LOUDER THAN BOMBS
By Arbitrary Point
(This story would not be possible without Augmentor's beautiful "Munchies" storyline. In this tale's "Everyone's a munchie" philosophy, I encourage anyone to build from this storyline. Feedback and story requests can be mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.)
I had been going out with Paul for nine months before he suddenly gave me the news that I actually wasn't the independent woman image I portrayed to him and to others. We were seated at a non-smoking table at Sully's when he told me, among other crude things, that I was closeminded and my vegetarianism got in the way of romantic dining.
Granted we were both juniors in high school, and we still had things to learn, but I was blown to bits by the breakup. This kid had lied with every “Megan, I love you” and each false-hearted smile. I threw my salad and tomato soup onto his lap and ran out of the restaurant faster than he could attempt an apology.
At first, I thrived on the illusion that I could pick up the bits and shack up with a new guy in a snap. This “screw 'em and leave 'em” mode of thinking had been my philosophy with every boyfriend prior to Paul. He brought out something in me no boy ever did before. I became determined to win him back. As long as I kept up my gaunt, thin body, he would be mine soon enough.
I immediately threw the meat-eating suggestion out the window simply because the very idea belittled my every moral fiber. Music was a huge deciding factor, I think, in Paul's decision. I was a flavor-of-the-month kind of girl, leaning more towards Jpop and gender-bending glam indie than his favorite styles. I guess I was sort of quick to judge a lot of the britpop he let me listen to. I never paid attention to any of the mix tapes he gave me, either.
I retraced our relationship with the objects or gifts he gave me. The huge heart-shaped box of chocolates from Valentine's Day that I refused to eat. The Fantastic Plastic Machine 7” record. A chocolate orange from Easter. A T-Rex mix CD. A giant Hershey's kiss for my birthday, completely untouched (He must have really loved giving me food I never ate.) Three mix tapes, all entitled “For Megan, the Clotting Heart.”
I wasn't about to be the gorging girl, so I set the candy aside and put the needle on the red groove of the Fantastic Plastic Machine single. The insane wail of drums and looped organs confused me as to whether I should laugh or cry, remembering the two of us dancing around my bedroom to the music. Oh, the memories.
When the needle exited the groove, I just laid in my bed, clutching the sheets. I felt compelled to listen to the tapes he gave me. No matter how much Joni Mitchell lost her cool when Q-Tip started singing her lyrics, “You don't know what you've got until it's gone.” I had dismissed the Smiths as depressing college music that loafers adored like faded plaid and absinthe.
I popped in the 90-minute cassette and fell in love with, who I later learned to be, Morrissey's voice. I felt such direct empathy when he uttered the solemn lyrics, “Why do I smile at people I'd much rather kick in the eye?” I didn't want to wallow in my self-pity. I didn't want to be a sad lump of clay. Screw Paul.
In maybe a half hour tops, I cleaned my hair up, popped the tape into my car, and drove around looking for a job. It was the summer. I did not want to sit around my tired old house, mulling about. I needed money, though, some fiscal drive with which I could propel myself.
Circuit City. Nope. I would not be able to deal with people's horrible music choices. Express. I would not be caught dead in that store. Whoa. Dunkin' Donuts. I hadn't touched a donut since I was 10, but it would be boring enough for me not to worry about it, and not my style of food to pig out on. I thought about it for a second, then parked my car in the lot, picked up an application, handed it in, and went home listening to Morrissey's oh-so sad voice. I couldn't help but be a little bitch and think of Paul.
I got a call at 8:00. I figured it was Cathy or Jamie, but, alas, it was fucking Dunkin' Donuts, a prospect I had forgotten about since toking up about an hour earlier. They wanted me to work the next day! At first, I was a trifle upset, but then I figured the sooner I started work, the sooner I got paid. They gave me the choice of picking up my uniform that night or changing in the bathroom on the next. I was bored, so I decided to go and fetch it that night.
While there, it must have been the pot that came over me and convinced to me to buy a half-dozen strawberry jelly donuts. I wasn't even hungry. The 50% discount made it seem even more worthwhile, and, after I slapped on the baggy fuchsia shirt and loose size 3 khaki pants, I tore in like a wild woman. Strangely enough, after about seven fritter-less years, it felt good. Really good. I felt compelled to eat all of them. Needless to say, I fell asleep five minutes after waddling into my house, pretending I was big as it.
I woke up the next morning famished, though I was determined to do jack shit about it. I donned my uniform and proceeded to Fat Palace. The day proceeded uneventfully, with the exception of one hog of a woman who felt the obese need to change a healthy order to a really fat one. I smirked quite smugly as I rang her up, knowing I had full self control over my hunger. Oh, God, if only I could have a fucking donut.
By the time noon rolled around, I was nearly dead. I caved, and it was sweet. Losing all inhibitions tasted better than the dozen donuts themselves, and sucking off the frosting tubes felt even better than that. I was in heaven, and all because I gave up. I thought I'd last longer than this. If only Paul could see me now.
The next couple of weeks were a blur. I cared less about my social status than keeping myself happy. I hadn't hung out with any of my friends because of my work schedule. I hadn't visited a record store in so long, and my Smiths tape was forever engrained into my memory as much as it was wearing out in my cassette player. Having all this lazy fun, I failed somewhere down the line to realize the toll it'd been taking on my body.
It was this morning, when the top button on my khakis popped under the strain of my love handles, when I saw them. The little buggers just sat squat on my feet, staring up at me, chanting, “Munch all day, just munch munch munch / A nine-course breakfast, a twenty-pound lunch!” When the fattest one poked my belly, that's when it hit me: I had become a cow.
I just thought the dryer had made my panties tighter, little did I know it was my gigantic ass! I never wanted to be bootylicious! No indie girls are bootylicious! I just figured I was finally getting a nice chest, considering the three bra sizes I had to go through in three weeks before this lovely 36D. But damn it. No guy is going to look at me now! My thighs look like two sausage casings! This has to stop!
“Where ya going?” the creatures asked in unison as I hopped on the scale. Oh shit. There is no way I could have gone from 103 to 176 in two months! All the monsters laughed as I ran out the door wearing only my Dunkin' Donuts shirt pulled tight around my tits and insanely taut black satin panties. I swore to myself I would never have cellulite.
I stepped into the donut shop determined to quit. The bright lights, coffee scent, and pastry upon pastry damned me before I could say to my manager, “I'm sorry, but could I have a new pair of khakis? Mine shrunk in the wash.” After rummaging through a bunch of ones I thought would fit, all the while bending over and succumbing to the stares of male co-workers and old men (Couldn't they see I'm so damned big?) at my satin-sealed ass, I found my new pants: size 14. It felt good as it rolled off my mumbling tongue.
I celebrated such a good fit with two dozen Boston creme donuts. I swore I could hear maniacal and tiny giggling as I led out a boob-shaking belch.
* * *
So now I was a size 14, and only two weeks from entering my senior year of high school. And to tell you the truth, I was not devastated in the least bit. I simply thought, and with due cause, that no man would find me sexually attractive.
The pudgy little gremlins who have been force-feeding me do not help all that much either. Neither does, then, the fact that I spend so many lazy hours in back of a donut shop counter. To think that only two and a half months ago, I was a rail-thin chick convinced she could thwart any onslaught of sweets. What a laugh riot! I giggled to myself, shaking tumultuously.
The Munchies, as the little buggers call themselves, seem to have been controlling every facet of my existence. Even though they choose to come out of hiding only once in a while, I can feel their presence with every breath I take.
One minute, I think I can muster the strength to get up and drive to the record store, (I've been meaning to check out the new Pizzicato Five album), something propels me to just lie back down on the couch or grab a bite or bites to eat and lie back down on the couch. Other than that, the only time I've really been up and about for more than a moment has been to attend work. I mean, what girl could pass up free fried pastries?
My parents are really concerned. My dad is this really buff physical trainer who was a huge reason for my regimented diet which seems oh-so-long-ago. He bought me my skateboard, which I haven't so much as touched since my breakup with Paul. My mom is a glamour queen, and was an indirect cause for my insatiable need to stay petite and trendy. Besides my uniform, I've worn nothing except extremely tight sweatpants that dig into my growing waist and a sports bra that barely fits over my tits. Yeah, the folks are mad but leave me to my own devices and eating utensils.
Monday morning, I woke up to the sounds of an infomercial in the background and those of the Munchies in the foreground. I burped with surprise, glanced down at the potato chip crumbs on my pot belly, realizing how much of an hilarious and welcome sight I must have been for the goons.
“Bjork just lies on the couch and eats / Look just like her by piling on the sweets!” They always sound so sure of themselves, it's hard not to believe them. At first, I was strong-willed, but lately, I've been physically powerless at their coaxing. I felt incredibly comfortable as they were engorging my cheeks with sausage links and French toast. Mmm...
It took me about an hour to at least somewhat resist their efforts to make me massive. After about ten servings of bacon and around ten slices of French toast, I carried my bloated body to the shower. The Munchies weren't too terribly far behind.
I didn't have work for a good hour and a half, so I lolled about underneath the showerhead for a goodly amount of time. Sometime after I had been caressing my cellulitic thighs and burgeoning belly and rotund rolls, I realized something: I was free.
I was incredibly comfortable with my body. Those mischievous little imps were onto something, I now was certain. When I was calorie-counting and teetering on anorexic, I was a worrywart. As soon as I got really big, my anxieties melted away like butter.
I looked really hard at my reflection in the mirror. Where once a gaunt, short-haired chic girl once shyly stood in front of herself now was a robust, busty beauty with a shoulder-length bob and a flabby paunch instead of taut abs. I was confident with my new self, deliciously devoid of muscle tone.
All of a sudden, my mother walked in on me, nude and near-giggling, huge breasts heaving.
“You have absolutely nothing to be smiling about,” she began, poking my fat stomach. “I don't know what in God's name came over you, but I hope this...” A disgusted pause. “...This body of yours only goes to show you the perils of getting lazy!”
I laughed, because the statement turned me on a bit. Freedom was inimically sexy. And what greater freedom is there than to defy a measuring-tape-wielding mom? “If you only knew the liberty I'm given.” I cackled almost.
Mom laughed in my face. “Liberty? You don't even have any liberty in any of your clothes anymore!” I had gained eighty pounds, and the summer wasn't even over yet. I rubbed my tummy.
“If I had a cake, I'd shove the whole thing in my mouth!”
“Oh, that's just comforting!” My mother promptly left the bathroom, a parenting book in hand. It took me at least five minutes to fit my tree trunk thighs and mammoth booty into the increasingly tighter size 14 khakis. I could only zip up 3/4 of the way. You could see my bra perfectly through my once-baggy polo work shirt. I was ready to feast on some donuts.
I never would have fathomed what I saw that morning. At around 11:00, two hours since I arrived and two minutes since I ate my third dozen of Boston Creme, I became chagrined at the sight of a familiar face. Paul walked into Dunkin' Donuts arm in arm with Cindy Wasserman. She was thin. She was dumb. She was a cheerleader. She ate meat. I hiccuped with fear.
He smiled. “Hey, how's it going?” He sized me up. “Enjoying your summer, I take it?” His bitch chuckled. I said nothing, but was suddenly conscious of my pot belly, my huge arms, my totally obvious double chin. “You look… different.”
I thought of something to say. “Yeah, I'm trying to let my hair grow out,” I said, trying in vain to hold back a belch. I even twirled my pudgy fingers through my mane.
“No,” he horribly started, “Not your hair. You're much fatter. This is not the best job for you at all. I would've thought you'd have some sense of decency.”
I ignored him. I would not let him get to me. It was at this point that I was reminded of “William, It Was Really Nothing.” The line “How can you stay with a fat girl?” rung through my head. What I needed was a man like Morrissey.
“What do you want?” I coldly demanded.
“I'll get five strawberry creme donuts,” my ex-boyfriend said, “for my lovely lady who is in control of her metabolism.” Yeah right. I looked at her in her grey jumper. I could easily see how the Munchies might want to cling to the cotton and work their way up to her tastebuds. I even heard bitty laughter.
Notwithstanding, that was probably the highlight of my summer. Well, that and the time I bought my new wardrobe, overseen by my disgusted mother, who had never had to venture into the plus sizes ever before, and never expected any daughter of hers to ever so much as consider shopping in its aisles.
Size 16 was a bit loose for me, and was my default new dress size, as 14 had become way too snug. A lot of my old shirts and blouses from no more than three month ago would not even fit over my thighs. There was no turning back. I was fat. I was no longer simply pleasantly plump or chunky I was billowing and obese. My mom must have been proud.
The remaining week and a half was spent working and chowing. I now know what everyone means by “comfort food.” I lost contact with my friends and was still happy.
On the first day of school, I strolled the halls in a floral print sundress, size 16. That's funny, I thought to myself. It was downright baggy before. I tugged at it, noticing my erect nipples and panty lines through the tight silk. Almost everyone gawked at me in absolute awe. My girlfriends, all at least half my size, walked right past me, sneering or guffawing.
Ray, bassist of Mere Being, a local emo band centered around my school, gave me a hug. I could feel his erection. He barely even talked to me, even though I initiated conversation several times at each one of their concerts. He was gorgeous.
“How have you been, Meg?” he asked. It felt really good to have someone be genuinely nice to me for a change. “You look great.” I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. He wiped pizza sauce off my lip, giggling.
“Want to have some dinner tonight?” he asked. Oh lord.
* * *
I am fat. I am outgrowing all my size 16 clothes. I am always starving. I don't care at all.
Right now, I am happier than I have ever been. I am incredibly comfortable with everything, instead of tearing up or even feeling the slightest pang of guilt, I smile ear to ear when I look at the scale and see that I have only one pound to go before I hit 200.
I've given up on pretty much everything but sleeping and eating. Sure, it sounds pathetic, but once you fall into such a sweet groove, it's the hardest thing in the world to think of doing anything else.
Since school started and I quit Dunkin' Donuts (only to concentrate on my academics), the only time I really leave the couch is to learn with a bunch of kids who thought I “was hotter last year.” I should have foreseen that thin girls and thin guys should be as disgusted with a newly fat chick as I would have been months ago. Sometimes, I wish the world was chubby and truly happy.
In my apathetic bliss, I did not visit the record store at all and apologetically settled for Top 40 radio. I tried it out as a whim one day and I suppose I've just grown too lazy to listen to anything but. NSync and Creed ring through my ears while the dust on my Mountain Goats seven inches piles up. I don't mind it. Music is music.
It's only been a half hour since Ray Coren flirted with me. I would love to make love with him, and for once there is no nitpicking with my body. Besides, my love handles have metamorphosed into rolls and pretty soon those rolls are going to be huge.
Everything fits me like spandex these days, but nothing fits me more than and undying crush on Ray. I always thought he was a hot rock star up there on stage, and at every show he would pay me no mind. I gave him my number and I hope to woo him. Then, the bell rang and the day was over. I was now hot with anticipation.
As I was getting into my car, I heard a familiar voice. “Meg!” It was Elizabeth, my best friend, who, though I regret not keeping in contact with over the summer, made no effort to reach me. Hmm... She looked even thinner. Good for her.
“Hey, what's up?” I asked, and I'll be damned if I didn't deliberately bend over to shove my fat ass in her face. While she was slaving away on the treadmill over the summer, I was sitting and stuffing my face with all the food I wanted. Who says a sedentary lifestyle is bad for you?
I am bashful of admitting this, but I wanted to fatten her up. She was Italian, with an olive complexion, already very curvy but no inch of fat, or breasts to speak of. Straight black hair, piercing green eyes. I wanted to free her.
“Where have you been?” she asked. Oh, like she cared.
“Fuck it,” I began, cutting to the chase, “let's eat dinner. Tomorrow, my place. I'll cook you a meal.” She couldn't refuse.
“Sure,” she started, sizing me up conspicuously, “We have a lot of catching up to do.” I was glad I escaped a sarcastic retort of, “Yeah, like you need it.”
In preparation for my date with Ray, I took a beauty shower that lasted over an hour, and as I stepped out, I looked at myself in the mirror. My belly hung below my waist now, my arms were gigantic, I had a double chin no matter how far I stuck my head out. There was no turning back.
I put on some old size 12 jeans, and a checkerboard halter top. I wanted to put on a show for him. I made myself up with heavy eyeliner. I tied my hair back. He rang the doorbell, and I ran down the stairs, a jiggling ball of anticipation.
“Wow,” he said, as I opened the door. “You look incredible.”
I spared no time, I pulled no punches. “I'm hungry,” I said, and grabbed his crotch. He laughed under his breath. I ordered five Bacon Double Stack Burgers at Chili's. He was amazed at how much I could pack away. I must have belched seventy times, and adjusted my clothing twice as much.
We fucked in his car. He couldn't get his hands off my stomach. He brought me home around 2:00 a.m., and told me he'd call me. I want him to write a song about me; I know he will. I can forsee me growing to fantastic heights, feeding and fattening him along the way.
The next day, I tackled Elizabeth on the sofa after we had ate our normal-portioned meal, and I had told her about my beautiful life choices. My fat was able to pin her down, she couldn't move under my 205 pounds. She was powerless to my stuffing. I fed her for more than three hours, all the while pleasurably massaging her... y'know.
It was sometime during the cacophonous moaning that I had discovered my true calling in life. People pine for love, and most will get it, as I am sure I will fall deeply in it with Ray. But not everyone is truly happy... yet. I only have a few billion to fatten up.