger ticked the answers off on his fingers:
“In fact, lots bigger, lots stronger, lots harder. But, most of all, to feel like I really know what I’m doing.”
“It’s obvious you’ve got the potential,” Chris said. “Your shoulders are huge, your hips are narrow, and you don’t have much of a gut, even though you weigh 230 pounds.”
They took Roger’s measurements:
50 inch chest;
17½ inch arms;
35 inch waist;
27 inch quads;
19 inch calves.
“Like I said, you’re a big boy. The thing we want to do first, though, is make you harder, then make you bigger.”
It was Roger’s turn to nod.
“Let’s get to it.”
And so they did.
In a month, Roger lost 20 pounds, all of it fat.
“Yowza,” Chris said, “look at you!”
As if he hadn’t been looking at Roger every day for a month.
“Time for new stats,” he said, getting out the measuring tape.
At 210 pounds, Roger’s new stats were:
50 inch chest;
18 inch arms;
31 inch waist;
27 inch quads;
19 inch calves.
“Whoosh,” Chris said. “I was certainly right about potential. Not many guys add half an inch to their arms while dropping 20 pounds and losing 4 inches from their waist.”
“And you’re a helluva lot stronger than you were a month ago, too.”
Roger grinned more. It was true.
He’d always had a sucky bench and wasn’t much better when it came to deadlifts. On the flipside, he had a great squat and he could do seated rows and t-bar rows like they were going out of style.
“Bench, 305,” Chris read off his chart. “Up from 215…”
And so it went:
Deadlift, 385, up from 265;
Squat, 455, up from 365;
Shoulder press, 205, up from 115.
“Good job, Roger. I’m guessing…”
“You guessed right, Chris,” he said.
“I want more.”
“Sheeit, Roger, yer ripped!”
“You should see, Chris,” Roger told his friend Matt. “Now that is one ripped straight boy!”
“Ain’t it the way? The hotter they are, the straighter they are.”
Roger shook his head.
“I dunno, Matt, yer pretty damned hot yourself.”
They were standing on the patio at the bar with the Sunday beer bust, watching the studmuffins get skunked at 4 o’clock on a blazingly sunny afternoon.
“But ripped isn’t what I’m going for, ya know,” Roger pointed out. “I want to be h-u-g-e!”
Matt rolled his eyes. At 5’8 and 150 pounds, Matt thought Roger was already damned big, and said his much.
“Why h-u-g-e, anyway?”
About that time Big Steve walked through, wearing his jeans, an open leather vest, and no shirt. At 6 ft., Big Steve was a hulking 270 pounds, all of it in his shoulders, chest, arms, butt, and legs. Roger pointed in his direction.
“Definitely not ripped,” Matt pointed out. Which was true enough. Big Steve looked like a powerlifter or an offseason bodybuilder. His chest was pushing 60 inches but his waist was pushing 40.
“And totally frickin’ hot,” Roger continued.
And he never looks at me…
“See, Matt, the thing is….”
Roger told Matt exactly what Big Muscle did for him, even when it was offseason muscle.
Matt took a long pull on his Corona.
“Fuck it, Roger, you’ve got me hard as a rock,” Matt pointed out.
“And he’s so fucking furry…”
It was Matt’s turn to laugh.
“Man, you really are into the hypermasculine thing, aren’t you?”
“Ya know, it’s not like you’re lacking in that department,” Matt commented. “I thought it was supposed to be opposites that attract, not twins attract.”
“What can I say? I’ve spent my whole life working on getting myself to the point where I look like guys like that. You think I would be interested in ‘em as a result?”
Matt patted his big friend on the shoulder.
“I know, babe. I just hate to see you disappointed…”
Roger saw the glances Big Steve was giving Matt. He chuckled.
“No disappointment here, babe,” he said. “I live vicariously through you, y’know! Go get him!”
Jim’s jaw was hanging open, something Roger was really enjoying.
Not yet, Roger thought.
“No bigger than you are, Big Man,” Roger said.
Which was true but beside the point.
Jim and Roger had been just about the same size for the couple of years they’d known each other. Both the same height, both in the 220-230 range.
The difference, of course, was that Jim was 5 years younger and, for the most part, much better built, with massive shoulders, pecs, and arms, and not nearly as much around the middle as Roger. A helluva lot stronger, too.
Two months after beginning his training sessions with Chris, Roger was back to 230 lbs (a gain of 20 pounds in one month!), and this time it was all muscle:
Chest 53 inches;
Arms 20 inches;
Waist still 31 inches;
Quads 29 inches.
Virtually identical to Jim, in other words, Roger thought.
“Regardless,” Jim said, “you look awesome. We’ll have to catch a workout together soon, okay?”
That’ll be interesting. I wonder…
A week later Roger and Jim had that work out.
“I’m pretty fresh,” Jim said, “want to hit the basics?”
Roger was up for it, bench, squats, deadlifts, starting with bench.
Jim went first, warming up with 225 for 10 reps. Roger followed suit, which caused Jim’s eyes to widen. He’d seen enough of Roger in the gym to know that 225 was pretty close to his max before he started working out with Chris, and now he was blowing through the set without breaking a sweat.
They bumped it up to 275 for the next set. Jim cranked out another 10 reps although it was clear he was working hard on the last two. Roger handled 275 as easily as he had done 225.
At 315, Jim stopped at 8 reps, Roger at 10.
“Damn, boy,” Jim said, wiping the sweat from his curly blond hair, “you’re getting strong.”
Roger grinned and winked at him.
“Chris is a great trainer, you know. I’m learning so much!”
At 355 Jim managed 2 reps on his own and 2 more with Roger guiding the bar ever so lightly.
“Let’s rest a couple of minutes before you do your 1 rep max,” Roger said.
Jim noticed that Roger had begun to sweat a bit.
About fucking time, he thought to himself. I’m fucking drenched!
With a liftoff and a steadying hand from Roger, Jim managed 1 rep at 385 pounds, his new personal best, then watched slack jawed as Roger pumped out 8 perfect reps at the same weight.
“Goddamn,” Jim said. “You’ve been holding out on me. So what’s your personal best?”
Jim watched as Roger stripped off the quarters on each end of the bar and added two 45 pounders, for a total of 405 pounds.
And then Roger put the two quarters back on the bar.
Roger was too focused on the 455 pounds above him to notice what Jim had said.
“I could probably use an assist on the lift off…”
“You’ll have to wait a minute in that case,” he said, then pointed at Casey, the big young powerlifter, and jerked his thumb in their direction.
With Jim on one end and Casey on the other, Roger did one perfect rep at 455 pounds, 5 pounds shy of twice his bodyweight.
“Man, you oughta come to our meets. We need another big guy out there!”
Roger blinked. Casey was an inch shorter than he was but a good 30-40 pounds heavier.
He thinks I’m a big guy? Woof!
“More,” he told Chris the next morning. “I want more.”
Two months later:
“I’m slowing down,” Roger told Chris. The latter rolled his eyes.
“Dude, you’ve gained 20 pounds in 2 months! You’re complaining that you didn’t gain it in one month?”
Roger shook his head.
“I dunno,” he said. “It’s just not coming as fast.”
“Come over here, dude, and look in the fuckin’ mirror, okay?”
He and Chris stood side by side while Chris called off the poses:
Front double bi;
Front lat spread;
Quads, hams, and calves.
“Oh,” Roger said.
I’m still not nearly as lean as Chris, he told himself.
“But you outweigh me by 50 pounds, and it’s all solid muscle,” Chris said, finishing Roger’s thought. “That’s impressive.”
56 inch chest;
21½ inch biceps;
30 inch quads
“And still a 31 inch waist. If it weren’t for Suzie I’d be totally gay for you!”
Roger’s eyebrows shot up.
Chris burst out laughing.
“Had you going there, didn’t I?”
And so he had.
Kinda the same way Roger had Jim going. After watching Roger bench 455, Jim had redoubled his efforts in the gym. His blond musclebear friend was up to 235 and he’d cracked 405 on his bench.
“Nothing compared to you,” Jim pointed out that night at JR’s.
“You’ve got a job, ya know. It’s not that hard to do when you have all day, every day, to plan your meals, plan your workouts, and take a lot of naps.”
“I’ll give you that, in that case.”
I wish you’d give me something else, Roger said to himself.
“Ya know,” Jim said, “suddenly I’m tired of this place. Wanna go hang out in my hot tub?”
Roger winked at him.
“I thought you’d never ask!”
The hot tub was nice and so was the pool, the night still warm enough to make the transition from one to the other refreshing, not a trial. The full moon and the pool lights were all they needed, Jim’s backyard bathed in a shimmering blue-green glow.
“Ya know…” Jim said.
Roger looked back at Jim from the other side of the hot tub. With all those years of lusting—to no avail—after Jim behind him, Roger was disinclined to want to make the first move.
“I always thought you were handsome,” Jim said.
“You were always handsome…”
“But I was never quite on the same level, was I?”
To his credit, Jim reddened.
Oh, what the heck, Roger thought.
Gliding to the other side of the hot tub, Roger positioned himself directly in front of Jim, resting his hands on the pool deck on either side of the big man. Roger’s hulking pecs loomed over Jim, Roger’s biceps bulged as he grasped the concrete. It occurred to Jim that Roger’s shoulders were quite a bit wider than his own—and that didn’t happen much!
“What about now?” Roger murmured.
“Fuck,” Jim said.
“Is that an observation—or a request?”
Jim licked his lips.
“You are so fucking hot.”
Roger leaned in so that he could whisper in Jim’s ear.
“That’s an observation, I take it? Not a request?”
Jim closed his eyes and moaned. With one hand on Jim’s thick rod, Roger used his other to tilt Jim’s face towards his own. The lip lock seemed to go on forever.
“God that was good,” Jim said, when they finally came up for air.
Cross-eyed, Roger struggled to regain speech.
“I’ve wanted to do that for a looooong time…”
Jim tilted his head to the side.
“What else have you wanted to do?”
He found out soon enough.
Three months later Roger sauntered onto the patio of the Ripcord one sultry night.
Well, lookee there, he thought, I haven’t seen Big Steve in a coon’s age!
Steve had his back to Roger, one big arm propped up against the wall, the other rubbing on the shirtless chest of yet another cute young thing.
Roger smacked Big Steve’s beefy football player ass.
Big Steve whirled around fast—nobody smacked Big Steve’s ass, after all—then screeched to a halt when he got a good look at Roger. His reaction was, Roger thought, downright comical, when you thought about it—eyes bulging, mouth hanging open.
“Christ, Roger,” Steve exploded, “what the fuck happened to you?!”
Roger just chuckled.
“Another three months in the gym, that’s all. I kept wondering when I’d run into you but I guess our schedules are just outta synch these days!”
“But, but, but, goddammit, yer fuckin’ huge!”
Roger smirked. Big Steve had a point.
“I’ve put on some size, yeah. Right about 290-295 these days,” Roger said, then lifted his right arm and flexed. He didn’t think Big Steve’s eyes could bulge and further but he was wrong.
“These puppies are up to 24½,” Roger pointed. “Well, flexed they are. Cold they’re a couple of inches smaller.”
Big Steve had the decency to gulp.
Roger wrapped his arm around Big Steve’s neck, pawed at Big Steve’s hairy nips with his other hand.
“Ya know, Steve, I didn’t mean to break into your conversation like that. Why don’t you introduce me to your young friend here?”
Talk about deer in the headlights, Roger thought. The cute young thing, all 5’6 and 130 pounds of him, appeared to be completely paralyzed.
Ouch, Roger thought. He’s forgotten the poor kid’s name.
“Hey, man, I’m Roger,” he said, stick out his calloused meat hook of a hand, the one attached to his 20 inch forearms.
The kid looked at the hand, looked at the forearm, looked at Steve, looked at Roger again, then fled!
“Damn,” Roger said, “I guess I must be getting old. Most of these cute young things cut out before I get that far.”
“That’s because you scare the shit out of ‘em, doofus!”
It was Jim. He’d sneaked in and watched the whole little scene.
“Why, James,” Roger answered in his best hoity-toity Southern accent. “I can’t imagine what you mean.”
“Steve, you want to break it to him?”
Steve shook his head, like he was waking up from a dream.
“Fuck, Jim, when did Roger turn into such a fucking Monster?!”
Jim kissed Roger full on the mouth, then turned and started playing with Steve’s other nipple.
“Well, I don’t know exactly when he turned into a monster, exactly, but he caught up with you about six weeks ago—and there’s been no stopping him since then, has there, Big Roger?”
Big Roger squeezed Steve’s meaty ass cheek and changed the subject.
“Look who’s talking!”
Steve took another gander at Jim.
“Shit,” he exclaimed. “What have they been feeding you fellas? And why haven’t I had any!”
At 250, Jim had put on 15 pounds of solid muscle since his and Roger’s first foray in the hot tub and it had gone to all the right places.
“I guess we’ve been eating right,” Jim acknowledged. “Roger’s 290, I’m 250, we’re finally getting up into your territory…”
“Fuck that, I’m in your territory.”
Which was a good point. At 270 Steve was exactly between Jim and Roger in size.
“Fucking huge, regardless,” Roger said.
“I think the three of us would pretty much fill up that hot tub of mine,” Jim agreed.
“810 pounds of muscle? Yeah, I’d say that would fill it up pretty good,” Steve allowed. The man was a CPA, of course he was good with arithmetic.
Roger looked at Jim, Jim looked at Roger, they both looked at Steve.
“You thinking what I’m thinking, Big Man?” Jim asked.
“Seems like the time has arrived,” Big Roger replied.
And that was how Steve became part of the club.
It had been exactly a year.
“I don’t know what to feel,” Roger told Jim and Steve, his two best buds.
He and Steve had moved in with Jim shortly after the hot tub episode. They agreed that at some point they’d need to build a new, bigger place, one with “a bigger hot tub, for sure!”
“On the one hand,” he continued, “I’ll never get over it.”
They held his hands in their own.
“On the other…”
He pulled them close.
“Look at all this fucking muscle!”
Jim was still the smallest, if you could call 300 pounds of solid muscle small. The 60-inch chest was great but he was proudest of his upper arms, which measured 24 inches cold.
They weren’t that much smaller that Steve’s and at 350 pounds Steve was now “Huge Steve” to anyone who didn’t know him (or Roger.)
As for Roger…
80 inch chest;
30 inch biceps;
40 inch waist;
44 inch quads;
And a 1400 pound bench.
“I don’t know how all this happened,” he admitted. “In the aftermath…”
Jim and Steve pushed him down on the (heavily reinforced) bed, each taking one of Roger’s nipples in his mouth.
“Mmmmmmm,” Roger growled.
Life goes on.