Trudge164

Trudge164
Location
Arrive Alive!, Florida, USA
Birthday
February 29
Title
Noh-Won
Bio
Open Salon Member since January 2009 ********************************* Sometimes serious, sometimes comical, always topical. =========================== A guy can dream and drown in a deluge of his own delusional thinking. Can't he? =========================== It is what it is until it no longer is, then it becomes something else.

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MAY 5, 2012 11:33AM

Big Jim, Bodybuilder: Fame, Steroids, Cancer and Death

Rate: 17 Flag

Fiction Weekend for 04/04/2012 – 04/06/2012.

   This week I chose not to follow the prompt, which is  "write a story that begins with the line: "Listen carefully," he said, "this won't be easy for you to hear"". Instead, I submitted a story that I had entered in a contest.

   Back in April, I was listening to WNDA, a local radio station in Miami, Florida, when they aired a weekly show called “Studio 360”. This show highlights artists, writers, and musicians.

   One of show’s segments featured “Significant Objects” a book by Bob Walker and Joshua Glenn in which they scoured thrift shops around New York and with a very small budget they purchased a bunch of objects.

   Then they set about writing back stories for each object. In order to make the segment more interactive with the listeners, the staff at Studio 360 along with Walker and Glenn hosted a contest. They chose three random objects and posted them on Studio 360’s website.

   If listeners wanted to enter the contest, they had to choose one of the objects, write a back story for it and post it on Studio 360’s website.

   I chose the Marlboro Thermos, entered the contest and lost. However, I wanted to share the story with you. I hope you like it. 

"Big Jim, Bodybuilder: Fame, Steroids, Cancer and Death"      by Trudge164 

   It was moving day. We were finally leaving Big Jim’s house. That is how everyone referred to him. Big Jim was a larger than life character. Jim had worked for a parcel delivery company. He worked his way up from truck loader to warehouse manager. It was his day job. However, his real passion in life was bodybuilding. He got into it while playing high school football. A knee injury in his senior year blocked his chances at scoring a college scholarship and going pro; so Big Jim pursued bodybuilding instead.

   Bodybuilding was not very fashionable back then. Guys who were into it were considered to be part of a weird cult. It was viewed as unmanly to be so much into your body. Regardless of public and family opinion, Big Jim pursued the sport with a passion; and he became very successful at it. He was even featured in some magazines devoted to the sport. Jim even picked up some extra cash as a spokesman for some of the muscle-building supplements.

   When the sport started to gain tsunami-sized momentum, Big Jim was already in the water and riding the earlier waves. He became a hit locally, nationally and globally. But he was starting to age. In the sport of bodybuilding, once you start entering your thirties your body starts to turn on you. Big Jim got into steroids. He also got liver cancer. He was dead within three years. He left behind a big house, a trophy wife and Junior (their five year old son).  Four years later, I married Samantha, Jim’s beautiful wife.

    So here it was moving day, I entered Jimmy’s room and asked him if he was ready. He nodded his head and grabbed some things and that old Coleman thermos with the Marlboro logo on it. The thermos was about 18 inches tall and four inches round. The bottom of the thermos was red; its lid and handle was white. On the side of the lid was the Marlboro cigarette logo. Jimmy kept that thermos on top of his bookcase. He was very possessive of it.

   One year into our marriage, I asked Samantha about the thermos. She said that Jim had picked it up in a local bodybuilding contest. Smoking indoors was still allowed back then, and the Marlboro brand had co-sponsored the event. This particular event helped Jim get national attention and launch his bodybuilding career. The thermos had become an inside joke over the years and there were photo albums filled with Big Jim striking classic bodybuilding poses and the thermos next to him. One had him doing some bicep poses with the thermos balanced on top of his right bicep muscles. The whole thing seemed morbidly ironic.

   Then, I asked her why was Jimmy so attached to the thermos. She flashed her world famous erotically-charged smile and led me into the bedroom. Samantha had once been a centerfold model for Playboy. I soon forgot about the thermos. It became just another object in my stepson’s room along with the action figures and sports memorabilia.

   As soon the moving van left, we jumped into our car and headed out to our new home in a new state. Jimmy, now 15 years old, sat in the backseat with the thermos next to him. I could see it through the rearview mirror.

   Samantha noticed I was looking at the thermos. She smiled and said, “Ashes.”

   I gave her a side glance and said, “What?”

   She took in a deep breath and as she let it out she said, “Big Jim’s ashes are inside the thermos.”

   It explained a lot. It also explains why the thermos is featured on the front cover of “Big Jim, Bodybuilder: Fame, Steroids, Cancer and Death”.

Big Jim, Bodybuilder: Fame, Steroids, Cancer and Death by Trudge164 © 2012

If you follow the above links, the original title for my story was "Big Jim and the Thermos".  

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Comments

Type your comment below:
Trudge, that's a great story and apparently Big Jim wasn't so big that he wouldn't fit into a Thermos after the dust settled! I think there's a cameo role for Hugh Hefner somewhere in the action here, too!
Great story. I like the way you went the cancer route but with a twist. Too bad you didn't win the contest. Rated
That whole bodybuilding world is just fascinating to me.... the motivation behind it....just the psychology in general. Interesting stuff. This was a great story, loved the thermos as urn....
Beautiful irony. I wonder if Ahhhnold has a thermos waiting for him.
I had a feeling about the ashes but well told and I could see her flash her pearly whites on the way to the bedroom. I swear I could.
HUGGGGGGG
Designanator, ty. Under the fire we are all the same.

Joe, ty. Hopefully, I'll have better luck next time.

Pensive, the world of bodybuilding is very interesting. I thought the thermos as urn would make the story unique.

Chicken Maan, I'm sure he has.

Linda, sex is always a good diversion.Designanator, ty. Under the fire we are all the same.

Joe, ty. Hopefully, I'll have better luck next time.

Pensive, the world of bodybuilding is very interesting. I thought the thermos as urn would make the story unique.

Chicken Maan, I'm sure he has.

Linda, sex is always a good diversion.
Oh no...got me. Fun read. So that's where all those dudes go...
Bodybuilding? Playboy? A Coleman thermos with "Marlboro" printed on it? I love the 70's (or at least pre-MTV) vibe. This story was FUN.
Know thyself and nothing to excess, including the iron.
Here's hoping no one grabs that thermos to pour some coffee in.
Why was I picturing Mickey Rourke in The Wrestler?
Nice creative use of a difficult object to work into a narrative. Makes me want to know more about this family and how the narrator came tone involved with them. R
Good story, Trudge. A believable character study, mounting action, a touch of sex: you were firing on all cylinders. Kind of reminded me of the 1976 Schwarzenegger/Lou Ferrigno body building movie (whatever it was called). The ashes in the Marlboro thermos was a great ending.
Tg, not all of them.

Nasuki-san, ty. I rolled all those elements into one story because that's how I roll like a California Sushi Roll. :)

JP Hart, everything in moderation including moderation and excess.

Scarlett, it surely would add some "muscle" to that coffee Jim..err...Joe.

Gerald, thanks. Stay tuned something may develop.

Seth, thanks! I was just following Anton Chekhov's rule.
Good one Trudge! R/Duke
I really enjoyed this story - the characters felt so real. The contest you submitted it to was cool - but I'm sorry you didn't win. Obviously those radio people just don't have good taste.
Ashes to ashes..... It actually is a good idea because some thermos are really cool. Thanks for the chuckle
A charming, solid story in its own standing, but you elevated it with a real twist. Nicely done. The "winner" must have been spectacular. You established Jim so well in so short a space (not to mention the wife and child).
R+
Texas, I'm glad you liked it.

Alysa, I thought the same thing.

Algis, I'm glad you liked it.

ASH, ty. Without sounding jealous, I really didn't think the winning piece was that good (but I could be biased).
Great way to remind you that smoking kills. This was a win in my book.
nilesite, thanks!

CatholicGirl, thanks!
I like this a lot Trudge. I also like this concept of writing back stories for objects. Very clever. Thank you for sharing this. You should have won. I entered the Three Minute Fiction contest through NPR recently and lost. I may post my story as well. R
It's great to see you doing more fiction. Nice!
Rita, thanks for the encouraging words. As to NPR's Three Minute Fiction, you lost because they don't appreciate great fiction.

Caroline, lately the Muse has not been coming by.

Trudge164, stop putting my links on my posts.
Rita, thanks for the encouraging words. As to NPR's Three Minute Fiction, you lost because they don't appreciate great fiction.

Caroline, lately the Muse has not been coming by.

Trudge164, stop putting my links on my posts.