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Old February 20th, 2008, 09:48 AM
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Andrew Chapter 18: The Tree And The New Weights

It was Saturday, October 15th, 2005. Andrew and Carrie were driving along the dirt road leading to Margaret's cottage. It was a few hours after Andrew's confrontation with his father about being enhanced without his permission.
"I hope Margaret has some ideas about how I can work out in the weight room, now that I have reached the limits of my dad's special weight plates," Andrew said.

"Maybe she could use the technology she used to shrink her flying car," Carrie suggested.
"What do you mean?" Andrew asked, interested in hearing more.
"Make the weights small enough to carry in your gym bag," Carrie elaborated. "Then they could be returned to normal size, once you are in the weight room again."
"Good idea," Andrew said, squinting out the front window. "However, we may not even get to Margaret's cottage today. Look at what's blocking the road up there."
Carrie looked out the front window and saw that a huge old tree had fallen across the road ahead of them. There were about four cars blocked by the huge tree trunk.
"I wouldn't worry about it," she said. "Hey, why are you stopping?"
"We have to turn around and find another way to get to Margaret's cottage," Andrew replied. "We'll never get there with this tree blocking the road."
"Yes we will," Carrie declared. "You can move it."
"You've got to be kidding!" Andrew shouted in astonishment. "That tree trunk must be 100 feet long! Look how far it extends into the ditch on the other side of the road! It?s too long for me to handle!"
"Don't tell me you won't even try," said Carrie. "Is my big muscle man going to let a little tree stand in his way?"
Her words had the desired effect, as Andrew stopped backing up the car.
"I know what you?re trying to do," he said. "But look at the crowd out there. The fans would never leave me alone if I were to move the tree."
"Can you think of any better way to get some community service on your college application?" Carrie countered. ?What would you tell Mr. Malcolm, that you could have helped these people get on with their day, but you didn't because you were afraid of a little attention from your fans?"
Her logic had the right effect, because Andrew shut the car off and looked over at her with understanding in his eyes.
"So basically I would be doing everyone a favour," he agreed. "I would also be raising my profile for the University of Miami."
"Exactly," Carrie agreed, as they got out of the car. "I know you have a huge shy streak when you are around me, but you have to use your confidence around your fans."
"I guess you're right," Andrew said, as he closed his car door. "Well, wish me luck," he said, as he gave her a big hug.
"Go make that tree sorry it ever got in your way," Carrie ordered him, with a big grin on her face.
Andrew smiled, took a deep breath and then headed for the crowd. Carrie watched proudly as his stride changed from that of her gentle boyfriend to that of a cocky football star.
Good, she thought to herself. He knows how to get back into character.
"Excuse me please," Andrew said, as he passed through the crowd.
"Hey, you're Andrew the Football Star!" one of the skinny teenagers yelled out, as Andrew passed him. "I saw you benching your limo on TV!"
"That's what makes me a Super Jock, Mike," Andrew said, grinning as he recognized him. "Pretty impressive hunh?"
"You bet!? Mike agreed hastily, a little intimidated at Andrew's size up close.
"You haven't seen anything yet," Andrew sneered. "That tree won't stand a chance against my guns! Move back everyone, and let The Tank do his work!"
Everyone hastily backed out of the way as Andrew walked up to the tree. Only once the fans were behind him did Andrew let a flicker of hesitation show on his face.
I have never lifted anything this big before, he thought, forgetting that he had lifted a tree in June. What is the best way to get this tree out of the way?
He thought of simply rolling the tree to the side of the road, but he realized it would be at risk of rolling back down the steep embankment into traffic. So he decided to take on the biggest strength challenge of his life.
Andrew got into the forest on the left side of the road, and lifted the end of the hundred foot trunk slowly in his huge hands.
This will be easy, he thought, realizing that the tree was lighter than he had expected. Probably old and hollow. So, should I lift it slowly or quickly?

He decided that it would be more impressive for the fans if he moved

the tree quickly. Andrew also realized that the momentum would do most of the work for him.
"Is everyone standing back?' he called out to the crowd.
"Yes we are!" the crowd of ten people shouted. "Anytime you're ready."
Andrew took a deep breath, inhaling as much air into his huge chest as he could. Then he focused all of his energy into one mighty heave upwards.
The entire crowd heard a mighty roar from the forest, as the tree soared upwards on the broken end and swung like a pendulum into the woods on the right side of the road.
Andrew grinned quietly to himself, but realized he would have to show off once he got into view of the crowd again. So he stepped out of the forest, lifted his arms, threw back his chest and let out a mighty roar of athletic pride.

"YEAH!" Andrew roared. "I am a Muscle Monster!"
Everyone clapped and cheered, and then came forward to greet and thank him personally. Andrew smirked, projecting just the right mix of pride and arrogance to keep the crowd happy. He signed a few autographs and got a few job offers for the winter, before he got to the end of the crowd.
"That was awesome man," Mike said, as everyone headed back to their cars. "Have you done that before?"
"Yeah man, all the time," Andrew bragged. "Trees are nothing to me, just a bunch of old wood!"
"Do you think you could teach me how to do that?" Mike asked Andrew.
"Maybe kid," Andrew sneered, still caught up in Cocky Jock Mode. When Mike held out his hand to shake Andrew's, Andrew squeezed Mike's hand, making him grimace in pain. "In your dreams! I'm the only one around here who can move trees with his bare hands!"
"Uh, could you let me go please, Andrew?" Mike managed through clenched teeth. "Before you break my hand?"
"Sorry man, got carried away for a second," Andrew said, adrenaline leaving his system in a rush. He quickly let go of Mike's hand and said, "I meant to say that I'd be glad to help you reach your full potential. Now that I'm back from Miami, we should start later today. You meet me at my house later, and I'll get you started on the Muscle Monster workouts I promised you last Friday."
"Thanks," Mike said, massaging his sore hand. "That's quite a grip you have there. I may not be able to write again!" Andrew looked over at him, worried that Mike was serious, and Mike added hastily, "Just kidding! See you at your house later dude!"
"You can count on it," Andrew agreed. "See you there."
He walked back over to Carrie, who marveled as Andrew casually switched out of Cocky Jock Mode back into Gentle Giant Mode effortlessly.
"Looks like you managed to get rid of the tree with no trouble," she observed with a big grin. "And you thought the attention from the fans would bother you!"
"I guess it didn't," said Andrew. "And I managed to get a few job offers for the winter. Looks like I'll have plenty of work to replace hockey this winter!"
"See, it all worked out, as I knew it would," Carrie stated.
"Very funny!" Andrew laughed, as they headed back to his car. "Worked out; as if we gym jocks only understand one kind of language."
"I didn't mean anything by it," Carrie assured Andrew, slowly backing up as he advanced on her. "I just meant that you took care of everything."
"I know what you meant," Andrew said. "I just wanted to give you a peek at Andrew the Jock."
"Maybe I'll get more than a peek later," Carrie suggestively. "What do you say Big Boy?"
"Sounds good to me," grinned Andrew, flexing his huge bicep. "You'd like to see more of this, wouldn't you?"
"You bet," Carrie replied, grinning back at Andrew, as he opened the door for her. "But later," she managed, before he wrapped her in a big hug, and kissed her. "Stop that! People might be watching us!"
"No one?s going to say anything," Andrew assured her, "or they'll have me to deal with! You don't think anyone would dare mess with me, do you?"
"Not in a million years," Carrie said, as he headed back to his side of the car.
"Well, now that the fun's over, we'd better get going to Margaret's cottage," Andrew stated. "Hopefully she will have some more inventive ways for me to work out. I find it very inconsistent having to use trees and boulders."
"Don't worry," Carrie assured him as they headed down the road. "She won't let us down."
Andrew silently agreed, and became excited at the thought of how he could use his great strength next.

Once Andrew and Carrie reached Margaret's house, they saw the News van parked in the driveway.
"What is that News Van doing here?" Andrew asked Carrie.
"I called them," Carrie replied. "I thought it would be good exposure for you."
"I wish you had told me first," Andrew said. "I'm not ready."
"Well, it will be good for you to adapt to unexpected situations," Carrie suggested. "Now get out there and give them a good show."
"Aren't you coming?" Andrew asked, as he got out of the car.
"You're the one they want to see," Carrie reminded him. "If you don't mind, I'll just take your car home back to your house."
"Okay," agreed Andrew, bending over to give her a kiss. "I'll ask Margaret if she'll give me a ride home."
"Good idea," Carrie agreed, as Andrew closed the door. "See you later."
Andrew waved as Carrie headed home. Then he turned around and headed to the front door. He knocked and waited for Margaret to open it.
"Hello Andrew, good to see you," Margaret said, opening the door. "Come in."
"Okay," Andrew said, stepping into the house. Margaret led him to the living room. "Oh hi Mr. Cooper, what are you doing here?" Andrew asked.
"You're a smart guy," Mr. Cooper said, signaling his camera man to start filming. "You tell me."
"If I were to guess, I'd say my girlfriend called you while I moved the tree off the road." Andrew replied. "She told me she had, actually."
"Exactly," Rob agreed. "I'm afraid we didn't get any footage of that. It would be a great help if you could repeat it for us."
"I would be glad to," Andrew said with a big grin. "Follow me please." He led the way out-side, and over to the trail that led to the forest. "How about a live tree this time?" he asked. "Would that be okay?"
"Pick one that's nearly dead, but still standing," Margaret advised.
"Very well," agreed Andrew. "I'll find a suitable one." He walked down the trail for a moment before he finally found one that met his needs. "I've found one," he said, pointing to a hundred foot tall tree near the lake shore. "Get ready."
"We're ready," Mr. Cooper said. "Give us a good show, Andrew."
Andrew grinned and began leaning against the tree. The tree began to creak and crack, but it resisted Andrew's efforts. He pushed harder, gritting his teeth in fury, and the trunk finally snapped, causing the tree to fall into the lake with a huge splash. Andrew turned around, grinning.
"How was that?" he asked. "Was that good enough?"
"That was amazing!" Mr. Cooper exclaimed, coming over to shake Andrew's hand. "How much can you bench press?"
"A bench," Andrew bragged, "with 10 team players on it."
"That's more than 2000 pounds!" shouted Mr. Cooper in shock, as they took the trail back to Margaret?s cottage.
"That's nothing," bragged Andrew. "I once lifted a limo that weighed 5000 pounds just week ago."
"Can you show us?" Rob asked, scribbling furiously on his notepad.
"I'll conjure up a scale,? Margaret suggested, "and then I'll drive my car onto it."
She said a few words, and a huge flat scale appeared on the grass. Then Margaret drove her car from the garage onto the scale, and got out. She said a few more words, and her car morphed into a red limousine.
"5100 pounds," she read off the scale readout. "This should be a new maximum lift for you Andrew. Go ahead and try it."
Andrew walked up to the limo, from the side of the scale, and bent down, sucking in a huge breath. Then he slowly let the breath out, lifting the side of the limo as he did so. Sucking in another huge breath, he got underneath the limo, and heaved upwards, managing to balance the limo on his huge shoulders.
"Okay, turn the limo towards us; slowly so we can see your face," Mr. Cooper said finally, almost speechless with shock.
With a face that was red from the strain, Andrew complied, slowly turning step by step. The photographer quickly snapped several pictures while Andrew grimaced and began to tremble from the strain.
"Don't drop it!" Mr. Cooper yelled. "Look out!"
Andrew sucked in one last huge breath, and heaved upwards with a furious yell. The van flew off his shoulders, a few feet up in the air, and Andrew jumped out from under it. Then he held out both his hands and jumped back underneath the van again. The huge weight crashed onto his hands, forcing Andrew into a squatting position. He slowly eased the van's left side down to the ground, got out from underneath it, and eased the right side down too. Then he got off the scale, breathing heavily.
"How was that?" Andrew asked, between breaths. "Was that good enough?"
"That- that was simply amazing," Rob managed finally. "We certainly know who to call if we ever get a flat tire on one of our news vans."
"That's very flattering," Andrew said. "It also ties into my girlfriend's suggestion: to start some community service to help my University Application."
"This footage will certainly do that," Rob agreed. "Have you come up with a name for your community service program yet?"
"Carrie came up with one," Andrew replied. "But I'm a bit reluctant to use it."
"What did she come up with?" Rob asked, ready to write the name down.
"AWAP," Andrew replied. "It's an acronym, and it stands for Andrew's Winter Assistance Program."
"Catchy name," Rob said, writing the name on his pad. "Well, that's about all, Andrew. We'll get this footage to the Newsroom and air it on the 11 pm news."
"Good idea," agreed Andrew. "The sooner I can show the University of Miami that I do community service as well, the better my application will look."
"It was a pleasure interviewing you again, "Rob said, shaking his hand.
"The pleasure was mine also," Andrew added. "See you later."
Rob and the camera man got into their van, and Andrew waved as they headed down the driveway, out of sight.

"That was amazing Andrew," Margaret said, coming up and putting her hand on his shoulder. "Very well done. I'm glad to see you weren't shy in the interview."
"Thank you," said Andrew, following her into the house. "But I do have a question about lifting the van."
"What question?" Margaret asked. "You did fine."
"That's what my question is about, "Andrew said. "Why did I do so well lifting the van, both here and in Alexander's cavern? My father told me my maximum lift should be about 3,000 pounds right now. It should reach 7,000 pounds by January. By lifting a van twice today, it seems I'm ahead of schedule."
"Maybe your father was mistaken," Margaret suggested. "It's not like anyone like you has come along before, so it would be hard to guess at the actual rate of your strength increase. You must be hungry after lifting the van. What would you like me to get you?"
"How about explaining why you think my father would be mistaken," Andrew replied. "He has devoted his entire life to scientific and athletic research. He is not someone who would have to guess at how fast my strength will increase."
"Just drop it, okay?" Margaret begged him, taking a couple of plates out of the cupboard.
"Why are you acting so guilty?" Andrew asked, blocking her path as she tried to put the dishes on the counter. "What did you do? Did you accidentally accelerate my adrenaline production when you healed my injuries in the Transylvanian Space Station back in July?"
"How did you figure that out?" Margaret asked him in shock, dropping the dishes on the floor with a crash.
"Aha!" Andrew exclaimed in satisfaction. "So you admit it! You did do something!"
He began walking towards Margaret, who backed away nervously, terrified of his huge size, even though he was calm.
"I guess we need to talk," Margaret said, when her back was against the living room wall. "It's time for you to hear the whole story, from the beginning."
"How far back is the beginning of the story?" Andrew asked, following Margaret over to the couch and sitting down.
"Back to my first healing of you on the Transylvanian Space Station five months ago," Margaret replied. "Carrie knows more."
"What do you mean?" Andrew snapped. "What does she know that I don't?"
"She knows that I used my magic to strengthen your heart, making your adrenaline last long enough to defeat Alexander."
"Is that why I was able to take four bullets with minimal effect?" Andrew asked.
"Yes," agreed Margaret. "My magic also made your skin and muscles denser, so that the bullets would not penetrate to your internal organs. But you must have noticed how the adrenaline surge wore off, especially after your ribs were broken. The first enhancement my magic gave you was only temporary."
"Then what happened?" Andrew asked. "Everything that has happened to me seems to focus on the healing I had in the Station's Medical Room. What exactly happened in there?"
"I don't know if your father told you," Margaret said. "How much should I fill in?"
"He said that the doctors purified my adrenaline gland," Andrew replied. "After they were done, it produced the purest form of adrenaline. They told me that they picked up some genetic enhancement on their scanners as they were healing me. Was that yours, or theirs?"
"It was mine to begin with," Margaret replied. "But they used the residual effects of my magic to help purify your adrenal gland. So of course, after they were done, their scanners would have picked up the enhancement they performed as well."
"So they didn't lie to me," Andrew said. "They just never revealed the sources of the genetic enhancement."
"Correct," Margaret agreed. "Your father and I had discussed it a few days before. He let me in on his impending army research; I told him of the Space Stations' genetics program, that Marge had told me about. My magic was the link that tied both goals together and allowed the research to proceed."
"This is the first I have heard about all of this," Andrew said.
"I know," Margaret agreed. "The Transylvanians wanted to test their genetic program, and your father wanted to test his Military Enhancement Program. Since my magic temporarily enhanced your strength anyway, you were the perfect subject for the experiment."
Margaret realized her poor choice of words immediately, as Andrew's face turned red in fury.
"So I was just a "subject for the experiment', was I?" Andrew growled in fury, standing up suddenly. "You make me sound like a lab rat, not someone you have known for nine years! My father is even worse, using me as a medical experiment to test his theories! I feel so..violated! How could you do this to me?"
"There were so many people involved," Margaret managed finally. "Marge, your father, me, Doctor Franklin, the physician at the Space Station, and the Base Commander. I'm sorry we didn't tell you, but it turned out that we were right to do what we did."
"How do you figure that?" Andrew snapped. "Just because you're the adults, and I'm just a teenager? Were you just 'doing it for my own good'?"
"You have forgotten what happened next," Margaret said quietly. "The life support systems of the Space Station failed, thanks to Alexander's delayed sabotage, while we were still in orbit. You were the only one who remained conscious, thanks to your enhancement. So you were able to pilot the station down to an altitude where the outer vents could be opened, allowing air to come into the station again. You saved hundreds of lives that day, including mine! If it wasn't for you, we wouldn't be standing here today! You're a hero!"
Andrew lowered his head briefly, and when he looked up again, he was crying softly.
"Do you really think I'm a hero?" he asked quietly, wiping his tears away with the back of his hand.
"Of course!" Margaret assured him. "You saved all our lives that day; you'll bring the Provincial Championship to O.D. next month, and you helped a lot of people today as well."
"I guess I never thought of it that way," Andrew said. "I do wish you had all told me about what you were going to do before you did it. Knowing the benefits, I probably would have agreed to the procedure willingly. But I guess the ends do justify the means in the case, especially if lives were saved in the process."
"That is exactly the argument your father and the Army made to the government," Margaret agreed. "I believe they put it something like this: 'Can you imagine if we just enhanced a few soldiers; how many lives we could save? How many more sons and daughters we could send home to their families?'"
"Without such humanitarian reasoning, I doubt they could have received any funding for their research," Andrew guessed. "I suppose I should get used to being a hero. It is just all happening so fast. I keep getting bigger and stronger so quickly."
"That's partly my fault," Margaret informed him. "As you correctly guessed, I accelerated the enhancement, by accident, when I healed all your wounds in the Space Station three months ago. You should reach you full strength by New Year's Day."
"What a great way to start off 2006!" Andrew shouted, with a big grin. "With a 7000 pound bench press!"
"Yes it will be quite amazing," Margaret agreed. "I can't think of anything off hand that weighs 7000 pounds, but I guess we'll find out soon enough. Just remember what I told you, and think of what I am about to tell you, as well. The astronauts currently lose lots of muscle mass when they are weightless. But, with you showing that the treatment works, the Military and the Space Program can begin to introduce the genetic enhancement to their soldiers and astronauts. After, that, the astronauts won't have to worry about weakening bones while they are weightless, since they will be as muscular as you. The soldiers won't have to worry about bullet wounds killing them, allowing many more of them to come home to their families on leave."
"My father did touch on that," Andrew agreed. "He did say that his sports company will parallel the research for athletes too."
"Yes, it would save a lot of football players from the career-ending injuries they experience on the field," Margaret stated. "Imagine the financial stability that a longer career in the sport could provide, not only for their families, but the charities they support. This genetic research could have all kinds of long term benefits for many people. It is all thanks to you, our first successful test case."
"Did you just say 'test case', referring to me as a medical experiment once again?" Andrew asked. "You will have to watch your choice of words from now on."
"I didn't mean it that way," Margaret said hastily, remembering how angry Andrew had become earlier. "I'm sorry, I couldn't think of any other way to say it. I just meant to say that now we can help lots of other people reach their full potential, just as we helped you reach yours."
"That's much better," Andrew said, standing up. "Put it like that, and you'll have volunteers lining up around the block. Just remember to ask first this time, especially if they are still minors."
"I will," said Margaret, relieved that Andrew was calmer.

She let out a slow breath, hoping Andrew would not notice how nervous she was.
"I just wish people would not get so nervous around me," Andrew sighed, watching Margaret shift in her chair. "I don't want people to be afraid of me. It's just so hard to control my temper sometimes. Especially when I feel betrayed. "
"I'm sorry again," Margaret said. "It will take some time for everyone to adjust to the changes you are going through. Now, if you're ready, I have something to show you. Please follow me to the garage."
"Sure I'm ready," Andrew replied. He came up to Margaret, and gave her a gentle hug. "Thank you for explaining everything to me, and for such a wonderful gift that will help so many other people. I'm sorry I got so upset, before I knew all the facts."
"No problem," said Margaret, leading Andrew outside. "I believe I have found the perfect way for you to let out your aggression, and enjoy your new strength at the same time."
"I hope you're right," said Andrew, following her outside. "I really do."

"Is it just me, or I am taller than before?" Andrew asked, looking down almost a foot at Margaret beside him.
"We'll soon find out," Margaret replied, leading him into the garage. "You certainly look taller, and broader, than the last time I saw you. Just step on the scale, and we will find out how much you weigh."
Andrew had to duck his head to get into the garage, even after Margaret had rolled the doors all the way up on their tracks. He stepped onto the industrial strength scale, looked down at the number, and then looked up again in shock.
"It says 355 pounds," he said. "But I weighed 350 pounds just one week ago!"
"Good for you Andrew," Margaret said proudly. "Now, come over here; I have the wall chart ready to measure your height."
"I hope it's high enough," Andrew said, walking over to Margaret.
"It goes up to seven feet, so it should be," Margaret assured him. "Let's find out."
Andrew stepped up to the wall, and turned so his back was to the chart.
"So how tall am I?" he asked Margaret.
"I have to step back to tell,? replied Margaret, stepping back a few feet until she could see over his head. "Tee chart says you are 6 foot 8 now."
"Good; I've grown an inch," Andrew said. "That's great."
"Yes it is," agreed Margaret, heading over to the workbench. "Now, come over here; I have something for you." She picked up a few tiny capsules and handed them to Andrew. "These are for you."
"What are these?" Andrew asked, looking at them doubtfully. "Adrenaline pills?"
"No, those are your new weights," Margaret replied. "I finally finished them."
"THESE?!" Andrew sneered in disbelief. "How are these tiny capsules supposed to test my muscles?"

He flexed his biceps and grinned.
"Open the capsules and find out," Margaret suggested, awed by the size of his huge bulging biceps.
Andrew opened one of the capsules and took out what looked like a fingernail-sized barbell.
"Is that what I think it is?" Andrew asked. "Is this supposed to be one of my new weights? How is it supposed to work, being so small?"
"Put it on the floor, and then squeeze it on both ends," Margaret replied. "Then we will see which weight it is."
Andrew set the tiny capsule carefully on the floor, pressed both ends, and then stepped back carefully. The tiny weight suddenly expanded into a regular sized barbell, but the plates were three times as thick as those on normal weights. Andrew bent down to read the number on the side of the barbell.
"You expect me to lift 1000 pounds with one hand?" he asked Margaret in shock.
"What's the matter?" Margaret asked him. "You lifted a 6000 pound van twice today. So curling 1000 pounds in one hand should be no trouble for you!"
"My adrenaline levels were higher when I lifted the van, especially the first time," Andrew reminded her. "I was still angry about my dad keeping the secret of my enhancement from me, so the van felt lighter this morning."
"If that barbell is too heavy, we can find a lighter one," Margaret suggested, hoping her reverse psychology would goad Andrew into lifting the 1000 pound barbell.
Her ploy worked, as Andrew said, "No, no, this is fine. I wanted you to give me a challenge, and you have. This weight should work for me."
He bent down slowly, taking in a deep breath as he did so. Then he exhaled slowly, bringing the weight up with his right arm. His right bicep bulged hugely, and Margaret was sure she could hear the seams of his skintight t-shirt ripping. Sure enough, when Andrew lowered his arm again, the right sleeve of his t-shirt had ripped apart completely.
"Man, what a pump!" Andrew shouted, grinning. "Now for the left arm!" He lifted the 1000 pound barbell with the left arm, just as slowly, and that sleeve of his t-shirt ripped completely apart as well. Andrew grinned and lowered the weight again. "Do you mind?" he asked Margaret, preparing to rip off his t-shirt.
"If you think you can stand the cold," Margaret replied, nodding to the open garage door. "After all, it is October now; not exactly shirtless weather anymore."
Andrew just sneered, flexed his pecs, and the t-shirt ripped all along his chest. Then Andrew spread out his lats, making the shirt rip along his shoulders and back too. Then he tore the rags of his t-shirt off, exposing his huge muscular upper body.
"I won't feel the cold anyway," he bragged, stretching his hugely muscled frame. "What do you think?"
"Very impressive," Margaret replied, walking around him. "You must be very dedicated to your weight-training to get a physique like that. Let's measure your body fat before we go back outside." She went to the workbench, and so she did not notice Andrew heading outside. When Margaret turned back around, with the body fat measuring device in hand, she noticed Andrew standing outside the garage. "Andrew, come back in before you freeze to death!" Margaret shouted. "I said that we would measure your body fat before we went back outside! Weren't you listening to me when I said that?"
"I forgot," Andrew said, rather unconvincingly. "Sorry about that."
"Yeah right," Margaret laughed. "You just wanted to show off; making sure I don't forget how tough you are."
"I didn't feel cold at all," Andrew bragged. "So I really am tough."
"Maybe you have enough body fat to keep you warm," Margaret guessed. "Let's find out right now."
She told Andrew to grip the handles of the device, and got out her pad to write down the reading.
"I read 4.5 %," Andrew said. "Is that good?"
"It certainly is," agreed Margaret, looking at the body fat chart. "Maybe below the ideal 12-15 percent a male should have, but that is why your muscles are so well defined. You don't have much body fat to hide them."
"I don?t have a shirt to hide them either," Andrew bragged. "That flimsy t-shirt couldn't stand up to the muscles of The Tank!"
Margaret hauled out a mirror from behind the workbench and said, "Let?s find out just how much muscle that t-shirt covered up, shall we?"
Andrew looked in the mirror and grinned as he saw his reflection, that of an insanely huge muscular jock.
"I look like a Greek God!" he gloated. "Yeah! Now that's the body I've worked hard for all these years!"

He began flexing each of his muscles one at a time, amazing himself with their definition.
"Let's test the resistance of your muscles," suggested Margaret, holding up one hand. "Get ready."
"For what?" Andrew asked. "What are you-"
He didn't get out the last few words, as Margaret launched her fire bolts at him. Without thinking, Andrew held up his left arm to block them. He grinned as he felt nothing but a slight tingle along his forearm.
"Do that again," he ordered Margaret heading towards her. "Knock me down."
"Are you sure?" asked Margaret, as she began backing away.
"Do it now!" Andrew shouted. "Before you back up against the wall!"
Margaret launched her bolts again and again, but Andrew just blocked them with ease, showing no pain. Then he decided to drop his arms, to see if his torso and chest could take the fire bolts too. He flinched slightly as Margaret's bolts bounced off his skin, small black burn marks behind. Then he grinned as he realized that the bolts had just bounced off him, without knocking him back even one step.
Margaret felt the wall at her back and realized that she had backed up as far as she could. She was amazed that Andrew had not even staggered back one step from her attack, even though she had used her full strength during her attack. Andrew stopped just a few inches from Margaret, forcing her to stare up almost a foot to see his face.
"I guess you'll have to try something else if you want to knock me out," he suggested. ?Those puny fire bolts won't do it. Got any more bright ideas?"
He grinned at his pun, hoping Margaret got the joke.
"I have a few ideas," Margaret replied, heading back to her workbench. She turned around with a gun in her hands. "Let's try this."
"Bullets don't hurt me much," Andrew reminded her, "even if they do lodge in my muscles."
"This gun does not fire bullets," Margaret said, pulling the trigger.
Andrew flinched as the gun fired, and then looked down to see a small dart sticking out of his arm.
"You think a little tranquilizer dart is going to knock out The Tank?" he sneered in disbelief. "I don't think so. You'd better try again, while you still can!"
Margaret ducked out from under his arm as he tried to grab the gun, and ran across the room. Then she fired all the darts she had in the gun, one by one. Andrew still came forward, even with one dart in each pec, each arm, and both sides of his neck. Margaret went to reload the dart gun, and then realized that she had left the extra darts on the workbench behind Andrew.
"Oh no!" she screamed in fake panic, "I left the darts over there!"
Andrew looked in the direction she pointed. Margaret launched more fire bolts at him while he was distracted, making the darts fly into her hands from across the room with her magic. Andrew realized he had been tricked and whipped his head around to look at Margaret, just in time to catch more darts in his abs and legs. He looked down, grinned when he was still feeling no effects, and looked up again with a scowl on his face.
"Are you finished trying to knock me out?" he growled, winking to let Margaret know he wasn't really mad.
"I think so," she replied, holding up the empty dart holder. "I'm all out."
"I guess we know how much effect tranquilizers have on me," Andrew realized, grinning at his awesome strength. "Even ten of them couldn't knock me out."
"Don't you feel even slightly sleepy?" Margaret asked him in astonishment, backing up as Andrew came forward again.

She stopped as she felt her back against the wall, and waited for Andrew to stop coming towards her. Andrew stopped a few feet away, and Margaret was relieved that he still had respect for her feelings.
"I do feel a little tired now," Andrew admitted. "But if I can bench 40 times what the normal man would, you'd need 30 more darts to stop me."

He looked down at the darts sticking out of his veins and began effortlessly ripping them out, one by one. Margaret was amazed that he didn't even flinch this time.
"I guess we are done here," Margaret said, when she finally got over her shock at Andrew's power. "There are no more strength tests I have planned for you today. "
"Okay," Andrew agreed. "Thanks for the weights," he added, sticking the case of capsules into his pocket. "I don't suppose you have an extra shirt I could wear? I guess my muscles were too much for the old one." He flexed his pecs casually, and said, "I'm size 3XL now."
"I don't have any t-shirts that size," Margaret replied. "But when you said 3XL, were you referring to the t-shirt you jsut ripped apart by flexing?"
"I guess I was," Andrew replied, with a cocky grin. "Oops. I'll have to look for 4XL shirts now, won't I?"
"Right, 'oops'," Margaret laughed, as she saw him smiling. "You ripped that t-shirt apart on purpose, didn't you?"
"Actually I flexed it apart, but you're right," Andrew agreed. "I have been waiting for a while to flex out of one of my shirts, and I finally found weights that would pump me up enough to do that. Thanks a lot; now I have nothing to wear home!"

He grinned to let Margaret know that he wasn't mad at all.
"Why don't you test your resistance to the cold by running home?" Margaret suggested. "The speed of running should make your heart beat faster, increasing your blood flow, raising your body temperature, and therefore warming you up."
"Thank you, I was paying attention in gym class," Andrew reminded her, his grin fading as he stared at her sternly. "I think I know a thing or two about personal fitness."
"Oh of course," Margaret realized. "I forgot; you're a Smart Jock, aren't you?" She realized she probably shouldn't have used the word Jock, and said, "Sorry about that Andrew."
"That's okay," Andrew assured her. "You used the term Smart Jock, which I am! So, when are you coming to my football games? I have another one next Saturday, in Barrie."
"I hadn't thought about that," Margaret said. Andrew narrowed his eyes at her and then grinned again. "But now that you mention it, I'd be glad to," she decided hastily.

Then she grinned back at him to let him know that she knew he was just kidding around.
"Good, I'll watch for you in the stands then," Andrew decided, relieved that she knew he wasn't mad. "Well I guess I'll run home now."
"Good idea," Margaret agreed. "Hey, why are you holding out your arms?"
"You always used to give me a goodbye hug," Andrew reminded her. "After all, you are like an aunt to me. I just want to thank you for all your help."
"I appreciate that," Margaret said, holding out her hand. "But I wouldn't be able to get my arms around you if I tried. Besides, you're all hot and sweaty."
"Of course I'm hot; I'm a huge muscle god!" Andrew roared. "I'm built like a statue, and about as tough as one too!"
"Very funny!" Margaret laughed. "But I still think a handshake will do this time."
"Okay," Andrew agreed, shaking her hand softly.
"It's great you know how to control your own strength," Margaret reminded him, leading him outside. "That way you won't show off by trying to crush other people?s hands," she added, as she reached up for the garage door cord. "Uh, could you lend me a hand here please?" she asked Andrew, as she tried to jump to get the door down.
"I'd be glad to help you," Andrew agreed, lifting her up with both hands so she could pull the door down. Margaret was too shocked to do anything but grab the door so Andrew just set her down again, pulling the door down in the process. "There you go, Margaret. Was that enough of a hand for you?"
"That- that was not the kind of help I was looking for," Margaret stammered in shock, amazed that Andrew would so casually use his strength on another person like that. "I just wanted you to pull the door down; not lift me up to reach it. But thank you anyway. You were a great help. And really gentle too, especially since your hands almost covered my whole waist! If you wanted to, you could rip people in half with that kind of strength!"
"Please don't even joke about that!" Andrew begged her. "I've seen too many football players leave the field on stretchers in prior seasons, because I couldn't control my own strength. It took a while for me to learn to pull them along with me when I scored touchdowns, instead of knocking them out."
"I meant no offense," Margaret assured him as they walked over to the driveway.
"I know,? Andrew sighed. "It's just hard to have people I've known all my life be in awe of me now. I find it hard not to show off, but I feel uncomfortable when I do. I'm not sure how to act; like a jock, or like Andrew the Person."
"Maybe a bit of both," Margaret suggested. "Realize that you have a great gift, and use it to help others. Then you can be Andrew the Person, using the strength of Andrew the Jock to do good deeds."
"Good idea," agreed Andrew, shaking her hand again. "Well, see you later."
"Goodbye Andrew," Margaret said, as he started jogging down the driveway. "See you next Saturday at your football game in Barrie!"
Andrew waved, and jogged down the driveway until he was out of sight.
"Well, he said the cold weather wouldn't affect him," Margaret said to herself. "I hope he's right.?
She turned around and headed back into her house for supper.
Sean Lackie
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