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by Rob Armstrong

I've come to the conclusion that many people, when exercising seriously, are adherents to routine or driven by habit. I count myself among them.

I'd like to admit that I go for a jog every day, at the same time but, to be honest, four days out of five is closer to the truth. However, the timing bit is still valid.

I always lay out my jogging clothes the night before, so that I don't have to hunt for them while I'm still partially asleep in the morning. The digits on my alarm clock appear pretty much identical to my opening eyes every day, give or take a minute or two. After the alarm goes off, there is a mandatory toilet stop before I get dressed and head out of the door.

Normally, I would jog between seven and ten kilometres each day, depending on the route around and off-campus that I choose. The app which I use records my elapsed time, distance covered, calculates my speed and even shows me a map of where I've been.

However, while recovering from a bout of heavy flu and a hectic assignment schedule recently, I reduced the distance to whatever I could fit into one hour around any chosen route. Thirty minutes of brisk walking away from my off-campus unit, then I would turn around and head back. Walking instead of jogging has become one of those habits. A comfortable one. My challenge is to cover the exact return route in no greater than the thirty minutes that I took to get there. No slacking off!

Walking the same, reasonably-flat route (and heading through the local streets instead of just going around and around the university oval), I pass people who are the basis of my 'habit hypothesis'. The middle-aged, over-dressed lady walking her yappy little off-white terrier. The older man with the walking stick, who appears as determined in his exercise as I am in mine. The office-type dad dropping off his young daughter at the local day-care centre.

I pass them all at approximately the same time, and the same place, each day. We smile and exchange 'good-morning' pleasantries. Occasionally, somebody is missing, but then, so am I after I've 'burnt the midnight oil' to finish an assignment or sometimes when I simply have a slacked-off, stay-in-bed day.

During the past week, I've encountered a jogger, always heading in the opposite direction. A young guy who, apart from appearing too young to be a uni student, looks as though he is fitness training, based on his apparent fat-less body and the lightweight Nike sports gear that he wears. My guess is that we had not passed previously because, when I was jogging, I would have turned off onto a side street before he would have reached the spot where I pass now him.

True to form, we both say 'good morning' as we approach each other. And smile. That has progressed in the past two days to adding a high-five as he slows down briefly before continuing. Very friendly!

Today is different. Maybe he's taking a day off.

I keep walking and after another 10 minutes, I see somebody about 500m up ahead, who looks like 'the jogger', but he's walking. As we approach each other, we slow, then stop and face each other.

"G'day!" I say.

"Hi," he responds.

I ask, "You're walking this morning?"

"Yeah. Bit of an injury at training last night," he replies.

"What happened?" I ask.

"I was working hard," he starts. "We were practising tackling techniques when I fell heavily, twisting something. My lower back just wouldn't let me jog this morning, but I thought that I'd see whether I could walk the muscles back into good shape."

"Does it hurt when you walk?" I inquire.

"Not as much, now that I'm warmed up," he replies. "I think it's improving."

"I could have a look at it for you, if you like," I tell him. "I'm studying physiotherapy at the uni. My unit is about fifteen minutes' walk from here. My name's Rob, by the way."

"Dan," he says, extending his hand.

"Do you reckon you could make another fifteen minutes?" I ask.

"I'm on my way back home now. I started earlier than usual," he tells me.

"Do you live back that way?" I ask, indicating the direction from which I have just come.

"Yeah. About ten minutes, I reckon, at the pace that I've been walking," he tells me. "So, an extra five wouldn't hurt." Then he adds, "Are you sure that it's OK. I don't have any money with me to pay you."

"Hey! No charge!" I tell him. "Happy to help. It'll be my good deed for the day."

I turn, to head back alongside him. OK, so this morning's walk will be less than half of one of my 'normal' days! But then, it's already farther than if I'd stayed in bed, eh?

"Thanks, Rob," he says, managing a smile through a wince of pain as he turns from facing me to continue.

"That shudder didn't look good," I say. "What just happened?"

"As I turned, I had a shooting pain across my lower back, through my left glute and into my thigh. It felt like the lower half of my body couldn't support the top half. I was lucky not to fall over."

"OK, let's just take it easy," I say. "I already have a bit of a clue as to what's going on."

We chat as we walk slowly and deliberately, avoiding any unevenness on the ground.

I establish that he is, indeed, in Year 11, a member of the local high school's athletics squad, and that he does not have a serious girlfriend. "Not enough hours in the day, nor sufficient funds in the bank for that!" is his excuse.

He adds, "I'm not the brightest student but I can run fast, which means that, apart from representing the school in sprints, the relay team and long jump, the football coach wants me to train with them as well. So, it's important that I stay fit."

"What do you do when you're not training?" I ask.

"Odd jobs," he tells me. He adds, "My parents got divorced when I was twelve and my mother died of lung cancer two years ago. So, I live with my nan and I get a bit of work as a labourer on weekends. I also stack shelves at the local supermarket some afternoons, all of which gives me a reasonable amount of money and I can help nan with the food."

"I'm really sorry about your parents," I tell him. "My own story is not too different to yours. But I won't bore you with it now. Let's see what we can do with that back of yours. Maybe we'll have an opportunity to 'compare notes' another time."

We pass the intersection of the street which he indicates where he lives. "Down there. 11a," he tells me. "Nan said that she would never live in a number 13."

"And I guess that she doesn't have a black cat, either," I say, attempting to lighten the mood a little.

"No black cat," he smiles, "but she always tells me that I'm her little black sheep, and hopes that, when I leave school, I'll get a good job, meet a nice girl and settle down."

"Wow!" I say. "Is that all? That sounds like a pretty simple checklist. Maybe if you get a job at a dating agency, you could tick two boxes at the one time," I joke.

"Fat chance of that happening," he says. Then adds, "Hey, Rob, do you mind if we drop those two subjects? I get enough of that from Nan at home. Not quite 24x7. She does sleep for part of that time."

"Sure. Sorry," I tell him. "Let's talk about something less painful, like your back!"

He chuckles. "Hey! I like you, Rob" he says, out of the blue, and making a fist for me to bump.

I'm not sure how to respond in words, being unsure of his focus. Does he like my humour? Empathy? Willingness to listen? Surely not my physical appearance! So, I bump his fist and say nothing.

"Here we are," I tell him, reaching the driveway of my small unit. "The front door is for visitors, relatives and sales people wanting me to change either electricity or phone providers. But I also have a door at the side, off the driveway."

We go in, past the bathroom to the second bedroom where my massage table is set up, ready for somebody on whom I can practise, usually a fellow student. "Take a seat," I tell him, indicating the one next to my desk.

He sits down very gingerly, using the arm rests for support as he lowers himself. He experiences a muscle spasm as his backside takes his weight from his hands.

"Do you mind if I get a few details from you?" I ask. "They've told us in class to make it standard practice."

"Sure. That's OK," he says.

I give him the form which I've designed. "Just the basics, will do. You know, name address and phone number."

He laughs, "I'll bet that you ask everyone that."

"No, just the handsome ones!" I reply, somewhat automatically, and instantly regret my words! I feel my face and neck redden.

He smiles and raises an eyebrow, but doesn't reply, and begins to write.

"Sorry," I say. "That came out wrongly. And yes, I ask everybody the same questions." Then I add, attempting to make up for my faux pas, "The handsome ones and the ugly ones."

Ugh! Did that just make things worse, I wonder?

"It's OK," he says, sensing my embarrassment and observing the change in my skin colour. "At least I guess that I'm not at the ugly end of your continuum!"

"Far from it, Dan," I reply. "Can we change this subject, before I put my foot in my mouth again?"

He laughs, then winces. "Ouch! Laughing hurts, like coughing and sneezing!" And he passes me the form.

"Right! Name, address and mobile number. Excellent!" I say. I add, again without thinking first, "And you're only sixteen? You look much more mature than that." I take a deep breath, "OK, so let's get down to business."

"Terrific!" he says, smirking at me; at my discomfort. Why does my mouth keep betraying me?

I say something sensible, "Let's take off the shirt and shoes. And how do you feel about losing the shorts as well? It will just make it easier for me to massage around where the trouble is."

"No problem," he replies. He struggles getting the shirt over his head, so I help. "It's hard to bend to get the shoes off, too. Do you mind?" he asks.

"It's OK," I tell him and I get those for him as well. Velcro straps are easier than laces.

"I'm happy to take off the shorts," Dan says. "If you don't mind what you see. I'm only wearing a mesh jockstrap underneath. I like the feel of the freedom when I'm out in the morning. Plus, a bit of support up front. Nothing worse than having things bounce up and down while I'm jogging!" He smiles.

"Hey," I reply, "I know exactly what you mean, and I've seen more naked backsides than you could ever imagine." Then I add, "Oops, I didn't mean to imply that you imagine lots of naked backsides."

"You look nervous, Rob," he tells me. "Lighten up. It was only a figure of speech, wasn't it?"

He's pretty smart for a high school kid who reckons that he's not too bright!

He eases his flimsy running shorts to the point where gravity does the rest, and he steps out of them, gingerly. "Well, at least it was easier getting them off than putting them on!" He's smiling.

"So, let's have a good look at you," I say. "Face away from me."

Ignoring the thin line of his support, all that I see is perfection. I deliberately put an index finger on each of his shoulders and compare their height. I feel down his spine to the top of his glutes. With one finger again, this time on his hips, I say, "You're a bit uneven. It looks as though one hip is rotated and lower than the other one which, I suggest, is triggering your pain."

I press into each glute, one at a time, with my thumb, and I hit the spot.

"Aaargh!" he calls out and almost crumples.

I catch him, and wrap my arms around him. "It's OK, I've got you," I tell him, not at all unhappy at being able to hold his flawless body close to me. "Just ease yourself back to standing up, then I'll let you go."

I support him while he rebalances and stands by himself. "Thanks," he says.

"OK, turn around," I tell him. "Slowly."

He faces me, and I have difficulty in not focussing on the roundness of what his jockstrap is supporting, averting my eyes to his. Then to his shoulders, pecs, abs, and then his hips.

I touch the offending hip and tell him, "Here it is. Thought so. OK. Let's get you onto the table. Face in the hole at this end, and feet over the bolster at that end."

He moves very tentatively to the table, attempting to comply with my instruction. "This is hard," he says. "It hurts."

"Go slowly. Take your time, and manoeuvre however you best can," I tell him.

With various attempts and some groans, he collapses onto the table with a final cry of pain. "Aaargh!" he calls again as he allows his whole body to let go.

"Take your time to get comfortable," I say.

He lets out some heavy sighs and I see his body progressively relax. One minor spasm.

"Firstly," I tell him, "your body looks as though it is in great shape. No fat, and I can see all of your muscles. You've put a lot of work into looking like this, haven't you?

"You're not wrong," he replies. "And thanks!"

"Now relax!" I tell him. "I'm going to start at your shoulders and work my way down, so that your body gets used to my touch."

"OK," is all that he says.

I start, drizzling oil into my hands to warm it, and spreading it from his neck to his waist.

I delight in spending about five minutes massaging his toned muscles and I loosen up the tenseness in his shoulders.

"That feels good!" he says.

"I need to get into your glutes," I tell him. "And, do you mind if I pull this strap down below them?"

"No problem," he replies. Then, as I take hold of the thin strap and begin to lower it, he says, "You can take the whole thing off, if it will make things easier. I don't care."

"If you're OK with that, yes, it will make it easier for some longer strokes," I tell him, and I pull everything lower. With some difficulty, and pain, he raises his hips just sufficiently for me to get the rest. When I have it down to his thighs, he relaxes again, and I take the thin, bag-shaped piece of mesh right down over his feet, and add it to his shorts and shirt.

He reaches underneath himself to make a quick, comfort-adjustment.

I massage his glutes, one at a time, from different sides of the table, avoiding the problem area. "Just loosening everything up around where the issue is," I tell him. "I'll come back to it shortly."

"Do whatever you like," he replies.

I know that he doesn't mean that literally. Pity! Just another figure of speech!

I move to work on his thighs, "I'll loosen these up too," I tell him.

He makes some hums of approval, but says nothing.

I work back and forth across his left thigh, then from the knee upwards.

"Just a minor adjustment," I say, and lift first one of his legs, then the other, to separate them. "It lets me get right in there," I tell him, and demonstrate the full stroke from his inner thigh right back to the outside.

I go across and back, down and up.

From the lower angle, I get a good view of two ample 16-year old testicles, either naturally hairless or shaved. Working from both sides of his body, I get very close to them, without actually touching them. And I make a point of telling him, "Just going carefully in here, so that I leave the gentlemen undisturbed!"

He laughs and says, "Hey, it's not like they would object."

Despite this apparent licence, I continue to avoid them.

"OK," I say, "If I'm right, this next bit is going to hurt."

"All right!" he says. "Thanks for the warning."

From experience I know that there are various trigger points that need to be released. I work firmly but as gently as possible into the QLs that join his pelvis to his lowest ribs. Stretching, pressing, massaging. He moans, groans, stiffens and exhales markedly multiple times with muffled cries.

Multiple times, I slap his backside and say, "Relax. C'mon, Dan. Let go! You're tensing the muscles that I need to release."

We manage to get through it without the four-letter words that I often hear when practising deep tissue work on fellow students.

"Now the other side," I say. "It knows what's coming. So do you. Try to relax, OK?"

"OK," he says.

I only have to slap him twice from this side!

I give the whole lower back area a good, relaxing rub, waist to thigh, both sides.

"How are we feeling?" I ask.

"Much better," Dan tells me.

"We're not done yet," I say. "There's a bit that I have to do from the front.

There is a moment of silent contemplation.

"Whatever!" he says, "I don't care."

I assist him to turn over.

It's only now that I get a good look at all of his gear! Good breeding-stock balls and a perfectly-proportioned cock. Not totally hard. But definitely not soft either! Not big. Not small. Perfect for his body. And his pubic hair has been shaved back to a good-looking curly patch.

He knows that I'm looking, so I comment, "Nice!"

"Thanks," he replies.

I tell him what I'm about to do. "I'm going to massage and loosen those quads, then work into the pelvis to loosen up the hip flexors on each side and, with a bit of luck, and a rocking of your hips, everything might go back into place. No need for a major manipulation. Hopefully."

"You're the boss," he says. "Whatever it takes."

I massage his quads on one side, working up very close to his balls. "You want to hold these out of the way?" I ask. "Just so I don't rub against them."

"It's OK," he says. "Just push them aside if they get in your way." He giggles.

"Fair enough!" I comment, and keep massaging.

As I move to the top of his inner quad muscles, the back of my hand comes into contact with one of the 'gentlemen'. I reach into the crease of his thigh and focus on pressuring the muscle back across his thigh.

I do it again, and am aware of the contact with his testicle.

"You OK with this?" I ask.

"Yup. Whatever!" he replies.

I take a little more latitude and give up trying to avoid touching 'things'.

Both thighs.

His penis has swelled and lengthened further, but it is still lying to one side.

I work into the pelvic depression on the opposite side. I feel the muscle respond.

I re-oil my hands.

On the right side now, with his penis lying directly on top of where I need to work, I don't ask him, I simply pick it up and hold it out of the way, then begin on the pelvic muscle with my free hand.

"You still OK?" I ask.

"Sure," he says, "Although, your oily hand is a bit of a turn-on."

"It's all right. I'll put it back where it came from," I tell him.

Having relaxed the pelvic muscle, I attempt to replace his now-firming penis back across his right thigh. It refuses to lay back down there. I try a couple times, but the only result is, with my handling, that it gets fully hard and, standing off his abdomen, wants to point towards his navel. "Looks like it has a mind of its own," I say.

"It often has a mind of its own," he replies, smirking. "That's when I need to punish it."

I don't comment, but press on each hip alternately, with a firm rocking motion. We both hear a loud click.

"What was that?" he asks. "Something just felt different."

"Maybe it was part of your body being obedient, for fear of punishment" I say. "How do your hip and body feel?"

He moves tentatively, raising and lowering his hips, and turning his body from side to side. "Feels good," he says with a smile.

"Do you want to stand up and test it?" I put to him.

Supported firstly on his elbows and then with his hands behind him, I assist Dan to sit. He slowly swings his body around and extends his feet downwards. "Need any more help?" I ask.

"Maybe. Can you just hold me to support my body weight while I stand?" he replies.

I position myself between his legs. "Put your arms around my neck," I tell him, "so that you can leverage yourself against me. I will put my arms under yours, around your body, and help you to raise yourself."

I really don't think that all of this is necessary, but he's not objecting. In fact, he seems to be playing along.

The double support works well. However, as his feet touch the floor, and as he leans forward, our groins also come together. He comments "So, yours has a mind of its own, too, eh?"

"Chain reaction, actually!" I say. "You started it!"

He laughs. Then he looks me directly in the eye.

"Do you think that we should punish them?" he growls.

My cock jumps, but I say, "Probably. But, first, tell me how your back feels."

I release him and he walks back and forth beside the length of my massage table, then around it. "Incredible!" he comments. "I would not have believed it possible. You have magic fingers."

Then he surprises me. He lays himself back on the table.

"Something wrong?" I ask.

"Just punishment time!" he says. "Can I use some of your massage oil?"

I hand him the bottle, and he covers his cock with oil, then hands the bottle back.

"You don't mind if I punish it while I'm here?" he asks.

"No, that's all right. Go for it," I tell him. I watch as he begins the punishment.

My own cock is now uncomfortably tight in its restrained confinement.

"What about you?" Dan asks, looking at my bulge, while continuing his hand movements.

"Very unprofessional!" I tell him, then add, "But seeing that you're not paying me for a professional massage, I guess that it's OK."

I remove my shirt, drop my tracksuit pants and liberate my stiffness from my underwear, dropping them to the floor.

I start by making a fist around my hard-on and drizzling oil into it.

Then Dan and I, smiling at each other, coordinate our self-punishments. Fast-fast. Slow-slow. Grin-grin.

My eyes alternate between his face and our being-punished erections.

When we are both a fair way along, Dan asks, "Wanna swap hands?"

Without questioning, I remove my hand. He replaces it with his own. I shudder at his touch. "Oh, yes! Nice!" I tell him.

I reach for his, and begin to demonstrate my expert massaging technique on him. "Fuck!" he says. "Yeah!"

Despite how good I'm feeling, I sense that he is going to blow first; the hip-thrusting, the groans and his balls retracting to big round lumps against his groin. Not exactly subtle clues!

He warns me. "Cumming!" And he stops his hand movements on me while he spurts – chest, stomach and, as I hold it upright, all over his cock, hair and balls.

He sighs. His whole body relaxes and he asks, "What about you?"

"Let me take over, while you rest", I tell him. It takes less than a minute and, groaning, I add my own white streaks to his.

I use a hand towel and clean him up.

"Need a shower?" I ask.

"I do, but only if you do," he smirks back.

"Then, I do," I tell him, and lead him back into the bathroom.

"Why don't you make the water warm, while I just 'make water'?" Dan says, and he pees into the toilet.

With the temperature to my liking, I step in, make a final adjustment then turn to look at him. I motion for him to join me.

We wash each other's body, giving special attention to our fronts, and our glutes.

With that done, he turns me around and hugs me, securely, from behind, with one hand across my chest and the other across my pelvis. He nuzzles his face against the side of my head. "This feels so good," he says.

"Unprofessional, Dan! But nice," I say, leaning hard back onto him, enjoying the feeling of his perfect body against mine, in multiple places, but especially his still-plump cock in the crack between my glutes.

"Any time, Rob!" he tells me.

I have to ask, "Will you be out walking again tomorrow?"

He grins.

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