Building up the steam now…soon, my young apprentices, soon!
Roger had no life. He was used to that by now – practices (official and unofficial), curfew, pep rallies, homework, sleep whenever possible. But now celebrity was boxing his time in even tighter. People started stopping him in the street, to shake his hand, to ask him to reassure them about this week’s indubitable victory. Or, worse, to give him their semi-informed advice. He had to duck out and go to the bathroom during class, because if he went between classes, guys would start chatting him up at the urinals, hey you’re gonna whip those Bulldogs, you know their left OL is playing hurt, you should run a route there…yeah, thanks, I’ll keep that in mind. Then the next week, it was, Hey I saw you play last weekend how come you didn’t run that route I told you about…
And it was not just local celebrity anymore. Eleven Saturdays in, and the Barbarians were 9-1 with the bye week, their loss to Oregon the only thing keeping them out of contention for the biggest Bowl Game opportunities. Each win only drove the hysteria higher, each new ingenious play Roger devised made another headline, and his reputation for craftiness, for trickery of the most legitimate, lawful and unexpected sorts was starting to unnerve even the most experienced opponents.
His cereal-box-ready face, his clean-cut, scandal-free image, the long shadow he’d lived in under the bright wings of Antoine Phoenix, patiently waiting for his time to shine… The whole story was too damn good not to be plastered all over ESPN and Deadspin and Bleacher Report. And even Deadspin couldn’t snark about him – he was wholesome and pure, it looked pretty certain, but he was no Tebow, falling dramatically to his knees to pray every time the camera got close. Roger was just a serious student, a genuinely modest person, a good guy by all accounts.
Which meant he had to change phone numbers, as sponsors started calling, saying “We know you can’t sign any endorsement deals yet but we want you to keep our brand in mind as you plan your NFL career and of course if you were to start wearing our shoes/clothes/hats now, that would be great, it would be in your interest to do so, and nobody could say anything if we weren’t paying you yet…”
He only looked at his phone anymore to page through the spam of texts and voice mails to see if Brian or his dad had tried to reach him. That was the worst of all, that he didn’t have time for Brian. Or, at most, fifteen minutes before curfew to dash to Brian’s dorm and chat him up, as he did one Thursday during Week 11 (the annual calendar had disappeared from his consciousness, entirely replaced by the football schedule as the marker of passing time).
He wasn’t supposed to be granted entry to the dorm. He wasn’t a resident, and Brian wasn’t answering his phone to sign him in. But, as the goggle-eyed RA said, “You’re Roger Fucking Ehrens, man! Go right in!” Yeah, membership in the fame club had its privileges.
The dorm was humming at 10:30 pm, beats battling each other for supremacy from open doors, kids yelling, bodies flying, college social life just warming up. Roger had fifteen minutes before he had to literally run back to his own dorm for an 11:00 check-in, his presence to be confirmed by a land line call.
Brian’s door was open, his room empty. His roommate was pretty much living with his girlfriend off campus, so it was a private room in all but name. It was an older building, and the showers were still down the hall.
Roger took a seat in the rickety desk chair that had seen hundreds if not thousands of asses. He smiled as he saw the piles of books on Brian’s desk. Books on Renaissance costume, on Renaissance law, Renaissance weaponry. He smiled even more when he saw the calculus textbook open on the bed. And, the place was clean. Brian’s descent into slobbery had been pretty thorough when he’d found himself alone in the room, but clearly Roger’s admonition to straighten up and fly right had gotten through.
He was paging through “Crime, Society and the Law in Renaissance Italy” when he heard the whoops up and down the hall – mostly female, with few ironic male imitations.
“I want your bod!” It had become a campus meme, thanks to the black-and-white Axe Body Spray commercials featuring gorgeous chiseled shirtless guys and a woman’s voice enthusiastically endorsing their bods.
Roger looked up to see Brian in the doorway, laughing. “Fuck you guys,” he called back into the hall. “I’m not wearing a shirt to the showers.”
His hair was still wet, the black curls plastered back. Drops of water glistened on his massive shoulders, trickled down his huge chest to his six-pack abs. He had the farmer tan of a guy who spends a lot of time outdoors, but doesn’t take his shirt off much. Why not, Roger wondered, realizing that Brian was always wearing a baggy t-shirt, baggy jeans, baggy sweats… He’d known Brian was fit, but this…the pure magnificence of him…
Roger’s eyes involuntarily traveled to his crotch, his attention drawn down as it would be in a painting, by the sharp V where Brian’s waist met his hips. The cheap thin towel wrapped around his waist couldn’t conceal the long ridge of Brian’s cock. Holy crap, his big fat cock, Roger thought, the evidence indisputable. He should have known, just from Brian’s huge body, that he’d be…proportional.
“Hey! You made it! With seconds to spare!” Brian reached his hand out for Roger to shake, then when Roger took it, Brian pulled him to his feet and into a bear hug, his dick pressing against Roger’s hip. Roger backed off as soon as he could – he’d sprung an instant hardon, and while he wasn’t as big as Brian, it was large enough to be tenting in his khakis if he didn’t do something about it.
He looked into Brian’s eyes, saw the light shining there, and was relieved. He was clearly off the pain pills. “You look great,” he said, hoping that didn’t come out wrong.
“Thanks, man. I feel great. Hey! Look at all the work I’m getting done on our project!”
“I saw. That’s awesome. I swear in another week I’ll be…”
“Ha. In another week you’ll be getting ready for a fucking booowwwlll gaammmee!” He high-fived Roger, a manic grin on his face. “And we’re talking Rose Bowl, dude, not some Bob’s Brakes Bowl, or the Barry’s Brisket Bowl.”
Roger blushed. “We’ll see.”
“I’ve got so many ideas for our project, man. You just relax, think about football, I got this covered.”
Roger was amazed, then ashamed that he was amazed. He knew Brian had it in him to shine, to do well, when he wanted to. “Thanks, man. I’m sorry I haven’t had time to…”
“Don’t worry about it! I’m good! Get on back to your dorm before they burn you at the stake for having a life.”
Roger smiled. “Okay, man. Thanks.”
Brian nodded. “No worries.”
It was true. Brian’s worries were over, had been over for weeks. The MDAA had arrived in two days, hooray for Amazon! It had come in a shiny silver bag, sandwich sized, with a ziplock seal and a semi-official looking sticker on it that announced the long chemical name and the tested purity of the contents.
Brian laughed when he opened it. “It even comes with a little coke spoon,” he said, pulling out the long plastic “spoon” that held exactly as much as what he’d call a bump of coke.
“You can snort it if you want,” Jeremy said. “It’s pure enough.”
“No way. It’s a supplement, right, you drink it, you put it in your sports drink and…”
“Whatever, dude. It’s your money.”
The next morning, Brian looked dubiously at the little spoon’s measuring capacity. That didn’t look like very much… Well, he thought, let’s try a heaping mini-spoon’s worth and see what we get. His right hand’s fingers were still splinted, so he used his left to measure it and tap it into his pre-workout drink. Then he sealed the lid, shook it up, and knocked it back. God, it tastes like shit, he thought.
He’d missed working out. His body missed it – craved it. It wasn’t just the broken hand that had stopped him, of course. The Percs had robbed him of his will, of the need for activity. Why work hard to get your happy chems pumping through your brain when the pill did it for you?
He went to the college gym, fairly deserted in the early morning, just the way he liked it. The squat racks and bench press stations were fully occupied by the lunkheads as always. Of course Brian never had a problem working in with them, his size and strength preventing them from using their standard excuse, oh dude, I’ve got all this weight on here, I’d let you work in but I’d have to take it all off for you, just ten more sets, man, I promise…
But today he was headed straight for the StairMaster, pure cardio that wouldn’t involve his broken hand. He set his iPod to a DFA Records mix album and started his workout. About five minutes in, he felt the toe of his shoe knocking up against the top of the plastic rim that covered the rotating steps. That meant he was climbing faster than the stairs were descending to meet him, and it was time to turn it up. Then a minute later, he was knocking on it again. Holy crap, I’m up to level fifteen already?
Knock knock, up up. He was FLYING. Sweat gushed down his face, drenching his shirt. His calves should be complaining by now, but he didn’t feel it. He guzzled water, had to stop to refill the bottle, holy crap, 20 minutes already? Let’s keep going, this is awesome.
Forty minutes in he stopped, panting furiously, exhilarated. He must have sweated out all the remaining Percocet in his system, and he didn’t need it now. Endorphins were flooding his brain, he knew, even though he didn’t know that the stimulant was also blowing big dopamine bubbles in there, but who cared why he felt great, he felt great. This was so much better than the lazy daze of the opiates, he decided.
Math! He couldn’t believe it when he sat down in the library with the calculus book. His foot tapped to the beat of The Juan MacLean’s “Happy House” as the numbers and letters and squiggles got in line and obeyed him when he ordered them to make sense. It must have been a confidence thing, he decided, that had kept him feeling overwhelmed by this shit. This wasn’t rocket science! I can do this! Hell, I could do rocket science if I wanted to!
This is what I needed, just a little more energy. A little confidence. He texted Jeremy, amazing workout this am thanks man. Jeremy soon texted him back, enjoy. let me no if u wanna grad to med school.
He smiled as he thought of Roger, what Roger would think of him beavering away at calculus, hours in the library passing like minutes. He will be so proud of me, he thought. Everyone will be.
He shifted in his chair, realizing he had to pee. Wow, three hours had passed just like that. He had to take a walk, get out of there for a minute.
The air was cool and crisp now, fall in the East Bay not as dramatic as on the East Coast, but still pretty great. The fresh air felt wonderful, the trees looked gorgeous, the girls looked fantastic, always showing a bit of leg year-round in this mild climate.
God, I’m horny, he realized. He had to get some, now. Right, dumbass, it’s noon, where are you gonna get laid now?
Involuntarily he thought about Jeremy’s “sports psychiatrist.” The picture of Jeremy’s grimace as he air-fucked an invisible head rose unbidden. His inhibitions lowered by the “supplement,” Brian allowed himself to entertain the notion for a moment.
“Gay dudes, man,” Jeremy had shrugged. “Always ready for some CSB jock dick. Just go down to the Steamworks at the end of University Ave, get a locker, you’ll get your dick sucked in like five minutes, and you’re out. Or hang around and get it sucked again. Cost you fifteen bucks. No membership fee with student ID!”
“You’re sick, Jeremy. That’s fucked up.”
Jeremy shrugged. “A hole’s a hole.”
His mind felt free to travel all kinds of crazy places now as he fast-walked around campus. Even…yeah, there. Would Roger ever…?
NO. WAY. Roger in a place like that, skulking around in the dark waiting to give someone a blow job? He laughed out loud, not caring about the odd stares he got for laughing with nothing stuck in his ear to prompt it. But Roger had to have…he couldn’t be a virgin, right? He had to have some kind of secret gay life where he did…what? Was he the man? He had to be the man, right, he’s the quarterback, shit!
Why am I even thinking about that! He called Jeremy. “Hey, man, you wanna go out tonight? I need some adventure.”
“Douche Bag Alliance is having a Sophomore Sluts party.” Delta Beta Alpha was the fraternity on campus that…well, there’s the nickname, what more do you need to know? Oh, right, their unofficial motto: Bros Before Hos…And Behind Them Too!
“Perfect. See you there at nine.”