Watch Out for the Munchies
It was a typical Saturday. A typical Saturday morning, hot and hazy and humid, and Steven was firmly planted on the plush Lay-Z-Boy recliner in the air-conditioned living room in the little frame house at 304 Maple Avenue. He was watching cartoons, and his eyes were glazed over and glued to the television set.
He would go swimming later, probably, but this morning was reserved for watching cartoons. Unlike most college freshman, Steven was a cartoon zombie.
He was slurping down the last of a tall, icy glass of lemonade, to wash away the aftertaste of the chocolate Pop Tarts he had eaten for breakfast. Breakfast -- the most important meal of the day. Wasn't that how those public service announcement "nutritional messages" always put it? The ones that aired between the cartoons, usually in the middle of the Bugs Bunny/Road Runner Hour?
Pop Tarts -- the Breakfast of Champions.
Steven settled down into the luxurious comfort of the chair and concentrated on his beloved cartoons. He had seen them all, at one time or another, but it hardly mattered. Cartoons were a ritual of Saturday mornings.
It was the first weekend of summer vacation, after his freshman year at Hillman University. Since he'd decided to stay for summer school, to get a head start on next year, he'd rented a small house just a block away from campus.
Now, on this lazy Saturday morning, Steven casually flipped through the channels. The Flintstones was on Channel 2, and Fred was in the middle of one of his tirades. Scooby Doo was on 3, The Smurfs on 5 and something futuristic on channel 9.
He stopped when he reached channel 13, which was showing an old Popeye cartoon. It was one of those odd threesomes -- Popeye, Olive Oyl and Wimpy the Moocher -- on an outing to the beach. Only, it wasn't the beach. It was the Sahara Desert, and this time, it was Egyptian "savages" from whom Popeye had to rescue Olive. Typical.
Needless to say, Popeye rescued the fair Olive, and anticipating the commercial Steven was about to flip the channel when he suddenly burst out laughing. At the very end of the cartoon, as Popeye and Olive returned to their camp to find Wimpy, they found that their pal had devoured the group's entire picnic lunch, and was sitting there, polishing off the last of the hamburgers, with a preposterously big belly, so full from all of the hamburgers that his shirt buttons popped off as he sang, "it's bad to be tardy to a hamburger party, says Wimpy the burger man!"
Steven had no idea why he found that so funny, but he did. Maybe it was the shock of seeing the portly moocher become so large and so fat. And so round. Maybe it was the sight of his shirt no longer being able to fit over his hugely fattened belly. Or maybe it was seeing those buttons fly off at the conclusion of Wimpy's feast, to the dismay of the hungry Popeye and Olive.
Whatever it was, that cartoon made Steven laugh out loud. He climbed out of the La-Z-Boy and opened a cabinet next to the TV set. He pulled out his videotaped copy of Charlotte's Web and slipped it into the VCR. He fast-forwarded the tape to the scene where Templeton the rat goes hunting for scraps leftover from the County Fair's visitors. Steven plopped back down on the recliner and watched as Templeton scurried across the fairgrounds nibbling and gulping and guzzling anything and everything edible. Templeton became fatter and fatter as he ate, finally becoming a virtual appendage to his enormous belly after gulping down an entire banana. Steven giggled as the colossally overtuffed rat belched and patted and rolled around on his grossly distended belly.
What was funny about Wimpy and Templeton gorging themselves to such huge propertions, Steven decided, wasn't the horrified or disdainful expressions of Popeye and Olive, or Wilbur the pig and Charlotte the spider, but rather the gluttons' unabashed pleasure in eating without limit or guilt. Steven found something indefinable but undeniably amusing in that.
Switching off the VCR, Steven pointed the remote control at the TV and turned to channel 5, as it was time for the Bugs Bunny/Road Runner Hour. The first cartoon had already started, and was about a turkey that was being fattened up for Thanksgiving by a Ma & Pa Kettle lookalike hillbilly couple. Undermining their plans was none other than Daffy Duck, who was trying to con the turkey out of his mountain of food. Convincing to the turkey to diet and exercise, Daffy ate and ate while the turkey starved and exercised. Finally, on Thanksgiving, the turkey was as thin as a rail and Daffy was proudly finishing off the turkey's huge meal, patting his belly and burping apologetically. Steven giggled.
He suddenly felt funny. Funny in the peculiar way, not funny in the ha-ha way. He poked himself in his tummy. It was flat and firm.
But just imagine, he thought, what it would be like to eat an enormous amount of food like that and grow so fat that his belly would no longer fit in his shirt. To be so fat that Fat Albert would look skinny by comparison. To be incapacitated by a feat of overeating and to have a belly so big that he couldn't move. He sat back in the recliner and imagined that he had a big bloated stomach and carved an imaginary one out of the air with his hands, gesturing as though he were patting and rubbing it.
It wasn't the first time Steven had wondered what it was like to be fat. Terry, one of his longtime friends who was also going to Hillman -- Hillman College, population 2,104, plus or minus a few livestock -- had gained fifty pounds the previous summer and looked like a real life version of Fat Albert. It was weirdly fascinating watching Terry's gigantic belly bounce up and down and jiggle all over like Jello -- rhythmic and almost hypnotic, really -- but the very thought of being so fat frightened Steven, mostly because of how their classmates had always laughed at Terry behind his back, calling him names like "Blubberbelly," "Jumbo" and "Tub 'o Lard Terry."
But there were definitely times, like now, when Steven liked thinking about what he'd look like if he ate as much as Templeton, or Wimpy, or Daffy, until his belly swelled so large that his shirt buttons popped off. One that was enormously bloated and round but still shook like Jello and bounced and jiggled and made people giggle. Just like the cartoons.
Steven found it funny to think about, at least funny when it happened to someone else or to a cartoon character, but reminded himself how horrified he was at the thought of really being fat. Steven had a less than nutritious diet but he wasn't fat. In fact, he was on the thin side, what with playing baseball and all of the swimming he did. The girls at school wrinkled their noses and shouted, "Eeeeewww" at Terry or anyone else within a country mile of being overweight. Even the guys on campus were pretty ruthless when it came to teasing the heavier students. And even Steven himself had been guilty of teasing on occasion. He wasn't proud of that, especially since he secretly had these fantasies. But he knew that he wasn't interested in being called "Fatso" or "Two Ton" by his pals on campus.
But on that Saturday Steven smiled as he thought about Wimpy's belly, and Templeton's, and Daffy's, and Terry's, too.
Then he did something strange. He pulled himself up from the chair and went directly to the kitchen pantry. Steven wasn't particularly hungry -- not after all that sugar -- but there was a tingle, some sort of excitement that he couldn't quite explain, that was welling up in his stomach. He reached into an open box of Little Debbie snack cakes -- the vanilla frosting-coated, fudge-filled ones shaped like hexagons -- and with somewhat of an anxious lump in his throat he pulled out a twin pack and shut the pantry door.
Steven stood there a full minute, thinking. Thinking about pillows. And blankets. He had a few very large t-shirts, and....and wouldn't it be OK just to do this once, to see what it feels like? To satisfy his curiosity, yes, that's what it would do. And he'd see once and for all how gross he'd look and that would be that.
And what the heck did he need the Little Debbies for anyway? Steven put them back in the pantry and started back toward the living room. And then he stopped, and grabbed the Little Debbies, and then grabbed a can of Coke from the refrigerator, too.
Steven put the Little Debbies and the can of Coke on a TV tray beside the Lay-Z-Boy, and then went to his bedroom and rummaged through his closet until he found the Mother of all t-shirts, a great big faded pale green one that hung limp on him. Plenty of room under that. Next, he snapped up several folded quilts and blankets from the linen closet and three or four different sizes of pillows from his bed and the living room sofa, and deposited them in a pile next to the La,-Z-Boy.
With something like exhilaration, or maybe it was angst, Steven picked up the blankets and pillows, one at a time, and began fitting them under his big t-shirt, on top of his tummy, bigger ones first, then smaller, methodically, molding and shaping each one into an imagined whole, a huge, rounded, bulging cartoon-like contour that projected further and further outward in front of him. With each additional article of stuffing, the t-shirt grew tighter, and the bulbous mound underneath it grew bigger and bigger, fuller and broader, more bloated and bulging. Distended. Massive.
He felt fat.
When there was no more room in the shirt, which now was stretched so taut it was rather binding, Steven moved quickly to the other side of the living room, where a full length mirror hung in the midst of paintings of birds and ships and mountains. His "belly" looked so real that Steven felt a sudden wave of shock and horror convulse him, but it subsided. He turned sideways and felt the rush of excitement return as he marveled at how "fat" he truly looked. How enormous IT looked. His "belly". He stood facing the mirror and pressed himself gently against it, feeling the soft pillow on top of his "tummy" yield just a tad against the glass. From this position Steven tried to touch the mirror with his hands but couldn't even come close. He rocked on his toes and heels until his "belly" began to bobble and bounce up and down slightly, from the weight of all of the padding.
Steven wondered what it must be like to run or do a jumping jack or jump rope with a belly so large, flopping down with a hypnotic, periodic motion, and jiggling like Jell-o, only to rebound upward and gyrate from side to side, all accompanied by some kind of silly sound effect. Blub. Blub. Blub. Boinnngggg! He grinned a silly grin and plopped down on the Lay-Z-Boy, with a heavy thud.
And sitting there, his legs stretched out before him, his massive padded gut residing in the space that normally was his lap and reaching past his knees, he felt like a beached whale. Like he'd eaten a thousand hamburgers. Like his stomach had gotten so fat that his shirt buttons were about to pop off.
Like Wimpy the Moocher.
Steven grinned at the thought..
He couldn't sit up or turn or move very quickly, and his range of motion was very limited. Steven was sure that, if not for the support the chair was giving his back, he wouldn't have been able to sit upright at all. He imagined himself trying to sit up and not being able to as the weight and size of his belly forced him to fall helplessly backward and hit the ground with a thud. He thought about himself lying supine and helpless on the ground, having eaten a meal fit for ten kings, groaning contentedly with his fantastically bulging belly towering above him like some sort of monolithic monument to overeating. He chuckled to himself as he thought about that, and decided that just to make his silly fantasy completely over the top, his belly should have one of those flashing neon signs on it, saying "full."
FULL. full. FULL. full. FULL. full. FULL.....
Steven wondered what his friends would say if they could see him now, if they'd laugh and think it was funny or if they'd mock and ridicule him as one of those Berkley kind of kooks.
FULL. full. FULL. full. FULL. full. FULL.....
And then he opened the package of Little Debbies and ate them with mock greed, stuffing them in his constantly chewing mouth with one hand and patting what he could reach of his mountainous "tummy" with the other. When he finished the Little Debbies, he popped open the can of Coke and guzzled it straight down. He soon felt very full and bloated, and imagined that this was how it would feel after a big filling meal if were truly so fat. How it might feel to wildly ply himself with mountains of junk food -- doughnuts and Twinkies and candy bars and cakes and pies. A moment later he belched a long and satisfying belch, and giggled. He reached for the remote, which was sitting on the table beside the chair, and after working up a bit of a sweat managed to reach it. As he huffed and puffed from the exertion, he replayed Templeton's orgy of overeating in Charlotte's Web over and over, grinning at the thought and sight of his own enormous belly rising into the air as Templeton rolled around on his.
Finally, yawning and switching off the VCR, Steven rubbed his big "belly" a few times, and drifted off into a wonderfully pleasant sleep.
Steven awoke to the sound of hysterical laughter.
Purple blobs. No, greyish. Smiling grey blobs.
There were four -- no, five -- little greyish blob-like creatures in the living room now, gathered around Steven's chair, and they were smiling. No, grinning. They were grinning mischievously. They stood perhaps a tad under three feet tall. Short, toothless, grinning chubby blobs with very pronounced fat cheeks and pudgy little arms and legs. They were round and fat and looked like lumps of clay and had those big, toothless grins that were really creepy.
"Who...who'r...who are you?", Steven asked, rather dumbly. He wore a look of sheer bewilderment on his face.
They giggled. The blobs. Hysterically. High-pitched, like a bunch of mocking schoolgirls. And they kept grinning those creepy, toothless grins.
"We're the Munchies!" cackled one of them, with an insidious grin. "The Munchies!" the rest of them chanted, in unison.
Slowly Steven became more fully conscious. He was in the living room, the soft drone of the TV set filling the background, that space between consciousness and nothingness. Everything was as he knew it, everything in its own place. He was sitting in the Lay-Z-Boy. The furniture was the same as always. But the immediate past seemed a distant memory, one he was struggling to recall at that moment, one disappearing as rapidly as swirling water drains from a kitchen sink. Try as he might, he could not remember anything of that morning. He stared at the blobs blankly and they stared back, still grinning.
Steven looked down at himself and recognized his wiry frame. Terry was always calling him "Skinny" at school, and the nickname had stuck. He was wearing a baggy pair of blue jeans and a short-sleeved white t-shirt and sneakers. That seemed normal enough, but the scene before him certainly did not.
As Steven looked again at the round greyish beings, he thought them vaguely familiar, yet he knew he'd never seen them before. He found them goofy-looking and comical, and his initial fright subsided. He asked once more, "Who ARE you?" Again, they giggled. As he drew back, instinctively, they began chanting again. A hypnotic, whimsical, rhythmic, almost playful chant.
"To munch, is what you want to do, and we Five here have come to help you.
You've dreamed of pizza pies and sweets, which now we'll let you eat and eat!"
Steven told himself that he was caught in a dream, some surreal nightmare. He shook his head, as if to clear out the cobwebs, and held up his hands to protest, as if this would awaken him.
"We are your friends, and offer treats -- candy, cookies, chocolate sweets.
You must eat lots, of this and that, in order that you will get fat!"
It was all Steven could do to blink his eyes. He knew it was a nightmare. That had to be it. He told himself to wake up.
They still grinned at him.
Steven replied, lamely, "But I don't WANT to get fat." They simply laughed and giggled.
He reached out and began shoving these chubby grey beings to one side or the other. As he touched them, he noticed that they were rather squishy and fleshy, almost structureless and formless except for their fat cheeks and toothless grins. But the imp-like creatures would not be denied. They pushed him backward in the Lay-Z-Boy and then all together managed to lift him off of it.
"Hey! Cut that out! What are you DOING?!" Even as Steven protested, the Munchies began carrying him into the kitchen, one under each leg, two under his back and one supporting his shoulders.
"Put me DOWN! Where are we going?" The Munchies began giggling furiously as they ran to the kitchen, carrying Steven on their squishy shoulders as servants might have carried an ancient pharaoh.
Once the procession had reached the kitchen, the Munchies sat Steven down on the floor and then prodded and pulled him to his feet. As he brushed himself off, one of the Munchies opened the refrigerator and another pulled open the pantry door while the rest began emptying them at a frantic rate.
The Munchies grabbed cartons of leftover fried chicken, slices of pizza, slabs of chocolate fudge cake, canisters of cookies, bags of chips and boxes of crackers, bowls full of potato salad and pudding, plates full of doughnuts and hunks of cheese, all of which they eagerly offered to Steven.
He stood there flabbergasted. The scene before him had deteriorated into some kind of horrible dream but there was no escaping it just then, evidently. He stood there, disgusted, and pointed to the refrigerator.
"You put that back. And leave me alone. I don't know what you want here, but I told you I don't WANT to be fat. And I'm NOT HUNGRY. Now go away."
He dispatched them with a wave of the hand, and with that, he turned on his heels and marched out of the kitchen. As he was leaving, he heard the Munchies snap their fingers -- yes, they had fingers on their fat little hands.
Steven had almost reached the Lay-Z-Boy when he felt a tingling sensation, sort of all over. The room began to spin and all he saw was a blur of color, ebbing and flowing and twisting through space and time.
And before he knew what had happened, Steven found himself back in the kitchen, and reaching for a drumstick, as one of the creatures held up the bucket of leftover fried chicken. He had no idea how he'd gotten there, but he was glad, because as suddenly as all of that, he felt very hungry.
"OK, but just one. I don't want to spoil my appetite." He munched on the chicken leg, and the deep-fried crispy crust made his mouth water.
"Don't wor-ry about spoiling lunch, just en-joy and eat a bunch!"
Steven laughed at that, as he finished off the chicken leg, licking his lips.
"You guys sure are funny looking, but you're OK. I dunno if you're real or not, but it's pretty neat that you showed up, really. It does get kind of boring around here sometimes. Thanks for the snack. Better put that stuff back, now, OK? You guys wanna watch TV or something or something?"
The Munchies stood there, still holding up their tasty-looking offerings.
"Now look, I said put that stuff back. I don't want any more. Honest."
But he was hungry and he knew he was lying and they knew it too. His stomach growled. The pizza looked inviting. Steven loved pizza. The Munchies kept on grinning at him.
"If you're won-drin' why we popped in, it's because you looked so thin.
You're too skinny, you look funny. Why stop now, when you're still hungry?"
Steven looked at them, from one to the others, and as they grinned at him he knew they were right, as weird as this was, whatever it was. A dream. A weird dream. And in a dream, another snack or two wouldn't hurt, and besides, it was practically lunchtime. Oh, heck, why not just indulge them a little and have an early lunch? It was a dream after all, and what was the harm in living it up a little? He grinned back at them.
"OK, pass me some pizza. It's lunch time!"
The Munchies gleefully obliged, handing Steven pieces of pizza as fast as he could eat them. He'd never managed to eat more than three before, even as hungry as he usually was after a baseball game, but before he knew it, he'd eaten all six leftover slices of the large double pepperoni and cheese pizza he'd left in the refrigerator from the night before. The Munchie who'd been holding the pizza box now tossed the empty carton on the floor and went to find more food as another Munchie passed Steven the bucket of fried chicken.
Steven put his hands on his stomach. "I better not, guys. That was good, but I'm real full." But the Munchies snapped their fingers again and the smell of the greasy but delicious chicken was too much to bear. He grabbed a piece and ate it in seconds, practically in one swift, constant motion. With crumbs on his cheeks and still chewing, he reached for another piece as the Munchies giggled their encouragement.
"That's it! Have another! And another!"
"No THIS! It's yummy!"
Strangely, he found himself caught up in the Munchies' excitement. It was almost like a show, with Steven performing.
He grabbed pieces of fried chicken with both hands. They all giggled as he ate a bite from one piece of chicken in his left hand, then a bite from the piece in his right. He hardly stopped chewing. When he finished those, he picked out two more and gobbled them greedily.
When he'd finished the bucket of chicken, a large burp followed, and he beamed proudly at the little gremlins, patting his tummy. A Munchie handed him a can of squeeze cheese. When Steven looked at it dubiously, the Munchie said, "You love cheese, don't you? You know you want to..."
It was true. Steven was a cheese-a-holic. He loved the stuff. And so now, he obliged, turning the can upside down and depressing the nozzle, letting the tasty orange stream of pasturized process cheese flow into his mouth. It tasted so good that he couldn't stop. No sooner had the can emptied than a Munchie pushed the tub of potato salad at him.
"Starches are good for you. Looks yummy! Eat up!" The Munchie handed Steven a large serving spoon and he began shoveling heaping spoonfuls of the delicious potato salad to his waiting taste buds. It was undeniably delicious, and the more of it he ate, the hungrier he got. It was gone in a flash, and a bag of chips was thrust at him. He grabbed a handful and began munching on them.
"No, don't eat them like that. Like THIS!" The Munchie climbed on top of the shoulders of another, held the bag over Steven and turned it upside down as the chips funneled into Steven's mouth as quickly as he could take them. He chewed constantly and uttered an occasional "Mmmm!" When that bag was finished, another was brought, and then yet another.
"You're doing GREAT, Steven! You must be soooo hungry! Have some cookies." The canister was full of fudgy double chocolate chocolate chip cookies, Steven's single favorite thing to eat in the world. They were so large and so rich that he'd never managed to eat more than one. Well, maybe one-and-a-half. He grinned and grabbed one in each hand and devoured them, then two more, and two more, and on and on until the canister was empty.
"Hey, you guys, since this is a dream, can I have seconds on those cookies?" He grinned and winked at the Munchies.
"Sure, but eat this pie first. It's banana creme." The pie separated from its tin nicely, and Steven picked it up the whole pie and ate it as fast as he could, stopping between bites long only enough to swallow the wonderful confection and to get his wind.
"Okay, done. That was good, but where are those cookies?" He said it in jest, of course, since he knew he'd eaten all of them, but one of the Munchies snapped its fingers and the canister was once again filled to overflowing with the sinfully rich chocolate treats.
"And here's some cookie dough ice cream to go with those. And some chocolate milk to wash it all down."
Steven's eyes got wide like fifty cent pieces, and he exclaimed, "Oooooh, YUM! You Munchies are real pals!"
He gulped mouthfuls of cookie and ice cream, and guzzled the milk, licking his lips and grinning right back at them. When he'd emptied the last of the crumbs from the cookie canister into his open mouth, and cleaned out the last droplets of ice cream from the ice cream container, he sat back and belched, somewhat apologetically. "Pardon me. But gee, that was good. Really hit the spot. What's for dinner?"
With that, they all had a hearty laugh.
Sometime later, Steven awoke to the smell of frying bacon. The first thing he saw was the fluorescent light. He was in the kitchen, he realized, lying supine on the floor.
A chubby, greyish toothless grinning face bent down over him.
"We thought you might be hungry after your nap."
Steven sat up. Or tried to. He only made it a few inches off of the floor before he found he could sit up no further, and fell crashing back to the cold kitchen tile floor. As his back slapped against the tile, he felt a jiggle in each flank. He felt...wider.
Slowly the memory of his gluttony of this morning returned. His stomach ached.
"Oooooooohhh." He propped himself up with his hands spread out to his side behind him. And he looked down at his belly. Sure enough, his white t-shirt was stretched tight, covering a distended and bulging stomach, which sat heavily on his thighs and jutted out more than a few inches.
"Oh! I remember. I was pretending I was fat. I stuffed some pillows under my shirt! For a minute there, I thought--"
But he was now staring at five rather chubby, greyish blobs who were grinning at him.
"Here munch THIS! Here munch THAT! Soon you're not just bored, you're FAT!
Hee hee hee hee hee hee"
Horrified, Steven pulled up his shirt with one hand as he propped himself up with the other. When he jerked up his white t-shirt, his flabby belly jiggled as it surged a little further into his lap.
The Munchies laughed and giggled.
"You!" Steven huffed and puffed as he struggled to his feet. "You made me FAT, didn't you?!"
One of the Munchies poked Steven in his belly and giggled. Another pinched his tummy and jiggled it.
"No, YOU made you fat. You sure did good, eating all that."
Steven grabbed his stomach with both hands, still disbelieving. It was soft and flabby and jiggled like jello. He ran, panting all the way, to the mirror in the living room, as the Munchies followed, still giggling. One of them shouted, "Why, your friends at school will hardly recognize you!"
Steven stood there, in a mixture of shock and horror, looking at himself in the mirror. He almost didn't recognize his face, which had become rounder and fleshier. His arms were plump. His butt was broader and jiggled when he ran, and his thighs were chunky. But it was the belly that really threw him for a loop. Where his stomach had been firm and flat that morning, it now protruded outward several inches and sagged down a little, a broad distended arc from just below his chest to just below his beltine. His t-shirt could barely cover it all now. Seeing his belly in profile made him realize just how fat he'd become.
"Oh, no! Look at me! LOOK at me! Why did I EAT all of that?!"
One of the Munchies said, "You know you liked it. We've never seen anyone eat like that before. You're a natural! You'll be a blimp in no time!" They all giggled at him.
“Hee hee HEE hee Hee HEE hee!”
Steven shook his fist furiously at them. "Oh no I didn't! You tricked me. And now I'm going to lose this weight." He immediately started jogging in place, ignoring their high-pitched giggles. His belly bounced up and down and shook from side to side and even he had to laugh to himself at the sight of it. Panting heavily after only a minute, he stopped and bent over, as far as he could, with his hands just able to touch his knees. "Whatsamatter?" asked one of Munchies. "Are you hungry?"
"N-O...NO! You get out of here and leave me alone." He dropped to the floor and tried to do some sit-ups, but couldn't even come close to one.
A Munchie patted him on top of his belly, as he was lying there. "C'mon, stop that. You'll lose everything you worked for this morning. Have something to eat instead. It'll make you feel better."
"I TOLD you, I don't want anything to eat! Now go away!"
He stomped into his bedroom and looked through his wardrobe closet until he found a huge white business shirt. It was one of those 6X deals, and it had been shipped to him by mistake when he had tried to return another shirt. He took it to the bathroom and stepped on the scale there. After the gauge spun around well past his normal weight and finally stopped, he slapped his forehead in disgust and changed into the oversized button-down business shirt. It hung very limp on him, but even untucked, there was no hiding that he'd gained a considerable amount of weight. He tucked the shirt in and decided to get his mind on something else, so he wouldn't be tempted to eat any more.
As he pulled a model kit, glue and paint off of the shelf, he felt a tug at his pant leg. The Munchie looked up at him expectantly.
"Aren't ya going to have something to eat? You're too SKINNY."
"Oh NO I'M NOT. I'm a fat tub of lard. And no, I'm not eating anything else. Ever! So you might as well leave."
He sat at his desk and began working on a scale model of a clipper ship. The Munchies crowded around him and one held up a candy bar.
"No, thanks. But if you want to help me with this model, I sure could use the help." His stomach growled.
"Have a snack. Then we'll help."
"No, I shouldn't. I'm too fat. I have to lose this weight."
The Munchies snapped their fingers, all in unison, and once more Steven found himself flowing through colors and patterns, and then, as if from nowhere, he was in the dining room.
He was seated at the huge solid oak antique table, which was nearly as long and as wide as the room itself. The table was completely filled with platters and trays containing all sorts of decadently-rich foods, and delicious-looking pastries and cookies and chocolates. Enough food for a small army.
"I...I can't. I'm sorry. You guys are really something to make all of this, but I really don't want any -- " He started to get up from the table, but the Munchies coaxed him back into the chair and pushed it forward so that Steven's chest was snugly against the edge of the table.
"Just try a little. This is a dream, anyway, remember? You said so yourself, silly."
Steven couldn't argue with that logic. He had said it was a dream, and he knew it had to be so. Still, it felt...eerily real. But since he was still seeing these Munchies, he'd play along.
"Alright. I see now -- it's a game. You guys are playing a game with me. Yeah, OK, since you won't leave me alone I'll play your litlte game. But then I get to wake up, OK? Go ahead and load me up a plate, will you? I'm STARVED." As if to mock the Munchies, he pushed his chair back and grabbed the sides of his belly for all to see. The Munchies pushed the chair up against the table again and began jumping up and down with glee. As they began shoving dishes and bowls and trays full of food at him, he looked at them with a mixture of panic and dismay.
"C'mon, I thought we were playing a game? I can play along with you, sure, but gee, whiz, you already made me fat enough. Let's clean this up and watch a movie or something." And when he started to get up, the Munchies again snapped their fingers. He got a tingling sensation in his stomach.
Steven stopped and surveyed the table. He was astonished at the amount of food there. He saw platters of fried chicken and ham and roast beef and hamburgers and tacos and pizza and cold cuts, dishes full of lasagna and pasta with cream sauces, bowls heaping with baked, fried and mashed potatoes, mouth-wateringly rich cheeses and aromatic breads slathered thick with creamy butter, boxes full of doughnuts, whole cheesecakes, pies, and chocolate fudge cakes, trays full of cookies and and brownies and pastries, tiramisu and much, much more.
And strangely enough, or perhaps not so strangely, now he was hungry. He was truly hungry, and just like Templeton had a certain gleam in his eye at the County Fair, the call of all of that sumptuous food was intoxicating Steven.
The Munchies gestured toward the table. Steven's eyes became wide as he got a good long whiff of the mélange of Heaven-sent aromas coming from the platters on the table. He nodded eagerly.
Then with a flourish each of the five Munchies began pointing to the many and varied sinfully rich and fattening delicacies on the table. The Munchies grinned at Steven and one of them handed him a hamburger.
"Here, eat this, and pretty soon, you'll blow up like a balloon.
Please make sure you eat the bun, so your belt will come undone."
As Steven gulped down the hamburger, the Munchies shoved a towering platter of burgers at him.
"Don't quit now, have another, so it can sit and turn to blubber!
Eat all these and fill your tummy. We know you will think they're yummy"
In between bites, Steven was laughing uncontrollably at the Munchies' corny chant. And as Steven ate, he thought about Wimpy, and Templeton, and Daffy Duck, and how their bellies had grown so immense. He wondered if the same fate was in store for him now. In a way, this prospect excited him. It WAS just a dream, he reminded himself, but WHAT a dream! What a story he'd be able to tell his friends when he woke up. He thought he'd get full, but the more he ate and the faster he ate, the hungrier he was getting. When he stuffed the last burger in his mouth, chewing maniacally, he shouted "mmmmoooorrrreee" and gestured to the tray of tacos.
"Good boy! -- eat these. Put down your cup, for these will fatten you right up!
Add some cheese and watch it melt. Eat them all and stretch that belt!"
Steven gobbled the tacos. They were delicious, he thought. The Munchies cheered and giggled.
He reached for the dish of lasagna and consumed it in minutes, eating straight off of the serving spatula.
"Better not waste any," he said to the Munchies as he beckoned for the basket of dinner rolls. He began mopping up the sauce and crumbs in the lasagna dish with the rolls, which the Munchies were flinging at him as fast as he could eat them.
"Eat this one first, then another. Here's your bread, now have some butter!"
Steven slathered the butter on as thick as a quarter, and finished the rolls, emitting lots of "Mmmm!"s and "Ahhhh"s along the way.
"Alfredo sauce is really rich; it makes shirts tight, so pop that stitch!
Keep on eating, lots and lots, go on and empty out the pots!"
Steven pointed at one delicious-smelling platter and then the next as each was passed to him in turn. He had become an accomplished two-fisted eater, thanks to the Munchies, and he shoveled food into his mouth at a constant rate, as fast as he could chew and swallow. Each bite tasted better than the next.
"If you finish off the table, you'll roll away if you are able.
Spuds will help you grow your gut, ten times as fat as your big butt!"
He ate the mashed potatoes in seconds with the big serving spoon, and grabbed fistfuls of French fries with both hands and stuffed his anticipating mouth.
"Open wide for this and that, and don't look now, you're way past fat!
Try this cheese and do not cease, in order that you'll get obese.
Pig out -- and eat this tasty cheese. Your gut will grow right past your knees!
Swiss and cheddar by the pound. Eat it all and you'll be round!"
Steven grabbed the big chunks and wedges of cheese and ate them as fast as he could, savoring the contrast between the sharp flavors and the mellow ones. He felt his belly swelling up as he let out a loud burp.
"Munch and munch, don't take a break, or you'll never reach that cake!
It's choc-o-late and oh, so good, to swell your gut like nothing could!”
As Steven ate the cake, whole and with his hands, he imagined how comical the who scene must have looked. He was a living cartoon, enjoying himself immensely. He wondered how big his belly was getting, but he dared not look yet. There was plenty more work to do.
"Have a doughnut. Make it jelly. This will fill your big fat belly!
Brownies are so soft and sweet. For gaining weight they can't be beat!
Pie will make you nice and fat. You know it will so count on that!
Eat until your shirt explodes. Then you'll need your own zip code!
Here, eat up, don't ever stop. Eat until your buttons pop!
They'll pop off if you persist with eating this and This and THIS!
Here munch this! No, no! Don't quit! Cuz soon you'll see your seams all split!
Steven ate ravenously, as though he had no will or desire to stop. He ate and ate and ate and ate, feeling a rush of adrenaline that made him feel better the more he devoured. As he consumed more and more of the pastries and cakes and sugary treats, and ate more pizzas and tacos and fried chicken and French fries by the handful, the Munchies kept applauding and giggling and chanting and shouting encouragements. He ate for what seemed like hours. He was glad that he was dreaming, given how much of a glutton he was making of himself. Everything tasted heavenly, and he'd thrown caution to the wind, deciding that if gorging himself until he could eat no more -- or the food ran out, whichever happened first -- was what pleased him in his subconscious, so be it. There certainly couldn't be any harm in it, and he was under no obligation to tell anyone once he awoke. He was having fun and enjoying himself in his dream and didn't want it to stop.
The Munchies convulsed in fits of giggles between their chants, expressing their pleasure at seeing Steven gorge himself.
He ate until he lost consciousness.
When he awoke, the Munchies were crowded around him, giggling their hysterical little giggles, grinning their fat toothless grins. Steven felt a poke in his belly, whereupon another wave of hysterical giggling filled the room. He licked his lips as a belch escaped from way down deep within him.
"Ooooooooohhhhh…." was all that came out. It was hard to even breathe.
Steven grinned sheepishly at the Munchies.
He looked at the table, which, save for a crumb or two, and a mountain of empty trays and platters and bowls, was completely bare. There was something peculiar about it though, and it took a moment for Steven to realize that his end of the table was raised off of the ground. It was sitting on something, something --
His belly! The table must be sitting on top of his belly. It had grown, of course. Yes, that must be it! His arms were very fat and hung at his side, his chest much broader, and he knew, without even looking, that his girth underneath the table was enormous.
With a mixture of angst, excitement and perhaps even dread, built to a fever pitch, he put his hands on the edge of the table and used all of his strength to push away from it. When the chair got stuck, the Munchies helped out, and together the six of them managed to push the chair back far enough that the table crashed to the ground with a thud.
As Steven's belly cleared the overhanging tablecloth, the room was filled with the shrieks and guffaws of the elated Munchies.
Steven glanced down and could see nothing but his stomach for as far as he could see.
He sat back in the chair with his shoulders pressed as far back as they would go, and was dumbfounded at the sight before him. As the Munchies brought a mirror so Steven could see his profile, he saw that his enormously bloated belly extended more than a foot and a half beyond his knees and rose up nearly to his chin. He could no longer come anywhere close to reaching the tip of it with his hands.
The 6X shirt he was wearing had stretched to the bursting point, with wide arcs of Steven's flabby flesh showing between the buttons, one of which had long since come undone. His belt had snapped long ago and hung limply to his sides, and his baggy jeans were now stuffed like sausage casings. Steven's belly rumbled, and the buttons, barely containing Steven's still-expanding stomach, began to quiver and give way.
One of the Munchies produced a big brownie from behind its back and offered it to Steven, who nodded. He reached for it and stuffed it in his mouth whole, barely chewing it before swallowing it. As if on cue, one of the still-fastened buttons popped off with one of those crazy "bo-ii-nng!" sound effects you only hear in cartoons. His belly surged outward even further and in succession, two more buttons exploded off of his impossibly overstuffed shirt.
They all had a good laugh at that, the Munchies and Steven.
Steven slowly stood up and studied his girth in the mirror. His face was unrecognizably round, with same exaggerated fat cheeks that the Munchies had. He had a double chin. But all of that paled in comparison to his enormous belly. His jeans couldn't even be zipped up anymore and had ripped in several places. His profile was beyond preposterous, the tip of his fully distended belly reaching some three and a half feet or more in front of his face. He thought to himself how preposterously funny he looked. And the weird part of it was, he liked it. He patted his stomach, and it seemed to jiggle in perpetuity.
The Munchies began to chant.
"When you're feelin' bored or blue, call on your friends -- the Munchies!
And we'll find ways of helping you munch when you're not hun-gry.
You wondered, what it would be like, to have a big fat belly.
So we came, to give you snacks and treats that were so yummy.
You munched THIS and you munched THAT. Now there's no belly that's as FAT!
We've done our job, and now we're through, we're really glad to've fattened you!
Now don't you dare feel bad about this, all we did was grant your fat wish.
You saw Wimpy's belly swell, and then you knew -- we won't tell --
That you wanted to be fat like Templeton the big fat rat.
Their bellies made you realize you wanted to be supersize.
And grow your own enormous gut to get you out of that same rut.
You can't deny you stuffed your shirts. We watched you eat pretend desserts.
Those pillows might have looked convincing, but from the start what you were sensing
Was that you wanted to indulge, until you got so fat you bulged.
And had a belly so distended, so big and fat it never ended.
Relax, you eat as would a pro, but now it's really time to go,
So remember that it's far too late to think about your losing weight.
Try all day long if you might, you'll find your clothes will stay too tight.
We're glad we helped you become fat. Why would we want to undo that?
So if you ever need a snack, we'll be here -- count on that.
And we sure do want you to know, we've enjoyed watching that gut grow.
Now all we did is help you cease, to be thin -- Now you're OBESE!
Think about it and you'll see, that now you're just what you wanted to be.”
And then the Munchies were gone.
Steven stood there, staring into the mirror at his huge belly. He didn't notice the doorbell or his four friends who entered when he didn't answer.
"Steve? What the heck happened to YOU?"
"Looks like we'll have to start callin' Terry "Skinny". Oh my God -- it looks like you ate an elephant!"
They started laughing. They didn't stop, but Steven didn't care. He just looked at his big beautiful belly. He'd become a cartoon. A very fat cartoon. And he loved it.
The light faded into a soft haze filled with bright circles of light, circles that slowly came into focus. I was in my own room, and I was dimly aware of my own groaning and labored breathing. My stomach hurt.
"It's OK. He'll be alright. Just a bad case of overeating. A bad bellyache. Give him two of those and I'll check on him in the morning."
The doctor left with the nurse and shut the door to my room. There was no monolithic belly towering above me. With a jittery angst I reached for the remote and clicked on the hospital television. And there it was. The cartoon. The chant.
"When you're feelin' bored and blue, watch out for the Munchies!
'Cause they'll find ways of making you munch when you're not hungry.
Here munch THIS! Here munch THAT! Soon you're not just bored, you're FAT!
Go on out, find stuff to do, get munching off your mind.
Soon you'll be feelin' great, the Munchies left behind!"
I thought about my dream and laughed.