Big Heavy Things24 May 2016
Listen to Jack read “Big Heavy Things”.
Eddy wanted to lift big, heavy things. The biggest, heaviest things he could feasibly lift as a human (though even that wasn’t necessary). He’d eat shit if it meant he could bench 500 kilos. Eddy vowed to pledge himself to whatever could help him lift the biggest, heaviest things.
Weightlifting seemed like the way to go.
He’d always been jealous of the big men lifting their big, heavy things in their big, heavy gyms. Subconsciously, anyway. Eddy would never admit it. The big men would be ‘unnatural’. Unnecessary for day-to-day life. Unable to run for more than a minute without crumbling beneath their own mass (but did you ever see Eddy on the track?). Maybe he saw these guys and gals dedicating themselves to a cause and not giving up two weeks in and thought fuck, I’m just gonna pretend they don’t exist.
There was an event, of course. There’s always something. Something that stirs that caveman need to pick up big, heavy things. At the request of those involved, I’ve been asked to redact any details. I wonder, though. Were Eddy older, would it have ended this way? Was he simply too young and naive to handle it all?
Not really my place to say.
Eddy wasn’t too well equipped to jump into anything that required any type of strength. When school said he had to do sports, apathy said aerobics. Once school ended even that had been gone for years. There was that stint at ultimate frisbee in his second year of uni. That was put off when assignments got too pressing, but then that was put off when life got too pressing, so life itself was put off for a couple of years. It was here in this void that he found the big, heavy things.
At 185cm of lank and 66kg of corn chip malaise, Eddy’s first gym visit wasn’t quite the miracle he’d hoped it to be. He’d walked in, all graphic tees and jean shorts without even a water bottle. At the counter of the YMCA was the chiselled jawline of someone just weeks from the finish line of their personal training course.
After signing up, he was offered a free consultation and took it because he had no idea. After being asked a series of increasingly concerning questions – like, what’s your weight and height? Um, well. What’s your diet like? Uhhh. How frequently do you exercise? Oh. Do you understand what that means for your health? Oh god. – he was left with a smile and a “I’ll send you what to do by Thursday.”
But Eddy didn’t want Thursday. Eddy wanted now. So he smiled and pretended to walk away, before turning back and running through the gates as though he’d broken some rule. Then, within sight of the big men, Eddy stopped smiling. He loitered around, staring at the steel and the mirrors and the skin. Feeling that mist of sweat. All it took for him was to walk into the room to look like he wasn’t meant to be there. Standing still wasn’t helping. So Eddy moved from station to station, looking like he wasn’t meant to be there, only this time with weights in his hands.
He stopped. He looked at a dumbbell. He picked up the dumbbell. He put it down.
Am I doing this right? he wonders.
He does it again.
Eddy feels like God.
Small weights become slightly larger weights. He goes home and wakes up unable to move. He soaks in his bath of paralysis. Once movement comes back, Eddy returns to the dumbbells and hopes that tomorrow he can move even less.
Soon, he’s starting to know what he’s doing. He’s bought name-brand shorts and he’s wearing a singlet, though really he’s not quite ready for that yet. Eddy is becoming smug, but he’ll move beyond that quickly enough, once he realises that he doesn’t have to talk to newbies to intimidate them. He’s a human fitness encyclopaedia. Maybe not even human. With no uni and no friends beyond his mum (who’s been on thin ice anyway for having the nerve to say he looks “too big” when he’s only got 16-inch arms), his days are spent between lifting weights and memorising new facts about weights. Knowing all the nutritional macros of a Whopper meal, every variation of every exercise, the pros of the Latvian Goblet Split and the wonders it does for the knees. Eddy can count the calories of a meal just by looking at it – or, really, by looking at it the night before and memorising numbers that he thinks will impress his stepdad (they don’t).
Slowly, ‘Eddy’ is becoming a known name. Known, at least, on every body-building forum on the internet as some prodigy – Arnold reborn, only far nerdier and hasn’t really reached any of his potential at all. Whether the response is positive or not depends on where on the internet you go. At strongmen.org he’s essentially an admin, but if you dare even utter his name on liftapedia.com you’ll be hit with a lifetime ban and exiled from the sport entirely. He’s still an unknown at his gym. He’s held on to that initial fear of those big men for sentimental reasons.
So go his days for the next year or so. Lift big, heavy things. Read big, heavy things. Eat big, heavy things. Dream big, heavy dreams.
He’s not back at uni but he is on Instagram now, which is something. His body is chiseled, sculpted, the kind of piece that would give a contemporary artist an aneurysm. Eddy is on all the phones. More people have seen his abs than have heard him speak.
Yet something isn’t there. His looks are enviable, sure. But he just doesn’t care. He’s plateaued: his numbers aren’t climbing like they used to. He doesn’t give a shit about his abs anymore or monitoring his daily lentil intake. Big. Heavy. Things. Where it all started.
So he gets straight on the roids. Shocking he didn’t earlier, really. Going from Geek to Golem. His neck and body are essentially interchangeable. His balls have grown in on themselves. The fire, though. The fire is back. The numbers are going higher and higher.
Eddy doesn’t view it as cheating. He’s not deceiving anyone. He’s not competing. He’s never claimed his body is all natural. Roids are ancillary. How heavy can you go without them?
Eddy’s mum has a nervous breakdown. All the chicken and the rice in the fridge. The getting stuck in the doorways. Her son trapped in some muscle prison. His stepdad comforts her, but deep down he is finally impressed. Eddy doesn’t care much. He has internet mates now, with couches big enough to fit him.
Everything is going well. Then she comes back.
▆▆▆▆▆▆ FUCK ▆▆▆▆▆▆▆▆▆▆▆▆▆▆▆▆▆▆▆▆▆▆▆ ▆▆▆▆▆▆▆▆▆▆▆▆▆▆▆▆▆▆▆▆▆▆▆▆▆▆▆▆▆▆▆▆▆ ▆▆▆▆▆▆▆▆▆▆▆▆▆▆▆▆▆▆▆▆▆▆▆▆▆▆▆▆▆▆▆▆▆ ▆▆▆▆▆▆▆▆▆▆▆▆▆▆▆▆▆▆▆▆▆▆ CUNT ▆▆▆▆▆▆▆ ▆▆▆▆▆▆▆▆▆▆▆▆▆▆▆▆▆▆▆▆▆▆▆▆▆▆▆▆▆▆▆▆▆ ▆▆▆▆▆▆▆▆▆▆▆▆▆▆▆▆▆▆▆▆▆▆▆▆▆▆▆▆▆▆
Eddy emerges sometime later, whether from a cave, a coma or just his home gym. He is weak. Outside, walking in the sun for the first time, scaring all the kiddies in the park.
There Satan comes to him, in the form of a magpie, as Eddy always knew He would. Satan swoops every child, cyclist and ice-cream bucket He sees, until He reaches Eddy and perches softly on his head.
“Warble warble, fuck-o,” says Satan.
“Who–” starts Eddy.
“Shut it,” says the bird. “You know who I am – call me whatever, Devil, Antichrist, Baphomet. I go by Lucy myself – and I know you’ve been waiting for me. So. What’s it gonna be, huh?”
The bird pecks at dandruff and loose strands of hair, its beak stabbing into the crown of his skull.
“I want to lift the biggest, heaviest thing.”
“Well then,” says Lucy. “Suit yourself.”
The bird leaves its roost and floats in front of Eddy. Then, shoves its magpie arse over his face. Before Eddy can scream, Satan shits an egg straight into his mouth.
The egg is blackened, cracked, but the shell is still intact when his jaws come down. Out comes blood, bile, something that he guesses ash must taste like. The more he chews the more his throat burns. Broken shards of human teeth. Four-day old milk. A thirty-year-old chiko roll. Eddy’s gums are all cut-up and bleeding, his taste-buds are eroding, his stomach is fucked. But he’s going on. Maggots and cum and ah fuck was that a Bounty bar?
He swallows it all.
“Onya,” says Lucy.
So Eddy goes bush. He’s grown and now his clothes don’t fit so he’s naked – glistening with sweat and magick. His breath is able to send most small mammals into extinction. Footprints press deep into the mud and the leaves.
He goes off track, scrambling over rocks and branches, down gullies and ridges until he can find The One. Then he sees it. Up a ledge, 200 metres or so into the blue of the sky. Not looking back, he scales the cliff-face, naked and gearless. The rocks cut his skin – blood forges a path down the rock. He reaches the top, battered but painless. There is the boulder – sun streaming through the edges of its silhouette.
Eddy bends down and pulls at the rock. Every vessel in his body pumping, ever fibre of muscle strained. The stone cracks as the faultline tears through the earth to the other side. Then, in one fluid motion, he lifts it above his head and screams. Triumph echoes down the valley. He throws the stone some hundred metres away, crushing two families of wombats and a wallaby in the process. He flattens the land and screams one word.
There’s Lucy again, perched on a nearby bluegum.
“Figured as much. Well, you know what it’s gotta be.”
It’s over in moments. Eddy devours the thing with something like enjoyment. Chew four times and swallow. Blood trickles from the corner of his mouth. He smiles.
Eddy is not the Golem anymore, he is the Behemoth. Twelve metres tall, striding across the plains towards a big, heavy thing. News’ copters hover at his brow like flies. Country police shit themselves. The roos bound away in the hundreds. Everyone’s talking about him now. Everyone.
After four weeks of travel he sees that orange peak at the sunrise. Uluru. Another Big One. Without a word, he reaches beneath the soil and pulls. The rock trembles. Five tourists fall to their deaths mid-climb. So, the Behemoth goes and hoists Big Red above. It smashes back down on the ground and Australia rumbles.
Once again he screams:
“More is it?” says the bird on his shoulder. “Knew you’d come around to it”
Behemoth feasts. Begs for seconds. Three, four, five eggs. Five eggs and his body begins its ascent to the stars.
He’s over five hundred metres tall now. His dick casts a shadow all the way to Launceston. Behemoth goes now and steps off the Earth – floating in space. Lucy flies beside him, warbling.
Behemoth makes his way to the bottom of the planet. Above, the Earth is screaming. Every military on the planet is scrambling for something, anything. The world screams fuck, I knew Australia would kill us.
Every big man in the world is banding together to do something.
It’s not enough. Behemoth places his hands on the Antarctic and hoists Earth on his shoulders. Then, he throws it away. All life burns in a second. All that is left is a husk, a lifeless ball, gone away to leave havoc somewhere else in the universe. If a magpie could smile, Lucy would be.
Eddy turns to the sun and the sun says,
“Go on, then. Try me.”