Dustin hated his name and had determined at the age of 14 that he was going to have it legally changed on his 18th birthday but for now he just had to endure the torment. When he was a kid it was cool. The other guys liked to hang out with him and it made him feel manly. He would spend hours flexing his non-existent muscles at the mirror on weekend mornings, dreaming of being big and strong. Being a hero, like in the movies. But as he aged and didn’t grow a lot bigger his name became a liability.
It’s bad enough to be the shortest and skinniest kid in school but when your name is Dustin Rambo you might as well paint a target on your back. Then it happened. It was Friday night, the night before his birthday. He was going to turn 16 tomorrow. He wasn’t really looking forward to it. His mom had arranged for all his cousins and his aunts to come over and spend the day by the pool. His cousins were all girls, the oldest one was only 12 and she was super annoying. His aunts always wanted to kiss him on the lips and pinch his cheeks. He thought he might get up early and leave the house. Stay gone all day and pretend he forgot. He fell asleep and had nightmares about goofy little girls and sloppy kisses from his Aunt Raejean.
When the sun peeked in his window the next morning he was uncomfortable. He felt squeezed. He pushed the covers back and looked down. Oddly, his pajamas had shrunk during the night. The sleeves of his pajama shirt barely covered his elbows and the buttons were all gone. The pants were even worse and his groin ached, squeezed by the shrunken garments. He rubbed the sleep out of his eyes and ran his hands down to his chin. The stubble scratched his palms. What’s going on here?
The shrunken PJ’s made him walk kind of zombie-like but he made his way to the bathroom and looked at the reflection in the mirror. He was probably over six feet tall, barrel-chested, heavily muscled and slim waisted. He had dark black hair and a morning stubble on his face that would never have been able to grow yesterday. His biceps had grown to the point that he could not remove the pajama shirt. He was a stud. Taking the scissors from the manicure kit he cut off the pajamas and looked at his reflection again. Nobody was going to pick on him anymore. Just yesterday at school Kenny Parker had pushed him into the lockers and taunted him, “Whatcha gonna do about it Rambo?” Kenny had asked. Then Lisa, the prettiest girl in school, had laughed at him.
Those days were over. Wait till they got a load of him at school now. He was going to ask Lisa to the Junior Prom and there was nothing Kenny Parker would be able to do about it. But he had some immediate problems he had to solve first. He was glad it was the weekend.
He wrapped a towel around himself and went downstairs. Dad was sitting at the table reading the paper and sipping a cup of coffee. “Happy Birthday, son.” He said without looking up.
“Dad,” I think I got a problem, Dustin said in his now deeply pitched baritone. “I don’t think any of my clothes are going to fit. Can you take me shopping?”
His father looked up. “So it happened? Just like it happened to your grandpa, it never happened to me though. I’ve got some baggy shorts that will probably fit you and if I can find that extra large tee that the radio station sent in their promo package we can cover you up and get you to the store. Stores don’t open till nine or nine-thirty though so clean up, get dressed and have some breakfast. We can be at Target when it opens.
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