Everything that Catches my Attention

The Turning (by Timberwolf)

image I dance to the drums of running paws, I taste the nectar of bloody flesh, I sing the ancient song to the skies. I run. I hunt. It was not always so….

This was it. I never really realized that it was until the plane touched down on the small landing strip, but it was real. I was here where it all started. Venice, California. The infamous “muscle beach.”

I had come like a pilgrim to pay tribute to the place that had birthed so many of the great bodybuilders. Names which stood out like giants above all others. Icons. Living gods. I had come alone, as pilgrims always do, meeting other pilgrims on the way. Even in the plane, I spotted three guys I knew from their size had to be bodybuilders like me. I wondered if any of them competed. I’d never even seen a pose-down on stage. Of course I was too chicken-shit to go up to any of them and shake their hand, let alone tell them what I really wanted.

I stepped off the plane in my sleeveless shirt and shorts, into the golden light of a California sunset. The weather was, of course, perfect. A light breeze blew off the ocean, caressing my skin and raising the blonde hairs on my arms. The terminal was tiny, especially after the madness of LAX. I went into the bathroom, took a piss, slicked back my harvest wheat hair in the mirror. When I reentered the lobby and collected my luggage, my driver was there to take me to the hotel.

I’d chosen a relatively cheap hotel, which in Venice is still a pretty pinch out of your pocket compared to the hotels in the Midwest. It was made to look like one of those adobe Mexican villas, with healthy green palms and blooming flowers. Fountains and painted frescos, the obligatory pool.

I’d missed the hotel dinner hour, so I got some sandwiches from a gas station across the street and ate them in my room. Then I stripped off my clothes and stood in front of the bathroom’s full-length mirror.

To most people, I was an Adonis. Crew cut hair, one ear pierced with a small silver earring. I was 165 pounds, and through hardcore discipline in the kitchen, I’d managed to keep my body fat down to between eight and ten percent. I had a decent start on a six pack, nice balanced pecs. I was never satisfied with my arms. I started bodybuilding five years ago, bulking up from a scrawny 135 pounds. I have thin bones, which means that the muscle I do have tends to be small and hard, more like a runner than the classic bodybuilder. That doesn’t matter so much when it comes to legs and pecs, and actually helps in getting abs, but arms are another story. Other than impressive shoulders, my arms were still baskeball player size. I had started as a skinny bastard, and I still saw a skinny bastard pretending to pose in the mirror, with his silver earring and silver wolf pendant glittering around his neck.

If someone had asked me why I had that pendant, I couldn’t really tell them. I just….liked it. I’d liked it ever since I saw it in the tiny Native American goods store in Minnesota. The guy who’d rung it up for me was near six feet, crow black ponytail, and he glanced from it to my face with the most intense eyes I’ve ever seen. The store only accepted cash. On the way out, he’d wished me good luck. Weird guy. Weird place. Northern Minnesota feels like you’re on the edge of the world, and California couldn’t have been more different.

It was warm, for one. It was sunny for another. There was a vibrancy, a pulse to it that I picked up on immediately over the next few days. I’ve always been good at that: pickup up rhythms, paces, beats. Should’ve been a drummer. Maybe I still will, depending on how my….training goes.

I didn’t fool around. After breakfast, I hit the beach. Yeah. You know what? “Muscle Beach” is like most other beaches in California. Gorgeous white sand. Tanned girls, shirtless fat guys, college jocks playing volleyball. But it is Muscle Beach. And there were bodybuilders there.

The first guy I saw had skin like dark choclate. He was wading through the surf, and my eyes feasted. Those thighs, rippling with muscle as he walked. A REAL six pack, thick and defined. Pecs that made me drool behind my teeth, with arms that have what I call the “full” look. There comes a point in bodybuilding when your muscle starts to stretch the skin, making look so tight it might burst. He had that, especially on those arms. And these were the arms I’d dreamed of for so long. Shoulders so thick you could grip them with your hand, biceps and triceps that swelled thick instead of staying frustratingly tapered like my own. And obliques. This guy actually had obliques. He caught me staring. My heart jolted, and I immediately became intensely interested in the sand as I blushed.

‘Idiot!’ I slapped myself mentally.

Yeah…the hazard with being attracted to my kind of guys is that, if they’re not gay, they can beat the shit out of you for assuming they are. I was lucky this time. He said something that made his girlfriend laugh, probably at my expense, and they moved on.

I couldn’t stay on that beach. I went back to the hotel after a lonely lunch and stared at the carpet. I wiped stray tears out of my eyes. I didn’t even know why I was crying. Voices in my head, voices from high school and college whipped me.

‘You’re skinny.’

‘Liftin’ some weights there, little guy?’ Laughter from guys in the gym locker room when I finally told them I was a bodybuilder.

(continued)

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