MUSCLE MAN

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Humor  |  House: Booksie Classic
Prince, Fleana, Katrina, and Marion's neighbor gets ripped after suffering a stroke, but backfires when the muscles come to life.

Submitted: October 09, 2015

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Submitted: October 09, 2015

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I. PRINCE

 

Every two times a year, Fleana’s mother, Cloud would give my friends and me a check up. A good reason for that is because the last time we went to a doctor for one, our grandparents had us strapped to chairs and did unspeakable science to us. It was okay because Cloud was a doctor and still had some of her old equipment.

Occasionally, a neighbor from our apartment would come by for a free examination. This time it was a guy named Jeff, a pretty obese guy who looked like he needed a wheelchair just to get around. He breathed heavily as if he had just ran a marathon, and fanned himself with a magazine.

Cloud unstrapped the blood pressure meter from my bicep. “Well, blood pressure’s looking better than last time Prince.”

“Yeah, well, we’ve been eating better at my house.” I told her.

“I’m glad that Aurora took the time to look over my list of dietary recommendations.”

It was hard to tell whether or not she was kidding. Cloud rarely laughs at anything she finds funny.

She held up the meter towards Jeff. “Are you ready?”

“Yeah.” He breathed.

She strapped on the meter and began pumping. As the band tightened around Jeff’s bicep, Cloud eyed the meter and turned a shade lighter. “Good Lord, Jeff. Your blood pressure is off the charts.”

“Awesome. I told my wife I was good.” He actually managed a smile.

“No, I mean it’s bad. You might need some medical attention soon.”

Jeff began turning pale, his breathing had gotten thicker. “No…no I won’t. You’re just… jealous because even with your rabbit food lifestyle, you still can’t keep up with…me.”

“Nuh-uh. Not for long man.” Marion said flatly.

“And we’re not vegetarians.” Fleana added.

“Yes, boy…for a long time.” Jeff began gingerly rubbing his arm. “And if my hands haven’t just lost feeling right now and won’t respond to my brain impulses, I would punch you out.”

“Wait.” Cloud raised an eyebrow. “Your hands have lost feeling?”

Jeff gradually folded to the ground and began slurring. “And so is my face. Don’t push my buttons freaks.”

“Call nine-one-one! I think he’s having a stroke.”

Fleana snatched up a phone and punched a few buttons, but instead of ringing the phone belled out a long moooo!

Cloud glared at her daughter.

“Um, that’s my therapy phone, but the good news is that the cow is definitely on its way.” She pressed another button, and this time came a small howl. “Oh, look and they’re bringing in a coyote.”

 

 

II. FLEANA

 

Jeff finally came to after a few hours of being under. My mom, Prince, Marion, Katrina, and me waited around his hospital bed after just as his wife left for the bathroom. It was mom’s idea. Sounds noble, right? Not according to a few nurses and doctors. Apparently, some people get nervous when BioticAbiotics are standing around a nearly dead man’s bed, especially members from any one of our families.

Jeff groaned, but could barely move. “What happened?”

“Shh, shh,” My mother talked gently. “it’s okay Jeff. You just had a minor stroke. The doctor said you’ll be fine, but you need to change lifestyle.”

Jeff’s eyes acted like my mother didn’t exist. “Those guys from Island 7/11 don’t have to.”

“Fairly sure they run, jog, and surf most of the time. Plus that’s not really a good argument.”

“You’re right. Twenty years I had neglected my body since the accident that ended my football career in college. I realize now I need to make some changes.”

 

To my surprise he did, though it didn’t go exactly as planned. Apparently, Jeff’s body is so used to fat and sugar that just a taste of any kind of vegetable made him vomit, unfortunately, sometimes onto my shoes, his weight made it impossible to touch his toes or knees for that matter, it took him approximately five minutes to do one push up, forget sit ups, and he only made it to Jeff’s door when he decided to go for a jog, which starting from my room is just across from my door.

Ralph had just opened his door when Jeff collapsed.

“Who would do this?” Jeff breathed.

“What are you exercising for? You’re just gonna die.” Ralph cheerfully added. “Unless you’re a super freak like me. I’m in great shape.”

Jeff pushed himself off the ground. “How is it so easy for you?”

“Check this out.” Ralph flexed his bicep, which looked suspiciously large for a guy known apartment wide to be a drunk, lazy glutton.

“How did you get all buff?”

“I’m glad you asked. With this.” Instead of a little pill bottle, like I suspected, Ralph pulled a can that looked just like any ordinary soda. “It’s called ‘Ripped’ because that’s what you’ll be when you drink this.”

“Wait, wait, wait. You’re screwing with me, right? No drink could give you muscles like that.”

“Yeah, it can, and you don’t have to go to the gym or eat healthy, just open and chug it…with sweetener and some shots, y’know, they taste lousy. ‘course if you don’t want it…”

“No! No, no. I want it.”

“Excellent.” Ralph turned around and hands him the drink, but before the can could touch Jeff’s lips, he stopped him. “Twenty dollars.”

“What?!”

“You heard me. Twenty American dollars. Cash. I’m a distributor, so I get paid up front.”

“Fine.” Jeff slapped some cash into Ralph’s palm, and downed the whole can. “Man! I feel pumped!”

“You want any more, you know where to find me. Trust me, no store would sell these.”

“Yeah, thanks Ralph.” Jeff patted Ralph on the back and continued jogging, without even collapsing.

Ralph finally noticed me watching, and sneered derisively at my expression which I assumed was expressionless.

 

 

III. KATRINA

 

Fleana told me about what was basically a drug deal, but at the moment, I was too preoccupied with Prince using my family’s treadmill. He had headphones on and was humming to some music, but he was so invested in the song that he was making frost creep all over the treadmill.

“Spiky get off the treads.” I told him. “You’re frosting it up.”

“Yeah,” He said, clearly not hearing what I said. “you can harmonize with me. I don’t care.”

“That’s not what I said!”

“And are you hearing what I said?! Jeff’s on drugs!” Fleana shouted.

“What’s this I hear about drugs?!” Mom popped her head from the kitchen. She had on her reading glasses so I guess she had been reading the paper instead of cooking

Marion said flatly. “Fleana heard something about Ralph giving Jeff some kind of soda that gives him muscles.”

Mom rubbed her chin and shook her head. “That’s impossible.”

Then came a knock on the door, and went to open it. Standing in the doorway was Jeff, or rather the neighbor formerly known as Jeff. The guy went from a grossly obese man to a muscle bound freak. No way could that have happened naturally.

Mom raised an eyebrow. “I stand corrected.”

“Well, that was a short run.” Fleana put on a smile that was clearly fake.

Jeff walked inside as if mother had just given him permission to come in. “No, it was long run but I’m back earlier because I’m fast.” He took a handful of chips from the big bag of chips that I just noticed he was carrying.

“Nacho chips, Jeffery.” Mom said quizzically. “Shouldn’t you be eating healthy right now?”

“Well, that’s ‘not yo’ business woman.” Then he tried to get in mom’s face, who was able to hold him off with on hand. “Now walk away, walk away! Who do you think you are, my wife?”

“God help the woman.” Mom smiled.

“Well, the confidence is back.” Marion said apathetically. “What a shame.”

Jeff flexed a bicep that looked bigger than my head. “I’m ripped, am I Solar? Admit it. You can’t stand it.”

“I have no feeling.”

Prince began singing loudly which caught the attention of everyone in the room. The treadmill was almost completely covered in ice, but he didn’t seem to notice.

“Spiky stop!” I yelled. “You’re going to break it!”

“Yeah, this is a good song Kat. Now you can sing the second vers--” He stopped.

Jeff picked up the treadmill and shot putted it through the wall with Prince along with it. “She said stop running on her treadmill!

Marion turned off the apathy long enough to turn wide eyed and inspect the damage. “Dang dude.”

“Um, Jeff?” Fleana inquired.

He towered over the three of us. “The words you’re looking for are '‘thank’ and ‘you’'. Put ‘em together and they make a nice phrase. Got it.”

“You okay Prince?” I asked nervously.

“No, he threw me through a darn wall!” He answered. “And he broke your treadmill!”

“So I did.” Jeff leered at me. “Do something about it girl.”

I darted my eyes everywhere but his. “Um, no. That’s okay.”

He brushed passed me and closed the door behind him.

“What—was—that?” Fleana whimpered.

“The sound of me being out two hundred dollars.” Mother said flatly.

 

 

IV. MARION

 

Things got really weird when I found Jeff sleeping on my couch the next morning. His hands were splattered with blood, but the way he slept made me think he hadn’t moved at all.

My dad jostled him. “Hey, Jeff. Wake up buddy.”

Jeff yawned and his eyes fluttered open. “Man my neck is stiff. What’s for breakfast?”

Dad ignored his question and cleared his throat. “Did you, uh, go out last night?”

“No I didn’t. Why ask?”

“Because you’re in my apartment room, my door’s been forced open, and both my boys and me have keys.”

Jeff rose and got in my dad’s face. “So what ya sayin’ Solar? You callin’ me a sneak?”

“If the shoe fits.” Dad said without even flinching.

“Hmph. I probably slept walked here.”

“Well, okay, I guess that would make sense.”

“There’s also this news report about a guy with your description beating the stuffing of about twenty guys at a bar.” Fleana pounded he fist against her palm for emphasis.

“Well, that wasn’t me.” Jeff rebutted.

“So these twenty wallets are yours then?” Dad inquired, pointing to the pile of wallets sitting next to the couch.

“No.”

Prince, who had a black eye and was wearing a neckbrace, examined the pile closely. He reached down and tugged a wallet to reveal a pair a jeans attached to them. “This one’s attached to some jeans.”

“I wouldn’t be caught dead in jeans. I’m a sweatpants man. Kids these days want to show off everything, all ‘look does my butt look cute’.”

Prince ignored him as his told me he beheld something more horrible. “There’s a human thigh in these.” He held the bloody body part up for everyone to see.

“Ew, gross!” Katrina smacked it out of his hand.

“Look, man. I know this doesn’t look good and—and this doesn’t sound like you, but--”

Immediately, Jeff got up and pushed Prince to the ground. I thought he was about to go on a rampage, but his face told me he didn’t know what was going on. He ripped his shirt off to reveal something that no one should ever see: eyes on pecs and a mouth on his abs. I didn’t think it could get any weirder…until it began to talk.

“Then stop asking or I’ll ask you to leave the room, and it will be rhetorical, comprende? Because you’ll already be halfway across the hall with a caved in skull and wearing another dog collar!”

“Yeah, let’s listen to the chest that’s talk--” Prince began, but the muscles cut him off by grabbing him by the neck, ripping the leg off the living room table, and pressing it to prince’s throat.

“You listen up Spikehead! ‘Cause I’m running the show here, and if you cross me, I’ll cross your spine in a direction it ain’t supposed to go!”

Prince turned the color of light coffee. Sweat began to bead and freeze on his forehead. “May I ask who you are, please?”

“I’m his muscles! You get one question and you used it. Next question.”

“How did you—how did you get he--”

“I told you one question!”

“But then you said--”

The muscles drove the leg further into Prince’s neck until he drew blood. “The next time you open your mouth, it’ll be to show what the dentist and surgeons are going to be working on for the next year, drilling your teeth out of your anus!”

“Uh, guys? A little help here. I used up all my questions. And I already have fake teeth.”

“We rather not.” Katrina said nervously.

“Now I ask the questions.” The muscles interrupted. “Um, where the freak is my muscle supplement? And you better say close by.”

“Um, I think it’s called ‘Ripped’.” Prince spilled. “And—and Ralph got some.”

“But he sort of don’t like it when we--” Fleana paused as she, Katrina, and me were flung over his shoulder and started heading toward the door. “But that’s just what we’re doing.”

Jeff’s muscles kicked down the door and started climbing up the stairs.

“Yeah, let’s just keep going because you do seem intent on meeting him.” Katrina whimpered.

“Ralph!” The muscles called. “Get your fat butt out here with my supplements!”

He kicked down Ralph’s door and started trashing the place.

“Um, Ralph, you should do everything he says as fast as you can.” Fleana told him.

“Wh—wh—whoa! Hey, hey, hey!” Ralph shouted as he got slammed to the ground.

The muscles tossed us to the side as he began rifling through Ralph’s cabinets. He found what looked to have been beer cans and popped them open.

“No, back away from the booze.” Ralph warned. “I need those for when my mom comes over here for, uh, food money.”

The muscles spewed alcohol all over the counter. “Shut your word hole before I fill it with angry vomit! I want my muscles supplements right now!”

Ralph looked like he wanted to wet himself, but he managed to reach under his couch cushion and pull out a purple can. “Here. Here’s a n-new flavor.” Ralph read the can. “It’s, uh, called ‘Grape Ripped your tongue out’.”

He handed the muscles the can, but as soon as the muscles popped open the can, Ralph stopped him. “Twenty American dollars.”

There was tension in the room. My friends and I couldn’t believe our neighbor could be this stupid. The muscles glared at Ralph as if he were going to smash Ralph at any moment, but Ralph just glared back.

“Did I stutter? You heard me. Twenty dollars. In cash.” Ralph demanded.

Jeff’s abs began turning bright red, but then the face relaxed. “Oh, shoot. I don’t have twenty dollars.” The eye balls shifted in our direction. “Do you guys have twenty dollars?”

We flashed each other a look. “Nope.”

“Try these.” Cloud walked through the door and held up a pill bottle. “They’re prescribed muscle—mints. And they’re free too.”

“Then give me all that!” The muscles screamed.

Cloud opened the cap and dumped the whole bottle into Jeff’s abs. Immediately, Jeff’s whole body collapsed and lied stiff on the ground, except for the head.

“Um, what did you do?” He asked.

“Oh, did I say muscle mints? I meant muscle relaxants.” Cloud did her best dumb blonde impression.

“Thank God.” Ralph sighed. “For a second there I thought you were going to start competing with them steriods or whatever. A turf war wouldn’t be good for our, what’cha call it, neighbor relations.”

“Yeah…I think that’s already soured.”

“I already have enough competition with the, uh, medics, and their drug administration whatever.”

Cloud’s eyes landed on us. “Would you four mind helping me with Jeff? I have trouble lifting about three hundred pounds.”

So Katrina, Fleana, Prince, and I each grabbed an appendage while Cloud cupped her hands around Jeff’s head. On the count of three, we heaved him off the ground and carried him out of Ralph’s room.

“So I see you have brought Mr. Muscleman.” Storm, Katrina’s mother, said as she saw us hauling Jeff across the hall.

“Yeah,” Cloud held up a Ripped can. “When Fleana told me about Jeff and the name of the supplement he was taking, I had to see it for myself. This drink here is banned for a reason. Its effects are far worse than steriods. It has been linked to muscle atrophy, cerebral palsy, and sentient muscles that could override the body. So Jeff here just got lucky.”

“Are you nuts.” Jeff said. “Look at me! I can’t even move! And as soon as this guy gets up, he’s going to kick all our butts.”

“Mm-mm.” Cloud told him. “By the time we dump you, we’ll be long gone, so he’ll probably take it all out on you. And he’ll be very angry.”

“No. Wait. Don’t do that. I have a better plan.”

“Yeah?” Storm raised an eyebrow, but her smile didn’t falter. “Let’s hear it then.”

“It’s simple,” Jeff began. “Cloud is going to take my brain and put it into the body of somebody else, particularly, someone famous. I always wanted to be Ray J.”

“I can’t do that.” Cloud admitted. “Legal or otherwise.”

“That’s right out of a sci-fi movie.” Prince pointed out.

“However I do have an idea.”

“You’re gonna put my brain in the body of an aspiring rapper like the one next door.” Jeff’s eyes focused on the dark skinned boy who stopped to look at us.

“Yeah, I guess I could do that for one hundred grand.” He said. After a moment of silence, he dropped his head. “Okay. Five grand. Gotta find some way to pay for my studio, man.”

Cloud returned her attention to Jeff. “This would be more realistic.”

 

Apparently, Cloud’s solution involved, dragging Jeff’s muscle bound body to a farm a few miles from our apartment and locking him up in a cage next to a row of cows.

Storm took a deep breath, and looked around. “Sure takes me back.”

“You grew up in a farm?” Katrina raised an eyebrow.

“Yep and it looked just like this one.”

“Maybe because it’s one and the same.” Cloud told her.

Storm looked genuinely surprised. “Oh, well look at that. It is, isn’t it?”

Storm may have had a laugh, but her daughter wasn’t laughing with her. Katrina’s eyes grew wide and faded. I couldn’t blame her. That meant that this place is where her dead grandmother, sociopathic grandfather, and her mother had all lived. I bet she was seeing an image of her grandparents and her mom as a happy eight year old walking hand in hand, smiling and laughing in a time when they were happy. It was kind of eerie.

“Hey,” Jeff’s voice jarred us back to reality. “So, uh, this pen is, um, please tell me it’s cleverly disguised time machine to go back and stop myself from wasting my money on that drink.”

“Time machine…” Prince wondered.

“No.” Cloud told him. “This is what we call a cow pen. We’re just going to leave you here and the muscles will go away naturally.”

“Oh. And you could do this all in one day.” Jeff inquired.

“Well, actually, a lot of days.”

“Hey, turn on the lights or I’ll turn on your head!” Jeff’s body slammed against the pen. “Or I’ll turn off your head! The lights will go out of your head because you’ll have energy saving eye balls! I don’t know what to say here, but I’m mad!”

“Well, the relaxants wore off.” Cloud stated the obvious.

“It’s a good thing we tied him up.” Fleana giggled.

“Quite. Shall we go?” Storm began turning on her heels.

“W-w-wait! What about me? What can I do while I wait?” Jeff asked.

Fleana shrugged. “I don’t know. Talk to the cows.”

“Come on, man! Talk to the freaking cows?!”

But we had already left.

 

It had been four weeks before we saw Jeff again. Prince was giving us another lecture about how close he was to making a time machine. I didn’t doubt his ability. I just didn’t care for it.

“Let it go Spikes.” Katrina finally told him.

“But, listen, I’m so close.” Prince rebutted.

“Let’s just get Jeff and go home.”

“Yeah, the bad muscles should be gone by now.” Fleana said.

We found him standing in his pen where we had left him. He was back at his normal weight. We should’ve came earlier he wouldn’t have to start his diet again. His eyes fell on us, but they didn’t seem to recognize us.

Fleana opened the pen and untied him. “Come on Jeff. Time to go home.”

“Moo!” Jeff bellowed.

“Moo? What—Oh, I get it. I told you to talk to the cows and now you’re getting me back by speaking cow. Very funny.”

“Moo.”

“Seriously, Jeff. Let’s go. Jeff?”

She snapped her fingers in his face, but he just kept mooing.

Katrina’s eyes widened. “Oh, Styx! He snapped!”

“What’s that mean?” Fleana asked.

“I guess it means he thinks he’s a cow now.” Prince summed up.

“But how are we gonna take him home?”

“Fleana. I don’t think we can take him home.” Katrina said softly. “He’ll have to readjust himself to society. He could be permanently damaged. I think it’s best if we leave him here.”

“Moo!” Jeff shrieked. He looked panicked about something.

A faint howl touched my ears. “Okay. I think we should go. I think I hear coyotes.”

“Yeah.” Katrina grabbed Fleana by the shoulders. “Don’t worry Mammatus. He’ll be fine.”

“No he won’t.”

We started walking toward home, but before we got too far, I chanced a look at Jeff. He was surrounded by coyotes, mooing frantically.

“What’s that ripping sound?” Prince asked.

“Just keep walking.” I told him.


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