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The New and Improved JP
|The summer had finally ended and we were back at the good old high school in late August for marching band camp. Being now a junior and the best trumpet player in the school, I was appointed trumpet section leader. What I did was basically teach the rookies how to march and boss all the others around. The first time I saw JP that week, I was not surprised to see that he was a little bit bigger than I remembered him to be last year. I saw him from a distance coming up the hill. I only recognized him from the bright green Packer shirt I remembered him sporting the year before. His 5’7” frame was now about the as tall as his neighbor friend with whom he drove to school. That meant he had grown about three inches over the Summer, which was not a big surprise since he seemed to have been entering into his first growth spurt. When he got closer, I realized that his height wasn’t the only dimension that grew. The Packer shirt that draped his shoulders so hugely a year ago, now fit him almost perfectly. His neck was noticeably wider than it was in June and it actually widened more when he moved his head back. His face was starting to look older, showing the acne that so many teenagers battle. All of JP had gotten more mature. His voice sounded a little deeper as well, no longer the squeaky sound of a freshman, but more of a lower teenage boy‘s voice that cracked when he got excited; it started to fit his body. On the second day of band camp, he and a friend of his were about ten minutes late. He always complained about his mom driving so slowly, so this happened a lot, but this year the other section leader insisted that anyone who was late had to do push-ups: one push-up for each minute they were late. Therefore, JP and the other guy had to do ten push-ups. I made sure I saw this, hoping to see if JP had buffed up like he said was going to. They immediately dropped down and started. The other kid, a sophomore like JP, did the first few fine, but after about the fifth one he started slowing down and barely was able to pump out the last few. JP, however, went down and started his ten with unbelievable speed. He was wearing a white T-shirt with sleeves that rode a little above his elbows, giving the hint of a possible bulge in his upper arm. Now that his muscles were being forced to attention, the fibers in his arms twitched like crazy. As he continued his textbook set of push-ups, his sleeves began sliding up his arm, revealing the slight contour of his tricep moving back and forth over the top. As he reached the tenth push-up, he was still going at the same speed as his first one. Of course, being JP, he added on about five more just to show off, but they were also at the same speed and just as perfect as the first ten. I was amazed at the kid's strength. It only seemed like he was getting stronger all the time. Finally, he got up and wiped his hands against each other to get the dirt off. "That was nothing!" he said to me and grinned. “Would you like me to do a few more?” Even if it wasn’t a rhetorical question, no one answered him. We were all a little stunned by what we saw. He held up his fist and clench for a second or two almost as if he was threatening me or something. As he did, the muscles in his forearm suddenly bulged and rippled and I caught a glimpse of the veins wrapping around his forearm. I knew that I was not dealing with the same JP I had known a year ago and that he was only going to get stronger and bigger. Then he patted his chest and with an almost egotistical sneer, said, “Fell the burn, baby, feel the burn.“ It was unlike anything anyone in band had ever seen from him. |
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