by John D.
I'll never forget the time I first saw Darnell. I had just arrived at the YMCA camp for a 2-week camping experience. The camp had kids from 7 to 14 years old. I was 10 and had just finished 4th grade. I took a bus to the camp with other kids from my town, which was an upper-middle class suburb of the city. All the kids in my school were white, except for a few Asians, so I had absolutely no experience with black kids. I thought everyone was just like me.
The kids from my bus were milling around in the parking lot, waiting for the bus driver to unload our luggage. As I was waiting, I looked over across the parking lot where another bus had also just arrived. The kids were the same ages as the kids on my bus, but there were a lot more minorities - Latinos, Asians and -yes- even some blacks. That bus must have come from someplace in the city. There was one kid who immediately caught my eye. He was black - really black- with dark, dark skin. He was helping the busdriver unload the heavy bags from the bus while all the other kids were standing around doing nothing. He was wearing light blue shorts and a white tank top shirt, which contrasted, starkly with his dark black skin.
But what really made me notice him was his muscles. His muscles were phenomenal! His shoulders were really wide and his traps and delts were big and muscular. The parts of his body that were revealed by his tank top and shorts just bulged with muscle. As he helped the driver unload the luggage, the muscle fibers of his big, round delts rippled. Even from a distance I could see the big cords of muscle in his shoulders flex and rearrange themselves effortlessly as he moved his arms. His arms were really big and unusually cut for a kid. When he lifted a bag, his biceps contracted into big balls of muscle. His triceps were thick and showed snake-like heads of muscle when he flexed them. His lats were like wings of black muscle that formed under his armpits and tapered down to a very small waist and narrow hips. I couldn't see his abs, but if they looked like the rest of him they must have been shredded. His ass was really firm and round and stretched the fibers of his shorts when he moved. I could see his chest muscles pushing out under his tank top, forcing the shirt to reveal the top fibers of his hard, round and very black pecs. His legs were big and muscular, but at the same time shredded. As he helped the bus driver unload the heavy bags, he started to develop a little sweat on his black skin, which now glistened in the sun, showing off every one of his buffed muscles. He looked like a real athlete, a naturally endowed black kid who was probably the star of his inner-city football and track teams and would go on to be a superstar in high school and college and maybe even the pros. The kind of athlete most white kids could never hope to be. And he looked like he was at least 13 years old.
Our driver finally finished unloading our bags (none of the kids on my bus, including me, helped him) and I looked for mine. After I found it, I looked over to the other bus, but the muscular black kid was gone. He was on his way to check in. Since he was older than me, I figured I'd probably never see him again, or maybe just see him in the mess hall or something. I waited for the other kids on my bus and then we walked over to the main lodge to get our room assignments. I found out that I wouldn't be staying in the same cabin as my friends from school. We would be assigned to cabins with kids who were our same age, but who were from different parts of the city. As the counselor explained it, we would experience more "diversity" that way. It sounded fine to me - I was looking forward to meeting some new kids.
I was assigned to Cabin #12, the "Lion" cabin. All the cabins were named after animals, which was pretty cool. And since the lion was king of the animals, I was liking my cabin already. I lugged by bag over to the cabin and opened the door. It was really dark inside. As I strained to see anything in the cabin I gasped and dropped my bag right on my foot. All I could see was a white tank top shirt and light blue shorts at the far end of the cabin, but I couldn't see any body holding up those clothes. It was like a ghost was there. Then my eyes started adjusting to the darkness and I saw him. It was the muscular black kid from the parking lot!
He ran over to the door and picked my heavy bag up off my foot like it was a feather pillow. Then he smiled with the brightest, whitest perfect teeth I have ever seen, which contrasted incredibly with his really black skin. He held out his hand and said, "Yo, kid, I hope you're alright. My name's Darnell and it looks like we're going to be living together in this cabin." Still somewhat bewildered, I shook Darnell's hand. His hand was big and his grip was really powerful. I said, "Hi, Darnell, glad to meet you. I'm Matt." I couldn't help but stare at Darnell's muscles - those muscular traps, shoulders, lats and arms were now right in front of me and they looked even bigger and stronger up close. Darnell saw me staring at his body and said, "Are you looking at my muscles, Matt? Don't worry, everybody does it. I'm used to it by now. I've had muscles ever since I was little kid, so I've gotten used to people looking at me. It doesn't bother me at all. Here, take a better look."
Darnell stripped off his tank top, revealing his whole torso, and stood before me smiling. My mouth dropped open. His pecs were round and firm, and I could see striations of muscle twitching under his black skin as he casually flexed them. His shoulders were incredibly wide and capped with shredded muscle that looked like striated melons. His slab-like lats formed a perfect "V" down to his very small waist and narrow hips. He was about three inches taller than me, but it looked like his waist and hips were smaller than mine. And then there were his abs. Totally buffed, incredible abs. Darnell had a shredded eight-pack that looked like corrugated iron. Each of his ab muscles looked like little bricks under his smooth black skin.
"Now watch this," said Darnell. He raised his muscular arms to his side, made his hands into fists, and slowly curled up his forearms. As he contracted his arms, his biceps formed big, solid balls of muscle, about the size of small oranges. Then he untensed and tensed his biceps several times, and every time he tensed them the biceps muscles almost burst out of his skin as they bulged higher and higher. His triceps bulged and writhed like snakes. I never saw such a big and muscular arm on a kid.
"Wanna feel my muscle, Matt? Go, ahead, most people do." I couldn't believe how friendly Darnell was and how open he was about his muscles. I reached up and felt Darnell's right upper arm. It was so big that I couldn't get my hand around even half of it. Darnell flexed his bicep real hard and I squeezed as hard as I could. It felt like I was squeezing a rock. I ran my little fingers over his bicep as he flexed and unflexed and I could feel the steel cords of muscle tense into solid balls. And I could also see some veins under Darnell's black skin.
"Jesus, Darnell," I said. "How did you get so much muscle?" "Oh, I think I was just born with it," said Darnell. "All my family has muscles. My dad is really big. I have a 15-year-old brother who already weighs 190 pounds and is the starting fullback on his high school's football team, even though he's only a sophomore. He can bench press 375 pounds. Then I have a 13-year-old brother who weighs 145 and can bench 225. I've been using their weights a little bit lately and last week I benched 135 pounds for one rep. That means I can put two 45-pound plates on the bar, just like the big boys. I think that's pretty good since I just started lifting three months ago and I only weigh 95 pounds." Darnell "only" weighed 95 pounds! I looked at him in awe. He outweighed me by 25 pounds and it was all solid muscle.
"Wait a minute, Darnell," I said. "How old are you anyway? With all that muscle you've got to be a lot older than me and I'm 10. You look at least 13 to me." "Well, thanks, Matt. I'll take that as a compliment. But I'm only 10 years old, just like you. My dad says that I'm even bigger and have more muscle at my age than either of my brothers. So like I said, I think I was just born with it." Darnell looked at his bicep and flexed it one more time. The big muscle popped up at his command. Then he relaxed and said, "Hey, Matt, lets share that bunk. Do you want top or bottom?" "I'll take the top, Darnell." I said. I figured I'd have a better view of Darnell's muscular black body from the top bunk. "OK, gimme five, bro!" said Darnell. "We're bunkmates!" Darnell slapped me hard on my hand and carried my heavy bag over to our bunk.
For the next hour, Darnell and I got to know each other really well. I laid on the top bunk looking down at Darnell and Darnell laid on the bottom bunk looking up at me. We talked about our families, our neighborhoods and our schools. Obviously, our backgrounds were totally different. Darnell was from a lower middle class section of the city. It was a pretty tough neighborhood and Darnell said he had to learn how to fight when he was really young. Luckily, he said, he usually won his fights because of his muscles. Growing up in an athletic, naturally muscular family, especially a black family, was something I couldn't really comprehend, but being big and strong was just normal to Darnell. Just as I had imagined in the parking lot, Darnell was the star player on his Pop Warner football team. He was too heavy to play with the other kids his age, so the league put him on a team with 11 and 12 year-old boys. Even still, he excelled as a running back and linebacker and was voted most valuable player by his teammates. Besides being really strong, Darnell was also really fast. He had just won first place in the 100 and 200-meter dashes in the all-city schoolboy track meet for grade school kids. This kid was a total athlete.
Darnell was lying on his bunk looking up at me with his hands under his head. His shirt was still off and all he was wearing was his light blue shorts. Every so often as he talked he would flex his arms a little and his biceps would bunch up into hard balls of muscle. His lats were incredibly wide. They looked like black wings - slabs of muscle that formed a perfect "V" from his wide shoulders to his narrow hips. It looked like the skin in his hairless armpits was just a little lighter than the dark, black skin of the rest of his body. Darnell's phenomenal abs were absolutely breathtaking as I gazed down on them. They formed an ebony washboard all the way from his pecs to the top of his shorts, which he had pulled down really low on his hips. Every time Darnell moved his body a little, his abs tensed and untensed. I could see the muscle fibers contracting and relaxing under his thin black skin. Darnell's ab muscles looked like they were just rolling around under his skin, each muscle looking like a little black brick. Once in awhile Darnell would flex his legs and his quads would spring to life. The thick muscles in his legs would form striated slabs, with veins showing clearly as the hard muscles pushed outward, stretching Darnell's skin and trapping the veins between the muscle and the skin. There was certainly no boy in my school who looked anything like this!
During a lull in our conversation, Darnell suddenly jumped off his bunk and started doing pushups on the floor. I counted 50 before I climbed down from my bunk and sat next to Darnell as he cranked out pushup after pushup. When he got to 100 he stopped, sat up next to me and smiled. He hadn't even broken a sweat. It looked like he could have done a lot more. "I do about 500 pushups a day," said Darnell. I do 5 sets of 100 reps each. I've been doing pushups since I was four years old. My chest muscles always feel good and pumped after I do them. And they've gotten a lot easier for me to do since I started lifting weights. Now I can do about 350 without even resting. Shit, when I was six years old I could do 50 pushups no sweat. Pushups are way too easy for me now." I sat there and marveled at how fit Darnell was. Hell, I could only do 20 pushups and I thought I was in decent shape for a ten-year old. "Hey, lets try something to make the pushups harder," said Darnell. "Put your hand on my back and press down as hard as you can while I'm doing the pushups. That should give me a better workout."
So I put my hand on Darnell's broad back, right below his thick neck. His black skin felt hot and just a little sweaty. Darnell started doing pushups and he was doing them almost as fast as before even though I was pressing down hard with my hand. "Press harder, Matt. I can hardly feel that," said Darnell. I pressed down as hard as I could but Darnell's strong pecs, delts and triceps just kept pushing up and down like pistons, as if I was applying no resistance at all. After he passed 50 reps, he started to slow down a bit and beads of sweat started to break out all over his black body. The muscles in his shoulders and arms seemed to literally burst out of his skin as they bulged and buzzed with power. I could see the individual fibers of muscle of his delts, pecs and triceps as they contracted again and again to force his body and my hand up from the floor over and over. His lower back muscles looked like two solid ridges of muscle and his firm, round muscle butt jutted upwards. When Darnell reached 90 reps he was breathing really hard and the sweat was pouring out from his pores. His black skin was just glistening and his back was really hot and sweaty under my hand. His pace started to slow quite a bit, so I gradually reduced the pressure on his back just a little. One by one he cranked out another 10 reps until he had done exactly 100. Then he leapt to his feet and smiled broadly, showing all of his bright white teeth.
"That was great!" exclaimed Darnell. That's the best workout I've ever had with pushups." I couldn't believe that Darnell could even talk let alone rave about the workout after what he had just done. A normal kid would have needed five minutes to recover from the torture his muscles had just experienced. All the muscles of Darnell's upper body were incredibly striated and pumped, literally popping out of his skin. Sweat was rolling down his black skin like someone had sprayed water on him. He moved his arms back and forth, stretching the blood-engorged muscles of his pecs. Then he flexed his pecs and the hard, round muscles bulged out from his chest, pushing his erect nipples directly out. "Here, Matt. See how my muscles feel when they get pumped up. They get really big and hard." I placed my two hands on Darnell's big, black pecs and squeezed the hot, bulging, shredded muscle. Never in my life had I felt muscle like that. I didn't think a human body could ever feel like that. Darnell's pecs were warm and hard and I could feel the muscle fibers twitching like steel cords as Darnell flexed and unflexed his pecs for me. I felt weak in the knees as I took in the absolute muscular superiority and strength of this 10 year-old black athlete.
"I feel really strong today," said Darnell. I'm going do another 3 sets of pushups just like that. Are you ready, Matt?" I nodded my head and Darnell leapt to the floor in the pushup position. I pressed my hand hard down on Darnell's sweaty, muscular back and he immediately started cranking out pushup after pushup. I smiled to myself as I watched those muscles work. I was really going to enjoy my two weeks as Darnell's bunkmate.
Darnell chapter 2
I lifted my hand off Darnell's hot, sweaty back as he completed his 500th pushup of the afternoon. Darnell had just done five sets of 100 pushups, the first set without any resistance and the last four sets with me pressing my hand on his broad, muscular back as he pumped up and down. Darnell jumped to his feet and flexed his arms in front of me. Sweat was dripping from every pore on his black body and he was really breathing hard. The muscles of his chest, shoulders and arms were so pumped that the individual fibers looked like they would just burst through his thin, fat-free dark black skin. Darnell smiled confidently. His perfect white teeth contrasted with his black skin. Darnell's face was round and strong looking. He had wide cheekbones, a broad nose, a strong jaw and a square chin. Just by looking at his face you could tell that this was one big, strong black dude. And he had a muscular neck which made him look even more powerful.
"Feel my muscles now, Matt," said Darnell. "They're big and pumped as hell! I feel as strong as a bull!" I reached over and felt Darnell's rippling, steel-corded biceps and triceps, his striated, melon-like delts and his bulging, round, incredibly pumped pecs. His muscles felt like hot, black steel. Throbbing, pulsating, alive, hot, black steel. Then I reached down and felt his rock-like washboard abs, which were so sweaty that my hand just glided over his smooth, black skin as my fingers felt every ripple of his corrugated muscles. "Jesus, Darnell," I gasped, "that was an incredible workout. Look what it did to your muscles. They're phenomenal." "Yeah, I really like how my muscles feel when they've gotten totally pumped from a hard workout." said Darnell. " And I can just tell that they're going to get bigger and stronger after all those intense pushups. I want to do a tough workout every day here at camp so by the time I go home I'm going to be so much stronger that my brothers won't believe it! Will you help me, Matt?" asked Darnell as he flexed his triceps in front of my eyes. He knew what my answer would be as I looked at his rippling triceps. "You bet, Darnell!" I said. "You're the man!" Darnell and I gave each other high fives.
During the rest of the afternoon the other kids arrived in our cabin. There were eight of us altogether, all 10 years old, four whites, two Asians, one Latino and Darnell, the biggest, blackest, most muscular 10 year old athlete any of the kids had ever seen. Just like me, the other kids couldn't keep their eyes off Darnell's muscular black body, and Darnell obliged their awe by letting them feel his muscles as much as they wanted. Darnell was used to having his body admired by other kids and he knew they wouldn't be satisfied until they had personally felt how big and hard his muscles really were. By unanimous vote we elected Darnell the leader of Lion Cabin. Darnell's physical presence was so commanding and he was so outgoing and confident that he was a natural born leader. All the kids wanted to do what Darnell wanted to do.
The next day we learned that we were going to have a swimming test in the morning and a physical fitness test in the afternoon. The first part of the swimming test consisted of having to run about 50 feet down the beach, swim out to a raft that was anchored way out in the lake, swim back to shore and then do it again a second time. One kid in each cabin competed with a kid from each of the other cabins. All the different age groups competed at the same time, so we were competing with kids from 7 to 13 or 14 years old. There were about 30 cabins in the camp altogether. When it was my turn, I swam as hard as I could and managed to come in 13th place. I got beat by a lot of the older kids but I actually beat some of the 11, 12 and 13 year olds who were really dweebs. And there was one 9-year-old kid who was a great swimmer and beat me by 25 feet. But I was really happy with my performance - I didn't embarrass Lion Cabin.
Darnell went last. Most of the cabins had saved their best swimmers for last and we in Lion Cabin could tell just by looking at him that Darnell was our best swimmer. When the counselor said "go," Darnell's muscular legs sprang into action as he sprinted down the beach way ahead of the other kids. Then he dove into the water and without losing any speed started swimming with the most graceful, powerful strokes I have ever seen. His strong arms just zoomed through the water, propelling his muscular body forward incredibly fast. The water put up very little resistance to Darnell's trained muscles and they were able to push it aside almost effortlessly. Darnell's muscular legs kicked with incredible power, forcing his sleek body ahead even faster. He swam out to the raft and back to shore faster than some of the other kids could even swim out to the raft, and these kids were the best that their cabins could offer.
Then Darnell started his second lap and his body didn't slow down at all. Darnell was tireless. He just powered himself through the water with such muscular force and speed that he looked like a black jet ski in the middle of a bunch of white and brown rowboats. At the end of his second lap Darnell actually passed some of the kids who were just finishing their first lap. Darnell ran up to the finish line and the counselor clicked his stopwatch. Darnell had broken the camp's swimming record by 20 seconds! The next closest kid, a 13 year old, was just starting to head back to shore from the raft. Darnell came over and gave me a high-five, his bright, white teeth glistening in a broad smile. All the kids from Lion Cabin raced over to congratulate Darnell. He was our hero. All the fibers of muscle of his wet, black body showed clearly under his thin skin. Darnell was absolutely radiant and his muscles were pumped. "I guess this black dude showed those kids a thing or two about swimming," said Darnell proudly. "A lot of folks think that us blacks can't swim worth shit, but I don't think they've seen me! I didn't know myself that I could swim that good. I feel great.!" "Damn straight, Darnell," said one of the kids. "You're the king of the Lions!"
The next part of the swim test was floating in the water for one minute. This was really easy for most of the kids. All you had to do was lay face up on the water with your hands and feet spread out and float. Well, for some reason, Darnell couldn't float! Every time he got himself into position and stretched out his arms and legs, he just sank into the water like a rock. The counselor, a guy named Pete who was 16 years old, started laughing at Darnell struggling in the water. "OK, Darnell, you've had enough tries," yelled Pete. "Looks like you're going to flunk the floating test." Darnell swam back to shore and I could tell he was really mad. He had never flunked a physical test in his life - in fact, he told me that he had always won every physical test against boys his own age - and he couldn't believe that he was about to flunk the floating test.
"Jesus, Pete," said Darnell, "I just don't know why I can't float. All the other kids just bob up and down on top of the water and I sink like I'm made of concrete." "Well I don't know either," said Pete. "All I know is that you just flunked the floating test." Right then, a blond, blue-eyed, good looking young man in his mid 20's walked over to Darnell and Pete. It was Frank, the camp director. Frank had been watching everything as Darnell tried and tried to float without success. Frank was laughing.
"Hey, what's the matter with you, Darnell?" said Frank mockingly. "Here you blow every other kid away in the swimming competition and you can't even float." Look over there, even Jimmy Thorpe, that little nerdy 12 year old who couldn't even finish the swim test, is floating like a cork. What's wrong with you Darnell?" "Hey Frank, don't rub it in," said Pete. "Darnell's really upset that he's going to flunk the float test. Frank laughed again. Then he said "Hey, I'm just kidding, Darnell. You're not going to flunk the float test. You see, you've got a physical condition, sort of like a disability, that absolutely prevents you from floating. And we can't flunk kids here at the YMCA camp because of their physical disabilities, now can we Pete?"
"What are you talking about?" said Darnell. "I don't have any physical disabilities! I have the opposite of disabilities! Look at my muscles! I'm 95 pounds of nothing but bone and muscle! I'm a jock!" At that, Darnell flexed his big, round biceps so Frank could see just how big, strong and athletic he was (as if Frank hadn't already noticed). "I said you've got a physical 'condition,' Darnell, which is definitely a disability as far a floating is concerned, but believe me I totally agree that you absolutely are not a disabled kid. You have the kind of physical condition that most of us would give a million dollars to have ourselves. You see, Darnell, you're too muscular to float! You've got so much dense, hard muscle with absolutely no fat on your young body that you are actually heavier than water, so naturally you're going to sink. Most of these other kids have flabby flesh and baby fat on their bodies. Flabby flesh and fat are lighter than water and float easily. And some of the skinny kids don't have any muscle at all so they can take a deep breath and float from the air in their lungs. Your whole body is packed with dense, solid, heavy hard muscle, and you have no fat at all. Really hard, dense, strong muscle like you have Darnell is a lot heavier than water and since you have so much muscle on your 10 year old body there's no way you could ever float."
"But before I can let you pass the float test, I have to personally check out your muscles, Darnell, just to make sure they really are heavier than water," said Frank. "Flex that big arm, Darnell." Darnell flexed his biceps again and they formed baseball-sized solid balls of rock hard muscle. Frank wrapped his hands around them and could feel the individual fibers tensing under Darnell's paper-thin black skin. Frank squeezed his fingers and felt the incredible hardness of Darnell's corded biceps. He couldn't make the slightest dent in Darnell's muscle, which felt like warm, black marble. "Very, nice," said Frank. "Those are the hardest biceps I've ever felt on a kid here a the Y camp."
I thought Frank would be done after he finished feeling Darnell's biceps, but he wasn't. He proceeded to use both of his hands to touch and feel Darnell's rippling triceps, his striated cannonball delts, his wing-like lats, his bulging, round pecs, his corrugated steel-washboard abs, his thick, cut thighs and his diamond shaped calves. Darnell was wearing a bright red swimsuit made of very thin nylon fabric. The suit looked like tight boxer shorts and because it was wet it clung to Darnell's skin, revealing every muscle underneath. The bright red suit contrasted starkly with Darnell's dark black skin. The wet suit just barely covered Darnell's muscular ass and clung tightly to his two muscular globes of butt muscle. The round glute muscles forced themselves upwards and outwards, straining the thin wet fabric. The fabric was so tight against Darnell's butt that you could see the crack between those solid balls of muscle in his ass, and every time Darnell moved you could see those powerful jock ass muscles bulge and flex under the thin fabric. Frank put his hands right on top of Darnell's hard muscle butt and squeezed Darnell's firm, young round muscle. Darnell flexed his glutes and they pushed out even further, forcing themselves against Frank's squeezing fingers.
I could tell that Frank was very impressed with Darnell's muscles. The whole time he was feeling them, Frank kept saying things like "incredible," "amazing," "unbelievable". He was really getting into Darnell's young, black muscular body. Darnell was very patient and let the camp director feel as much of his muscles as he wanted. He was proud of his body.
Finally Frank said, "Well Darnell, those muscles are the biggest, densest, hardest muscles I have even seen or felt on a 10 year old. Those muscles are definitely much heavier than water and there's no way you could ever float. So you pass the test! I can hardly wait to see you perform in the physical fitness contest this afternoon. I think you're a very special kid - one in a million!" "Thanks, Frank," said Darnell. "I won't let you down. I've won every physical fitness contest I've ever entered and I'm going to win this one too!" Darnell's confidence was incredible, but he had the body and the muscles to back it up. Frank's handsome face looked a little flush and he seemed to be sweating a little as he watched Darnell walk away. Darnell's powerful, round glute muscles, showing right through the wet nylon swimsuit, moved up and down in his butt with each step. Frank watched every movement very closely.
After swimming, we went to the mess hall for lunch. I never saw a 10-year-old kid eat as much food as Darnell did. He went back for more food three times, each time piling his plate with lots of meat and some potatoes and vegetables. Darnell saw me looking at all the food he was wolfing down. "My mom says I eat a lot more than my brothers did at my age. She says she's going to go bankrupt buying all the food we eat. My dad says that my muscles need a lot of food, especially meat, to keep growing bigger and he loves it when I eat four helpings. Funny thing, I can eat as much as I want but I never get any fat on my body. See?" Darnell reached down as pinched the skin covering his abs. The black skin was so thin it was like paper. There wasn't a bit of fat between that dark skin and Darnell's rippling abs. "Dad says I have a really good metabolism, whatever that is. All I know is that I've always had muscles and I've always had a big appetite. My muscles just seem to keep getting bigger and stronger." Wow, I thought to myself.
After lunch we goofed around for awhile and then went over to the exercise field for the physical fitness test. The first test was pushups. The kids from our cabin got in a line and one by one each of us did as many pushups as we could. The kids from all the other cabins were also in lines doing this, so I could see how many pushups everyone was doing. Some of the real nerds were so weak that they could only do one or two pushups. Everyone had their shirts off so I could compare Darnell's buff black body with the other kids. There was one 10 year old kid in the line next to me that couldn't do even pushup. His body looked pathetic, white and flabby, but skinny at the same time. For a moment, Darnell was standing next to him and the contrast between the two 10 year olds was incredible. Even though they were the same age, Darnell was about 4 inches taller and must have weighed 40 pounds more than the skinny weakling. Darnell's bulging, muscular black chest looked like it was about twice as big as the pasty, emaciated skin and bones of the nerd. The nerd's arms looked like little white pipestems while Darnell's were big, black and rippling with muscle. Darnell's narrow waist looked like a steel washboard while the weakling's looked soft and flabby - actually bigger than Darnell's. I had never before seen such a contrast between strength and weakness, between absolute muscular superiority and abject physical inferiority. And the fact that Darnell was black and the nerd was white made the contrast even more striking. Here was the young black jock - the natural athlete whose body was just born to be big, muscular, strong and fast - next to the white wimp, the total loser whose body was born to be puny, soft and weak. Who said God was fair?
I did 21 pushups, which was actually better than most of the kids could do. But I knew that Darnell was going to blow everyone away. Darnell was the last in our cabin to do his pushups. Just before he started, he turned to me and said "Hey Matt, my chest and arms really feel strong after that workout you gave me yesterday. Watch this!" At that, Darnell leapt to the ground and started doing pushups. He cranked them out so fast that it seemed that he was doing almost two per second. I counted the reps out loud, and since I was so proud of Darnell I kind of yelled so all the kids could hear. After Darnell had finished about 50 pushups, all the other kids stopped what they were doing and stared at Darnell. His black body looked incredible as his muscular arms pumped up and down. You could see every fiber of muscle in his shoulders and arms. His delts were like muscular cannonballs, the heads of muscle flexing with each rep. His triceps looked like writhing snakes of muscle, coiling and uncoiling with each pushup. Veins were popping up everywhere. His back really looked wide and strong, and his lats were pumped and shredded. A thin layer of sweat appeared on his black skin, making the muscles stand out in even more relief.
After about 250 reps, Darnell's pace slowed a little, but he was still pumping pretty fast. Now the sweat was beaded up all over his body and he was breathing kind of hard. His muscles looked like they were going to burst out of his skin. All the kids started screaming, urging Darnell to pump out more and more reps. Darnell seemed to get an extra shot of adrenaline when the kids started yelling. He forced himself beyond 350 reps, which he had told me was his old record. Finally, after 400 grueling pushups, his pace slowed way down and he struggled to do every rep. But Darnell was not a quitter and he pushed his muscular body to its absolute limit. I could just imagine Darnell lifting weights the same way --pushing those heavy weights for those final two or three reps when his body was telling him to stop. Darnell's incredible intensity and sheer will forced his muscles to their absolute limit. No pain, no gain, they say, and Darnell was certainly seeing some amazing gains.
Well, Darnell maxed out at 421 pushups. He had broken the camp record by over 200 pushups. After he did his last rep and fell on the ground, all the kids let out a huge scream. Several of the kids went over and patted Darnell on his hot, sweaty, muscular back. "Way to go, man. You're a total stud!" said one. A couple of the kids not only patted Darnell's back but also moved their hands over and felt his pumped delts and arms. Others moved their hands down Darnell's back and felt the two massive ridges of muscle in his lower back. Darnell's body felt like hot, black marble. The kids had never felt anything like it in their lives.
After pushups, we did pullups. There were six pullup bars, so we all waited in six lines. A lot of the kids couldn't do any pullups. Most kids could do three to five. The best kid before Darnell was a 12-year-old who did 24. He was really proud of himself and flexed his arms after he finished. He had really nice round biceps, pretty good for a kid, but only about ½ the size of Darnell's. Then Darnell stepped up to the bar. He jumped up and grabbed the bar and hung motionless for a few seconds. His lats flared out like wings. The slabs of lat muscle were really shredded and from the front I could see veins under his black skin pulsating with blood. I could see the cords of muscle fibers straining in his biceps. Even with his arms fully extended, his biceps were taut and rippled with muscle, ready to do their young master's bidding, ready to hoist their 10- year old master's muscular body up and down at his command. Darnell's waist and hips looked incredibly tiny underneath his wide shoulders and lats. Below that small, shredded waist, his thighs and calves bulged with solid muscle, looking pretty massive and muscular. I wondered how many times those powerful lats and arms were going to be able to pull up those big, muscular legs.
Then Darnell willed his lats and biceps to pull up his 95 pounds of bone and muscle, and they instantly obeyed his orders. His body zoomed up to the bar very quickly, much more quickly than I was expecting. He pumped out rep after rep, almost effortlessly. His lats bulged under his skin and seemed to get wider and wider. His biceps flexed into hard, muscular balls at the top of each pullup and as he lowered himself they gradually extended themselves but always remained totally corded and hard. His abs flexed and unflexed as he went up and down, the washboard of steel-like muscle undulating under his thin black skin. All the kids were looking at this incredible feat of strength and endurance. In all, Darnell did 101 pullups, more than four times as many as the 12-year old and breaking the camp record by 45 pullups. Darnell struggled during the last 10 reps to get to 100 and then powered out one more with sheer force of mind and incredibly strong and fit muscles that obeyed his command even though they were totally exhausted. He dropped to his feet, smiled and flexed his biceps in triumph. All the kids screamed in frenzy. Dozens of kids ran up to him and began feeling his biceps, lats and delts. "Jesus, Darnell, I never saw anyone who could do more than 50 pullups," said one admiring nerdy kid as he tried to squeeze Darnell's rock hard biceps. "Your muscles are unbelievably big and strong. I can't believe how hard they are!" Darnell just smiled at the admiring nerd and flexed his triceps for him. The kid felt those rock-hard, rippling heads of muscle and felt weak in the knees.
There were two more events in the physical fitness test: situps and the half-mile run. By now, every kid was waiting to see how many situps Darnell could do. Darnell's abs were incredibly hard and ripped and the kids knew that those abs were obviously capable of a lot of situps. I held Darnell's feet as he lifted his muscular torso up and down at a very fast pace. His ab muscles looked like solid black bricks under his paper-thin skin. As he did rep after rep, the abs flexed and moved under his skin. His thin skin just seemed to roll over those hard abs, exposing every ripple and ridge. Darnell held his arms under his head and of course his biceps flexed even though he wasn't trying. The massive mounds of muscle were covered with veins. His lats were spread out and looked incredibly wide compared to his very narrow waist and hips. Kneeling at Darnell's feet, I got a great view of his big thighs tensing with every rep, the strands of muscle of his quads bulging out every time he lifted his torso up. His shorts revealed quite a bit of his muscular upper thigh and lower butt, which seemed just a little lighter than the rest of his black body.
Well, Darnell certainly didn't disappoint any of the kids. He did 1,250 situps - nonstop. The next best kid had done 250. Darnell had beat that kid by 1,000 situps and he beat the camp record by 650 situps. All the kids were screaming again as Darnell cranked out the last 50, which I could tell were very painful. The cuts in his abs looked like they had been carved with a knife. When Darnell finished, he jumped to his feet and said to me, "Here Matt, feel my abs now." I reached over and placed my hand flat on Darnell's hot, sweaty abs. They were incredibly rippled and hard. I could see veins crisscrossing under his skin, veins that had pumped huge quantities of blood into those ab muscles, enabling them to do situp after situp without fatigue. I tried to press down with my fingers, but the black ridges of muscle felt like iron. I ran my fingers up and down the corrugated iron, feeling every rock-like ridge and crevice. Because Darnell's skin was covered with so much hot sweat, my fingers just glided over that fortress of muscle. Darnell smiled confidently and said "Not too bad for a 10-year old, right Matt?" I just stared at those abs in awe and said "Darnell, any man would kill to have abs like yours."
The final event of the physical fitness test was the half-mile run. There were about 250 kids in the camp and we all gathered at the end of the field where a narrow one-lane road led off into the woods. We were going to run down that road which then came back to camp on the other side. Only about five or six kids could run abreast down the road at the same time so everyone was kind of packed up next to the starting line hoping to be in the first group to get on the road. Darnell, however, just stayed in the back of the pack of kids. He didn't seem to care if he started first or last. I was soon to find out why.
When the starting gun went off, the mass of kids started running down the narrow road and Darnell and I were near the back of the pack. I thought to myself that there would be no way for Darnell to pass all those kids who formed what seemed like a thick wall in front of us. Then Darnell turned to me and said, "Watch this." He started running forward, much faster than the kids right in front of him. When he got to the first group of kids, there were six 12-year olds running side by side and there was no room for Darnell to pass. He yelled "Coming through!", but the kids ignored him and held their position. This did not faze Darnell in the least. He just ran right through the six inches between the two kids in the middle. When he did this, his muscular shoulders bumped into the shoulders of the two kids on either side of him and pushed them aside like they were annoying insects. Darnell's muscular legs powered his body through the kids and his torso stood straight and tall, not wavering at bit, as he muscled the other two kids out of his way like they were nothing. One of the kids fell down and the other stumbled as Darnell ran ahead like a cheetah, his eyes focused on the next group of kids in front of him. Every time he got to a group of kids, he would yell "coming through" and if they didn't move out of his way, which they usually didn't, he would just power his way through, knocking kid after kid down with his big, muscular shoulders. I think Darnell kind of liked the rush he felt when his strong, muscular body completely overpowered the other kids like that. Well, needless to say, Darnell won the half-mile race. At the end, he was about 100 yards ahead of the next fastest runners. And he had knocked down about 30 kids with his big shoulders and powerful body. I guess the kids learned that when Darnell yelled "coming through" he really meant it and had the muscle to do it, whether they liked it or not.
After the race, we had some free time. Darnell and I were walking around the field when we spotted a group of older white boys, probably about 13, standing around a big concrete block. They were trying to lift it off the ground, daring each other to lift it higher. Darnell and I walked over and watched. One boy lifted the block about six inches off the ground before giving up and dropping it with a thud. A couple other boys were able to lift the block about a foot. The strongest boy squatted down, grabbed the block and managed to lift it all the way to his waist. He then dropped the block, which crashed to the ground, and flexed his arms in triumph. He was the king of the group. Then Darnell walked over and said, "Hey, man, you're really strong. Let me give it a try."
Darnell squatted down and placed his hands underneath the heavy concrete block. His quad muscles bulged and his muscular back widened as he prepared to challenge the heavy object. With a burst of power, Darnell straightened his legs and back, instantly pulling the block right up to his waist. The muscles of his lower back looked like thick ridges of iron as they pulled against the heavy weight. Then, rather than dropping the block, Darnell shifted his hands under the block, moved his right leg forward a bit and then muscled the block up another foot and positioned his body so that his hands and arms were actually underneath the heavy block. All this happened in a flash. Then, without hesitation, Darnell pushed the block up over his head with a phenomenal display of sheer muscular force. His back, shoulders and arms just rippled with power as he was doing this. Darnell held the block over his head for a few seconds, smiling at the 13-year old kids who were standing there in total shock. Then he threw the huge block of concrete several inches in the air and when it landed with a loud thud it made about a six-inch dent in the ground. "Yeah, you're strong kid, but I guess I'm a little stronger," said Darnell, almost casually. Darnell flexed his big biceps as the 13-year olds looked at his black body with complete awe. Darnell's biceps were twice as big as the strong 13-year old kid's.
Then Darnell looked at me with a look that said he was thinking about something strange. "Hey Matt," said Darnell, "didn't you tell me you weigh about 70 pounds?" "Yeah, Darnell, that's right," I said. "What about it? I'm a wimp compared to your 95 pounds of muscle." "Come over here Matt and stand in front of me as stiff as you can. I'm going to show these big 13-year olds who's strong and who isn't." I stood in front of Darnell and he reached under my armpit with one hand and under my inner thigh with the other. Then he jerked me off the ground with a burst of power and held me parallel to the ground at shoulder level, just like a barbell in the military press position. I could see Darnell's right shoulder muscles bulging. Then he slowly raised me up and down, doing military presses with me as a human barbell. Darnell's grip was so strong and he lifted me so easily that I felt like a giant muscleman, not a 10-year old boy, was pressing me up and down. With every rep, Darnell's big, wide delts almost burst through his thin black skin. I could see the three heads of muscle in his cannonball delts, every fiber flexing and rearranging itself as he pumped his muscular arms up and down. His traps bulged out from his thick neck and his back muscles rippled as he pumped my humanity up and down like a toy. After 10 easy reps, Darnell was finished with the presses but he wasn't finished with his human barbell.
He lowered me to his waist, rearranged his hands to the curl position under my body and started curling me up and down. His strong, young biceps exploded from his arms, forming a perfect peak when they contracted and looking like a bunch of steel cords when they extended. I reached over and felt Darnell's right bicep as he curled me up and down. It was incredibly big, pumped and hard. I kept my hand and fingers on the massive muscle as it powered Darnell's arms up and down. I marveled at how hot and rock-solid that living flesh was and how it could easily change its form from extended steel cords to a solid, round ball of hot muscle. I put my other hand on one of Darnell's massive pecs as they pushed out proudly from his chest. There were several inches of solid muscle in that thick pec, much more than I had ever seen in a kid. I looked at Darnell's incredibly small and shredded waist. His ab muscles contracted with every curl and they looked like solid black bricks of muscle. Darnell cranked out an easy 10 curls with my 70-pound human barbell resistance. Then he gently set me down on my feet and flexed his biceps again.
All this time the 13-year olds were staring in disbelief. They had never seen a kid as strong as Darnell. They were speechless. "Any of you big guys want to try that?" said Darnell. The 13-year olds knew they couldn't even lift me off the ground to their shoulders let alone press or curl me, so they just shook their heads. "Well, I guess we now know who's the strong kid in this camp," said Darnell confidently. I gave Darnell a high-five and we walked back to the field.
About an hour later Darnell and I were walking down an isolated trail to the lake. We didn't think there was anyone else around. Suddenly, three kids jumped out in front of us. These were the oldest and biggest kids in the camp. They were 14 years old and must have weighed about 125 pounds each. They looked pretty tough to me. "Hey there, blackie," said one of the kids. "I hear you think you're pretty hot stuff. Think you're stronger than us white kids. Think you're the strongest kid in this whole camp. Think you're better than us white kids. Well, my buddies and me are going to set you straight, black boy. We're going to teach you your place. And we're going to teach you so good that you'll never forget it."
At that, two of the bigot kids grabbed Darnell's arms and held them to his side. Then their leader stood in front of Darnell and made a fist with his right hand. "This is going to hurt you a lot more than its going to hurt me," the kid said and he laughed at his crude joke. The kid wound up his right arm and punched Darnell as hard as he could in the gut. There was a loud smacking sound as the kid's fist hit the brick wall of Darnell's tensed ab muscles. The kid's eyes got big in disbelief and he grabbed his wrist, which was suddenly in great pain. He couldn't believe his punch hadn't made any impact at all on Darnell's abs. Darnell just stood there, kind of smiling. This had never happened to the kid before. He was used to punching kids in the gut and having them buckle over in pain. He was used to bullying any kid he wanted to. No kid had ever taken one of his punches to the gut and smiled back at him. He thought that the punch was a fluke. So he made a fist with his left hand and punched Darnell as hard as he could again, this time aiming at Darnell's big chest. Again there was a loud smacking sound as the kid's fist hit Darnell's thick, hard pec muscle. The fist bounced harmlessly off Darnell's rock-hard, armor plated muscle and the kid grabbed his left wrist, which was now also hurting. "Is that all you've got, honkey?" said Darnell. I could hardly feel that. My little sister hits harder than that!"
That really made the kid mad. He wound up his right arm again and was about to punch Darnell in the face. But before he could do it, Darnell pulled his two arms forward with an immense burst of power, literally throwing the other two kids on the ground. The two kids who were holding Darnell's arms were no match for Darnell's phenomenal strength. Now the bully was standing one-on-one in front of Darnell, without his two friends holding down Darnell's arms. Darnell didn't waste any time. He punched the bully about six times with powerful lefts and rights to the gut and the chest. Darnell could have easily knocked the kid out with a punch to the head, but he chose to inflict bodily pain instead. The other two kids got up from the ground and Darnell attacked them with a combination of devastating punches and kicks. I remembered that Darnell told me that he had learned how to street fight when he was very young, and now I saw what he meant. He used a combination of his sheer muscular strength and amazingly quick street-fighting moves to totally brutalize the three bigoted bully kids who were going to teach him a lesson. He punched them in the gut until they started spitting up, he kicked them in the ribs (I think I heard one rib crack), he twisted their arms in painful wrestling holds. In short, he completely thrashed the three big 14-year old thugs. They were in so much pain that they finally started to beg Darnell for mercy, but he carried out his beating for several minutes more, just so they got the message loud and clear.
Finally Darnell stopped the punishment and kneeled on top of the vanquished leader thug, flexing his big, black, sweaty arms right in front of the kid's face. "So what were you going to teach me about the right place for us black kids, honkey? I like this place just fine!" Then Darnell rubbed his big hard bulging bicep right in the kid's face.