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  • Writer's pictureHenry Cavanaugh

Gamer Skills


“Hey, aren’t you that nerd I used to go to high school with? When did you get so big?”

You have no idea how many times I’ve heard that at this gym. It was only a year ago that I graduated from high school and yeah I was a little shrimpy back then - 5′7″ and with arms the size of twigs. I had been a regular punching bag for all the jocks and the only reason I had any friends at all was because I was the captain of the video game club. Sure, we weren’t the most popular bunch but at least we had each other.


Things changed at college. It’s not as if I started hitting the gym or anything because god knows I didn’t have that kind of motivation. The only difference was that I wasn’t shy about my sexuality or my nerdier interests. College was a much more accepting place than high school and it wasn’t just nerds like me in the video game society there but hipsters and jocks too, the likes of which I’d never even considered socializing with before. Why would I when my past experiences with them had led me to dread those interactions?


It turns out that the jocks in the video game club were just as competitive as the ones I’d grown to expect after high school. While some of them were relatively nice there were still a few who hadn’t grown up much and still aggravated me with their obnoxious attitudes. Worst of all was Kyle who thought he was some sort of god because he managed to be athletic, smart and good at video games. I would have thought he was actually rather attractive if it wasn’t for his arrogance and the fact he was so clearly in love with himself. Guys like that had never interested me.


One day his attitude simply got too much for me to bear and when he declared that he was unbeaten on Tekken I decided to challenge him to a round of Team Battle. We would each pick eight fighters and battle one by one to see who still had fighters left by the end. I had grown up with fighting games and felt relatively confident but of course Kyle was running his mouth, talking about how he’d kick my ass and “prove that video games aren’t just for nerds”. I’m not sure anybody was debating that but I could tell from a simple glance around that a good part of the room wanted me to win.


“How about we make this more interesting,” a pretty dark-haired girl declared from nearby. I didn’t know Lacey all that well, I just knew she was interested in witchcraft and that had made her an easy target for Kyle to tease. Even the way he looked at her when she spoke made me angry, as if he was judging her for having the audacity to talk in his presence. “If Kyle wins, he gets Han’s smarts. If Han wins, he gets Kyle’s muscles.” A ripple of laughter ran around the room and even I had to stop myself from smirking too noticeably. Lacey didn’t actually think that was possible, did she?

“Sure then Hermione,” Kyle mocked. “When I kick his ass, I get his brains. Sounds like a deal to me.” When Lacey turned to me I shrugged and nodded. What was the worst that could happen? I highly doubted her suggestion for prizes was actually possible so I was willing to agree.

It was a tough competition as Kyle and I fought for dominance, each winning a match before losing the match. Eventually it came down to our last two fighters and tension was high. Everybody in the room was watching us and cheering on in support but I was blocking it all out and making sure I stayed focused on the game. I wanted to wipe the smug look of Kyle’s face for good and that was all I could bring myself to think about.


As my fighter landed the final blow and downed Kyle’s final fighter there was an eruption of cheers behind me. I glanced over towards Kyle, already smirking when I was caught by surprise at how thin he looked. It was as if he was losing all his muscle definition and within seconds his clothes were hanging off of him. He looked horrified as he stared back at me, lower lip shaking as if he was about to burst into tears.


“There we go boys,” Lacey declared, stepping forward. “Congratulations on your win, Han. I’m sure you can put your prize to good use!” It took me several seconds to realize what she meant. I wasn’t just having a hallucination or anything when I looked at Kyle - he had lost all of his muscle and a simple glance down to see that I was almost busting out of my clothes quickly confirmed that I had gotten it all!

I can’t say I’m really surprised that one of the jocks I went to high school with barely recognized me when I decided to hit up the gym in my home town. Since getting these muscles I’ve been pretty dedicated to making sure I stay in shape because I’m starting to realize why guys like Kyle enjoyed showing off so much. It’s pretty damn fun. I haven’t completely lost myself in these muscles though. Like, check out my sweet gamer tank! I’m still just as much of a nerd as I used to be, I just happen to be a bit stronger and more willing to show off now too.


I’m not sure if I have Lacey to thank but I’m definitely a lot more competitive now than I used to be. Perhaps it’s time I show my old high school bullies just how much a nerd like me can lift. Something tells me they’ll be begging me for forgiveness in no time!

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