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What if …

Written by marknew742 :: [Monday, 26 October 2009 19:33] Last updated by ::

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What if …

 

By Marknew

 

 

1

 

"Marvelous" Al Maravella lay back into his sumptuous bed and listened drowsily to the little questions that tonight's conquest was asking as he began to doze off. Was she talking to him? Why did girls always want to talk, just at the point he was feeling so relaxed? No, he was feeling too good and too tired to pay attention to her now. Yes, he was feeling very, very good. Now that he was free of his marriage, and without too much financial damage, he could do anything he wanted. With his enormous salary, his good looks, his fame, and now his freedom, there was nothing he couldn't have; he felt that all he had to do was express the slightest wish and it happened. Like tonight with this Marla, sexy, supple, raven-haired, adventurous, unbelievably (and naturally) stacked, and utterly uninhibited Marla, she was like a dream come true, fantastic in bed, probably the best he had ever had. And there she was, just waiting for him as he hit the street after the game.

 

Maybe he'd keep his dreamgirl around … for another night … or two. Maybe. But no more than that, he thought as he drifted off to sleep. Yes … no more … than that …

 

He was back at the court house, on the sidewalk outside. The reporters was there. Reporters were always there, everywhere he went. He was telling them everything was settled. He had everything he wanted and could go on with his life. The most important thing was the game, the team, his children and that everything was settled. They wrote, filmed and recorded every word.

 

Out of the corner of his eye he saw Yvonne, alone, glaring at him, a single, female interviewer asking questions and taking notes, probably for some women's magazine. There were no TV cameras, although one photographer took a few pictures of while she spoke. She wasn't bad looking, even after having four children.

 

He liked the difference in the attention they attracted, matching the differences in their fame and fortune and reinforced by the divorce they'd just signed. And now he was free to push it still further. At last he could speak his mind. He went on, departing from the statement he had agreed with his lawyers and his agent. Yes, he was satisfied, but he still felt she got far more than she deserved. He was the famous one, the great one. All she did was marry him. He warmed with satisfaction as the woman interviewing Yvonne, hearing something more newsworthy than his canned statement, broke off in the middle of what Yvonne was saying and hurried over to him. The photographer followed, leaving Yvonne all by herself, talking to the air. Perfect! Yvonne glared at him, but there was nothing she could do. And – oh, the pleasure – she knew it. She stood there, frozen, red-faced, fists clenched, eyes burning with fury.

 

"You are such an asshole!" she cried out, striding toward him. The reporters heads turned; their cameras swivelled to capture the headline moment. "It's all about you, all the time, isn't it? You never cared about anything but yourself, all throughout our marriage. You were always cheating on me! You cheat when you play, too, but they're all too dumb to figure it out!"

 

"Hey! Cool it, Yvonne! You know nothing about anything like that!"

 

"I know enough. But I also know nobody cares!"

 

Al looked around, checking the reporters' reactions. He couldn't read their faces. Why should they care? He worked hard, day and night, to give them, the fans, his team, his very best.

 

"Why should they care about you instead of me? You think you're so important! I wish you didn't matter to them so much."

 

"Well, too bad, but I DO matter, as you see! I'm news. I matter to a lot of people!" Al insisted, although he really didn't want this conversation, especially not in public. The cameras were all around him getting every word of the exchange. He wished now that he hadn't started this. Why hadn't he listened to his lawyers and his agent? This could cost him millions in endorsements. "Guys, that's enough," he said to the nearest reporters. "Interview over."

 

A few of the reporters looked at each other. One closed his book. He didn't want to lose access. But the cameras continued.

 

Yvonne was still yelling. "You think you can just snap your fingers and everybody listens? It's so disgusting. What if they didn't? What if these reporters didn't care what you said! Then you'd know what it's like to be an ordinary person. Oh, I wish you were just an ordinary person!"

 

Al looked around. At last they were listening to him. The reporters had put away their note pads and mikes. The cameras were still getting a few last shots but, seeing their colleagues pulling back, they began shutting down too. "OK, let's head back," they were saying. One photographer took a few more shots, two close-ups of Al and one that included Yvonne, her arm up in an angry pose, and put his lens cap on.

 

Al breathed a sigh of relief. It had seemed endless. At least he hadn't said too much, although he would have to see how the media played it. He'd have to talk to his agent. Why couldn't he just play, and let someone handle everything else? Ahhh, yes, a game was on, and he was hitting. This is where he wanted to be, a bat in his hands, men on base, the game on the line. The ball seemed sharp. A good pitch but a better swing. It was flying, soaring, over the-

 

"What are you doing, honey? Should you be up already? What time do you go to the ballpark?"

 

Marla looked at him. She was halfway off the bed, propped on her elbows, her enormous breasts hanging down, touching the mattress. He was in his bed, not at the ballpark. It was all a dream.

 

"Umm … I … night game today. Maybe 3? What time is it now?"

 

"Almost noon."

 

"Noon! Fuck!" He hurled himself out of bed, pulling the quilt with him and nearly pulling Marla off too.

 

"Hey," she exclaimed, recovering her balance.

 

"Sorry," he said, turning slightly on his way to the bathroom. He caught the view of her body curving across his bed and stopped in his tracks. In the light of day she was even more amazing than he had thought last night. Could her breasts be any larger, her skin any smoother, her hair any lusher or more golden?

 

Seeing his look, her expression of annoyance quickly melted into a sultry smile. "Too bad you have to rush," she said huskily, gracefully raising herself off the bed, twisting and stretching herself to loosen her muscles in ways Al could scarcely believe were possible. Ahh, the differences between men and women!

 

"Another time," Al said, sounding more wishful than he had intended to reveal.

 

"Well … what if I say … maybe yes," she smiled, confident that her meaning was clear.

 

2

 

Al couldn't get Marla out of his head. He saw her figure everywhere, even in the flapping folds of the flag in centerfield as he coiled his body, waiting for his pitch. Fortunately, it was not affecting his play. In fact, with four home runs in his past five games he was playing better than he had all season. Each evening he looked for her as he left the park, but he saw only the usual press of fans begging for an autograph they could sell, or asking for free tickets, or a ball, or a cap. Sure, the attention and the fame were great, but only when you didn't have to deal with the individual grabby, greedy fan.

 

As his car dropped him off in front of his 5th Avenue apartment, a tall, dark-haired woman, sauntered into view.

 

"Nice hit, Al. I thought you'd have two tonight, but the wind really came up, just at the last minute."

 

"Marla! You saw it? Yeah, I thought I hit the second one even harder than the first one, but the ball died right at the warning track. Hey, are you-"

 

"Free?" she laughed. "It depends. What for?"

 

"Dinner?"

 

"It's late … but what if I still want some dessert? Something different to eat? Something … 'marvelous'." She took his arm. "Mmmmm, so strong," she said as they walked into the plush lobby together. She pushed the button for his floor, and by the time they were halfway up the private elevator, all of Al's buttons were undone, as were the three most important buttons on Yvonne's blouse, allowing her otherwise unrestrained breasts to flow out into Al's hands. She pressed her body against his, leaving him no choice but to lift and to carry her inside, through the long corridor, through the living room with the 65" TV, the dining area, and finally into the bedroom and onto his bed. Only seconds later he was inside her, his mouth on her breasts, her fingers pressing into his back, and their bodies straining against each other, spiraling higher and lower, and deeper and deeper. Yet somehow, the massages of her fingers kept him from coming, as she screamed louder and louder and he felt the pressure of his need grow to greater and greater heights, until finally she released him, and he let go, falling, flowing, erupting into complete satiation.

 

His whole body was vibrating in paroxysm of pleasure. "You … are … amazing," he said. "Incredible."

 

"Hmmmmm," she said contentedly. "Not bad yourself." His eyes were closing. "This is a nice place you have. A girl could get very comfortable … here."

 

What was she saying? No matter … too tired to talk about it … now. Not now.

 

He was in his bed but he heard noises. Was Marla looking around? He got up and walked through the dark room and opened the door. The bright light hurt his eyes. It couldn't be morning already! What was that? Yvonne?!!

 

"What are you doing here?" he said angrily.

 

"I left some things behind," she said evasively. She held out a piece of paper. No, it wasn't paper. It was a scroll, a list that got longer and longer as she let it unfurl. He took one end of it. Diamond rings, fur coats, paintings, ceramics …

 

"What the hell is this?"

 

"The other list was wrong. I should have gotten more, a lot more."

 

"You got what was agreed and you get nothing else. And that's final!" he said, stamping his bare foot on the thick rug.

 

She scowled. "I contributed just as much to this marriage as you did. More! Who had your children? Who picked your agent for you? Who encouraged you when you were slumping? I only signed the agreement because it was obvious the Judge was being unfair. And you KNOW that! I'm entitled!" she added, working herself up, being brave. She walked over to his favorite painting of himself, her heels clicking loudly on the floor. "That one would go for $30,000, if I sell it now. Or are you going to set any records this year? That would make it more valuable. What do you think? Should I hold on?"

 

"Will … you get OUT of my apartment?" he demanded, walking toward her.

 

She backed away slightly but folded her arms. In her heels she was nearly as tall as Al was in his bare feet. "H-Hermann's here … helping me. Hermann!"

 

"Your faggot decorator?! Here?" Al said contemptuously, incredulously, as a small, thin man with a wispy moustache peered around the corner of the room and approached cautiously, keeping Yvonne between Al and himself. "What do you think you're doing in my apartment?!"

 

Hermann looked nervously between Al and Yvonne. "To see vat belongs, vat could belong where Fonzie …"

 

"Fonzie!!" Al couldn't contain himself. He pushed through Yvonne and grabbed Hermann, lifting him in the air and throwing him across the room. "Get OUT of my place! Now! BOTH of you!"

 

"Hermann!" Yvonne cried out, rushing to his side. She knelt over him and then turned back to Al. "You are such a bully, attacking this poor sweet helpless man. You're twice his size, you know!"

 

"It's your own fault for bringing this prancing fairy to my place!"

 

"You're a monster. Do you know that? A monster! That's all you respect! Muscle! What would it take to make you act differently? You wouldn't act that that if he were as strong as you were … What if he were twice as strong as you are!"

 

"Who would care? He's still a queer! And he still doesn't belong here. Just as you …"

 

Hermann was standing up, rising up behind Yvonne, rising higher and higher, until his barrel chest was even with the top of Yvonne's head. He gently lifted Yvonne out of the way and with one large step closed the distance to Al. He clamped Al's upper arm with an iron grip and pulled him roughly against him.

 

"What the fuck!" Al exclaimed and pushed against Hermann's massive chest, but his body was as solid as a brick wall, and all he accomplished was to give Hermann an excuse to tighten his already vise-like grip even more. It took all of Al's self control not to cry out in pain.

 

"Aren chu a little cutie! I kahn hartly resist chu! But, vetter or not I am kveer iss not der pont, azzhole!" he snarled. "Iss vetter you let dis sveet lady finish her bissness witout intefeerentz. Iss dat kleer?"

 

Yvonne came up next to him and put her hand on Hermann's upper arm, her long, slender fingers covered just a small fraction of his enormous muscle as she caressed and gently massaged it. "Better be careful, Al. I know you always like to pick fights with Hermann, even though he IS so very, very strong. And even though he doesn't like you. And now that we're divorced I don't have a good reason to ask him to be careful with you. And even if I did, he might not listen. He doesn't like you even a little bit. And neither do I."

 

"Let … Go … Of … Me." Al grunted and grimaced. He couldn't break Hermann's grip, so he punched him twice in the gut, but his blows bounced harmlessly off Hermann's solid abdominal wall.

 

"Ja! Bezbol players mit dair little gurlie mussels! You aar a choke." He effortlessly twisted Al's arm behind his back as if the homerun hitting ballplayer's arm were a piece of wet spaghetti.

 

Yvonne burst out laughing. "It's so funny watching you fight Hermann! You always try, and you're even more helpless against him than I would be against you. It used to annoy me, but now I enjoy it!"

 

"What are you talking about?" Al said, groaning. "I don't know how this just happened, but Hermann's always been a scrawny little fairy. This must be a bad dream!"

 

Hermann frowned and Yvonne laughed harder. "Scrawny? You wish! I know you always taunt him, but calling him scrawny is too funny for words! He thinks you're scrawny, Hermann! Scrawny!" She laughed harder each time she repeated the word.

 

"Let … go of me!" Al demanded, trying to twist out of Hermann's hold. "You don't belong here! I'll call the police."

 

Hermann grinned and tightened his hands even more while he looked at Yvonne, waiting for her instructions.

 

"Aagggh …" Al moaned, his muscles burning with pain as Harmann's grip compressed them.

 

"Look, Al, I really don't want you to get hurt and ruin your season. I just want my stuff! And then I'll go. And then, if you can remember to stay out of his way, I'm sure Hermann won't go looking for you." She indicated to Harmann with a finger that he should ease up a little and he complied. A little.

 

"Shit! Everything here is mine, Yvonne. The divorce settlement gives it all to me!"

 

"But it's not fair, and you know it. It was a mistake."

 

"That's your problem."

 

"Can't you be more understanding? What if this happened to you? What if the judge had been on my side and given everything to me?"

 

"Yeah? Well I don't care." he said smugly, but something felt wrong. A color. An odor. His favourite painting of himself resting on the floor, packed for sale.

 

Yvonne kicked off her shoes. "And I don't care either! OK, I've given you a last look. Now get out."

Al screwed up his face. "What?"

 

She crossed her arms in front of her chest. "You heard what I said. Get out of my apartment." Her mouth was set. The pleading look was gone from her face.

 

"Your apartment? This is mine!" he exploded. He tried again to escape from Hermann's hold and was just as unsuccessful.

 

"Just keep hold of him, Hermann, but don't hurt him. I get 90% of his after-tax income, and the way he's hitting there's a million dollar homerun bonus coming my way."

 

"Ja ja. I know. I vill be carevul."

 

"What are you talking about? The agreement gives everything to me!"

 

Yvonne burst out laughing. "Is that what you've come to tell me? As if the first clown you hired wasn't bad enough, now you've hired another crazy lawyer to tell you that?" She picked up a leather folder containing a twenty page agreement. "Here it is, in black-and-white. Respondent, that's you, hereby relinquishes all rights to the apartment at 845 Park Avenue, New York, New York, the condominium and golf club at 2 Seaside Drive, Palm Beach, Florida, the Right Field Ranch in …"

 

"No way! No way! I never agreed to that! Give me that!" He strained to get at the agreement but Hermann held him fast as Yvonne dangled it in front of his eyes, page by page, including his signature. Still he could see that it indeed gave everything to Yvonne. But that was wrong! "It's a fake! Where's the real agreement?" he shouted.

 

"I won't have you screaming here! Hermann, get that crazy man OUT of here! I don't care how!" Yvonne snapped and turned her back.

 

"Mit pleshure!" Hermann replied and propelled him toward the open window, gripping Al so tightly that he feared the bones in his arms would snap.

 

"Aggghh! What are you doing? No! No! You can't do that! You're gonna-"

 

"Al. Al! Why are you screaming? Are you having another nightmare?"

 

Al was gripping the sheet so tightly his fingers hurt. His eyes snapped open. He didn't know where he was, and then he saw the familiar ceiling of his bedroom and felt the soft, luxurious sheets of his bed. Marla was leaning on one arm, staring at him sympathetically.

 

"Wha? Oh, hey, Marla. Sorry, I don't know what it is. Damn! I've never had dreams like that before."

 

She fingered his chest. "Really? "What was it?"

 

"It was … oh, you don't want to know."

 

"Why? Is it me? Do I frighten you?"

 

"No! Of course not."

 

She kissed his ear. "You mean, you don't find the things I do to you even a tiny bit alarming?"

 

He laughed. "Are you kidding?" he replied, fondling her enormous left breast. "You are the most beautiful girl I've ever had."

 

"Is that the only reason you love me?"

 

"Of course not!"

 

"Hmmmm," she moaned softly. "Then prove it to me," she said, climbing on top of him. "Show me just how many more runs you can drive in tonight, Mr. Marvelous!"

 

3

 

Luckily for Al, there was no game scheduled for the following day, and he didn't even object to the $1,000 fine for being an hour late for practice. It made no difference to him – he was paid that much every 20 minutes of the year. A night without sleep and one thousand dollars less in his bank account was far less important than what he was getting from Marla in bed. He had always been a sexual athlete as well as a baseball athlete, but his "potency" with Marla was well in excess of even his usual exploits. And, although that was not the main thing, she seemed to be enjoying him as well.

 

She seemed to be stimulating his hitting as well. The following night he hit two home runs, and he continued to hit one or two massive shots every game thereafter for the next two weeks, even though fewer and fewer of the pitches he saw were in the strike zone. By the middle of June he already had 47 home runs, and then he went on another tear so that two weeks later he had 71. The daily question in the sports news and the phone-in shows was not whether, but when he would break Barry Bonds' season record of 73. Would it be before the end of July? Before the All Star Game? Before the end of the upcoming four game series with the Gotham Comets?

 

And while Al dominated the sports pages, pictures of Marla and Al covered the celebrity pages of the newspapers and magazines and the internet. Marla filled twice as much space (both in the media and in her blouses) as Yvonne ever had. Each day, a photo of Marla in a different dress, jumping up and down, arms clasped above her head while she excitedly cheered another Marvelous Al home run from the premium box seat he kept for her. Marla's electric smile, her overflowing bust and her overwhelming enthusiasm ensured her a huge following, male and female.

 

The first game against the Comets set the stage for the rest of the series. After walking his first time up, Al hit a long homerun to center field in the fourth inning, and two innings later, with his team leading 4-2, he hit a line drive to left field that landed just inside the foul pole. The ballpark erupted with cheers as he slowly circled the bases. He had tied the record, and it was only June 30. Al was so excited he committed two errors in the seventh inning and the Comets scored one run, but to his dismay his own team went down in order in the seventh and the eighth, and the game ended with a 5-3 victory, without Al enjoying a fourth at bat and the chance to break the record.

 

Even though Al was pleased with the win, he was frustrated that he missed the opportunity to bat again, and even after his shower and the usual post-game massage, he felt tense and upset. As he rode home in his limousine around midnight, he felt too restless to sleep and instead phoned Marla.

 

She answered lazily, "Al! I was just getting to bed. What's up?"

 

"I want to see you. Can you come by?"

 

There was a brief silence. "Why don't you come here tonight? You've never been to my place."

 

"Yours? But mine is-"

 

"- so much nicer? Well, mine is a home too," she said, sounding a little annoyed. "I'm in my bed and it's too late to get dressed. But," she added, in a warmer tone, "I'm not saying it's too late to see you. I'm sure you'll find something you like to do in my cosy little place if you join me here. Give your phone to your driver, and I'll tell him where to take you."

 

"But I can-"

 

"Close your eyes and give him the phone, lover, and before you know it you'll be in my bed." Her voice filled his heart with a passion that left him with no strength to disagree. He handed the phone to his driver and settled back into his seat.

 

He must have dozed off, because before he realised what was happening he was already there. Perhaps it was only the harshness of the street-lit scene at 1 AM, but he was a bit disturbed by the roughness of Marla's neighbourhood and the shabbiness of her building, a four-story walk-up with a Laundromat and a Bodega on the ground floor with no doorman or visible security. It just didn't fit with her confident manner or her glamorous appearance. He puzzled for a moment, wondering how to negotiate the entry intercom lacking names or apartment numbers, but after ten seconds he just pushed the door and it opened. He climbed three flights of malodorous, poorly illuminated stairs to her apartment, loudly tripping over a Big Wheels tricycle on the second floor. His muttering complaints stopped as soon as he saw her waiting for him, leaning across the doorframe in a marginally opaque silk shawl loosely draped over one shoulder, the heavy curve of her breast forcing it tight on one side and pushing it downwards on the other. She turned around and he followed her swaying form inside, the varied scents of five lit candles arrayed on her dressing table taking the place of the baser smells of the building as Marla led Al into her bedroom. He began to touch her breasts but she shook her head.

 

"No, not tonight, darling," she said. He stiffened in surprise and was about to reply in frustrated anger when she added, "I'm ready for you right now." She dropped the shawl to the floor, letting the flickering candles and the strobe of passing traffic illuminate her splendid body in an otherworldly, ever-changing mix of light and colour as she beckoned to him and eased herself backwards onto the bed.

 

He needed no other invitation and mounted her, thrusting into her with all of his strength and passion.

 

"Yes! That's – ohhh – JUST what I wanted. Faster, darling, faster."

 

Al was grunting too.

 

"Oh! Don't hold back a moment. Oh! Oh!"

 

Well, if he didn't have to wait for her …

 

"Yes, yes, please! Harder! I know you want to. Give it to me. Deeper, deeper, Oh! OH! OHHH!"

 

Her body felt so good. She had everything. Tits, ass, tone, passion, putting his pleasure first.

 

"Oh, Al. That was marvelous. You were MARVELOUS, you know?"

 

"Mmmmm, yeah," he said, tired and content. He liked hearing that that. A lot. So tired. So …

 

It was morning. Bright sunshine, and hot! He was still in the apartment, but where was she? The sheets had felt so soft last night, but this morning they felt rough, scratchy. Without the candles burning, the odours of garbage and the hot smell of the laundromat filled the apartment.

 

"Marla. Marla!" he called out, but there was no reply. She had never left him alone before. Where did she go? What time was it? Just ten, but there was a day game today. He got out of bed and went to the bathroom, surprised that none of her stuff was around, although his toothbrush and his shaving gear were there. Had she moved it here? When? He showered, annoyed at the lack of water pressure and the cheap soap, and then felt even more annoyed at her cheap brown towels. Funny. He was sure she had better taste.

 

She had evidently picked up their clothes from last night, although he couldn't find them. Annoyed again, he rooted around the apartment and found, to his surprise, nothing of hers, but a closet filled with men's clothing of roughly his size, although they felt cheap. Still, they would do for the moment, and he pulled on the nearest clothes and looked for something to eat. There was his favourite cereal, but the box was nearly empty, the milk was sour, and there was nothing else in the refrigerator except a half-eaten sandwich, which he put back in. He didn't have enough time to go back to his own place for some food. At least the clubhouse at the ball park was well-stocked.

 

His wallet had just three dollars in it, and he couldn't find his cell phone to call his limo driver. He didn't have time to call around for the number, so he went downstairs and after a few minutes found a taxi to take him uptown to the ball park. He hopped out and left the clubhouse manager to take care of the fare, which he did without a smile, even when Al promised him a big tip once he got some cash. At last, in the clubhouse, he began to feel like himself again.

 

"Taxi today, Al? Feeling rich again?", Carlos asked.

 

"Only in my own limo!"

 

"Yeah, I hear you. Those were the days, right man?" Al shot him a look, and the rightfielder shrugged and went back to his locker. He walked to the food table, which was already well picked over, and took some fruit, some fish and some bread.

 

"Pencil me in at number 3 today, huh Skip? I feel like I got another two in me."

 

The manager glared at him. "I've told you too many times, if you're not here three hours before the game, you're on the bench! I don't care how many homers you've hit, you have to follow the rules, Al. I know there's no point fining you, so this is all I can do. And if they fire me for it, well, they can have my lousy job!" He stalked off.

 

"Skip! Hey, Skip! Fuck!" He thought that he obviously should have pretended that those fines meant more to him than they did. He'd rather pay a $1,000 fine and play than be benched, especially being on the verge of breaking Bonds' record. Well, the Skip would take heat from the fans who came to watch him break the record. Al was sure he would be in the game by the fourth inning.

 

But to his surprise the park was half empty. Sure, day games on weekdays were always the least popular, but the fans had to know this was going to be an historic game, one they would be able to tell their kids about – if he had a chance to hit one out. He jogged out to the outfield and did a few wind sprints to warm up before taking his batting practice and then walked back to grab his bat. He frowned – it was chipped on the handle.

 

"Hey. Louie! Get me a new bat"

 

"For batting practice, Mr M? But you said to save the new ones for the game. You know … you don't have many left."

 

"What the – then order some more!"

 

Louie looked around, embarrassed. "But sir, I …"

 

One of Al's teammates interceded. "Fuck it, Al. Don't get the kid in trouble. Just use your old bat for batting practice until you can afford some new ones. Or ask your fucking ex-wife. Jeez!" the veteran catcher exclaimed and walked away.

 

"My ex … what the fuck!" he said and slammed his helmet down. "Is this some kind of joke?! Just get me my bats!!"

 

Two more players jogged over. "Hey, Al. Cool it!" the team captain said, putting his arm around Al's shoulder while the other reassured the batboy and moved him away.

 

Al shook him off. "Cut it out, Drake! What's wrong with you all?"

 

"Hey!" the captain said, ruffled. He didn't back off. "It's tough for you, but don't take it out on us. I'm not gonna invade your privacy and ask you why you gave Yvonne everything you had and everything you're gonna earn, but hey, you did it and now you have to live with it. We didn't do it, you did. I'll give you a little advice here. Just be a man about it and get on with your life. And if I were you, I wouldn't be so obvious about how upset you are. I mean, she's right over there in your box seat, and the TV cameras suck up everything you do here. You're just piling up more grief for yourself."

 

Al glared at him but he didn't say anything.

 

"Look at it this way, Al. If people thought you were just in it for the money, now's your chance to show them they were wrong. Do it for the game. Do it for your team. Show them what you're really made of."

Al was looking past him. "This can't be real. It's a dream. It has to be a dream." He pinched himself, but nothing changed except that his arm hurt.

 

Drake shook his head. "Ahhh, you're hopeless, Al. You know that?" He walked away.

 

A deep voice boomed, "Hey, 'Ella', aaah you goink zu play, or do you chust pay?"

 

Al turned. He knew that voice! Sure enough it was that super-muscular Hermann, sitting next to Yvonne in HIS box. He strode toward them. "Hey! Get out of there! That's MY box!! That's where Marla should be."

 

Yvonne laughed loudly. "Oh no it's not, Al. Mine now! Part of the divorce! Ha, and even though they're not sold out you can't get more, because you can't AFFORD these seats anymore. They're way out of your league. Like your girlfriend. How much longer is she going to stick with a guy who can only give her a seat in the last row of the upper deck. HA HA HA. Not much exposure for a girl who likes to be in front of the cameras. Right, Hermann?" She clutched his huge biceps affectionately while the photographers took pictures of her.

 

Al was steaming mad. "You can jeer at me all you want, but you're just making a ass of yourself if you talk about Marla that way. She's one of the most beautiful girls in the world, certainly the most beautiful I've ever met. She's-

 

"Oh! Here she is now, to give you one of her good luck kisses! And here come the photographers!"

 

It was Marla, wearing a simple, off-the-rack blue cotton dress that held her perfect breasts as if there were suspended in air, like a reverently delicate kiss. The most beautiful girl in the world stood in front of him, radiating love, making her even more beautiful.

 

"Don't listen to them, Al. This is your big day! I'm SO sorry I had to leave your apartment before you, but if I don't get my work hours in, we don't eat! And those ushers gave me such a hard time coming through to the field. But I'm here now. Come to me. Let me give you your good luck kiss, and then go out and show them that you're the greatest home run hitter of all time!"

 

"Awww, isn't that sweet! But all she has is the cheap ticket you got her; she shouldn't be here. Oh, she's blocking my view. I'm calling the ushers right now to get her thrown out!"

 

"I'll help!" Hermann added.

 

Al smiled. "Marla, you are incredible!"

 

"Listen to him! See how my ex-husband loves her, just because she's young and pretty. What if she were grossly fat, and disgustingly low-class!"

 

Al turned in shock to see Marla waving at him from the front of the stands. He knew it was Marla, somehow, from her face and the way she moved, but she was grossly overweight, wearing a cheap tent-like blue cotton dress that nevertheless left stretch marks across her stomach, while opening on top to expose her large but flattish breasts, which were poorly contained by her bulky, ineffective bra. Al could hardly look at her breasts. The lower parts merged into her bulging waist while the upper parts flapped and jiggled clumsily up toward her neck with each movement. Her chest was heaving with the effort of climbing down the stairs to greet him, and dark stains near her shoulders and across her stomach showed how heavily she was perspiring in the late June summer heat. She reached toward him, and the fat on her upper arm rolled around as though unattached to any other part of her body.

 

Hermann jeered. "Ach! Zie ist zo big mit de fett dat efen I can't lifft her, ja Fonzie? Ha ha ha!"

 

Marla was waving excitedly. "Al! Al! You're gonna break the big record tuhday, arncha? I'm so excited! And when ya break it, we'll really celebrate, right?" she said, jumping up and down, her hands clasped over her head, making the ugly shape of her breasts and the sweat stains even more apparent. A Daily News photographer took shot after shot as she beckoned to Al for a kiss.

 

It was her voice, her eyes, her hair, but with all that fat, those awful clothes, and that accent?! "Um … Marla," he said hesitantly. "I've got my game …."

 

"A-a-a-l!" she squealed loudly. "Ya KNOW my kisses bring ya luck. Ya told me ya hit a homer for every kiss I give ya! Remembuh? Yeah, I know ya like me to stay way up there in the high-up seat ya got for me, so I don't distract ya, but my office cleanin' job means I gotta go before I give ya my kisses. So here I am!" She leaned over the railing, extending herself toward Al, letting the photographer snap six pictures of her chest through the opening of her dress.

 

Yvonne was laughing so hard that she had to lean on Hermann for support. "She's so perfect for you, Al! So much to love! And she must be so grateful for all that you can give her!" Al's mouth was wide open in shock and disgust, and the photographer was getting pictures of him too. "Oooh, I can just see the photo caption. 'Al marvels at girlfriend's Marvelous breasts!'"

 

"You … you are so horrible!" Al said, though it was unclear whether he was talking to Yvonne or Marla. Yvonne just laughed more loudly, but Marla drew back, stung.

 

"W-wh-hat?" she said, her eyes widened and filled with a flood of tears.

 

"There you go again. You are SO fickle, Al!" Yvonne taunted. "You were just telling me about your NEW girlfriend, how she was one of the most beautiful girls in the world! But this is just what I'd expect from you. This is how you treat your lovers and friends, which is why you don't have any, at least not for long, not once they know you."

 

Al had no idea what to do. This was supposed to be one of the greatest days of his career and it was turning into a nightmare of embarrassment and humiliation. The game. The game was what was important. And the record. He would have to focus on that. Forget Yvonne. Forget Marla. Forget-

 

"A-A-A-l-l-l-l-l!" Marla wailed, the tears running down her cheeks and pooling on her breasts. "Where are ya going? What about yer kiss?" The premium box seat holders were gathering. They were pointing at Marla and laughing.

 

"Leave me alone! I have a game to play. Just get out of here!" Al screamed at Yvonne, but Marla was standing in between them and took in the full force of his words.

 

"BUT AAAALLLLLLL …"

 

"Ja ja! A gurl so beautiful as she desserfs besser."

 

Marla turned and managed a tearful smile at Hermann and Yvonne. "Thank you! I didn't know he was a meanie!"

 

"You should join us. We can boo Al together. We boo him when he bats, when he fields and when he deserves it. Which is all the time!"

 

"Ja, all der time!"

 

"He's such a bad player except for the home runs, but what if he never hit another one? Then they'd drop him, and would I be glad, even if I never got another penny out of him. What would it matter? I got enough out of him to keep me rich and comfortable for the rest of my life."

 

Al realised Drake had been calling him. He was late to the ball park, he had missed batting practice, and now he was benched. He stewed, watching the team fall steadily behind in the game. Finally, in the ninth, down 12-0, he was called to pinch hit with two out, a final humiliation. They didn't even want to use the wait for his record to sell tickets! He grabbed a bat, a new bat, and hurried out to loosen up. Marla, Yvonne and Hermann were booing loudly. The rest of the now sparse crowd was quiet, as if they didn't care! He took the first two pitches, a ball and a strike, and swung at the third. He hit it perfectly, a high, driving shot into the "power alley" in right field. It was going out. It had to be going out, but no one was cheering, no one was standing. And then it died, caught, ten feet in front of the fence. He stood rigidly in disbelief. There was no wind. Was it a dead ball? Did it hit a bird? The visiting team swept by him, ignoring him. The park was quiet, except for Hermann's jeering calls, "Veekling. I told you he's chust a veekling!"

 

"It's cause he didn't' have my kiss!" Marla said triumphantly. "He's nothing without my kisses!"

 

He was alone on the field. The manager came out to talk to him.

 

"Tough one, Al. I thought I'd give you a chance. Another day."

 

"Yeah, thanks."

 

"Listen. I heard you took a taxi up to the game. How you manage your money is your affair, of course, but you can't charge these costs to the club. You'll get us into all kinds of trouble with your ex, you know."

 

"My ex? What does she have to do with it?"

 

"Are you nuts? You know you gave her 90% of your net! If we start paying your taxis at home we have to make up more to her. Her lawyers will tie us up in knots. Just keep it simple. Your new apartment is right on the subway line. Take the A train, like the song says, ok?"

 

"My new … wait a minute. Not you too? That was all a dream, a bad dream. But how could you-"

 

"Al, maybe you should – it's none of my business, and I know you can't afford it now yourself, but the HMO might entitle you to talk to someone, a therapist maybe, or-

 

Al was so disgusted he turned on his heel and left the manager cold. He took a long shower to clear his head. He was going back to his apartment, his real apartment. No more of this bullshit.

 

By the time Al had changed the other players had left. He still had no money, so he had to take the subway downtown and then walk several blocks to his real apartment. The doorman refused to let him by without checking with Yvonne and after much discussion she agreed. He stormed into the elevator, glared at a neighbour, and knocked loudly on the door until Yvonne opened it, dressed in a hot red designer outfit that left her back and her toned arms bare. The apartment was as he had left it, except that his favourite painting of himself was gone and in its place, a painting of a field of lilies.

 

As soon as she closed the door Yvonne said in a firm tone, "I let you in only to avoid a scene downstairs, but the doorman knows you're up here, and he'll call the police if you haven't left in 15 minutes. So say what you want to me and then leave. Quietly, or else!"

 

"I want YOU to leave, and whether it's quietly or noisily, I don't care!" Al said threateningly.

 

"I was leaving. I'm going out with friends. But not with you staying here. This is my apartment. You have, ha ha, your own place! Unless it's really Marla's!" she said, snickering nervously, looking down at the floor.

 

"You think you can get away with this? I don't know how you've fooled everybody else, but you can't fool me! This isn't what happened; it's not real! You're not getting any of this." He stepped forward, pushing against her.

 

"You can't intimidate me!" she said, trying to maintain her position without provoking him.

 

"Are you sure?" he said, stepping toward her again. "Your bodyguard, Hermann, isn't here for a change. And I can do a lot of damage to your pretty face in 15 minutes."

 

Yvonne had no choice but to back up. "You've always been such a bully, just because you're an athlete and a man! What if I were stronger!"

 

She stood there glaring at him, her toned, muscular arms twitching slightly as her heart beat nervously.

 

"Huh?" he said, noticing the surprising bulges of muscle on her athletic body. "So, you've been working out lately? Is this what you're doing with my money? Well, it's better than just sitting on your ass, like you always did. But that doesn't change anything." He stepped closer, puffing out his chest.

 

Yvonne stepped away, getting closer to the wall, bracing herself.

 

"Uh huh! I like it, and why shouldn't I? It's good to be in shape. I'm stronger than you think," she said, trying to be brave.

 

"Oh, really? You think I should be worried about that?"

 

"N-no. I'm not trying to scare you." she said, watching as he clenched and unclenched his fists.

 

"And you're sure succeeding in that!" He grabbed her wrist. "Now, you're gonna-"

 

"Owww! Stop it! You're hurting me. Let go!" she said, trying to free herself, and failing. "You wouldn't dare do this if Hermann were here. Or if I were as strong as you and could defend myself! What if I were stronger? What if I had a black belt, huh?" She pulled her wrist out of his grasp. "You don't really want to mess with me, you know," she said, putting one foot back and holding her hands in a defensive position, trying to establish herself without escalating a physical confrontation.

 

Al stared at her arms. She had hard, visible muscles, well-toned and bunched with veins snaking across, as would be expected of a woman who could spend three hours every day in classes at her dojo and gym.

 

"Ha ha! Just like always. You start something, and then you remember that I'm not like the other girls you like to push around. Because I learned my lesson from you a long time ago. Sure, you're a big shot athlete, but you're just a baseball player. I've seen you guys 'brawl' on the field. It's nothing like what a trained martial arts competitor can do. I may not be as strong as you but I bet I'm twice the fighter you are! These hands and feet ought to be registered as dangerous weapons. HA HA! Doesn't that just kill you?" She grabbed his arm and pushed her elbow into his stomach while stomping on his foot. He tried to push her off, but she dug her elbow deeper into him before stepping away. "Yeah, see? You may be an athlete, but you don't know the moves."

 

Al pulled away and took a step backwards. "This has to be a dream, a bad dream! This isn't you, Yvonne. You never had muscles like these! You don't know the first thing about fighting."

 

She felt her biceps and flexed them, beaming with satisfaction at their size and shape. "I didn't when I was younger, and not when we got married. I knew guys are threatened by strong girls, and but living with you taught me that being strong and knowing how to defend myself are important. Isn't that why you came up here to 'talk', instead of trying to bully me!" Al was shaking his head. "Oh yes, because you know that I can take care of myself."

 

"Talk? I didn't come here to talk! Why would I want to talk to you?"

 

She stretched her taut, feline muscles, spreading her shoulders and her lats, and took a half step forward. "Because you have no other choice? Because you need money, maybe? Because you realize that with me taking all your assets and sucking up 90% or more of your income, for life, how completely stuck you are in a tiny little apartment with a fat, ugly girlfriend – unless I have mercy on you?" She laughed and pretended to throw a punch at him but Al quickly moved away. "Ha ha! You wouldn't even dare fight back, would you? You wouldn't dare make me angry, because I'm your only chance."

 

"Don't be so sure of that!"

 

"Oh yeah, right!" She held up her arm, showing three gold, diamond-studded bracelets and thrust her wrist at his face. "Each one of these is worth more than what you get to keep from two years of your salary, and I've got three of them right here. Want one?" He reached forward but she snatched her hand away. "Uh uh uhhhh," she teased.

 

He glared at her but did nothing.

 

"See? You don't dare." She fired three quick punches at him, almost faster than his eyes could follow, each falling just a quarter of an inch short of his nose. He heard the rush of the wind with each thrust of her fist. "I could really hurt you with these, big shot, and you don't dare fight back. The only thing you can do is try to get away" She hit his shoulder with the side of her hand, hard enough to sting. "Right? Feel that? A couple of solid hits and you won't be hitting anything out for a week. Ha! That would serve you right, just when you're so close that that silly record."

 

"OK, you certainly seem pretty quick, Yvonne, but don't underestimate me. I have a lot of power. All I need to do is hit you a couple of times and you'll be hurting too," Al said, positioning his fists in front of his face and moving them slightly, showing her he was ready for anything she tried but staying out of her arms reach.

 

"So defensive, and so far away! I just love the look on your face when you're afraid of me. After all, all you have going for you is the size of your muscles. But I'm not so far behind, am I? Yeah, look at MY muscles, not just my biceps. I train all over! I'm in such amazing shape. I've got the best dojo, the best strength trainer, the best equipment, the best protein and vitamin-rich food and all the time I want to take to work my body. I love being this strong, and getting stronger all the time. And I don't cheat like you, with drugs or giving away signs to make me look good. I look good and I fight like a tiger, all because of my own effort!"

 

Al shook his head but said nothing, staying on alert.

 

"You don't think so? Well, just you wait. I'm seven years younger than you, and I haven't reached my full potential. I'm still developing, growing my muscles, still getting harder, stronger, faster. Can you say the same, Al? Your career's already on a downward curve, and so is your body, especially with what you've done to it. I intimidate you now. What if I were stronger and you couldn't get away from me?"

 

Yvonne's sleeveless dress shrank on her, the straps over her shoulders holding up the top vanished, replaced by just a narrow strip of cloth in front of her breasts, and a skirt barely covering her waist and her butt, leaving her skin and the bulging muscles all over her body fully exposed, not cut like a bodybuilder's, but rounded and large, very large. Strangely, her ring finger once again had a wedding ring, as did Al's. Al stared at her, amazed to see muscles at least as large as his own.

 

"A woman loves to be admired for her body, don't let anyone tell you otherwise," Yvonne said, satisfied. "There's just nothing so nice as being irresistible, whether it's for my personality, my looks or, heh, heh, my strength," she laughed, flexing her biceps. "Of course, you didn't know my potential when we got married, did you? You didn't think a woman could be as strong as you, that your wife would be the physically dominant one in your marriage," she added. "I felt a little guilty about hiding that from you. It took me years of dieting and inactivity to shrink and soften my muscles when I was in my late teens, just so that I could feel like I was attractive to men. How dumb could I have been! Thank goodness once I got married I started being normal again, normal for ME, that is!"

 

"We're not married!" he said defiantly.

 

She slapped him, sending him spinning. "Don't you start that again! You can't escape. We'll be married as long as I say so!"

 

He steadied himself and glared. "This is ridiculous!" he said, stamping his foot and charged her, grabbing her shoulders to twist her down. She did nothing to stop his approach but resisted his efforts to move her and then gave him a sharp punch in the solar plexus with the heel of her hand that pushed him backwards and knocked the breath out of him. He would have fallen if she had not caught his arm and twisted it behind his back, holding him fast.

 

"Are you stupid? You haven't been able to do that to me for years, not since our third anniversary. And, oh, did I pay you back for that one! Remember? That was in my martial arts phase! Now I'm strong enough that I don't need any fancy moves to keep you in line, mister. Now you better calm down before I do some real damage to that body of yours that both of us will regret." She twisted his arm back, turning him around again, facing her.

 

Al was breathing hard, his face red with anger. This was all wrong. She had really hurt him, although he wouldn't admit it, but he couldn't let her get away with it. Although if it were a dream, it didn't really matter, did it? Yes, this was a dream. It obviously had to be a dream, a stupid, nightmarish, super-realistic kind of dream!

 

"Uh oh! Al's got an idea! I can always tell. Spill it! What's on your mind now?"

 

Al smiled smugly. "It's simple. You're not real. I don't know why I'm even talking to you, but it doesn't matter. You could vanish any second, or turn into a fish, or become our asshole captain, Drake Jenkins. And when I wake up, you'll be just a memory."

 

"Oh god! You're getting crazier and crazier, Al! What WILL you think of next! So, this is just a dream? So, anything can happen?" She jumped in the air to try to touch the eleven foot ceiling, fell comfortably short and then landed heavily on the floor. "Can't fly!" She slapped her thick abdominals, making a loud drum-like sound. "Sounds pretty real to me!" She made a fist and pulled her arm back. "And what if I -"

 

"Stop!" he shouted. "That's it! I've been thinking about it. It IS a dream. And everything changes and gets weirder each time somebody says, 'what if'!

 

Yvonne screwed up her face. "WHAT!? I don't remember anything like that!"

 

"Yes! I'll try it and show you! What if you lost all your extra muscle and looked the way Yvonne looks in real life!" He stared at her, disappointed. "Hey! Nothing happened!"

 

"Of course nothing happened. Why should it? Anyway, this IS how I look in real life!" Yvonne said, rolling her eyes.

 

"No it's not! You're slender and curvy, with small, soft muscles."

 

Yvonne screwed up her face. "Uggh! I am not!! I couldn't STAND to be like that, soft and weak! If I were like that I'd be so miserable! You could dominate me, bully me. Any man could!" She shook her head. "Yech! I would NEVER let that happen." She smiled and tossed her shoulders. "Anyway, it couldn't happen. It's impossible."

 

"Maybe it worked only when you said it. Fine. You say it's impossible. I say this is a dream and it CAN happen, but you just don't remember the changes. It's like it was always that way for you. But I remember! Humor me, then. Just say, 'what if I were just half as strong as Al' Say it and whatever happens I'll do whatever you ask – for the rest of the day."

 

"So, what's special about that?" she teased. "You do whatever I tell you. But it would be different if you obeyed me willingly. OK, sure. I'll humour you and see if your little dream-magic works." She bent her arm and flexed her biceps. The large muscle burst upwards and stood high and proud above the plane of her arm. She kissed it, as if to say good-bye, and sighed. "Jealous, Al?"

 

"It's not bad," he admitted, glad that they were not comparing. Even though it was a dream, it was more than disconcerting to see Yvonne looking so muscular, very possibly more so than he was.

 

"Nice of you to admit it. OK," she winked. "So, what if I were just … six times as strong as you, Al, six inches taller too, with an apartment and stuff made for my strength, and I remembered how things were before I made it all change by saying, 'what if'?"

 

The decor of the apartment all changed. The light, colourful fabrics both he and Yvonne had liked were replaced by large, heavy, metallic furniture, all with themes of heavy weight-lifting and other exercise equipment. A metal table in the shape of a weight disc, sitting on top of a barbell bar. A chair in the shape of a weight bell. A lamp powered by a large battery attached to an exercycle. Plates and cups labelled with heavy weights in kilograms. A wide screen TV was running a workout video with Yvonne barking instructions in a domineering military style.

 

Yvonne was looking down at him, a full head taller, her hands on her hips, her massive biceps pulsing, her elegant, red, backless dress now a black leather miniskirt and bustier top with diamond-studded straps around her muscular back and over her broad shoulders. Her waist was slender but ridged with muscles that rippled and pulsed and danced, almost threatening to reach out to Al and engulf him. She stepped closer to him, blocking any escape.

 

"Oh … my GOD!" Al said, swallowing, as Yvonne lifted him effortlessly, her large hands pinning his arms by his sides.

 

"Well, well, well. THIS is so much fun! Part of me feels that I've ALWAYS been six times as strong as you are – at least! But then I DO remember being different too, smaller, a lot smaller. And … now I know something about some magic words that give me anything I want. So you were right after all, Al! You must be so pleased!" She wrapped one long arm around him, easily holding him against her and pinning both his arms while she flexed once again and admired the soaring rock-hard melon-sized ball of muscle. "Mmmmmm, now THAT's power!"

 

Al stared at Yvonne in disbelief. "This is crazy. This can't be real. It has to be a dream." He slapped himself. "I can't wake up! What kind of a dream is this?"

 

Yvonne held out her much larger hand. "Oooh, can I try? I bet I can do it better! And MUCH harder! So this is a dream for you? Well, whatever you say, 'darling'! All I can say is that if it is, then it's very best kind!" she laughed and pressed him closer to her. Her massive, powerful muscles shifted and pressed against him as she played with them, grinding them against his body. "Poor Al. I thought you'd dream about what kind of a hitter you could be if YOU had this much muscle! How your life would've been different if you were the stronger one, or if you hadn't married me, if I wasn't always hurting you when we 'play' around. How can you STAND being SO much WEAKER than me? It must make you so SAD!" She left him slide to the floor, her breasts thrust against his chin. "I know how jealous you've always been of my strength. You've always wished you could push me around the way I do to you, the way I've always done, right?"

 

"What?" Al said, stepping backwards. "You can't-"

 

She immediately placed two fingers on his shoulder and pushed him down and he could do nothing but fall to his knees, yelping in pain. "Never, never say 'I' can't. I can do anything I want, whenever I want, and to whomever I want. Especially to you." She grabbed his upper arm. "Such pathetic little 'baseball muscles'. That's all you got, even with your drugs! Obviously, you weren't built for real strength, like I am."

 

"Let go! You're hurting me!" Al demanded as he futilely tried to free himself from her grip, first pulling and then trying to pry her fingers open.

 

"Isn't this just like old times? Marvelous Al, trying to defend himself against his wife, his soft, underdeveloped muscles helpless even against her skinny little fingers, let alone her big, strong steely biceps! Of course, they were just 15" biceps then, and now they're 24". I love my strength and I especially love using it against you!"

 

"Please let me go! I can't take this pain! Somehow I can't wake up!"

 

"Oh, I know!" Yvonne smirked, squeezing more tightly, relaxing for a moment, and then squeezing again. "And it was so good of you to come by! You fall for it every time. You think I'm going to be nicer, that we can have a little talk about my giving you more to live on, cause you think it was unfair, just because I used my strength against you to make you sign our marriage contract." She pulled him close, let go of his arm and put her hand on his neck, trapping his arms against her body and his face into her bust. "But what's a poor girl from the barrio to do? She has to use every little weapon she has to get what she wants!" She pressed him closer, her fingers digging into his upper back, his arms unable to push her away. "And now you've just given me one more! What if your girlfriend had come to visit?"

 

The bathroom door opened. "That's betta! I hadda go so bad! Al! Al! Are ya awright? She's addit again, ain't she?"

 

"Well, look who's here! It's your girlfriend, Marla! I can see why you latched on to her. No muscle to threaten you there!"

 

Marla rushed up and put her arms around him to comfort him, burying him in her vast, soft flesh. "She's sucha bully, Allie! But I'm heah na. I'll takeya home an' take care a ya!"

 

"I love it! She's so sweet!"

 

Al pushed Marla away. "Leave me alone. Get out of here!"

 

Marla looked shocked. "B-b-b-but I really thautcha loved me!"

 

"I NEVER loved you! I don't even know who you are, you pig!"

 

Marla began bawling.

 

"Aww, what a sweet girl. You're such a monster, Al. I bet she has a beautiful soul after all. What if she were beautiful outside, instead of within?"

 

The crying stopped. Instead, the once-again gorgeous, raven-haired, stacked Marla stood across the room, arms crossed in front of her chest, eyes shooting daggers at Al. "You call ME a pig? I should have known you'd be back with her. You can't help it, can you? I turn my back for one minute and you're chasing the muscle again. Is that all it takes with you?"

 

She was his gorgeous Marla again! He had never been so relieved. "M-Marla! No, Marla, no. I swear! I – this doesn't make any sense. I love you."

 

Yvonne laughed. "I wouldn't be so sure." Yvonne was holding him, keeping him from going to her, her powerful hands crushing his biceps.

 

"Owww, stop!"

 

"Go ahead, Yvonne. He deserves it! I only wish I could do that to the creep myself!" the beautiful Marla sneered. "I'd make him want me, and then I'd crush every bone in his body!"

 

Yvonne looked at her sympathetically. "Aren't you a mean one! So that would make you happy? You know, I should have known that's what you wanted! You're really just the kind of girl Al should have on the side."

 

"No. No." he protested, his head bouncing helplessly back and forth between them. "Yvonne, don't!"

 

"Don't what?" she said sweetly to Al, carelessly twisting his arm behind her back so that he was propped helplessly in front of Marla, who happily buried her little fist in Al's stomach.

"Owww!" he gasped.

 

"Did that hurt, Al? But she'll not really very strong. Are you Marla?"

 

"I'm not bad for a girl. I keep myself in shape," she said proudly.

 

"But nothing like me," Yvonne said.

 

"Noooooo!" Al cried out.

 

"Was there something you didn't want me to do?" Yvonne asked even more sweetly. "As if I wouldn't do anything you didn't want me to do."

 

"Yvonne, please. No mas!" Al begged. "You win."

 

"Of course I win! Were you expecting to win, Al? Sooo, Marla, what if you, my nasty friend, were nearly as strong as I am?" Yvonne said and released Al.

 

Al began to run and just as suddenly, cruel Marla's curvy feminine body became curvy and spectacularly powerful. She moved slightly and Al's body crashed directly into her immovable torso as if he had just collided with the wall of the ballpark. She grabbed Al's comparatively weak arms and extended them apart as though they were overcooked pasta.

 

"So it's my turn now?" she grinned, letting each bicep pop in turn. "And which one of these babies will have the honor of powering my fist THIS time?"

 

Al looked from side to side, watching each of her humongous biceps muscles bunch and rise up in turn. Yvonne had made Marla almost as strong as she was, but Marla nearly eight inches shorter, and her muscles looked almost twice as big on her smaller arm.

 

"I don't know what's happening. It's just a nightmare! It must be." Al exclaimed.

 

And he woke up. He was sure of it. Marla, beautiful, kind, lovely Marla was next to him, in her simple apartment. One candle was still burning. His heart was pounding. Marla's eyes were fluttering open.

 

"Al, are you all right?" He shook his head. "What is it?"

 

"Another one of these stupid dreams. I hadn't had one in weeks."

 

"You poor sweetheart," she said, covering his face with little kisses. "You must be all nervous about being so close to the record.

 

"I don't know. This one was the worst. You were in it. And …" he was unsure how much to tell her.

 

"Me? And wasn't I as loving to you in the dream as I am right here?" she smiled, rubbing his chest gently.

 

He laughed. "No. You started out that way, but then you got fat, grossly fat, and then mean, and finally very strong. You were about to beat me up!" he concluded.

 

She laughed too. "Was I fat and angry for a good reason?" she teased. She pulled off the blanket. "Are you telling me you think I need to diet?"

 

"No, no, of course not!" he reassured her.

 

"Well, it's just 4 am. And you're not playing until tonight. I've got to find some way of getting my man back to his home run dreams!" Her kisses started moving downwards until they reached a point just below the middle of his body, where she concentrated her mouth's work for several minutes. Soon after, Al's eyes began to close. "Marla," he said, you are incredible …"

 

"Mmmmmhmmm," she agreed, as he began to snore.

 

He was right back in Yvonne's apartment, standing between the enormously muscular Yvonne and Marla.

 

"Oh, no!" he said in dismay. "Not here again!"

 

"You mean, there's somewhere else you would rather be? Your apartment?" Yvonne asked, smiling.

 

"The baseball park?" Marla suggested with a sneer. "So you can go hit more homeruns and get cheered at?"

 

Al nodded vigorously. "Yes, yes, please. That's my job. The baseball park." He was backing away from them, nearly to the door.

 

"Well, you can't go," Yvonne said, "not unless I let you," she said, although not making a move to stop him.

 

"Not unless WE let you!" Marla said, pushing her hands together to make her biceps bulge.

Al put his hand on the door handle. He was almost out. He pushed the handle down but it wouldn't move.

 

"You're not strong enough to open that, not in a million years. Look around you, Al. Everything here is designed for my strength, to give me exercise, including the door handle." She picked up the TV remote and put her thumb on one of the buttons and pushed hard, only slowly making the exercise video louder. "You couldn't even increase the volume!" she laughed.

 

Marla picked up a fork. "You can hardly eat with these, at least not like a proper person. This must weigh at least twenty pounds!"

 

"Or answer the phone," Yvonne suggested, lifting her cell phone, the effort of which made her huge biceps bulge. "And dialing it is just like the TV remote, of course! Like typing on the computer too."

 

"And forget about lifting the toilet seat, let alone leaving it up!" they both squealed in laughter.

Al looked back and forth in horror at each jibe, shaking his head. "What a nightmare! Why do I keep coming back to this nightmare?"

 

"Is that how he refers to us?" Marla said, pretending to be offended.

 

"After all we've done," Yvonne agreed. "Well, I don't want him to go, Hey, Al. What if you were suspended for two years for drug use?"

 

"He's so pathetic! All those drugs and he's still a wimp!" Marla said, mocking him. "I bet he'd never go outside now even if we let him. He'd be too embarrassed. And it's not as though he has anything to do! He won't be playing until 2012."

 

"I've got to wake up! I don't care WHAT time it is!"

 

"He thinks this is a nightmare!" Marla laughed. "It's his life!

 

"If it were a dream, he could get out it," Yvonne said. "And what would happen to us. What if …" she said, winking.

 

Al looked at her, his eyes wide.

 

"What if it's real, and not a dream?"

 

Everything snapped into focus. Al could hear the traffic outside, the sounds of the elevator moving, the air conditioner cycling on, the whirr of the computer, the footsteps of the neighbor in the upstairs apartment, all the sounds of everyday life that he hadn't heard before, that you never hear in a dream.

 

Marla stepped closer and wrapped her hands around Al's torso and pulled him lower. He couldn't resist her strength for even a second. "All this talk is making me a little horny, boyfriend. Get down and see what you can do!" she said, unfastening her pants for him.

 

"And I'm next!" laughed Yvonne. "Right after my workout," giving Marla some privacy.

 

It was hours before Al got to bed, in a corner of Yvonne's large mattress. He settled into sleep.

 

"Al, wake up, it's time to play." It was Marla. "Come on, it's nearly noon. You'll break the record today, right? For me?"

"Sure," he said groggily. Marla was beautiful again, just like she should be. Those words in his dream. It was just a dream. Just a dream!

 

He got out of bed and walked toward the chair where he left his clothing. He was thinking about the game, and the next thing he knew he was at the ballpark.

 

"Al! Today's the day, hey? Tough break last night."

 

"Sure Joe!" he said, relieved to be there, but not remembering how he had arrived.

 

And then he was at third base. What inning was it? He turned around and couldn't find the scoreboard. He heard the crack of the bat. The ball was in the hole. He dived for it and flew halfway across the infield to reach it and make a great play. Shouldn't the crowd be cheering? Yes, now he heard it. And Marla was cheering too. But what was the score? And why was he in his street clothes? He turned around. The scoreboard seemed miles away but when he looked at it, it was showing the news, which he was actually watching in his apartment.

 

His apartment? What about the game? He turned the channels with the remote, but they were all the same channel.

 

Someone was shaking him roughly. It was Yvonne, lifting him casually to a sitting position on the bed. "Hey tiny, time to get up. You think I'm going to let you dream the whole day away?"

 

THE END

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