Burt stripped down to his boxer shorts, stood in front of his full length mirror, and grinned.
Ever since he had taken up steroids, he never got tired of looking at his massive physique. The muscles were literally popping off of him at this point. Swollen biceps, giant delts, massive pecs. Quads like tree trunks. Calves like, well, smaller tree trunks.
Burt took pride in the precise, military-like way that his muscles aligned themselves on his body, and part of each morning’s ritual was to stand in front of the mirror and call each platoon into action.
“Grrrr” he growled at his reflection as he mobilized the pecs brigade.
“Rrrrrrr” he rumbled as he turned around and spread out his lats.
“Arrrrr” he snarled, closing one eye like a pirate as he raised each arm and popped out his biceps. The muscles swelling up from the crooks of his arms looked like Easter Eggs.
Burt glared and glimmered at his reflection, looking for some small sign of weakness, some imperfection in his frame. But there was nothing to be found.
Finally satisfied, he slipped a tight white t-shirt and a pair of jeans over his swollen frame.
Once dressed, he took another look in the mirror, noting with pleasure the way his muscles rippled underneath the cotton tee.
“Fucking all right,” he said.
Then he grabbed his wallet and keys and headed out the door.
Steroids, it turns out, were the best thing that ever happened to Burt. Having grown up a skinny weakling who was pushed around and pounded on during high school, he had spent the first half of his adult life trying—and pretty much failing—to become a dominant physical presence.
Sure, he went to the gym every day. Sure, he lifted and lifted and sweated and strained and grunted. Sure, he maintained good form and rotated between muscle groups and took his proper rest days.
But it was those goddamn genetics.
There was some genetic bear trap buried deep within him that wanted him to be small and weak and pathetic. No matter how much he lifted, there was always someone in the gym who was bigger and stronger, who handled the weights with more ease.
And if for some reason Burt had to miss a week of lifting, he could feel the small muscles that he had developed fleeing his body like rats from a sinking ship. It was only the highest level of discipline and total dedication to perfect form that kept him from turning back into a total pussy.
Weakness, it seemed, had been wired into his DNA.
But that all changed the day he met Sal.
Sal with the steroids.
Sal who explained what cycling on and cycling off was, who told Burt how to use the clean and the clear, who showed him how to get the maximum blast.
The first time Burt had stood naked in his bathroom and injected the steroids into his veins, he knew that he had finally come home.
Maybe it was his imagination, but the clear liquid being pumped through the syringe felt like white hot lightning shooting into his body. Within two weeks, he was starting to see and feel the results.
Before the roids, Burt would get tired and sore after working out. Now, his arms and legs crackled with latent energy even after he got done blasting them at the gym. He always wanted to lift more.
Before, Burt would plateau at the same weight for weeks on end, sometimes even slipping back down by 5 or 10 pounds when his joints grew weary from straining and struggling to make his reps. Now, his muscles felt insatiable. All he wanted to do was lift and grow and dominate.
Before, when he went to the gym, Burt would avoid the stares of other men, worried that they would sense the weakness that was buried in his core, just waiting for the chance to get out.
Now, he strutted around the weight room like a peacock, seething and sneering as he watched lesser men struggle with smaller weights.
He liked to wait and watch for someone to fail at a certain weight, then set up next to them and blast through that weight like it was nothing. The failed men would look over at him and their bodies would damn near pucker in defeat.
Burt almost felt like he could see their balls crawling back into their bodies.
It was his gym, and this was his time.