Testing Armor

By [email protected]


The company where I work builds armor - personal protection shielding for football players and soldiers, armor for humvees, trucks and tanks.  The last step before the trucks ship (and we get paid) is testing.  That day we had a new step, because someone was being sent to test the armor of our latest truck model.  I heard about this outside, at our testing track, waiting for the new truck to be driven out for testing.


My boss said "The government is sending a testing agent, a 'Specialist Hassan" to inspect the truck before we send it.  They say if it survives his testing, we can send the rest.  He'll only need around five minutes to test the armor, and if we can start it after he finishes, we pass."


"It'll take only five minutes?  And who is this Hassan?"


"Yo" I heard a voice behind me.  I turned and saw Hassan.


Or rather, Specialist Hassan's broad neck.  Standing a few feet behind me, I took in a guy wearing old jeans and a beige t-shirt.  But that t-shirt was stretched across massive shoulders so that the sleeves were pulled up over two massive arms of veined muscle.  Tight black curly hair, a five o'clock shadow, brown eyes and a massive muscular column of a neck.  A college kid, but his shoulders spread that T-shirt across lats so tight I could see the intercostals like rope wound between the lats and the shields of pecs that pushed the brown fabric towards me.  I didn't even feel conscious about sliding my eyes down that immense body, down across four fabric-coated tiles of muscle in his belly towards beltless jeans.  A bulging basket and strained seams of demin going down his legs then again stretched over two thick calves.  Army boots that looked as heavy as cinderblocks.


"Here to test the armor" he said.  A voice that rumbled through his chest. He tiled his jaw towards the armored car.  "That's what I'm testing?"


"Yes" I answered.  "They tell me that you're going to test it for approval.  Uh" I looked around "where's your testing equipment?"


He just looked at me.  Then he raised his hands towards me and showed some teeth.




"You're gonna use your bare hands on the truck"?  This was a joke.  Had to be.  Two thick eyebrows twitched, and he reached over to a rack where police SWAT gear was laid out for checking.  Hassan took a heavy police helmet and held it in his hands. 


"Like this."


His thick fingers wrapped around each side of the helmet.  We made eye contact - and then he squeezed.  I heard a thick cracking and then the helmet caved in under the pressure of those big hands as easily as I would have mashed a paper cup.  But those fingers kept squeezing and crunching that helmet deeper into itself, until after a few seconds they opened to reveal a brown ball of solid metal.  He playfully tossed it towards me.  When I caught it, I had to hold onto it since it was heavy.  Before I dropped it, my fingers could feel the heat of his hands from the metal it had just crushed.


"Okay" he said.  "I gotta test this thing this morning, and it'll only take five minutes.  You got a timer?"


I took it out of my pocket, and set it to 5:00.


"Give me a sec to warm up" Hassan said.


"Warm up for what?" 


Hassan squatted down and rolled under the front hood; I squatted down from the front until I could view him positioning himself under the truck, directly under the engine.  Reaching to the axle, he blew out and shoved.  The car creaked up on its shocks and then up again, the thick wheels floating six inches, a foot and then eighteen inches up over the concrete of the auto shop.  He did another rep and then another, Hassan's thick controlled breath and the squeak of the shocks the only sounds while he did 29 more bench presses. After he got up I could see where the concrete of the testing pad had cracked under the truck's weight when it was concentrated through Hassan's shoulder blades.  Hassan only shook himself, a little concrete dust ground into the fabric coating the planes of his back and lats.


"Ready" he said.


"Go."  I said.


For a guy who had five minutes, Hassan took his time in walking back over to the humvee.  It was the biggest we had, a little taller than he was.  His chest swelled with a few breaths, he cocked his fist, and swung it straight into the metal, ringing the armored side like a bell.  He did it again, far harder this time, and the truck was shoved six inches sideways.  Another jab, squared in strength, left the armor dented.  I could count the indentations of Hassan's knuckles in the steel side.  Now I could see and smell his sweat kicking in as he landed five more artillery shell blows against its side, making the great five ton mass of armor ring like a huge church bell. 


I heard him mutter, "Okay, you're gonna fly." 


He smiled, and crouched down to hold the floorboard.  In a smooth lift, the entire truck's body rose off the floor in his hands and like opening a trunk door, he lifted higher and higher until the car was lying on its side.  He stood before the underbelly of the truck, its axles and chassis beams exposed only a foot from his arms.


Reaching in, he sunk his hands under the great axle and shoved his shoulder against the truck.  The first heave only lifted the entire truck off the ground by a foot.  He didn't notice that he had the whole thing in his hands until he saw the huge mass bobbling in his arms.  Next, he braced his foot and the next blast of pressure from his arms kept the truck on its side but made the inches-thick hull of the truck moan like a whale in pain.  I could see where the axle makes contact with Hassan's arms - and the sides of the axle indenting like gray silly putty.  Slowly, steadily, breathing as steady as if he was shoveling, he began to pull the axle off of the truck, pulling his side away from the truck's body inch by inch.  He hadn't bent the body of axle (yet), but the better the angle of his strength, the speedier it was pried away until with one supreme heave that did lift the whole thing over two feet in the air, he tore the whole axle away in his arms. 


The truck fell back onto the ground.  The axle lay across Hassan's shoulders with his arms draped over it.  By then, his shirt was smeared with motor oil and grit where paint had been pried off of twisting steel.  He arched a broad neck of muscle against the center of the axle, and sunk his arms into place against its sides. And then he pulled down with those soccer ball-thick biceps and arms, blew back with his neck against that foot-thick mass of steel.  The ends of the axle arched down to the ground steadily, thick tempered steel being reforged under a stronger machine than any forge: Hassan's body.  His pecs grew until they looked like they were over a foot thick and the sweat dripped from his curly hair onto the bending steel. 


After only a few seconds, the axle gave way under the pressure, moaning down until it was a U-shaped piece of junk hanging like a weird necklace around Hassan's neck.  By then there was so much blood pumping through riots of muscles in his arms, delts and lats that the seams of his T-shirt were breaking across his lats and delts as they burst through the fabric. But he didn't let up, tensing every fiber in his great upper body until he watched the ends of the axle close together, inch by inch.  It was in a U-shape when he lifted it over his head, as easy as if it was a broom, with two giant tires at each end.  The concrete cracked when he dropped the bent axle. 


Hassan sat on his haunches, and wrapped his right hand around an undamaged tire on the bent axle.  Massive brown fingers clamped down like talons and he squeezed.  The dense rubber gave under his paw until the entire tire burst like a bubble pack, sounding like a shotgun.  He ripped the tire off the wheel like a broken rubber band and tossed it away before ripping the hubcap off to expose the lug nuts.  I stared at his hands and forearms, a light pattern of thick black hair floating on top of pencils and tendons and thick veins, coated with a light oily sweat, lats swelling like the head of a cobra, his shirt now striped with dark bands of sweat down the valley of his massive back, under the pits of his arms.  I could even see the seams of his jeans breaking open across those big thighs.


Hassan's broad face swung back towards the truck - and with one brutal swipe of his arm, shoved the truck off its side and back onto its wheels.  Or the two that were left.  He strode back to the rear of the truck.  The bumper looked to be part of the frame, a foot thick and encrusted with nuts and bolts. He hunched down, planting one foot against the rear door, the other firmly on the ground.  The end of the bumper was held in both hands.  And he pulled.


With nowhere to go, the five tons of metal that was the truck was braced in place by Hassan's legs. I heard the heavy creaking as the dense thick welds began to be peeled apart, the bolts all being pulled through metal as he steadily peeled the rear bumper away from the truck.  One foot, then two, then the bumper began to warp itself, giving way between the implacable power of Hassan's torso and arms and the strength of the truck's frame.  Bent but still holding.  He shifted to the middle where the bumper still held to the truck and squeezed his fingers into the crack. The steel compressed and mashed under his hands like clay as he kept ripping and tearing the bumper further away from the mass of the truck.  Finally, four-fifths free from the truck, the bumper was hanging by only a foot of welds and bolts.  The steel freshly ripped apart glistened silver against the grey paint.  He then twisted the bumper up into the air, the truck still braced under his foot.  With one last set of squeals like a whale singing the bumper was pulled free and Hassan took his foot off to stand, holding the bumper in his arms like a hockey stick.  It had warped and bent as he had tore it off, where Hassan's fingers had squeezed their marks down into the metal.


A mean grin of white teeth grew over Hassan's face as he circled over to the passenger side of the truck, now listing forward towards its missing wheels. 


He sunk his crowbar-strong fingers into the passenger door's corner. His first tug only pulled the door handle off in his thick right hand.  In an instant, it crumpled under his fingers like a soda can and it clinked when he tossed it onto the concrete.  His first shove only succeeded in lifting the huge truck off its sagging shocks. I was frozen, staring at his huge back muscles rolling under the fabric, striations and definitions rolling under the sweat-soaked t-shirt.  He growled and under that torso there was a sound of metal squeaking; a louder snarl and there began a long, sustained squeal and grinding from the lock and the two inches-thick hinges holding the door to the frame of the truck. Bracing his fingers into the seam between the door and the truck frame, he pried the door open, and then began to rock the plate of steel back and forth, his V of a back swelling and delts looking like rocks mating under brown skin.  The hinges were stretched with a tight metallic wail, and then his arms heaved with the door in his hands.  The entire door was pulled free from its hinges and a hundred pounds more of steel got flung onto the concrete. 


There was a silent.  Then a "ping" from my hand, where I had unconsciously squeezed the timer. 


"Five minutes" I shakily said.  Hassan snorted, then stood back, grimacing at the oil and grease that coated his hands.  He ripped the shreds of his t-shirt off, wiped the oily sweat off his face and the grease off his hands.  When he tucked the scraps of fabric into a rear pocket, I noticed that his jeans had burst under the tremendous pump of Hassan's muscles.  Seams had popped up and down his thighs, even his calves! 


After five minutes of attack by Hassan's hands, the truck was barely recognizable as something that once drove.  The armored car was now surrounded by its own shell, beams and slabs of steel that Hassan had tossed it, bent and dented under his hands. 


I remembered what I had to do.  Start it?   We both walked back to the wreck of the truck, me feeling Hassan's gravity and smelling the sweat of his muscles.  The door on the passenger's side was dented and caved in, and without wheels the chassis now lay almost flat on the pavement.


Hassan said, "I think the lock is busted."  I was gonna say, no shit Sherlock, but one look at those immense hands and forearms put that thought out of my mind.  He reached past me and planted one hand flat against the truck's side and began to dig his fingers into the door's frame.  My eyes widened as I saw the steel mash under those fingers as if it were putty, and with one tearing wrench he pried the door away and open, the hinges themselves broken and twisting against his arms.


I sat down at the wheel, and looked through the spiderweb of shattered safety glass (an inch thick!) and then to Hassan where he stood.  From where I sat, I couldn't see his face, but could admire the striations of those big thighs where it had broke through the denim, and a broad, thick tent over his basket which left no doubt as to where he was charging!  His jeans were soaked with sweat a few inches over his belly, slick young strong skin, lightly dusted with hair, stretched over ingots of abdominal muscle.  I turned back and tried to start the truck.  Incredibly, after a second of whining, one cylinder was left, and the truck "started" - if you call one surviving cylinder starting. 


Hassan shrugged.  "I get paid anyway" he mused.  I turned off the engine, and a thin stream of smoke drived away from the broken engine.  


"Yo."  I turned to him. 


"You got any tanks here?"