“Fat Foodies No More” a short story
When I was a little guy… well, actually that’s misleading. I was fat even then. My folks were kinda fat too but not as bad. Just standard issue poisoned American, ingesting hormone/antibiotic pumped meat from animals imprisoned in factory farm cages and preservatives and pesticides in everything. Genetically modified corn and what not. Their bodies were taking a lot of heat but no more than most and plus they didn’t have the sick ‘n’ torrid relationship with foodies that I had.
They were concerned but since my failure felt like their failure their inner cruel prom queens were constantly aroused and into calling me names. Mom did it in subtle ways, dad just used fatso and loser. It was hypocritical cuz they were overweight themselves but for some reason my obesity really shamed them. They would have been more upset if they’d discovered me drying numerous cat skins inside a shed somewhere but only a little. I’d mention something like that at the dinner table when I came over to visit. I’d say “You know, I may be 300 pounds, but I haven’t fucked any dead girls lately so I’d say you did your job okay. So just relax and gimme the fuckin mashed potatoes.”
You know how some kids have a blanket or a pacifier or their thumbs. Well I couldn’t eat those so I didn’t give a shit about them. My mama doggie nipple device was my foodies. I just loved stuffing my face. It was how I coped with anxiety, fear of failure, happiness, boredom, and just plain being conscious. And I got territorial about food too. If someone stole one of my cupcakes that I’d baked special and kept in my school locker, I’d get so mad my face would turn red and then everyone would laugh at me. See, some guys in high school had figured out how to get into my locker and pilfer the treats. They only did it occasionally because they were actually kind of my friends. Well not really. The last time a guy broke into my locker and stole my cupcakes I knocked him on his ass. Punched him right in the face. Him and the others avoided me after that.
Later on in my thirties I realized something about those dudes. They weren’t the worst people, but they did think deep down that they were better than me. On account of my resembling the kinds of mammals only gracefully ambient in water. So I thought, well fuck them. I had absolutely no power over the compulsion so I decided to give up on ever having meaningful human interaction. And certainly never with a girl. So I moved to a small town sorta far away from my past. It was easy for me to do. I was a teller at a corporate bank that had branches all over the U.S. I transferred to one in the Midwest, where I’d blend in better weight wise.
My job was boring but there was one cool thing about it. I refused to do the sleazebag corporate sell on my clients. They were busy and they came to the bank to do their banking, not to be upsold on some fancy extra service that would only cost them money and extra time just to hear the stupid spiel. But they never canned me, in fact I made more money than most of the Senior Tellers because I was very fast. Fat people almost always have deviously nimble little fingers. I always got my people their hello, their deposit transfer or whatever, and their asses back out the door in record time. It was my one tiny source of self esteem.
But it wasn’t enough and one day it started to get to the point where I thought I was going crazy. Baked goods weren’t healing the pain and discontent any longer. I figured maybe I was gonna die soon. I’ve always known about spirit realms and God and whatnot, but I tell you I never had a use for any of them, until I started to freak out. I asked whatever was out there or inside me or whatever to give me a break and help me. I even embarked upon my 1,153rd diet. And I waited.
My answer came on a frosty first week of April when a local meth head who’d just gotten clean tried to rob the bank. It was my turn to open that day which means I was the only one there. The way a lot of small beans banks work is, one worker bee shows up and gets inside. It takes two people to unlock the vault where all the dough and safe deposit boxes are (two different keys turned simultaneously) so the robber isn’t going to get much if he manages to commandeer the solo employee. Plus the vault is on a timer and literally can’t be opened even with a bomb until 9 AM which is when we officially open.
Once the opener is inside he or she locks themselves in and conducts checks throughout the premises, to make sure no one has been hiding under a desk or been sitting on the pot since the day before and somehow managed to bamboozle the previous evening checks person. Once that’s through and everything is ok, I put a Bart Simpson rubber statue in the window facing west. This serves as a signal to the arriving personnel that checks are clear and to come on in. If the Bart Simpson rubber statue is not present, they are to wait some minutes and then cross the street to the gas station and call the cops.
Our signal, per corporate regulations, is supposed to change every month- the item itself and its location. For a while we were putting up some different crap like my manager’s disturbed child’s drawings or a bucket of bad customer candy etc and varying which window they went in but Bart Simpson he’d been there for going on 2 years. I wasn’t the only one working there who was depressed and only enjoyed a small segment of one’s job. Turned out this didn’t matter. A real bank robber would have cased the joint and studied up on our routines but evidently Mikey thought this was unnecessary. He just hid in the bushes until I’d already unlocked the first door and stuck a water gun spray painted black into my back. He instructed me to go inside the little glass foyer and unlock the second door. Then we were inside. Mikey was a nondescript skinny man with a moleman hoodie on and dirty jeans. He smelled like Brut cologne and cigs and farts.
“I’m Mikey” he said, and he held out his hand. I shook it. Then he looked around with interest the way my pet rat used to, when I’d introduced a new shoebox hideyhole for him. “Okay this won’t take long” he said. “Where’s the money?” I told him what I just told you, about the vault etc. He looked disappointed, crestfallen even. “What the hell?” he said. He did some thinking on the spot and asked to be let into the registers. Unfortunately for him, each register is balanced, recorded, and its contents are stowed away on a cart which we roll away into and lock in the vault room. So nothing doing there either.
“Shit” he said. “Yeah” I said, “You would have been better off just coming in once we’d opened. Except you missed a spot on the end of your piece”. I pointed to an area the spray paint had missed, where some orange plastic glowed, denoting the gun’s maker as Toys R Us. Mikey seemed to take it in stride. “Well mistakes are the only way you learn” he said. “Would you mind making me a cup of coffee before I go then?” he asked. “It’ll have to be quick, Evelyn and Sharie will be here in about fifteen minutes” I said. Those stanky bitches. Actually I would have fucked either one of them with joy if they’d said ok.
I prepared the cheapo stinky for your waiting pleasure before we bend you over one with a second mortgage or Advantage Fund Super Deal complimentary beverage and offered him a cup. He watched me pour desiccated fake creamer and real processed sugar into my cup. “That’s why you’re so fat!” he said triumphantly. I stiffened and felt my faces turn red. “Oh I didn’t mean to hurt your feelings” he said, “Don’t take it the wrong way.” “Exactly how else am I supposed to take it?” I asked. “Dude come on” he said, “Look at what you poured in that cup.” “What” I said, “It’s black coffee!” Why I was letting this guy discuss my weight for even a nanosecond I didn’t know. The last and only people to have done that were ye olde mother and father. “I’m on a diet. I don’t even usually like black coffee.” “Well of course you like it now, cuz it’s liquid fucking cake!” Mikey said.
It’s funny how someone can remark on something to you that maybe a billion other people have already attempted to communicate to you, including the TV and yourself, and yet you never ever heard it. But oddly, at that moment, I became cognizant that I wasn’t just drinking black coffee. I had actually put a shitload of creamer and sugar fixins in there. I felt funny. I mean, this was not a rocket science type of breakthrough, but it was the first time I realized how and what I ate. First time I saw my life for real. Mikey had moved on and was telling me about how he wanted to rob the bank to pay for his pretend grandmother and then I snapped to and had to hustle him out the door before anyone else showed up. I had 50 bucks in my wallet and I gave it him. “Mikey, thank you” I said, “Really.” “Huh? Oh no problem” he said and he ambled off down the street.
I never read about him in the papers so I guess he and his griftery self never got caught doing any thing. I was glad because he helped me. He took the time to actually care. Do you know that I changed after that? It was really hard. No more diets, just eating healthy and exercising. It takes the body a while to believe you’re not going to be runnin anymore HoHo trains on it so it hangs onto the fat as long as possible. Its just gotten used to functioning a certain way. That’s why a lot of fatties give up after six months or so of brutal carrots and low cholesterol and walking shoes. But you don’t quit before the miracle happens. That’s what my food sponsor says.
I started going to a 12 step food addiction meeting and even enlisted the services of an organic dietician. Now I’m 155 pounds and I look good. I feel good too. Guess how I met my girlfriend (now I know what love and also a real pussy feels like and I cannot tell you what gifts these are). She is a wonderful girl and we’re getting married. Here’s how we met: I was in the hospital donating my extra skin. There was a guy down the hall who was a burn victim and he needed all the skin grafts he could get. I gave my skin to my fiance’s brother. That’s how we met. I think its quite romantic. I’m at present trying to locate Mikey because I want to invite him to the wedding.
Copyright © 2013 by Kim Campion
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