Connor’s last intelligent thought was, “Fuck. This is the last intelligent thought I’m ever going to have.”

    His next thought was, “Fuck, these basketball shorts feel fucking awesome. Me and bros look killer. We’re awesome.”

    He wasn’t even aware of what an idiot he looked like, neither were the other two friends, who, just moments before, had been engaging in a spirited political debate with a stranger. Needless to say, they lost the debate… and the stranger laughed in their faces before getting up and striding away.


    - Bro, smoke this joint bro. Its like nothin you ever had before, plus you look wicked fuckin tense lately, all up in your own grill, you feel me? Yeah… smoke up bro. Feels fuckin epic amirite? It lasts for fuckin ever, too… all smooth n calm n shit bro. Then when your at the gym with us, your Nu bros, itll feel ten times as fuckin awsum bro. Your gonna feel great, just focusin on the good things in life bro: the gym, your gear, sports. You dont wanna be smart no more huh. Its fuckin hard bro. Let it drop.

    - Huhuhuh … fuck this dopes killer brah. Whats it called?

    - Nu weed bro, for a Nu you.


    You thought you could leave the frat, huhuhuh… Sigma Nu for life, bro. No gettin out. I can see we missed some of your smarts and they grew back. We’ll take care of that. Just stare at my bis, bro… watch me flex em… muscle, huh, yea bro. Fuckin pump. Therrrre goes the last bit of your smarts, bro. I saw it wink out in your eyes. Good feelin, huh? Yeah, I knew you’d come back.

    A Revenge Fantasy

    You feel your mouth flicker into a snarl, your fists balling at your sides.  You see your muscles twitching under your skin.  You aren’t looking in his eyes - you know what happened the last time you did that.  Well, you sort of do.  It’s like a story you tell yourself, half-remembered, just the basics, and only sort of how it ends.  First, the slow creeping numbness over your brain, like fog over the river on a cold morning.  The humming, the buzzing, that rises in the same manner.  You know that if you let your eyes close, just a little bit, just a fraction, they might slam shut.  You might wake up somewhere else again.

    The way his words slide in and out of your consciousness.  It’s like trying to hold onto a slippery rope, coated in oil.  Your hands just keep sliding, even as you fight to hold on.  To concentrate on the words he is saying, not just the sounds they make, the way they piece together.  It’s so important to fight, to fight it with all your might.  It is important because if you don’t, you might slip, slip just a little, lose your footing.  Every single one of your muscles is wrought iron, is corded steel.  You are not superhuman.  You cannot keep this up forever. 

    The thought occurs, unbidden, a little suggestive, flicking in and out, stiletto-quick: is this part of it?  What are the words he is saying right now?  Maintain!  Focus!  Concentrate!  So many imperatives, so hard to -

    A wave of dizziness crashes into you, and you are faltering, teetering, there in the darkness behind your closed eyes.  Wait - when did you close your - are you become desperate?  Where are you on the slippery rope?  Your breath is so measured.  So even.   Wait, stop.  Breathe.  In, and out.  Relax.  You have this.  You can do this.  You are assured, you are confident.  Your mind is iron, just like your muscles.  You feel your muscles twitching under your skin.  Muscles are what is important.  They are how you maintain the fight against him.  You relax.  You grin.  There’s no way he beats you.  Not again.  Not with muscles like these.  This is what you are good for.  Muscles.  What’s he saying now?  It doesn’t matter that you don’t know.  You let the slippery rope slide.  You are confident.  You are laughing on the inside.  You let the tension drain out of you.  There’s no need to hold all that energy in your muscles, the best part of you.  All that electricity, all that fight.  You know he can’t best you, not with your muscles, not with muscles like yours.  You flex, just to show him who’s boss.

    “Well, you got me,” he says, and you open your eyes, swimming to the surface through what seems like an eternity of shifting colors, black to twilight to gray to blinding white - he is sitting there in front of you, smiling, arms crossed over his chest.  “You can’t be hypnotized.”

    “Yeah,” you say, uncomfortably rolling your shoulders.  “Can’t be hypnotized, bro.”  He grin widens.

    “And there’s no way I can get you to change your mind.”

    “Naw, can’t change my mind, bro.”  The words are out of your mouth before you can think to stop them.  Thinking to stop them seems like kind of a waste of time.  Who thinks before they speak?  What’s that even mean?  There’s a sort of fogginess.  You feel yourself frowning, just a little.

    “Aw, what’s the matter?  A little confused?”

    “Uhhh,” you start to get out, but it’s like your mouth’s filled up with cotton, or is it your head, or is it both?  It’s like having water in your ears after dunking your head underwater.  Try again.  “Uhhh…”

    “Wow, it really works.”  A new voice.  You turn your head to one side, surprised at how much effort it takes.  Someone standing next to him.  Staring at you, with a weird look on their face.  Something a little like surprise, but mostly like they just won something.  “And he’s gonna stay like this?”

    “He might relapse, but you just have to say his trigger phrase to get him to, ah, recharge, as it were.”

    “Or drain his batteries, haha.”  They share a high-five and then stare at you again. 

    What the fuck.  This isn’t right.  Something’s gone terribly wrong - you fought this!  You didn’t get hypnotized, you were strong, your muscles were flexed.  You start to stand up, and they’re staring at you.  “What’s a matter, bro?  Feel a little funny?”

    “Uhhh … yah,” you try to explain yourself.  I feel dizzy.  Faint.  Confused.  But the words just exist now as themes, as big feelings, in your head, and you don’t have the tools to describe them.  You make motions with your hands and arms.  You raise one arm from your side and clench your fist.  Your bicep engages, your tricep engages.  Parts of your lats and delt engage.  Your body is a machine which has been turned on, and this clears some of the fog.

    “Holy shit, he’s posing!”  The new dude is looking at the other dude.  They’re both skinny like twigs.  Glasses.  Smirky.  Fuckin nerds.  “This is nuts.”

    Your mouth opens.  “This isn’t me!  I’m not this way!  I flex, I flex, I - “

    They stare at you, for a long, unbroken moment, and then burst out into laughter, laughter that goes for so long that you raise your other arms and flex that one too.  That makes sense.  Flexing shows you’re strong.  Shows that you’re not weak.  Can’t be beat.  Can’t be hypnotized.  Can’t be made dumb.  You’re strong in the brains.  “I’m strong,” you say, but the brain part doesn’t make it out.  “I’m strong,” you try again, and then flex again.  God, it feels good.  You don’t want to stop.  You never will stop.

    “What about his classes?”

    “Taking care of that now.”  You hear typing.  He’s on your computer.

    “I flex!”  You protest.

    “Yeah, dummy.  You flex.  You just keep on flexing, and I’ll just keep on editing your life for you.  You won’t have to worry about being smart anymore.”

    What the fuck?  What is happening?  Your mind is spiralling into panic.  You are smart.  You are in the top level of your classes.  You are getting all As.  You tutor people!  You - “I flex!”

    “Looks like he’s trying to fight it,” the second nerd observes, pushing his glasses up on his nose.  “Man, his muscles are getting big … how long have you been doing this?”

    “The whole semester,” he says.  He looks at you square in the eyes.  “Mostly while he was sleeping.  I doubt he even remembers when he started going to the gym.  Work’s really paid off, though, hasn’t it.  Big muscles.”  He walks up to you.  He touches a finger to your forehead, presses.  “Little, tiny brain.”  He laughs.  “You’re right.  He is trying to fight it.  Let’s just fix that while his add/drops are processing.”  He turns back to you.  “Bet you’re sorry you ever fucked with me, dumbbell.”

    Don’t look at him in the eyes.  Don’t look at him in the eyes.  Don’t listen to his words.  Don’t let him -

    “Bet you’re sorry you ever called me dumbbell, dumbbell.”

    Don’t - no -

    His smirk.  His brief, short laugh.  His gray, gray eyes.

    “Go to sleep, dumbbell.”

    The tail of the slippery rope, vanishing into the darkness. 


    hmmm… what was i just doin? i remember sittin down, and there was this funny voice in my head…

    - Don’t give in! Don’t let them win!

    Huh…? What was that?

    - You’re a smart guy! You wanna be smart! Don’t let them win…!

    Huhuhuhuh… sounds funny, but I dunno what th fuck ur talkin about bro. Who are u?

    - I’m you! Don’t you remember? You got caught in that rainstorm, and you had to run into that house… you were soaked, and that nice guy gave us this pair of basketball shorts while our clothes are drying out, but they’re… doing something to our, to your, to my… uhhh…

    Huhuhuh…. oh yea. I member now. Rainin, all wet.

    - fuck… its gettin harder to fight…

    Fuck, these shorts are fuckin killer bro… so comfy. wish i could wear em all th time…

    - no….

    Maybe ill ask Max Gearhead if i can keep em huhuh hes got like 30 pares.

    - fuck….

    yea Max is my Nu bro. i think im gonna like it here.

    - you lost… i lost …

    naw bro. i fuckin win. Nu for life brah!!


    “Hey, bro, you better get goin or you’re gonna be late to class.”


    “Yeah bro. English class.”

    “I speak English bro. Don’t need no class on it.”

    “Dude … what is up with you? You’ve been real spacy and not with it lately.”

    “Uhhh I dunno what you mean.”

    “Like that.”

    “Like what?”

    “Okay, fine, be like that. Sit in front of that mirror all day looking at your abs.”

    “Fuck yeah. My sixpack is fuckin awesome. I worked fuckin hard for these.”

    “That’s true, I guess.”

    “Wanna touch em? They’re rock hard.”

    “Naw, bro, I’m good.”

    “C'mon. Just touch em bro. I know you wanna. Yeaahhh, just like that lil bro.”

    “Wow… they’re so hard…”

    “Fuck yeah, bro… you want abs like this too, huh.”

    “Well yeah…”

    “Rock hard fuckin six pack lil bro?”


    “You’re gonna let muscle take over your brain, huh. It’s so easy.”

    “Uhhh… yeaaahhh…”

    “Good lil bro. Wanna go to the gym?”

    “Uh, I got class.”

    “Fuck class lil bro. Skip it.”



    “I do gotta get to the gym.”

    “Yeah! Fuck yeah! Let’s go.”

    “Okay… yeah!”

    If you concentrate real hard you can almost remember who you used to be, but its harder every time with the sunlight draped over your skin and the fresh tickle of grass underneath you, the hot breath of the light wind against your face.  Its almost like every time you close your eyes you feel your muscles growing.  The more sunlight you can get on your skin the more the muscles grow.  You start wearing less and less, youre excited to wear less and less.  At first it was shorter sleeves, tighter against your growing biceps.  Then it was sleeveless shirts, cut off right at the top of the shoulder, then it was tank tops, then one day you just felt it, felt it right in your middle, just yanked out the scissors in a frenzy of no-thought action, almost attacked that red t-shirt you hadn’t worn in forever, sliced the sleeves right off, and then went even further, carved two big holes right down the sides of the shirt.  “Natural air conditioning,” you shrugged to your gawking friends as they made fun of you.  “It’s hot.”  It isn’t an excuse not for you. 

    And how long has it been since you wore anything but compression shorts, you cant even remember can you.  Anything else would just feel weird, boxers - why even bother?  Oh yeah that sunlight on your skin.  You spend so much more time outside now that you joined the local baseball team, you dont really have any time for the friends you used to hangout with, and they werent any good for you anyway.  Drinking too much, smoking too much, so fuckin negative all the time.  Theyll get old glued to their barstools blinking in the afternoon through a haze of drunk and pot while youve been up since sunrise, pumping at the gym, swinging on the field, maybe havin a beer or two with your new friends, yes your new friends, the ones who clap you on your shoulders and exclaim at how much your bodys changed since you started training with your trainer and man how glad they are you joined the team, youre just fuckin dominating the game, bro, and it just fills you with this golden feeling like the sunlight draping over your skin and the warmth pressing down on the crown of your head, pressing down on your ballcap that you never seem to take off - team loyalty you know - and before you know it, your life has totally changed, maybe not in the blink of an eye but you almost didnt notice it happening, and now it’s already happened and here you are in the sunlight and it just feels SO FUCKING GOOD you cant help but clench a fist and flex your bicep and grin grin so fuckin big that it splits your face in two and time rushes by and you hear your bros callin your name from the dugout.

    It might just be a fantasy now but it won’t be.  You’ll see.  It happens so fast if you just get on the train.  You dont get off because the doors close too fast and you’re just havin too much fuckin fun as your body changes and your mind changes and your life changes and everything just becomes so much … clearer, like the sun comin out from behind the clouds, hitting your closed eyes, glittering and dazzling, paralyzing your brain and invigorating your muscles … yeah, you’ll see.  It aint just a fantasy.  Its the future. 

    MEAT. useless brains dont function. gray lumpy goo. durrrrr. fuckin killer bi’s though bro. flex em good. each time u flex ur squeeeeezin out ur brains. like that playdoh spagetti machine. flex n squeeeeeze and bye bye brains. when someone asks ur name u laugh and say MEAT. durrrr. ur fuckin funny bro. flex again for me. squeeeeeze ur brains. got a lil headache now huh dont u. probly gonna have it for awhile. u got cavitys in ur brains. rotten. gotta flex it out. squishy lumpy gray goo. durrr.

    Soon Ill wear football gear in public. Football pants and pads and compression gear and maybe even eyeblack. Itll be so easy. Everyone will see. Look at the dumbass football jock. Nobody could take me seriously. And then the flexing will start. Check out his fuckin bi’s. Maybe he wears that helmet so he doesnt lose anymore brain cells. Is he drooling? Wow. What a dumbass. Go chase some balls, dumbass. Go pick up heavy things and put em down. Grin like a motherfucker while ur doin it, cuz its the only thing ur good at. Fuck, IQ is draining. Can feel it. Prickly. Tickles. Fuck. Football fucking rules.


    All those displomas on the wall?  Used to be mine.  I mean they are mine.  I just dont give a shit about em anymore.  I still get people comin in and bein like Yeah man Ur the smart one right Ur the guy I gotta talk to?  And Im like huh?  Youre looking for someone to help you in the gym right?  And theyre like huh?  I came here cuz I needed someone who was good with numbers.  And Im like good with numbers like how many reps bro? 

    Then they usually just kinda go. 

    I should really take down those displomas.  I got a new one the other day from the NSCA - thats the National Strength and Conditioning Assosiation, and its fucking cool as shit.  Im my own best ad, bro.  Check out these abs.  Yeah bro.  You want abs like these.  You know U do.  Come see me bro.  Ur gonna be fuckin ripped.  U might not give a shit bout some other things U used to care about, but U wont care.  U will see bro.  Its a fuckin trip.

    The only thing I look forward to anymore is going to the gym.  Not even drinking is good anymore.  I hate being hungover because it means I have less energy for the gym.  It might even keep me from going to the gym. That’s not likely though because I need to go to the gym.  I need to learn more about muscles and going to the gym.  I need to change my life and become a dumb jock because thinking is stupid.  I hate thinking.   Thinking gets you nowhere.  Talking smart gets you nowhere.  Smart is just thinking too much about thinking.  Thinking too much about anything is bad.  It is actually bad for you.  Being smart is bad for you.  It’s like an illness.  You shouldn’t celebrate being smart, you should actively work to cure it.  When someone is smart around you, you should feel bad for them that they have to be smart.  It’s a sickness, being smart.  The only cure is going to the gym.  Changing your focus.  Maybe even your career.  Become a personal trainer maybe.  Your whole life should focus on this.  You’re a fighter, right?  You can beat smart.  Start going to the gym today, if you don’t already.  If you do already, go more.  If you go as much as you can, go HARDER.  Go BEAST.  Get fucking ripped.  Just yesterday I came in the shower feeling how big my traps have gotten.  I want them to get bigger.  I want people to comment on my fucking muscles, not my smarts. I want to say the word gym in almost every sentence, or muscle.  I can do this.  You can too.

    Just focusin on muscles now.  Check out my delts bro.  Fuckin rounded.  Check out my bis.  Flexin all the time.  I wear basketball shorts 24/7/365 now.  Ripped abs and obliques bro.  Always carryin around my gym bag.  New focus, new life.  Time to take a selfie bro.  All that shit about bein smart, fuck it.  Just do like me bro.  Get ripped.  This time next year I’ll be fuckin huge.  Get up, have a shake, go to the gym.  Go to work.  I’ll be a personal fuckin trainer.  Helpin other bros get muscles.  I’ll be known as the BroMaker hahaha.  Bro of Bros.  But that wont stop me from my own quest.  More fuckin muscle.  More fuckin gear.  I’m kind of a sneakerhead ya know.  Always loved lookin at sneakers, but never got a lot for myself.  Now my collection is growin.  I get comments all the time.  Nice sneaks.  Cool kicks.  Wow those are bright.  Wow those look fast.  Old friends fallin behind.  Cant keep up with me bro.  Im going too fuckin fast.  Youre all spinnin around cuz U got smarts still in ur brains.  Get rid of em.  Go bro.  Go bro.  Be bro.  Let go.  Be bro.  Dont think.  Just do.  Be bro.


    “There’s no stopping it now, pledges. Sigma Nu moved into your heads and removed all the brains from there. It’s Nu or Die, bro. It’s the Nu You. Nu Life. Muscles, flexing, working out, dumb as shit. Sports, hockey, football. Smart stuff: in one ear, whoosh, right out the other. Blink and say uhhhhhhh if you understand.”


    “Good, you’re getting it. It’s so easy to do what Master-Coach says, isn’t it bros. Almost done. Let it happen, dont fight it. You want this.”


    You’re My BIG DUMB JOCKBOY now aren’t you Lilbro? Confused?? Just blink and say uhhhhhhh if you understand bro.”

    “What up bro!…. Uhhhhhhh…”


    Tracking down these old maxhockeyjock posts

    “Who, me?”

    “Yeah, bro. We want you to rush Sigma Nu.”

    “I’ve heard bad things about that frat. No thanks.”

    “You’d be perfect. Already got on the tank - no sleeves in Sigma Nu, bro - and you got some good definition. What’s your major?”

    “Uh, physics.”

    “Yeah, that would have to change. Like sports?”

    “I watch a game or two, sure, but not really.”

    “Yeah, that’d change, too. I say you’re perfect, bro. Come down to the house and we’ll get you started.”

    “I think I’ll pass.”

    “They all say that at first, bro, until they hear the call…”

    “Call? What call?”

    “You’ll see, bro… see you soon, pledge.”


    Backward cap, shades, fave tank. Baller shorts, protein shake, Nike Air Max. Passenger in his own car, driving somewhere, mildly confused.

    “Hey… uh, where’d you say we were goin again? How come I feel so fuckin’ weird…”

    “Don’t worry bro. It’s all for the best. Just relax.”

    “The… fuck? Did you drug me?”

    “Just relax bro…”

    Compelled. Muscles relax. Muscles shift. Muscles smiles.

    “Some of your old self is still hangin on. What’s your name, bro? Tell me your name.”

    Greg. It was Gr - “Muscles,” he said.

    The driver laughed, barked, almost. “Hahaha bro, that’s just a nickname. Not your real name. What’s your real name?”

    Greg! It was - “Muscles,” he said again, thickly. A vacant, dumb grin sprouted helplessly over his mouth.

    “One more time, bro… try again.”

    Gr - “Muscles, Muscles, Muscles!” He said, triumphantly, and flexed a double bicep pose like a flourish.

    “Well, if you say so. Dumbass.”

    Muscles nodded, and laughed, a low, dumb sound. “We goin’ to gym?”

    “Yup, gym.”

    Muscles liked the sound of that.


    One of my faves


    Its all good bro… the gear i loaned u is startin to change u up now, even while ur sleapin… my Abercrombie tshirt on ur skinny body, my arm around ur head… just relax an let it happen bro. Your gonna be Nu just like me. Your big bro. And doin what I tell ya just seems so natural huh? Man, we r gonna have some fun as bros… ull see. Dont need smarts to be my lil bro, just a need for more gear and the gym bro. Youll see. Life is better with me.


    Yea, bro, I can see you starin at me. Wishin you was me. Check out this gun, bro. I can see you like it too. Its my pride and fuckin joy.

    I used to be like you, bro. Lookin at other dudes and thinkin, fuck, thats who I wanna be. Yea, its hard to look away from my gun, aint it? Huhuhuh, dont lie bro. You cant stop fuckin lookin. Bet its even turnin you on, bro. Thats cool, bro. Guys get fuckin hard all the time when they see me showin off my gun.

    See, now your gonna want one of your own aint ya bro? Man, it pumps up so fuckin nice bro. Just think, you layin here next to me us both in our UA shorts flexin an grinnin an everyones fuckin lookin at us.. cmon bro, you know you fuckin want that badder then anything, dont you. I can see it in your eyes bro, that lil spark … dude thats whats gonna get you to the fuckin gym bro, liftin, workin out, bro. All for a sweet set of guns and a killer ripped body.

    Course, theres some tradeoffs. Ya gotta focus so hard on liftin an shit that alot of other stuff kinda gets dropped. Stuff ya thought you wanted to do and be… but seriously bro. Isnt it fuckin worth it? I mean, check out my fuckin gun… keep starin. Your gonna be an awesome bro. I can fuckin tell.


    We’re gonna take your brains and split em up between us. I’m gonna be a doctor, Cliff’s gonna be a lawyer, and Brian’s gonna be … uh, somethin else smart. You? You’re just gonna focus on your muscles and working out, bro. That’s what you want, isn’t it? Mind-fucked and dumb. We deserve it anyway, and we know you agree. Get ready, “bro.” Here it comes….


    “Uh here wha comes?”

    “Yeah that’s it dude, I can feel his brains already”

    "Huhuhuh what am I doin’ here I gotta hit the fuckin gym bro!”