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Old October 9th, 2008, 04:59 PM
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Calendar Model Chris (Chris and Boot 5A)

Calendar Model Chris

?You bigger lately?? Boot asked me last week, standing in the doorway to my bedroom.

?I doubt it. It?s a gradual thing, not something you?d notice from day to day. I gained just a pound and a half all last month.?

?You are,? he said. ?You?re looking bigger.? He came in and sat down on my bed as I was sitting at my desk, entering data from my workout log into my laptop. Actually, there was something to what he said. I was feeling more confident since the night I kicked ass at Boston Charlie?s, enjoying just walking around being seen. And that was affecting my posture: chest out, head high, shoulders wide ? no hunching. I was looking bigger, and I?d also noticed the difference in my breathing. Maybe respiration should be another variable in my training algorithm? Vital capacity ? that is, lung intake ? could be measured by exhaling to exhaustion into a plastic bag, submerging it in a bathtub and calculating the displacement. That?s Archimedes. But measuring the efficiency of oxygen usage is another matter. Blood chemistry, don?t try it at home.

?Look at you scribbling away there,? said Boot. ?You know what you need, Bartleby? You need to take an iPhone or a PDA with you on workouts so you could email that stuff directly to your computer. Ditch the pencil and paper. You look like you?re balancing your checkbook. Enter the data back at the gym.?

?That?s brilliant,? I said. It was, too. And thanks to him and Abe Margolis, I could afford it. ?Might as well spend some of that money Abe is paying me,? I said. ?What kind of phone do you have? A Blackberry, right??

?Fuck Abe Margolis,? said Boot. ?How?d you like to get out from under that job??

?Out from under? Are you kidding me?? Neither of us liked Abe much, but the job was your proverbial pot of jam. An SAT word: sinecure. That?s what my job was. ?Where am I going to find that kind of money for that little work??

?You can do better than that. You?re providing a service to him by the hour, like a lawyer or a migrant laborer,? he said. ?The next step is for you to sell a widget, sit back and collect a percentage.?

?A widget??

?A made item. A piece of goods, an item that can be stocked and retailed.?

?I?m not following you.? Boot has other business interests, but not everyone lives that way, and I really couldn?t imagine what he meant. Not assembling children?s toys in the dorm, but what?

?I was imagining you as a calendar guy. A hunk-of-the-month kind of thing, with you in every month.? The idea was so ridiculous it was stunning; I really was speechless. ?We?d have to hurry,? he said. ?Calendars should be in stores for Christmas shopping, but they sell well through January,? and yadda yadda yadda. I could hardly hear him for the shock of it. He started talking about how to hurry the production. Distribution extending beyond the Madison area. He had been talking to some people. Digital pre-press. Art direction. ?Do you know the art photographer Cindy Sherman?? I thought I?d heard of her, but I wasn?t sure. What did she have to do with it? ?She got famous doing these very dramatic tableaus that look like scenes from the movies. Every picture tells a story and she?s the subject in every one. Like that. I talked to an MFA student, she?s a really good photographer and she?s interested.?

?I have no idea what you?re talking about,? I told him. ?What would I have to do??

?Basically, you?d have to show up for a one-day photo shoot and follow instructions. Pose. This Saturday.?

?And what would I get??

?Royalties. Based on sales. The margin is very high.?

With Boot, there?s no time between thought and action. He casually mentions something, and it turns out he?s already started without you. I quoted one of my father?s conversation-stoppers: ?That notion doesn?t even rise to the level of an idea.?

Boot was unfazed. ?Why the hell not??

?First of all, it?s the kind of thing you just know would never work. It?s the kind of thing you dream up over a beer or falling asleep in bed. Before reality hits you and you realize it couldn?t work.?

?That?s no reason,? he said. ?Some people do things, some people daydream about them. Everything that happens in the world gets done by a small minority of people while the majority just sit around and watch. Why not do something? You?re an engineer, you should be out there making stuff happen. You just have to figure it out. Maximize the odds. Minimize the risk to a level that you can afford to lose. Then go, go, go. You?re bound to hit sometimes. Not every time, but that?s okay. ?

?Well, we?ve already hit once. And there?s another reason it wouldn?t work. And that is that I fucking hate the idea.?


?I just do.?

?You don?t even know the idea. It?s very classy, very sophisticated.?

?That sounds like a description in a porno catalog.?

?Yeah, right. Now, there?s something you know all about.? He was grinning like an elf. ?I know your deal. You?ve got a whole fan club going back at Boston Charlie?s and you love it, but you?re afraid to take the next step. You?re afraid to be on permanent display. I know you.?

Boot, the Energizer bunny. He keeps on talking and talking? ?You still haven?t even told me the idea,? I said.

?It?s strictly PG-13. We?re thinking a calendar called something like ?Sins and Temptations? where each month shows you in some masculine role like athlete, fireman, cop. Like you could be a fireman just starting to change out of your sooty work clothes and you?re taking your shirt off. Or you?re dressed like the devil, offering a box of jewels. Or you?re a waiter holding a dish of cherry pie, except of course you?re not wearing a shirt.?

?I don?t see where?s the sin or the temptation in all of these. Like being a baseball player, what?s wrong with that??

Sometimes Boot looks at me like I?m much younger and unbelievably na?ve, even though he?s just a freshman like me ? although he did take a year off after high school to make some money, so he wouldn?t have to accept support from his father. ?Leave that to me and the photographer,? he said. ?You?ll be showing your muscles and holding a great big bat.?

?Well, when you put it that way, sure, I hate the fucking idea.?


?I don?t know, I just do.?

I knew all along that Boot would convince me to do it. Even when I wasn?t persuaded yet, I knew it was only a matter of time. But that didn?t mean I knew what to expect. When Saturday came, we went to a part of campus I never go to, for a long day?s photo shoot, starting at 8 a.m. in a large, chilly, white studio room. Boot had rented or bought tons of props and costumes, and the photographer had already been there an hour when we arrived. She was going through it all and taking notes, very excited. A big-time militant lesbian, I think, multiple piercings, spiky short hair. She eyed me as we walked in and put down a striped sports jersey she was holding. ?Well,? she said, ?there you are.?

The floor was shiny-clean grey enamel with three big piles of folded costumes, helmets, boots, football padding, a fishing pole. A large square-format camera was set up on a tripod. Against the walls, which were mostly soft white boards for use with pushpins, there was more gear: a big axe, a section of fire hose, lots of steel rebar, hockey sticks, baseball bats, a couple of helmets. Pieces of armor, a lance, chain mail. All for me, apparently.

?Hi, Chris, my name?s Lily and I?m going to make this very easy for you,? the photographer said, examining me up, down and sideways. She turned to Boot and told him, ?I picked up some whipped topping and maraschino cherries.? Lily had a nice smile but looked more like a cactus than a lily. She turned back to me. ?When your friend Boot told me about you, I didn?t believe him?what are you, football? Wrestling??

?I?m not an athlete,? I said. ?I?m a computer science major, engineering.?

?And quite a piece of engineering you are,? she said, not missing a beat. I shot Boot a get-me-out-of-here look.

?What?? he said. ?What?s with the look? Relax, this?ll be fun.?

It wasn?t. At least, not at first. For the first pose they dug a baseball outfit out of the pile. It had kind of a vintage look ? cleated black shoes, pants that had a button cuff above the calf and a jersey that was buttoned and striped. I changed behind a folding screen and came hobbling out so they?d know that the shoes were uncomfortably small.

?Unbutton the shirt, Chris,? said Boot. ?Let it hang open.?

Then Lily gave me an old-fashioned wooden baseball bat, a Louisville Slugger, positioned me against a white background, and started firing instructions. Something like this: ?Okay, Chris, imagine you?re in the locker room and you?ve just started to change back out of your uniform after the game.? Four or five clicks of the shutter. ?Now imagine that the door to the locker room is open and I?m standing there looking. Okay, you?ve just noticed me, look at me, you?re surprised.? All this time the shutter is clicking away. ?And now you?re thinking ?I know what you want, baby, and I?ve got it.? Okay, right? Yeah, baby, you know what I want. More. More.? More clicking, I thought, but that wasn?t what she meant. ?Earth to Chris,? she said, ?you?re not giving me anything.?

?Giving you anything??

?When I say to think of something, imagine what it feels like and show it to me. Project the emotion. Try it again. Do surprise. Look at the camera and imagine I?m lurking in the doorway of the locker room. Surprise ? look! Who?s that in the doorway??

Why, coach Barkman, I thought. What are you doing here?

?Great, and now, yes, I?m standing there, great, you couldn?t be more surprised, great, and now you?re thinking I bet she?s been watching me all this time, great, and now you?re thinking ?I know what she wants???

And I thought: Fitness is a lifelong pursuit, coach Barkman, wouldn?t you agree? Yes, indeed, I thought you would.

?Perfect,? she said. ?Perfect, that?s great.? And all this time she?s behind the camera, clicking away.

?Keep shooting,? I said. I had a great idea. ?Watch this.? Slowly I took the thick end of the bat in my right hand and the narrow end in my left, then suddenly snapped it across my knee. Hard wood, ash, it makes a loud crack and splits into two daggers. What do you think, coach Barkman? Not bad for an eighteen-year-old, huh? Fitness. It?s definitely a lifelong pursuit. I?ve got what it takes, don?t you think?

?Perfect, Chris, that?s great,? Lily was saying, snapping away. ?You?re powerful, you?re the Master of the Universe, you?re the Hulk. Now face me. You want me to kneel, you demand my obedience. Almost angry. Genghis Khan. Yes. Hold those things like they?re weapons.? A few more snaps, and then she stopped. ?That?s just what I?m talking about,? she said. ?It?s like you?re acting in a play. You show me the feeling.? She started to walk away, then came back and smiled, somehow knitting her brow at the same time. ?So where did that come from, all of a sudden??

?I don?t know,? I said. ?When you first said ?think of this, think of that,? how was I to know that you wanted it to show on my face? I think I?ve got it now.?

?Then now you?re a model,? she said. ?That?s what I want.? The next shot was much easier, with me as a fancy waiter holding a tray with a dish of chocolate mousse on it, garnished with a sprig of mint. That was the cheapest elegant-looking confection they could find ? the ?mousse? was actually pudding. I was wearing black pants with a satin stripe, no shirt, and a bow tie. The pants had to be pinned in the back, which was Lily?s province. ?If this were a real shoot with a real budget,? she said, ?I?d have a stylist doing this and an assistant for the equipment, and you?d have other models and better props to work with,? she said. ?Still. You?re doing great. Think ?at your service, madam.? Think butler.?

After that she gave me a khaki uniform and a pith helmet to change into, but when I was behind the screen she called out ?Boot, the cat?s here. Let?s try him with a cat, what do you think??

?Yeah, let?s try it,? said Boot. Chris, how are you with cats??

?I?m good with animals, with cats, I really like them,? I said. The cat was a sort of mascot in the studio, solid white and stone deaf, as white cats often are. Nice, big golden eyes and a sweet face. He would come in through the window and the artists would feed him. They called him Mr. Cat or Your Name Here, in honor of a conceptual artist sharing the studio who used that theme in his work ? which included facsimiles of the Declaration of Independence and the Treaty of Versailles with all the signatures rendered as the words ?Your Name Here.?

?Military fatigues, I think,? said Lily. ?Nice contrast with Mr. Cat?s white fur.?

?Nah,? said Boot, ?I?m thinking pajama bottoms, no tops, with Chris and the cat playing on the floor. Can you get a darker backdrop onto the floor and shoot them from above?? Which is how the shot was eventually set up. We lured Mr. Cat with Redi-Whip, which he loved. At one point Lily had me lie on the floor and squirted some on my chest, and he climbed right aboard and licked it off. ?That?s the money shot,? said Boot.

It all seemed like play after that. For a shot of me in a devil costume, Lily put me in a costume of red felt and sequins holding a miniature pirate?s chest ? actually called a casket ? filled with fake jewels. ?Can you raise one eyebrow?? she asked. ?I want seductive and menacing at the same time.? When the shot was set up she put some music on a boom-box, a baritone aria about a diamond from the opera ?Tales of Hoffman.? Very atmospheric ? sinister and alluring. ?Okay,? said Lily. ?Raised eyebrow, half-smile. The very devil, that?s what you are.?

For one shot I was a fisherman in hip-waders and not much else. For another, I was wearing white tennis shorts and had a stethoscope around my neck ? don?t ask. Even worse, Speedos and a cape, with me rushing to the rescue. If Lily shot one of these, she shot a hundred, maybe more. I leapt off a table and onto a mattress, to get the look of flying; I punched the air to show fearless determination; I wiped my brow with my forearm to indicate the crisis was over and the job well done. We had no damsel to swoon with gratitude, but hey, you do what you can with what you?ve got.

We had worked straight through with only peanut butter crackers, cheese crackers and water from the sink ? a dietary fuckup I would only allow one day per week ? and I still had to work out and run. It was dark outside by the time Boot gave me the last costume: a hardhat, denim cutoffs, an orange safety vest and work boots. Lily took lots of ?construction worker? shots: me bending over to pick up a bolt, kneeling with a hammer, hanging from a ladder by one arm, swigging from a can of beer. ?That?s it, fellas,? she said. ?Good work.?

?Wait,? said Boot. ?I?d like one more series. You don?t have to change.? He handed me a piece of rebar, maybe two feet long and a quarter-inch thick, maybe three eighths. ?Can you bend this?? he said.

?Anyone can bend this, I think,? and I showed him, bending it into a blunt V-shape with the vertex up high, then letting it invert and closing it into a U.

?Not anyone,? he said. ?I can?t. How about this?? He gave me one that was maybe half an inch. Same thing.

?Okay, Herc,? he said. ?We?ll skip the next size. How about this one?? It looked about an inch in diameter, and provided some real resistance. But it didn?t take all that long ? starting it off with a slight bend, then changing my grip. It was easier to start with the vertex pointing up and end with it down. I?d have to think about that.

?Not hard,? I said. ?I can go thicker.?

?Okay, here?s the deal,? said Boot. ?Lily, I want you to take a really rapid series of Chris that follows him all the way through bending the bar. And Chris, I want you to look at the camera, not at the bar. The camera is a person and you?re staring them in the face, showing them what you can do. The camera is me. Got it?? He handed me a bar that was much thicker, well over an inch, brown and rough, with a grid pattern embossed on it. ?Chris, how are your hands, you need gloves?? But my hands are really deeply calloused from lifting. It would be fine.

I tested my grip on the bar a few times, then started to bend. At first it felt immoveable, but then it started to give. It was intense, like trying a new weight. The line between strength and technique is not where people think, maybe not a line at all; at first I find that the body is unsure if it can apply sufficient force, but also unsure of how to apply the force ? like it?s learning to lift the weight. As much a matter of knowledge in the muscles as strength in the mind. And darned if I didn?t bend that bar into a U-shape.

?Lily, did you get that? Oh my God, Chris, you?re a god.? Lily had gotten it, all right, more than twenty images. ?What does it take to do that?? asked Boot. ?Which muscles are you exerting? Where??

I closed my eyes and imagined the movement again. ?There?s a lot involved,? I said. ?Shoulders, upper arms. Upper back. Chest. Even the forearms.?

?Where?s the most??

?I?d say shoulders and upper arms,? I said.

Chris came over to me with another bar. ?Do you think you could do it again?? he asked. ?With me like this?? He handed me the bar and faced me up close, with one hand on my left delt and the other on my right bi.

It was an odd moment, but I didn?t see why not. ?One way to find out,? I said. ?On the count of three: one, two three.? And I was bending. And this time the movement did seem easier, as if my body had learned how to do it better rather than getting depleted from the exertion. I didn?t even change hand positions; I just kept bending. Boot had his eyes closed, and he kept them closed after I was done with the movement, almost like a religious ecstatic. In fact, I think he was trembling.

Nobody was speaking, and I wanted to break the silence. ?Wow, that was intense,? I said.

That seemed to jolt Boot awake, and he said ?Lily, I?ll pick these things up tomorrow, I?ve got to go now. Thanks for everything, guys.? And just like that, before we knew what had happened, he was out of there.

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Old January 5th, 2013, 10:03 AM
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I just found this story while searching for "The Model" by mdlftr, and damn, this is a really good series! Seems like the author hasn't been on in a year and was somewhat anxious about this series the last time he posted about it, but I'd love to see more development of Chris and Boot.
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Old January 5th, 2013, 06:19 PM
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Thanks for rediscovering

and for the positive feedback on the Chris and Boot series. I've had one additional installment in mind, but haven't yet had a chance to write and post it. My previous story in the archive, Son of the Spider Woman, would be easier to expand with an episodic sequel, and juicier than the original idea. A bunch of new characters for it have been banging around in my imagination ? could be a lot of fun if I can find the time.

- Tortolis
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Old January 5th, 2013, 08:25 PM
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yes, thanks for rediscovering this... now most of my day is shot locating and reading these amazing stories. In this one, it seems to hint at Chris growing at an unnatural rate. Maybe a follow-up could involve his growth accelerating due to something he's been unaware of?
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Old January 5th, 2013, 09:13 PM
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Grateful author

Originally Posted by I<3Muscles View Post
I just found this story while searching for "The Model" by mdlftr, and damn, this is a really good series! Seems like the author hasn't been on in a year and was somewhat anxious about this series the last time he posted about it, but I'd love to see more development of Chris and Boot.

I am flattered. The link to "The Model" is above.

Might I ask how you came to be looking for my story? I'm gob smacked to see my name and story listed as the object of a story search!



P.s. I like your story. You put in a bit more detail about the actual sessions of a model than I did. It works!
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Old January 6th, 2013, 08:21 AM
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Awesome story! I hope you find the time to continue where you left off, because this is one of those rare stories that looks interesting enough to follow. Great characters, good muscle description (of course, MORE is BETTER ) and a plot that has a lot of potential to evolve. It doesn't look like Chris is going to go through any major muscle growth, but it would still be great to see more of his power, both physical and emotional. I'd love to see Chris go to the gym and awe people with his massive strength, or watch him interact with some of the females on campus and overwhelm them with him huge muscles.

Great series, hope you get around to continuing it!
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Old January 10th, 2013, 05:45 PM
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Please continue this one! I can't wait to see where it leads. Maybe more in-person posing in front of an audience?
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