Muscle teen titan Alex Johnson is starting his senior year in High School. Alex has spent most of his life seemingly invisible, but since an experimental genetic treatment to save his life, he’s literally Big Man on Campus. His friends think that Alex is large and in charge, so the school bullies won’t be a problem anymore, but the bullies have other ideas. Meanwhile, Alex is just trying to cope with the usual problems—peer pressure, sports, grades—and a suddenly rocky relationship with his first real boyfriend. Along the way, Alex reaches out to some of the geekiest freshmen in school-- something no one ever did for him-- and his plan to help them produces some startling results.
I arrived home a few days before the start of school, driving my Checker Marathon taxicab. Well, it’s not really mine, but Bob and Lauren’s farmhand, Farley, owns it. He’s letting me drive it as long as I take care of it and pay for the insurance. It’s a good thing, too. I just don’t fit in a regular car anymore. Did I tell you I was seven foot six? Even so, we had to fiddle with the driver’s seat to make it go back far enough to be comfortable, and I still have to wriggle in and out. Step one, pull my knees up to my chest as far as I can. Step two, point my lower legs to the left. Step three, stick my feet out the door while keeping my knees low enough to pass under the steering wheel. Step four, turn. Step five, lower my left shoulder and duck my head enough to clear the doorframe. Step six, stand up. Didn’t Arthur Murray start this way?
Ryan says you can’t buy entertainment like that.
When I got home from the farm, I pulled into the driveway and parked by the rear house. That’s where my grandmother, Gram, lives. She’s my dad’s mom. I used to wonder why she lived here with us instead of with a blood relative—other than me—but now I see that she wanted to be the pipeline between me and Bob.
“Hello, sweetie,” Gram said as she came out her front door. “You told me how big you are now, but I’m still amazed!”
She put her arms around my waist and gave me a hug. I could hardly see the top of her head over my expansive chest. When she reappeared, she looked up at me with a broad smile.
“I missed you, honey,” she said as she patted my abs. “Your stomach is so hard!”
“I missed you, too,” I replied. “Is anybody else home?”
“Not yet. Why don’t you put your things away and then we’ll have some lemonade.” I leaned over to give her a little kiss and then went to unload my gear.
I didn’t have much. I’d spent the summer wearing a pair or two of overalls and sandals, usually without a shirt—my Farmer John from Hell look, as Ryan calls it. As a result, I only had a couple of shirts and a few pairs of underwear. The rest was my computer, some books, and miscellaneous items.
I opened the back door to the main house and squeezed myself in. I was nearly a foot taller than the doorway and more than a foot wider, so I turned sideways and crouched. I’d become quite adept at the maneuver.
“Hello?” I called out, just to be sure.
I entered the kitchen and as I crossed the room, the floorboards complained mightily. My feet were pretty big and did a good job of spreading the load—think elephant—but I realized that caution was in order. Unlike the farmhouse, this was a modern building and presumably a bit more sturdy. Nevertheless, I proceeded with caution up the stairs to my bedroom.
As I entered my bedroom, I couldn’t get over how much smaller everything seemed. The ceiling was just inches from my head, and I had to be careful and not hit the light fixture. I spread my arms and nearly touched the opposite walls with my fingertips. My twin bed, which had already collapsed before I even got this big, seemed positively tiny. I put my meager belongings away and had a seat.
The bed complained, but it didn’t collapse any further. I wasn’t sure whether to laugh or cry as I lay on the bed with my head propped against the wall, my feet hanging off the end, and both elbows touching the floor. Unless I could talk Phil into it, I was probably going to have to blow the money I’d saved all summer on the biggest bed I could find. Until then, I’d have to be careful not to roll over.
I went back down and out to the back house to see Gram again. She’d been helping me with my back-to-school clothes, and I wanted to see how she was doing.
“Gram?” I called as I squeezed into the front room. She entered from the kitchen with a pitcher of lemonade.
“Sit down, sweetie,” she said. I looked around trying to select a chair that I wouldn’t flatten.
“I need to get my chair,” I said. I went back out to my car and got my old library chair out of the back seat. I took it back in the house and made myself comfortable. It occurred to me just then that I might need to take it with me to school. The thought of carrying a ratty old wooden chair around campus to all my classes didn’t sound very appealing.
“I’ve been shopping for your clothes,” she said as she handed me a glass of lemonade. “And I’ve had some success.” She sat down with a couple of large plastic shopping bags. “The people at the shop were very helpful. They all said to say hello, and hope you’ll visit them soon. I think you’re a little bit of a celebrity.” Gram pulled several t-shirts out of one bag.
“These are the largest tees they make. If you haven’t gotten any bigger since you sent me your measurements, you should be okay,” she said as she handed me the shirts. “I’m a little concerned about the sleeves,” she added.
The shirts were plain, basic tees, no printing, no pockets and just solid colors. I unhooked my overalls and pulled on a red one. It was nearly skin-tight, but at least it fit.
“What do you think?” I asked Gram.
“My, it’s certainly, well, impressive,” she said. The sleeves were indeed very tight, and they rode up on my biceps. “Here, try one of these jerseys.”
More of the old reliable football jerseys. I put one on over the t-shirt, and it was much looser.
“This is good,” I said.