When I first met him, Mel Hermville was a seventeen year old would be bodybuilder from Australia. Handsome kid at that point, maybe a bit short but well sculpted (thanks to good genetics and the year or two of training he'd already done), dark curly hair, brown eyes. He was doing an exchange year at a Japanese high school, and the girls flocked around him. I was teaching at a nearby cram school at the time, and we both worked out at the Komazawa sports club (a public gym in a medium sized Setagaya-ku park). The kid had great potential for strength, but the same combination of youth and a fast metabolism that kept him lean no matter how much he ate also interfered with his size gains. He'd complain about it as we waited for the only squat rack (there was a Smith machine, but it hurt my back, and Mel wanted a training partner who'd listen to him bitch).
"Bob," he'd say, "I just can't add on the mass. I keep my reps heavy, I eat all I can catch, vegemite every day, nothing works." I'd nod sympathetically while trying to will the kid using the squat rack to finish his set, and Mel would go on.
"I envy the big guys, I really do. Look at you. You put on size whenever you want." I'd look at him, wait for the other shoe to drop. "Sure, you're kinda fat, but at least you have bulk! I want to be huge! I want to bulge!" I'd glare at him, he'd grin, and we'd finish our sets.Well, things stayed like that for a few months, both of us making gains, Mel leaping ahead in strength and adding almost no size. That's when the changes started. Mel had started hanging with a fairly wild crowd outside of the gym, young bosozuku biker punks and chimpira wannabe mobsters. I worried about it, but with the false sense of security of the foreigner in Japan I figured that he'd be physically safe enough. Sadly, nothing can protect someone determined to find trouble. Mel started getting visibly bigger almost every time we trained together. His skin, which had been clear when we met, started breaking out, and he developed a permanent five o'clock shadow.
"Mel, are you juicing?" I asked.
He gave me that 500 watt aussie grin, visibly considered a lie, then admitted it. One of his pals had fixed him up with some stuff out of Thailand and elsewhere in Asia, enough to start a pharmacy. Some of it I recognized; Testovirun, Menabol, Aquauiron. Some of the stuff I'd never heard of, homebrew Thai and Chinese concoctions that could have been anything. I tried to talk him out of using. Health dangers aside, the legal trouble he could have gotten into if he'd been caught with that stuff would have been unreal. Unsurprisingly, he wouldn't listen.
At first his gains were incredible. But the most noticeable size gain was, well, the size of his "bulge". Something in that androgen cocktail was making him thicken and sprout like crazy. At first he was thrilled. He'd always been popular with the ladies (cute young foreigner and all), but his initial skin problems when he'd started juicing had interfered with that. He felt that the gains the juice was giving him below the belt more than made up for it. I'm not sure if it was the (increasingly obvious) size or just the confidence boost, but it got to the point that I never saw him without female company.
Got to be embarrassing working out with him. He wore shorts that had been more than adequate, but that were barely able to contain him after a few months on his cycle. The testicular shrinkage that went along with the fluffing effect made things even stranger, and then there was the fact that Mel tended to get "excited" during squats. We'd be at the rack, surrounded by Mel's small but avid giggling fan club, Mel squatting in those too small shorts and visibly building a pump in more ways than one, a larger circle of male Japanese looking on with mild jealousy that turned to shock when it became clear just how much of a pump Mel could manage.
This had been going on for about a month, and I was seriously considering finding a new training partner or at least buying Mel some sweats and an industrial strength cup, when things came to a head. Mel was squatting away, the girls were giggling, the guys snarling, the shorts struggling valiantly to perform their function. As Mel started to pump out another rep, his eyes suddenly rolled back into his skull, the weights crashed down on the safety bars, Mel collapsed, and the remains of his shorts shot across the room onto the lat machine like a rubber band from a kids thumb. The girls shrieked and retreated, and I pushed past them to see what happened. Mel was unconscious on the floor, and his penis had swollen up to the thickness of a football and twice the length.
Well, we called an ambulance, and I followed them to the nearest ER. I'd have liked to take Mel to Roppongi clinic, where at least we could have gotten him an English speaking doctor, but that just wasn't an option. Mel hadn't regained consciousness, so it was up to me to try to explain the situation in my fractured Japanese. The medicos nodded, and seemed to follow. I gave the attending physician a list of everything that I knew Mel was on.
Well, they took Mel into the back room, and I waited out front. I wasn't comfortable calling his host family about something like this. It's hard enough for hosts to adjust to a "son" who can barely speak the language and has a crazy hobby like bodybuilding. I couldn't imagine how they'd react to this. Finally the doctor came out and told me that Mel was stable. He tried to explain that Mel was suffering from the side effects of one of the Chinese drugs he'd been taking, and that some of these side effects would likely be permanent.
I asked the doctor which drug had done it, and he drew the Chinese characters for it. The first character meant "more", and had a reading in Japanese of "mo". The second character meant "beautiful", and had a Japanese reading of "bi". The third character represented the male reproductive organs. It was what I'd suspected.
Steroid abuse left my friend Melan Hermville with a permanent case of Mo-Bi dick.