"I've seen a woman..." he panted.
I was sceptical, as were the other two members of the Serena Williams Appreciation Society. Meetings every Tuesday and Thursday, first break. Invite only. Top Secret.
"She can't be bigger than Serena," Al said.
"Or stronger," added Mark.
"She's both!" insisted Jim. "And she's blacker."
By the time the first bell rang, lunch money had been wagered on it. We would verify after school. Jim would take us to see this bigger, stronger and blacker woman.
He led us out to the retail park south of the centre. Half an hour from the school at a reasonable pace, we were there in twenty, Jim bounding along like an excited puppy. A puppy who was excited to be having double helpings at lunch for the rest of the week.
For the first time I began to wonder if perhaps he was telling the truth.
Past IKEA we went, past the carpet and furniture superstores, past the trade building suppliers, and then past a couple of side streets and into a third. It was lined with what looked like lock-up garages. Tiny workshops for specialist craftsmen and women.
Jim stopped. "Guys, just hold here a sec, OK?"
He walked, well, he kind of skipped, actually, for the last workshop in the row, turning just before he reached it and grinning back at us.
"Hope you got that money," he called out.
The three of us watched him. We couldn't hear what he was saying but he was talking to somebody inside. Then he waved us up, still grinning.
"Boys," he said, "meet Iris."
I recall thinking to myself at the time that I needed to try to take it all in, to remember every detail of her. Now, as I write, I find that if I close my eyes I am, in fact, able to see her just as if I was there again. The way her skin was so black and so radiant, the way her abs contracted with every breath she took, the aura of power she had, the awe I felt in her presence, and the muscles, the muscles, the muscles.
I recall she asked me how many pull ups I thought Serena could do and how I couldn't think of a number, any number, how I temporarily forgot what numbers were, and then I recall Jim laughing because I was so tongue-tied, laughter that got more hysterical as she asked Al, then Mark the same question and got no response from them other than the weird grunting noise Mark managed.
"OK," she said, her voice like aural velvet. "Why don't I just start and you count and when I get to how many you think Serena can do you tell me, OK?"
At about 10 I stopped counting, mesmerised by the motion of her muscles. When Jim counted 100 I became aware of the hard-on I had. At 200, without pausing, she asked us to come and hang onto her and we did as we were told. Her body was the hardest thing I have touched, and with each repetition, apparently effortless despite the extra weight we provided, it seemed to get harder. Long before she started to flag, we had tired and could hold on no longer. She was unstoppable. She was invincible.
We never met again as the Serena Williams Appreciation Society, but we did meet again. Three times a week at first, and soon it was every day and at weekends too. We shared the magazines we had each got, we compared our top ten FBB lists (Iris was always number 1 so we had to change the rules and make it a top ten excluding Iris list). We fantasised about what Miss Oakley, the new PE teacher, had under her sweatshirt (which she never took off, ever, even at the height of summer) and we discussed at length which of the girls in year 10 had the best genetics for building muscle. We called ourselves Iris' Boys, or the IBs for short.
Mark became a photographer. He lives in Florida now. You've probably spent quite a lot of time looking, among other things, at the work he's done with muscular women.
Al met his dream girl while doing Sports Science at Loughborough University. They moved to Tenerife and opened their own gym there five years ago. Their first child is on the way. Al says if it's a girl, she's going to be called Iris.
Jim made a fortune on the markets in his 20s and has spent the last ten years or so spending it. There isn't a top female bodybuilder he hasn't entertained at his Berkshire estate, his New York penthouse, his Venetian palazzo, or his Caribbean hideaway.
And me? Well, I'm writing a novel about the secret life of female muscle lover...