Random Acts Of Fattening
"We interrupt this show for a very special announcement."
Linda Hilden gave her microphone one last adjustment and straightened her blouse. This was a big break for her. It was only her second time on TV, and due to the fact that it was a late breaking story, it was sure to make a good impression on the producers. She examined the hastily typed notes and looked at the teleprompter and the live footage airing next to it. She cringed at what she saw.
"And 5, 4,…" the cameraman held up three fingers, then two, then pointed to Linda.
"This is Linda Hilden for NBAC News. An apparent chemical weapons attack has been carried out in a local mall. So far no one is dead or injured, and authorities feel that no one will get hurt, but the weapon has caused a devastating change in the estimated 300 people in the Norden Mall. We bring you live to the mall. Jerry?"
The scene quickly shifts to the outside of a mall where firemen and police officers in hastily assembled chemical and environmental suits are scrambling. Ambulances and firetrucks have gathered by the dozen. Here and there can be seen rescue workers, escorting to ambulances massively obese people. The camera then focuses on Jerry Johnson who has a surgeon's mask on.
"Thanks, Linda. As you can see the authorities in charge here are leaving nothing to chance and have asked me to where this chemically treated mask. I'm far enough away where I shouldn't be affected by the weapon. Authorities have only managed to evacuate a dozen people so far, even though they've been here more than thirty minutes. The reason is clear. All of the victims in this attack have become, for lack of a better term, fat."
"Could you repeat that Jerry? With the mask on it's hard to understand you," asks Linda from back in the studio.
"Sorry Linda. The people have become very, very fat." He gestures behind him and the camera focuses on a woman being helped to an ambulance by three rescuers. She looks more than 400 pounds. A blanket has been thrown over her to cover the fact that she had burst out of her clothes. "According to authorities most have gained 300 pounds or more. Some of the rescue workers themselves were affected by it when they first arrived, though they say that the chemical, possibly some kind of a gas has dissipated at this point." The camera switches back to Linda who is having a very hard time hiding her shock.
"Um…Jerry, does anyone know when this started?"
"Yes Linda. Apparently it started shortly after noon, in the food court, where the crowd was largest due to the lunchtime rush. There's another one. As you can see, this is a child, hard to tell from here how old she is, but she's got to be in grade school only and probably weighs more than 200 pounds." The camera pans over to where he points to show two strong policemen struggling with a ball-like girl who is almost as wide as she is tall. Her facial features are almost lost in the sudden accumulation of pudginess to her face.
"Oh my goodness…As you can see, no one was spared in this…incident. I'm told that it is not official that this is an attack of some kind, that the authorities have yet to determine that. Um…Jerry is there anyone available for commentary?"
"Yes Linda. This is one of the employees who was at the scene shortly after it happened." The camera turns to show a black man perhaps in his mid-twenties; he's dressed in a shirt and tie, and the viewers can see by his tag that his name is Andrew. He doesn't look fat, though perhaps he's put on a bit of weight recently; his neck bulges a bit over the collar, and his shirt looks a bit tight. "Andrew, where were you when this occurred?"
"Uh yeah, well I was at my car; I needed to get my lunch out of my car. Well I came back in, and I see people staggering around. Some were leaning on the wall or falling on the floor. But they were all fat! And I could see 'em getting fatter! This one guy in front of me was busting outta his clothes! He had to be a ton or something. Anyway that's when I smelled this weird smell, kind of like perfume, but with a chemical smell also. I was in the Gulf War, so I just held my breath and got the Hell out of there! I felt my shirt and pants getting tight, but I kept running; I must have only got a little, because I'm only a bit heavier. But man, you should see some of those others!"
"Well good thing you made it. What did you do when you got out?"
"Once I got out and could breathe again, I just got on my phone and dialed 911. I told them it was chemicals, but some of the rescuers didn't listen or something and just ran right in. They got fat, too."
"Well thanks Andrew. Linda back to you."
"Thank you Jerry. New reports have arrived; the official count is 317. More than one hundred are employees at the mall, and there were at least another 100 that are teenagers or younger. This raises concerns about why the children were at a mall on a school day. Many high schools allow students to go out for lunch, which accounts for many of the victims. The rest were business people on their lunch break, and a significant portion were parents with their young children. The youngest reported victim was 2 years old, and is in good health at over 120 pounds. The oldest was 87, and he is reportedly 375 pounds, but in no danger. Other than a few bumps and bruises, there were no serious injuries. Um…apparently we have some footage of the incident as it happened from the security cameras in the mall. You're seeing it here first on NBAC."
The scene changes to that of a busy mall in the food court. Lines are long in front of each of the restaurants, and most of the tables are full. The camera pans slowly over the scene.
"This is just seconds before the incident occurs." Linda says. The camera slows and then stops at an apparent commotion near a garbage can. A man who's just thrown out his food cartons seems to be holding his stomach and making a sour face. The camera focuses in closer. "According to reports the security observer thought that the man shown here was having a heart attack." As the camera closes in looks of shock and dismay can be seen on the face of the man. His hands grope and pat himself down as he looks wildly about himself. "At this point we can see him getting fatter. Apparently he's taking off his clothes because they're getting too tight." The man is ripping off his clothes and screaming - though that can't be heard because there's no microphone. The camera pulls back a bit now, and others can be seen in similar situations. Four feet away a pair of high school girls are screaming and pointing at each other as each gains pounds and inches by the second. At another table a mother is struggling to hold her butterball-like child as she herself balloons in every direction. The camera pulls back some more to show a scene of subdued chaos. Everyone is frantic yet having great difficulty moving or scrambling around due to their sudden and substantial increase in weight. The camera then shakes violently, and the scene goes to static. "And that's all we have from the security camera. Apparently the operator of the camera had gotten so fat that he broke the console and shut off the camera."
"Once again, for those just joining us, a bizarre incident has occurred at Norden Mall. More than 300 people have suddenly and inexplicably gained massive amounts of weight. Authorities fear it was some kind of chemical attack, but have yet to confirm. Please stay tuned for further reports."
The camera goes back to the mall, where more of the tremendously obese people are being helped to ambulances and now pick-up trucks.