The Coven Coin: Introduction

September 2008 - Marty stepped out of the shower. Beads of water trickled down his sculpted body. He wiped the condensation from the mirror to see his reflection. He crunched his abs. He ran is thinner and longer fingers over them. He did like the look and feel of his tighter waist. Without moving his feet, he grabbed the bath towel hanging behind the door. It was more of a stretch than yesterday. It always surprised him how the slightest change in height affected every thing he did. He rubbed the thick cloth over his shorter frame. His less bulky muscles made it easier to dry his wide back. As he did while soaping up, he spent a little more time around his larger cock and balls. His curlier pubes released their moisture quickly.

He returned the towel to the hook. He applied a layer of deodorant to his deep, hair free pits. He pumped some firming gel onto his fingertips and spread it over his face. He could feel his skin tingle as it tightened slightly. A final layer of tinted moisturizer finished his morning grooming.

He left the bathroom for the adjoining bedroom, the cooler air felt good on his damp skin. He moved with the same tell tale bodybuilder’s waddle even though he weighed about 40 pounds less. Standing in front of his bureau, he stepped into one of his many jocks. He did an awkward squat to work the garment into place. The waist band barely clung to him now. He adjusted his package inside the tighter pouch. He pulled on a pair of white socks. He fingered his equipment again to find the most comfortable position.

Marty’s hands fell onto his rounder ass as he walked to the full length mirror next to his bed. His larger glutes in back balanced his larger balls upfront. He ordered his body into the classic double bicep pose as he had done thousands of times. But in this body, it felt anew. The image was blurry. He moved closer to the mirror. His eyes still couldn’t focus. He put on the thick glasses he kept on his nightstand. He posed again. Gone were the massive mounds of muscle piled unto his upper arms. Now clearly defined balls of power morphed into place. With a slight twist of his wrists, the balls hardened into granite and his forearms rippled. “Nice”, he whispered. He forced his shoulders forward to spread his lats like a cape. He tightened his legs making them swell. His whole body pulsed with super strength. He was the epitome of what a classic bodybuilder in peak physical condition should be. He wasn’t a muscle monster anymore; but a work of art. “Damn hot for an old geezer”, he said aloud. He put his large hands on his narrower hips and relaxed his bulk. He stretched out his fingers to make them touch below his belly button. “It’s been years since I’ve had a wasp waist.” After a few moments to appreciate the flawless lines of his form he flexed his pecs. The slabs of beef hanging off his slender frame jumped. His hand was drawn to the hard filets. His exploration moved downward to his cobbled stomach, then to his swelling pleasure pole inside the tight pouch. “Down Junior, there’s barely room in there for you already.”

He moved his gaze from his body to his face. All erotic feelings vanished. Only a few off-white patches of thin hair remained on his crown. His balding head was ashen and marked with countless age spots. Despite having three lifts over the years, his skin was loose and deeply wrinkled. He wondered if he had become immune to the firming gel or maybe his wrinkles were just too deep now. His ears and nose were oversized for his head as the cartilage continued to grow with age. The pupils of his once sparkling blue eyes were cloudy and dull. His fingers went to the line of demarcation where his head and body met at the center of his neck.. It was even more obvious today. No amount of makeup could blend it away. He grabbed the small medallion that hung on his necklace. “So stupid.” He turned away with a deep sigh. “Oh well. What’s done is done.” He undid the clasp of the necklace. He tucked the piece of jewelry into a pocket inside his jock. Every jock and poser he owned had the same specially created pocket to keep the medallion in his possession. It was located near the hip; where a bodybuilder would attach his competitor number when posing on stage.

Marty finished getting dressed. He took a dickey from the bottom dresser drawer. He brushed off the dust. He hadn’t worn it in over two years. He pulled it over his head to cover his neck. His glasses got twisted inside the garment. “Damn, I forgot how much I hate wearing theses things.” Once he had the dickey in position he donned a 2XL sweat suit. The shirt had the name of his business, Darton Gym, blazoned across the chest. The elastic waist of the matching pants was loose. Marty made a mental note to buy pants with a drawstring. He slipped on a pair of work out gloves and a simple black knit cap. He wore a cap everyday to cover his bald head and ears. Luckily it was the fashion among heavy lifters. The last part of his morning ritual was to put his hearing aid in place.

Almost dressed for the day, Marty looked on the floor of his large closet for the last item. Neatly piled were several shoe boxes. Each contained athletic shoes of various sizes. Marty looked down at his sock covered feet. “Let’s see Dex, you’re a shorter guy. Maybe these will fit.” He tried on the size 9 sneakers. He slipped off the too large footwear and put on 8s. “That’s better.” After tying his Nikes, he pulled out a box containing work boots of the same size. He opened the box. Despite the faded outer container, the contents appeared new. They weren’t even laced. The packaged leather laces lay at the bottom of the box. “I’ll need these when we get our first snow.” Marty looked at the gray September sky through the window. “Which may be any day now.” He dropped the box onto the large table as he walked through the dining room to remind himself to lace them later. He trotted down the staircase like a teenager ready to start the day.

Entering from the back room he emerged into the dingy gym. Marty had owned the literal sweat shop as long as any one in town could remember. Like most small towns, Darton’s population had been decreasing for years. Marty was one of the last descendants of the founding family who still called the place home. Like its owner, the building was in amazingly good shape in spite of its age. The walls were plastered with posters of bodybuilding legends going back to EugenSandow. A large glass case displayed Marty’s many awards and trophies. The wall behind the front desk showcased all the winners of the Mr.Olympia title. The current champion was featured in the center of the wall. As he passed, Marty saluted his heroes. To him, they were true Gods worthy of worship. He shook his head. “Jay, how could you have done this to me? I was counting on a three-peat.”

Marty turned on the lights and surveyed the space to see what needed to be done. He wiped down the equipment and picked up the towels he missed at closing the night before. He easily returned 50 pound plates and hundred pound dumbbells to their proper home. His body not only looked strong, it was strong. After another look around, Marty unlocked the front door. He turned over the Closed sign to let the world know the gym was open for business. The iron pit’s reputation drew visits from New England’s physique elite. A chance to meet the legendary Marty Dark was worth the trip alone. Marty was considered the Yoda of the muscle crowd.

The proprietor went behind the counter to get things ready for the day. Only a minute passed before the door opened and a man in his late 30s entered. It was SteveMyers; a real gym rat. Defying the coolness of the autumn morning air, he wore a string top and shorts. At 5’ 8” and 220 pounds he was extremely muscular and ripped, but not particularly attractive. He had rather thin legs with no real calf muscle. His thick torso and overly developed arms made him appeared top heavy. He also had the look of someone who had been abusing steroids for too many years. His skin was ruddy and blotchy. His face, shoulders and back were scarred with pot marks. The hair on his head was thin and wispy. His ‘roid gut was extended and his ass flat. The shrunken package between his legs wasn’t worth a second look in the locker room either. But his muscular physique and rugged looks garnered attention from a certain clique; enough to earn a living doing private posing sessions. Steve never talked about his business; but everyone knew what he did for and to his clients. “Hey, Marty”, he spoke in a raspy voice. He dropped his bag on the floor.

“Morning, Steve.” Marty grinned. “I was about to drink breakfast. You want anything?”

“No, I took my sups before I left this morning.” Steve pumped his arms feeling the effects of his pre-workout elixir kicking in. He looked away from his thickening veins to watch the older man writing in the ledger. Steve thought Marty looked different somehow; less bulky perhaps. Maybe it was all the clothes that made him appear smaller. Usually Marty wore tight t-shirts and tighter work out shorts. “You cold or something? I’ve haven’t seen you so covered up in years.”

Marty didn’t look up, “Don’t you know modesty is a virtue, kid?”

“Fuck, modesty. We didn’t spend years pumping iron to hide these bodies.” Steve made his pointy pecs dance. The barely there shirt didn’t hide the gyrating bitch tits. Marty glanced up. Both men laughed silently. The younger man’s attention was drawn to the Olympia display. “You have to update the wall, Marty. Jackson took down your boy Cutler last night.”

“Believe me, I know.” Marty couldn’t hide his annoyance. He closed the ledger and walked around the counter. “You better put your chemical cocktail to work before it loses its oomph. After you’re done we can shoot the shit.” Marty patted Steve’s back before heading to the back room.

Steve’s eyes dropped to Marty’s ass as they often did. It looked better than ever under the heather gray sweats. It was like two massive pistons powering his legs. Marty entered the back room and kicked the door stop in place. The rounder shape of Marty’s ass was more apparent when he stood in profile. Steve was always amazed by the old man’s condition. He had to be well into his sixties; but his physique was that of a twenty something elite lifter. Marty could easily win any title; but he had only entered masters’ competitions. He often said he’d let the youngsters fight over the big O.Steve had spent half his life shaping his body. No matter what exercises he did or what drugs he took, he was never able to get the body he wanted; a body like Marty’s.

Steve walked over to the display case crowded with trophies. Marty had never lost any competition he entered. He emerged on the bodybuilding scene out of nowhere. He didn’t start to work out seriously until he was almost 40. Most of the bodybuilding trophies had photos associated with them. The dates were from the late 1970s, early 19080s, and the most recent from the past two years. In the mid 1990s he switched gears and held several senior power lifting awards. He even had gold medals in weightlifting from the senior Olympics. There were large gaps in time when Marty had retired from competition. Amazingly whenever he returned to the stage he looked better and stronger than when he left. He had transformed into almost a totally different man. The older he got the better his body became. His body always meant or exceeded the current judging preferences. Steve, like the rest of the world, didn’t understand how he did it. Steve had been going to Marty’s gym for years and had never even seen him work out. He trained other people, but never appeared to really work his own body very hard. Not the way needed to maintain a physique like his. He was never concerned about his diet either. Steve didn’t know any other elite bodybuilder who ate fast food regularly. Marty was just one of the muscle world’s great anomalies.

Steve stared at the trophies of his mentor and longed for one of his own. He had never taken a title. But that didn’t stop him from trying. At 38, he told himself he still had a few of good years left. Marty encouraged him and gave him advice. Steve knew it was very unlikely he would have a career that mirrored his idols; but it gave him hope.

Marty felt comfortable leaving Steve alone as he mixed his breakfast. Marty trusted his regulars knew what they were doing and didn’t need him hovering over them. In the corner of the back room was a small food prep area with a microwave, refrigerator, sink and some counter space. Marty reached for one of the large containers on the shelf above him. He put several scoops of the protein and calorie packed weight gainer powder into the blender with some milk. After a few seconds of holding down the pulse button, he drank half the contents directly out of the carafe. He went to the refrigerator and took out a pizza box. He ate one of the three remaining slices covered in meat and extra cheese. He swallowed the food as if it was a chore. The big man sat down at the round table in the center of the room. He looked at the thick goop at the bottom of the glass and reluctantly forced it down. He found it difficult to supply his body with the amount of protein and calories it demanded. He lost his appetite years ago due to his dulled senses. Everything tasted like cardboard to him now. He hoped being smaller meant the demand would be less. A feeling of warmth ran through his core as his body’s hunger was satisfied. He heard the front door open. He leaned back in the chair to look into the next room. It was DeanWalker, a relative newcomer to the gym. They waved to each other. Marty returned the front legs of the chair back to the floor. He sighed and slowly got up. He began to clean up. He knew Steve and Dean shouldn’t be left alone too long.

Still relatively a kid, Dean was already well known in bodybuilding circles. He was a hit with muscle fans around the world. He had several teenage titles to his name, including many nationals. He was blessed with ideal genetics; 6’ 1”, a great hip to shoulder ratio, an easy muscle gainer, naturally lean and perfect symmetry. His startling good looks made him a favorite of the muscle magazines too. Newsstand sales always got a bump when he was on the cover. At 21, he still lacked the mass that came with maturity. His smaller muscle size was all that prevented him from earning a pro card. Everyone considered Dean the future of bodybuilding. His arrogance and ambition were as well known as his potential. Having the public, agents and sponsors fawn over him since he was 18 only made things worse. Like everyone else, Dean knew it was only a matter of time before he fulfilled his potential and ruled the sport. He impatiently waited for the years to pass until the day his muscles matched his enormous ego.

Dean and Steve exchanged nods. The two didn’t like each other. Dean considered Steve nothing more than nuisance who got in his way at the gym. It was apparent he was wasting his time lifting. He didn’t have what it takes to win a title. Steve was more envious of Dean than of Marty. They weighed the same, but it sure looked different on the younger man’s taller frame. The boy already had the titles and fame Steve desired more than anything. Adding to the tension, Steve secretly lusted after the hunk. At least Steve thought it was a secret.

Steve bit his lower lip as he watched Dean push the longest of his many curls behind his ears. Dean unzipped his warm up jacket. He slid it off his broad shoulders. The color of his tanned skin matched one of the multiple shades of light brown and gold in his thick hair. He then stepped out of the matching pants. The Adonis wore a body hugging, ribbed white tank top and azure spandex shorts that matched his eyes. His choice of outfit made it clear he was aware of his attractiveness. His long, defined limbs were covered in smooth, flawless skin. His shoulders appeared twice as wide as his hips. It looked like he had a roasting pan tucked under his shirt as his thick, rectangular chest meat hung over his corrugated stomach. The elongated hourglass shape of his sinewy legs disappeared under his stretchy shorts. His perky ass filled the back while his manly bulge pushed out the material in front.

Steve took his sexual frustration out on the weights. The pain kept him from getting aroused. He threw another plate on the leg press machine and did several sets accompanied by loud grunts. He found some comfort in knowing at least he was stronger than the hunk. Soon his quads were burning; but he pushed until they failed. He rolled off the machine. His legs felt like they were made of rubber. He stumbled to the leg curl machine to walk his hamstrings.

Dean just smirked and shook his head as he started to stretch. No matter how much weight Steve managed to conquer Dean would never be impressed by the repugnant lifter. Despite his faux disinterest, Dean knew how Steve felt about him. It was something he had in common with most men. They all wanted Dean’s body, looks, and future. The rising star couldn’t eat, drink and party like other guys his age. So he got his thrills by teasing closeted muscle queens, like Steve. It broke the monotony of working out. Feeling the older man’s eyes on him, Dean finished his stretches. He began to adjust his clingy shorts. He pulled down the legs and slowly ran his thumbs under the waist band. He then palmed his package and massaged it. Steve couldn’t keep his eyes from Dean’s probing hand. Dean began to moan. Steve raised his eyes to met Dean’s. Dean pushed out the side of his cheek with his tongue and winked. Steve lost muscle control in mid curl. The weight went crashing down with a loud bang. Dean laughed, “You’re so fuckin’ easy”.

Steve smashed his fist into the padded bench of the machine. He got up and went for the cock tease. Steve’s face was redder as he growled, “You son of a bitch I should rip you…”

“That’s enough boys. Try focusing more on the weights and less on each other.” Marty said entering the room in the nick of time. He got between them and put his hand in the center of Steve’s chest. He held the angry man back. Dean just smiled.

The tension was eased when WillieLithner walked through the door. As usual his head was down as he typed into his Blackberry. He had his Bluetooth head set in his ear. An expert multi-tasker, he talked to his accountant as he Tweeted. The impish man waved hello to the others as he continued his conversation. He was oblivious to the tension in the room.

The muscle heads went back to what they should be doing at the gym. Steve moved on to his next body part. Dean hooked his MP3 player onto his shorts and put in the ear buds. Marty went behind the desk to write out some checks. He could overhear Willie’s conversation. He only understood half of what he said.

Willie was 27 and an actual genius. He created a computer program as his college thesis. He sold it for millions of dollars two years ago and now had a lot of free time. After spending all his life improving his mind, he decided it was time to work on his body. The short man had been coming to the gym for about a year. He was rather plain looking and on the slender side. He had managed to build up his 5’ 4” frame to its natural maximum size. He was lean and well muscled. He had the physique of a gymnast, but with smaller arms. Willie intellectually understood his limitations. But his secret desire was to compete on stage and be awarded for having the best body. He needed to show the world he wasn’t the nerd he had been labeled back in grammar school. This new goal took him by surprise. When he started lifting he just wanted to get into shape so women would find his appearance as much as a turn on as his bank account. But somehow the hard core gym atmosphere and its awe inspiring men lit this unexpected need within him. He was bitten by the bodybuilding bug. He wanted to be a living piece of art; sculpted by iron, nutrition and self discipline. He approached the goal like everything else in his life; methodical and scientifically. All his work-outs, meals and supplements were charted well in advance. His PDA constantly beeped to let him know what he should be doing at every moment. He would show any one with the least amount of interest the graphs of his progress like a proud parent with a photograph of his child.

Dean sat at the preacher station. “Hey squirt, put on another 20 for me.”

Willie looked up at the hunk, “Sure Dean, right away.” He put his PDA into the holster on his hip. “Listen Harry I have to go.” He dropped his earpiece into his jacket pocket. Willie ran over to the plates and grabbed two tens. As Willie worked Dean stretched his arms over his head. The smaller man placed one on each side. Dean began to pump the heavier weight. Willie stared as Dean’s biceps swelled larger with each curl. “Wow, you handle 200 pounds like it’s nothing.”

Dean loved being worshipped especially from someone so small and harmless. “To me, it feels like nothing.” After the set Dean shook out his arms before flexing. The awe on Willie’s face showed. “You want to touch it?”

Willie placed his hand on the concrete ball. “Incredible. I don’t think it’s physically possible for my arm to get that big.”

Steve didn’t like Dean getting all the attention “Willie, could you grab me a towel?”

“Sure, Steve”, Willie reluctantly pulled himself away from Dean and grabbed a towel from the counter. He brought it over to the sweaty lifter while still looking at Dean.

“540, that’s a new personal best?” Steve ran his hands over his chest to impress the little man.

Willie finally focused on Steve, “Congratulations. I can’t even imagine being able to lift that much weight.”

“I’ll work my arms now. You can see what real muscle feels like once I’m pumped.” Steve said loudly so Dean could hear over his music.

Dean pretended not to hear him. “Hey, I’m done with my warm up. I need more weight.” Dean had to show Steve, the little man was his lackey. Willie walked quickly back to Dean. Steve glared at Dean. The handsome man only smiled. His bright eyes and smile sparkled even in the gym’s dim light.

Willie grabbed a plate and started to loosen the clamps on the bar when he felt a hand on his shoulder. He looked up and saw Marty smiling down at him. “I got it, Willie.” Marty took the plate from Willie. “I’ve told you both before Willie’s not here to wait on you. He’s a member too. This isn’t a day spa girls, you can get your own weights and towels. Got it?” Steve nodded. Marty looked at Dean, who shrugged his shoulders. “Good, now act like real men and build some muscle.” Marty went back behind the desk with Willie following him.

“I don’t mind helping out.” Willie said from the other side of the counter.

“I know.” Marty spoke as he wrote in the ledger.

Willie scrutinized his companion. For some reason Marty didn’t look as imposing today. “Are you cutting weight for a contest or something?”

Marty leaned on the counter to hide the lines of his body, “Just trying to keep lean like you, kid. Being a bodybuilder means more than just having big muscles.”

“Oh, I know and don’t get me wrong. You still look great.” Willie looked around the room. “You are all real bodybuilders. I would do anything to be one of you. “

“A bodybuilder has a well developed and balanced physique. You have that. You’ve come a long way since you nervously walked through that door the first time.” Marty put his hand on Willie’s shoulder. “You should consider entering a local contest. I bet you’d place very well.”

Willie’s face showed how much the legend’s words meant to him. His PDA beeped. “Shoot, I have to take my creatine.” He pushed a few buttons to quiet the device. Marty chuckled. Willie looked up at the older man. “I know you think this stuff is all pretty silly.”

Marty shook his head, “Not at all. It’s more of a generational thing.”

Willie smiled, “Did you want to see the new bar chart showing my progress on the bench press?”

“Nothing would make me happier.” Marty leaned in to see the tiny screen.

Marty, Steve and Willie where sitting around the table in the back room when Dean walked in. He was breathing hard and dripping with sweat. His glistening muscles were pumped to the extreme. He pushed the wet, twisted curls out of his face and behind his ears. He stood there with his hands on his hips. He glowed with an alluring combination of youth and strength. The other men stopped talking and looked at him. Willie’s jaw dropped open. Steve licked his lips and swallowed the drool in his mouth before looking away from the erotic vision.

Marty calmly asked, “Done for the day, kid? That was one hell of workout.”

Dean shook in agreement, “Sure was.” He pumped his arms before going into a double bicep pose. The split peaks of muscle almost broke through his skin. Countless feeder veins covered the surface of his forearms. “Probably put on another quarter inch today.”

“Incredible”, Willie whispered. Dean smiled at him. Willie pulled his PDA out of its holster and began to type. “Did you believe in split routines? And if so how are you able to work out for 3 hours?”

“Usually, but I won’t be able to work out again for a couple days. So I did my whole body today.” Dean felt he was being interviewed.

“I see…good”, Willie mumbled as he continued to type. “Do you find that as conducive to muscle growth as working out say twice a day?”

“I grow no matter what I do. Unlike most men, I would have a great physique even if I never touched a weight.” Dean said confidently as he went in a most muscular pose. “I was born to be the ultimate bodybuilder. Mother Nature has set my destiny.” Dean relaxed and rubbed his swollen pecs. “It’s fuckin’ great being a man.”

Steve saw the display in his peripheral vision. He leaned into the table to hide his aroused state. He took another swig of his protein drink. Marty noticed his hand shaking. Steve looked at the older man for a moment before lowering his eyes sheepishly.

Marty focused back on the youngest in the room, “Did you need anything kid?”

“No, I have to get home and hit the sack. I’m flying to the Bahamas at the crack of dawn for a photo shoot. I just wanted you to know the overhead cable is sticking again.” As he spoke he moved his arm in a circular pattern while his other hand squeezed his shoulder. He looked in some pain.

“A photo shoot? Wow! Is it for another magazine cover?” Willie asked excitedly.

“Most likely. It’s for Muscle Mag’s annual swimsuit edition. They pick the best shot for the cover. I’m sure it will be of me in a skimpy brief as a sexy babe feels me up.” Dean squeezed his other shoulder showing the same discomfort.

“Are your shoulders bothering you?” Marty observed.

Dean swung his arms. “They say I have bursitis. It’s not too bad now. The pain only lasts for an hour or two after I work out. The doctors say I can get cortisone injections if it gets worse. I’ll definitely need surgery on my rotator cuff one day. My mother and grandmother suffer from arthritis too. It will be a loss for the world if I can’t show off my arms.” Dean did a double bicep pose for a second before rubbing his shoulder again. “’I’m going to be a real mess when I’m old…like when I’m Stevie’s age.”

Steve shook his head and scoffed, “Why are you here? Shouldn’t the second coming of bodybuilding be living in California?”

Dean grinned. “Too many distractions. Plus if I wasn’t around you would have to download pictures and videos of me to jerk off to like all the other queers in the world. But you probably do that anyway.” Steve looked at Dean with daggers. He started to stand but stopped. He didn’t want everyone to see he was hard. Dean gloated. “Anything wrong, Stevie?”

Steve squeezed is hands together. His face was beet red. “Didn’t you say something about hitting the sack?” Steve waved goodbye. “See you around, asshole.”

“I bet that image is burned in your mind. Me, lying naked in silk sheets. What color do you see in red or black?” Dean asked. Steve’s mind was filled with the image now. Steve shifted his weight as his cock grew harder. He clenched his jaw without saying a word. Dean chuckled, “You know, I have some time to kill. It’s not like it takes me long to pack. They’re supplying the wardrobe; mostly thongs of course. That’s all the magazine editors ever want me in. Women and the fags get off on seeing my bare ass.” As he sat he pulled his chair closer to Steve. He wrapped his arm around Steve’s shoulders, “Ain’t that right, Stevie.” He took the glass out of Steve’s hand and finished his drink. “Not bad. Is that Muscle Max’s Much Mocha whey complex?”

You could almost see the steam coming out of Steve’s nostrils as he breathed loudly. He looked at Marty for help. Marty stood up. “Yes, it is. Would you like me to make one for you?” He lightly pushed Dean’s arm off of Steve’s shoulder. The newbie certainly had a set of stones on him. His arrogance reminded Marty of his grandson. He also was too handsome for his own good.

“That would be great, gramps.” Dean slammed the empty glass in front of Steve. “Get another for Stevie too. Put it on my tab.” Marty gave the youngster a slight smile as he picked up the glass.

Willie was amazed at Steve’s talented taste buds. “How did you know what it was? Protein powders all taste the same to me.”

“They gave me a truck load of that stuff after I won Musclemania. They were trying to get me as their spokesperson. But I signed with Thermomite. The stuff tastes like shit, but they offered me twenty grand more.” Dean boasted.

“Uhuh”, Marty said unimpressed. “Milk or water?”

“Milk, whole milk if you got it. I don’t have to worry about getting fat. That’s one of the great things about being young and built. My metabolism is so revved up; I burn through whatever I eat.” Dean smiled at Steve who still looked annoyed. The more Dean talked about himself the harder Steve got. Dean chuckled and playfully tugged on Steve’s upper arm. Steve’s body rocked back and forth. “Come on. Lighten up pops.” Steve turned his head away. Dean squeezed Steve’s bicep for second. “Not bad for someone who’s over the hill.” Dean held his arm up next to the older man’s and flexed. Steve saw what Dean was doing and flexed his arm. Steve had better size overall, but lacked the striking definition of Dean’s split peak. The younger man’s skin was smooth and tan. Steve’s leathery skin had a few stretch marks at his shoulder and a scar from bicep tear surgery. Steve pumped his arm and flexed so hard he began to shake. Dean chuckled “Put three scoops in Stevie’s. He needs the help.” Steve relaxed his arm. Dean didn’t let up. He poked Steve in the rounded stomach. “Better use water for his though.” Steve had enough. He stood up quickly sending his wooden chair crashing to the floor. He stood over Dean, his chest expanding with each deep breathe. His arms bulged as is hands formed into tight fists. His cock was still plump, but no longer hard. The battle of the biceps drained the blood from his littlest limb.

“Cool it Steve. You know he only says that shit to get you to react”, Marty spoke in a commanding, but soothing voice. “I swear sometimes I think I’m running a day care center instead of a gym.”

“Yeah, cool it man. I was only messing with you. You’ve got some good size on you.” Dean glanced down at Steve’s crotch. “Your arms anyway.” The kid showed no fear of Steve’s infamous ‘roid rage. He reached behind Steve and corrected his chair. “Sit. Relax.” Dean turned to Willie, who looked like a frightened child. “What were you gents talking about before I joined the round table?”

“Uhm, just..uh…about the town’s history…with, you know, Halloween just around the corner.” Willie answered as his eyes darted around the room.

“Don’t tell me there’s something interesting about this town.” Dean jested.

“Darton has a very interesting past. That’s the main reason I moved here after graduating from MIT. I’ve always been intrigued by the mystic arts. I was addicted to Dungeons & Dragons as an undergraduate. You could have great power no matter how small you were.” Willie hesitated for a moment as he watched Steve slowly sit down. His eyes went back to Dean’s handsome face. Dean raised his eyebrows to indicate he wanted to him to continue. “This town is weirder than any game.”

“You talkin’ about witchcraft and shit?” Dean asked never talking his eyes off Willie.

“Yeah, this town was founded by a coven of witches who fled Boston. They’re leader was a powerful warlock by the name of Balthazar Dark. The name Darton is actually a bastardization of Dark’s Town.”

Marty rejoined the group at the table. He placed the drinks in front of his quests. Dean looked at him, “Dark? Isn’t that your last name, gramps?”

“Yes. There were many of us at one time. Most moved away over the years. Good riddance.” Marty sat in his chair, it creaked from his weight.

Dean’s expression changed. “You don’t seem too upset about them leaving. Haven’t you tried to keep in touch with your family?”

“Nope. The Darks aren’t a loving bunch.” Marty’s thoughts drifted. He blinked and refocused on the men at the table. Dean was looking intently at him. Marty shrugged his shoulder, “Who needs a bunch of hangers-on.”

Dean forced a grin, “You a warlock too? That would explain that body of yours.”

Marty scratched his head through the knit cap. “All that stuff has been exaggerated over the years. The stories would have been forgotten if the Chamber of Commerce didn’t keep them going with that ridiculous festival. But I guess tourist money is irresistible.”

Willie jumped in, “Well, the festival draws thousands of people. It’s a great shot in the arm for the local economy. The big event is on Halloween when the chamber reenacts the destruction of the coven coin in the town square.”

Dean wiped the remnants of his drink from his mouth, “What’s the coven coin?”

Willie looked at Marty, “Did you want to tell the story?” Marty frowned and shook his head no. Willie turned to Steve, “How about you? You’ve played Balthazar in the festival the last two years.”

Dean chuckled. Steve gave Dean a dirty look before answering Willie. “No, you’re more into the historical stuff. I just think the stories are cool.”

Willie inched forward in his seat. “Well, in 1691 Balthazar’s family and a group of his followers founded the town. He wrote his sister back in Ireland that he was finally free to serve the Devil without the prying eyes of the puritans. His sister sent him a small piece of wood from an old alder tree. The tree was sacred to the druids back in Ireland. Balthazar used the wood to carve the mold for the coven coin. The mold was crude; a simple disc with a pentagram in relief slightly larger than a silver dollar.”

Willie gestured more as he got into the story. “Balthazar picked Halloween, the night when the veil between this and the other world is lifted, to forge the coin. He was a blacksmith by trade. He selected only the darkest ore to smelt. He poured the liquid metal into the mold. The heat scorched the wood. Once formed, he plunged the coin into a bowl of blood from a sacrificial goat. After it cooled, Balthazar broke the mold to free the coin and ensure it was a one of a kind.

Encircling a large bonfire, the entire coven had gathered for the ceremony. They pleaded for the devil’s militia to appear before them on this most unholy of nights. Soon hundreds of malevolent spirits swirled around them. Balthazar asked the entities to infuse the coin with power in exchange for the souls of the coven’s members. The demons of the night answered their loyal servant. One by one, the evil creatures instilled part of their energy into the coin. Unbeknownst to the demons Balthazar had bound himself to the coin by mixing his own blood with the molten ore. As the coin’s power grew so did Balthazar’s. His mortal body began to change. His muscles expanded. His clothes were ripped to shreds as he became bigger and taller. The witches gasped at the sight, for most were unaware of their leader’s selfish plan.

Pure evil surged through Balthazar. More and more powerful he grew. Quickly he became stronger than any single demon. Realizing they had been tricked, the specters tired to purge the coin of its energy. But it was too late. Balthazar was too strong. Using his new power, he easily fought off their attempts to take back their energy. Within minutes he had beaten them down. He boasted, “Not even the Devil himself is more powerful than I.” Suddenly the ground cracked opened and Satan rose from the depths of Hell. He was six times larger and more powerful looking than Balthazar. Racked with fear, Balthazar fell to his knees and begged for forgiveness from his master. The Devil was not known for his compassion. “You promised to serve me Balthazar. You and your coin shall forever.” The coin became red hot in Balthazar’s hand. In immense pain, Balthazar pried it from the seared flesh of his palm. The coin scorched the earth as it fell to the ground. Using his cloven foot the Devil smashed the coin into six equal pieces. The force of his blow scattered the fragments throughout the countryside. Because he was bound to it; as the coin was destroyed, so was Balthazar. He was also torn in six pieces. It took more than a day for the coven to find all the parts of his dissected body.”

When Willie was done with his story, Dean was quiet for a moment. He looked at the other men surrounding him. “You’re shittin’ me right?”

Willie shook his head no. “The legend says the coin contained so much power from the dark forces that even the fragments can generate great magic. Blood acts as a catalyst to release the power.”

“But you forgot to mention the curse.” Steve added quickly.

“If the pieces of the coin are reassembled it can grant the person a wish, any wish at all. And the wish will last as long as the person possesses the coin.”

Dean scratched is head, “That doesn’t sound much like a curse to me.”

“However,” Willie raised his finger and took a beat, “when the coin is made whole again, so will be Balthazar. He will rise from the grave, smite the one who used it and drag their corpse down to hell to serve Satan for eternity.” Steve spoke in an overly dramatic tone. “There is one exception. Since the coven coin was bound to Balthazar by his blood, it is said only his direct descendants can use it without suffering his deadly wrath.”

“No good will come to anyone who uses that coin; Dark or not.” Marty said aloud without thinking. He pressed on the coin hidden inside his jock strap to make sure it was still there. He could see the others were surprised by his serious tone. “If you believe in that hokum?”

Steve quipped, “That’s true. All the stories I’ve heard about the fragments don’t end well for those who use it. All are sent to an early grave. It has to be much worse if the whole coin was ever used.”

Dean looked around the table, “Do you people believe this coin is real?”

“I do.” Willie said. “Too many strange things have occurred over the years. Some say it’s because the coin fragments are still scattered about. People tap into their residual power, sometimes unknowingly.”

“It sounds like Balthazar wanted big muscles too. I guess we all have that in common.” Dean looked at Marty. “Is it the devil who gave you those hulking muscles gramps?”

The old man felt a shiver go up his spine. He wondered if Dean knew more than he led on. He had to say something. “No, of course not, Dark men are naturally big. Balthazar was a blacksmith. He had to be big guy before he made the coin. It takes as much strength to shape iron as it does to lift it.” Marty got up and took a framed black and white photo from off the wall. It was of a group of men by the lake. All were in old fashioned swimming attire. Some were completely covered and others had their torsos exposed. The men were sturdy with thick arms, broad chests and shoulders. The knee length shorts couldn’t hide their well developed thighs. He handed it to the youngest man in the room. “That’s me”, Marty’s gloved finger pointed to a handsome man in his twenties. Even at that young age he was well muscled, but nothing like he was today. “My father’s on my right and the others are my uncles and cousins. Most of us worked in construction. We built almost every structure in this town using our backs.” Dean looked hard at the photo before passing it Willie.

“You’re right; putting on muscle doesn’t seem to be a problem for the men in your family. You look like a professional football team. I wish I could say about mine ancestors.” Willie handed the photo across the table to Steve.

Steve looked at the photo then at Dean, then back at photo. He saw some familiarity. He laughed, “You were a real stud back then, Marty. You could have been Dean’s bigger and better looking brother.”

Dean grabbed the photo from Steve and looked again. It was true; Dean saw a lot of himself in the younger Marty. “They all look a bit flat to me; not a real six pack among them…except maybe this guy. He’s the only one in the group that could come close to competing with me on stage.” He pointed to a man at the far right. He was even better looking than Marty. In the black and white photo, you could still tell he was a blue eyed blonde.

Willie and Dean leaned closer to Steve to see the man. Willie spoke first. “Wow, you’re right. He’s ripped. Was he a bodybuilder?”

Steve looked up at Marty. “You didn’t tell us you had a bodybuilder pioneer in your family.”

Marty took the photo from Dean. He held the frame inches from his face. “I forgot about him. He’s not a Dark. That’s John….no JeffreyHaynes. I didn’t know him that well. He had a twin brother I think.” Marty scanned the other men. “Yeah, there’s his brother…Jimmy.”

Steve grabbed the photo. “Where?” Marty pointed to a man on the opposite side of the photo. He did have a similar face, but a much smaller physique. His brother had several inches and at least 40 pounds of muscle on him. “Wow, no wonder he didn’t want to stand next to him. I wouldn’t want to be compared to my twin if we looked that different.”

Dean took the photo from Steve, “Man, poor Jimmy did get the short end of the stick. I bet big brother tormented the shit out of the runt of the family.”

Marty reminisced, “That picture was taken the summer before the twins went off to college. Back then only the wealthiest families could afford a college education. There father was a doctor.”

Steve rubbed his chin, “Jeff and JimHaynes, aren’t they the subject of a story about a coin fragment.” He looked at Marty who looked away; he then turned to Willie. “You know the one about the identical twins who somehow become fraternal twins. They’re father used his son as a guinea pig in one of his medical experiments.”

“Yes, you’re right.” Willie snapped his fingers, “The Perfect, no A Beautiful Corpse!”

“That’s it. I haven’t thought about that one in years.” Steve looked at the photo once more before handing it back to Marty. “It’s not as…dramatic as the other stories, but there’s something about the twin brothers that grabs your attention.”

“I bet.” Dean said under his breath. Steve gave him a dirty look. Dean knew he had pushed his luck with Steve far enough today. He turned to Willie, “So the coin made Jeff a buff dude? I bet you wish you could get your hands on that coin, huh squirt?” Dean teased his new target.

“Hey, you’re the one that asked about this stuff.” Steve protested. He knew Willie wouldn’t defend himself.

Dean raised his hands indicating surrender. “Okay, okay. I swear no one has a sense of humor around here.”

Marty returned the photo to the wall “I’m sure Dean doesn’t want to hear Darton’s suburban myths.”

“No, I can’t wait to hear the story. It will help me understand the mentality of this whacked-out town.” The sarcasm was layered thickly on Dean’s words.

“Like Steve said, it is a good story, but not the best.” Willie gestured to Steve, “You should tell it. You seem to know it better than I do.”

“I have more important things to do with my time.” Marty left the back room for the weight floor. The three other men watched him walked away.

“What’s with him?” Dean asked.

“He hates this stuff. I guess it hits too close to home. For year’s people in this town thought the Dark’s still worshiped the Devil.” Willie whispered.

Dean folded his arms over his chest, “Well it is a little unnatural for a 60 year old man to have an ass you can bounce a quarter off of?”

“Times have changed. I saw a picture of LouFerrigno the other day. He’s 57 and still has a body that any man would envy. Advancements in nutrition and training techniques have greatly extended a bodybuilder’s peak years.” Steve spoke as if trying to convince himself.

“So you’re saying he looks as good now as he did when in was 30?” Dean eyes showed his doubt.

“Well, no; but he does look amazing.“ Steve could see the cocky smirk on Dean’s face. “I’ve known Marty longer than any of you. He’s no saint, but there is no way he’s a devil worshiper. He’s a good guy who just happens to have incredible genetics. Like the photo showed, Dark men are naturally muscular. We all know genetics are the most important factor in determining our physical appearance. He owns a gym for Pete’s sake; of course he’s in good shape. There’s nothing magical about it.”

“There’s genetics and there’s weird age….defiance. His body hasn’t aged, but his face has. It’s such a dichotomy.” Willie pondered using his scientific mind.

Dean slapped Willie’s shoulder, “Exactly.” Willie’s face showed the pain he felt from Dean’s playful tap.

Steve glared at Dean, “You don’t even know what dichotomy means.”

“No matter what you call it, it’s not right. Aren’t you just a little bit curious how he keeps his body looking like that? He could win any contest he wanted including Mr.O.” Dean jammed his finger into the table to stress in point. “Last month I worked a booth at a fitness convention in Germany. Next to me was JayCutler. I got a good look at his arms. They were the best built cannons I’ve every seen. Then yesterday when Marty was walking around in a tank top, I swear his arms were just as impressive. There’s no way someone Marty’s age should measure up to the second best built man on the planet…no matter what he’s swallowing.”

Steve’s mind was trying to take in the facts presented to him. “That’s just it. Marty didn’t work out until he was almost forty. Maybe his post-prime body is a less perfect version of what he could have been. Imagine that possibility.” All the men went inside the mind and pictured a young Marty with even bigger and better defined muscles.

“Shit”, Willie whispered. “You think that’s possible.”

“No.” Dean snapped. He felt like he lost a debate.

Steve’s cock was reacting to the images in his head. He needed to think of something else. “Weren’t we talking about the Hayne’s Twins?”

“You were going to tell the story.” Willie said.

“Yeah Uncle Steve, tell us a story.” Dean joked.

“Okay”, Steve rubbed his hands together and took a deep breathe. “It was summer of 1924….”

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