by Lewis Baird & Wilson Barbers
If you asked any of her friends and neighbors for their opinion of Sophie Eldess, chances are they would've told you first that she was a sweet girl. "Not a malicious bone in her body," they'd have said, and the fact is that Sophie sincerely tried to live up to that unrealistic description. She'd spent her young adulthood working to avoid the kind of words and acts she considered mean or bigoted – no mean feat in the small-town world where she'd spent her entire life – and was outwardly friendly to everyone she met. If she had a few preconceptions about Certain Types of People, Sophie worked to keep them to herself, even if these notions were ones shared by most of her peers. A sweet girl, indeed, even if a few cracks in her veneer of friendliness and open-mindedness occasionally showed.
The young lady was one of my first, and I check in on her occasionally to this day. I was still fairly new to my abilities, traveling around the country just to see what I could do, and I'd picked the American Southwest because I was looking to spy some fetching plus-sized Hispanic femmes. The small-town that Sophie called home, close to the Mexican border, seemed ideal for my purposes. I honed in on Miz Eldess through her part-time cleaning lady, a full-figured twenty-year-old beauty named Myrna who I spied at a local taco shop. Seated outside at a picnic table, a tray full of burros in front of her, Myrna had immediately captured my discerning eye.
Short and super-sized, her glossy black hair up in a bun, the young Latina rested her dimpled elbows on the rough wood table as she happily cut into what I knew was her third beef burro. A sad little smile raised the edges of her mouth as she took each large bite, careful to keep the innards from dropping onto her capacious front. This was a young lady, I could instantly tell, who loved to eat, but there was something keeping her from fully enjoying her lunch.
It was, I quickly realized, the prospect of spending the afternoon at Sophie Eldess' home that was dampening her day. Myrna worked for Missus E. three afternoons a week, and she wasn't looking forward to it. The job wasn't hard, and the modest pay wasn't bad: she had no complaints in that quarter. The senora had never once said anything mean or made any unreasonable demands on her, but there was something in the way she interacted with Myrna that always had the girl coming home feeling down about herself.
It wasn't just the way the Missus kept her eye on Myrna as she tried to do her job (as if the woman was expecting her to swipe one of her precious porcelain figurines). It was the smaller things: the way she corrected Myrna's occasional English gaffes, the critical looks she gave the clothes Myrna wore to work. It was clear the senora thought Myrna's tops were too revealing, hugged her fulsome torso too tightly, even if she never said anything out loud about it.
"Well," I thought, "let's learn a little more about Senora Sophie." As I stepped away from the restaurant, I left two plates of pork fajitas for Myrna plus an order of chimichangas to be delivered once she finished them. I knew it'd keep her at the taco shop until I brought her boss back with me.
Sophie Eldess lived on the other side of town in a somewhat moneyed neighborhood. Her husband Ron was a banker and a fairly prominent figure in town. Their union had borne no children, which was probably for the best, since she wasn't sure she had it in her to be a mother, anyway. To keep her from being too bored, Ron had bought her a small scrapbooking shoppe called Scrapbookery. Her small customer base was comprised of friends and acquaintances from church who knew the store's irregular hours.
I nabbed a copy of the town's freebie shopper's paper, opened it to an ad for Sophie's place, Scrapbookery, and used to further focus on the woman. She was, I learned, the child of a fairly prominent Mormon pecan farmer. In her late twenties, Myrna's employer was a tall and slightly over slender blue-eyed blond with an angular face and long straight hair: a looker, to be sure, though definitely not my type. When I phoned her with my cell, I could see she was dressed in an old-fashioned stitched blouse and a snug pair of designer jeans. Her nails were long, pristine and lightly polished. In the background, Lee Greenwood was crooning over a Bose sound system.
She was waiting for her housecleaner to arrive, struggling not to be too impatient because she knew that mañana was a way of life to people like Myrna. Perhaps if the girl managed to drop a few pounds, Sophie thought with some irritation, she'd get around faster. But that wasn't fair, she knew, and she immediately chastised herself for even having this uncharitable idea. If only she didn't feel like she had to micromanage her housecleaner's every move.
I caught Sophie just as she was making the mental transition from shame to blame. She answered the phone in a slightly clipped tone, so I made a point of speaking even more slowly.
"You Myrna's boss lady?" I asked, knowing that the appellation would grate on her.
"Myrna works for me, yes," she politely answered.
"Her vehicle broke down. She can't come into work today," I explained.
"She has to come in. I've got people coming over for dinner!"
"I dunno what to tell you, lady," I replied. "Maybe you could come and pick her up?"
A large sigh came over the phone. I could see her eyeing her pristine house and weighing what needed to be done. The place looked fine to me, but then I didn't travel in Sophie's present circs.
"Where's she at?" Sophie finally asked. I gave her the name of the restaurant.
A more self-entitled woman would have stopped right then and demanded her employee find her own way to work, secure in the knowledge that this demand would be met. But, as I've said, Sophie liked to think of herself as a decent boss lady. It didn't stop her from letting out a small tch when I told her where Myrna was waiting. "Mexican food is so fattening," she thought. A single plate of beef fajitas, she knew, could contain as much 2,100 calories.
"Tell her I'll be there in fifteen," Sophie finally decided. She grabbed her handbag and a pair of Prada sunglasses, then headed for the car port.
"Fifteen?" I thought, "Not likely." Once she sidled her slender rear into her Chevy mini-van, I began my first small tweak. As she turned the key in the ignition, a small feeling of hunger simultaneously flared, then quickly began to build.
Like dragging icons across a computer desk, I slipped the image of a Taco Bell menu into her mind: not "genuine Mexican," of course, but a good gateway to what was on the horizon. There was a Bell on Sophie's route; by the time her mini-van reached it, her craving for tacos had grown so strong she heedlessly swerved across a lane to reach the drive-thru. Seated in her van, she decided to play it safe by ordering a taco salad with salsa, an 800-calorie item that she enhanced with a nearly-as-caloric order of chicken nachos Bellgrande.
At that moment, all thoughts of her original errand vanished from her head. She couldn't believe how hungry she was. While she impatiently waited by the window for her order to be filled, she saw a short fat Latina her age disembark from her beater and waddle into the restaurant. Dressed in a sleeveless tee shirt sans bra and shorts that hugged her great drooping belly, the woman looked to be as old as Sophie, though at least twice her size. "How could she let herself go like that?" Sophie wondered. "She's almost as big as Myrna."
So many women, Sophie knew, in this part of the country were fat, yet dressed like they didn't realize it. This woman was a prime example. Her top showed off every roll; her breasts jiggled with every heavy step she took; her exposed thighs quivered with every move. "Whatever happened to simple modesty?" she thought.
But this question was rapidly subsumed by the appearance of her first course. Parking her mini-van, Sophie dug into her salad as the news on local country radio discussed the recent capture of three illegals just outside of town. Like most locals who employed Hispanics, she'd never bothered to check Myrna's immigration status. If asked, she would have guess that the girl was there without papers when, in fact, Sophie's part-time housekeeper had been born in a battered old trailer just outside of town on a dirt street known to the locals as Little Mexico.
The meal, as I knew it would be, was insufficient to dent Sophie's hunger, so when she finished with her nachos, she left her vehicle and headed inside the fast food restaurant, passing the fat Latina who was on her way out with two full bags.
I was waiting inside for Sophie, and as she made her way up to the counter, I began to adjust her looks just a smidgeon. Dark roots started showing in her bottle blond hair; her fingers took on a redder hue as did her lipstick. Her blouse grew a little shorter on her torso, while her jeans rode an inch lower on her hips. You could see a peak of midriff now, so to emphasize the change, I added an inch to her waistline. It was a small start, but it made her slender hourglass less pronounced.
She ordered a taco pizza, and when the high school girl behind the counter asked if that was it, I nudged her hungry self into ordering two grilled stufft burritos. A good choice: the old Sophie would have freaked if she knew the calorie content of a single burrito. To wash it all down, she went for a large Country Time lemonade; on her way to her table, she grabbed three packets of sugar to add to her drink.
Once again, the famished Sophie was quickly lost in her meal. And as she greedily polished it off, her hips started to spread on her seat. When she rose to score some hot sauce for her two burritos, I upped the lower hem of her jeans, showing off lower calves that had become significantly plumper. To accentuate the developing striation on her lower legs, I gave her more of a tan. She was fifty pounds heavier by the time she returned to the counter, most of it gone to her lower half. The extra weight added a sway to her walk that the old Sophie would have considered vulgar, but such concerns were beyond her. What mattered was her next course, a tray full of soft-shell tacos with extra guacamole on them.
"Chica," she said to the counter girl, using a word that not had previously been a part of her day-to-day vocabulary. There was a new melodic lilt to her voice, a softer tone. "You got any sauce back there that's maybe a little stronger?" Smiling, the counter girl pulled a bottle out from under the counter. Sophie happily carried it back to her table.
When she finished this tray, she'd added another forty pounds to her body, though this time it was more evenly distributed. Her top had grown snugger and lost its sleeves, showing off her cushiony shoulders. Sophie's once-toned arms were fleshy and dimpled at the elbows, while her breasts had begun to put a definite strain on her brassiere. To balance her now protruding rear, her belly had begun to push forward. I liked the look of it so much that I aimed and immediately added another thirty pounds to her forefront. She didn't even notice as her belly pushed her back in her chair.
But she still was Sophie, and I let her remember this fact. "Got to pick up Myrna," she suddenly recalled, her paunch pushing the table aside as she stood to leave, pulling her cheap sunglasses down over her eyes. Wobbling up to the counter, a hundred pounds heavier than she'd been when she started the day, she ordered six more tacos to go. As she stood there, the waistline of her snug jeans lowered another inch. Her face grew significantly less angular: her cheeks rounder and her chin softer; her nose also widened a mite, while her once bright blue eyes darkened into a browner tinge. While she waited for her takeout, she unconsciously licked her full lips.
Because I knew how hungry she was going to be on the drive across town, I tripled her order after she deposited it onto the passenger seat. She reached into the first bag before she got out of the lot and unwrapped her first taco, her bright red nails piercing the paper wrapper. Even with the so-called fiery sauce, it tasted fairly bland, but it still answered her demanding hunger. Swallowing her first pork taco in four quick bites, she was into her second by the time she hit the street's one stoplight. To give her time with her takeout, I extended the red light. By the time it turned green, she was into her third bag and fifty pounds heavier.
Her button-down shirt had changed into a sleeveless tee-shirt that rolled up her prominent belly. Her bra was decidedly losing the struggle against her DD breasts. Below the steering wheel, her jeans had become Capris, showing off all of her stouter calves. The worn shocks on her considerably older Dodge Caravan made her forefront quiver enticingly as she drove across town, happily overfeeding herself, scratching her uncovered belly in between each taco. On the combination radio/cassette player, the Spanish-speaking radio station was playing a norteña track that she mentally sang along to.
She ate to the rhythm of the music, and as she lost herself to the sound and the sensations of feeding, I rewarded her by changing her Taco Bell tacos into flautas – which were easier to handle in the car and also higher in fat content due to deep-frying in manteca. "Ayee, these are good," she thought, as she stuffed each one into her mouth. I gave her an extra bag and an additional fifty pounds to go with it. By now, she was fatter than her housecleaner, though I wasn't finished with her transformation by a long shot.
You had to look hard to see any remnants of the old Sophie in the super-sized figure who was driving that beat-up old mini-van to the taco shop. Her flesh had darkened beyond a mere tan; her now thoroughly blackened hair was held up in a bun with an old-fashioned comb. The woman's face had gotten even fuller; a second chin was now apparent and her cheeks bulged becomingly. As she bit into every flauta, Sophie let out a small moan of delight, a behavior that her old self would have never countenanced. And though she didn't notice, her very way of expressing herself was becoming less restrained; a growing number of non-English words were also becoming part of her daily vocabulary.
The woman still had another eight blocks to go, and since she was going to pass the bank, anyway, I prodded her husband Ron into stepping outside for a smoke. He was standing outside, a self-assured figure in a high-priced suit and cowboy hat, chatting with a shapely dark-haired teller, when Sophie reached the four-way stop. Even from a distance she could see him eyeing the zaftig brunette appreciatively. Angrily, she reached into her bag and crammed the last of its contents into her mouth. Her husband! Flirting with that fat puta!
She was one nudge away from driving up on the sidewalk, but I distracted her once again, this time by planting two sweet-faced kids with a large corrugated cardboard box beside her open driver's window. (The air conditioner had died many moons ago.) "Enchiladas, senora?" the younger of the two asked, and, of course, she couldn't resist. Pulling the last of her cash out of her purse, she filled the passenger seat with street vendor enchiladas (700 calories apiece, her old self would have noted), and then drove for the bank parking lot. There she sat, chowing down on surprisingly warm beef enchiladas and growing larger by the minute. When she finally finished her latest course and lumbered out of the car, she was another twenty-five pounds heavier.
But I wasn't done with her yet. As she angrily stormed across the parking lot, I upped the fat woman's weight even more extremely. With every step she took, Sophie gained ten pounds, and the heavier she got, the shorter her stride became. By the time she stood before Ron, she was close to 600 pounds.
It's no surprise her husband didn't recognize her. The Sophie he knew was a slender and immaculately dressed member of the small-town elite. This was a whole other woman. Not a Sophie, a Sofia.
Massively obese, Sofia's drooping 80-inch plus belly and 70GG breasts jiggled uncontrollably as she panted and struggled to catch her breath. 'Neath her breasts were two extra hanging fat bulges, which grew more prominent when she leaned forward. Her 35-inch upper arms were each as large as her former hips had been, with two extra folds above her dimply elbows. I'd changed her outfit again: now she was dressed in a spaghetti strapped top and a pair of grey sweats that hugged her great drooping belly apron, with a pair of Velcro sandals on her wide callused feet. Her face had filled in to match the body underneath her: with three extra chin lines, cheeks that pushed ahead and made her eyes look deeper set, a significantly wider nose and much thicker lips. She'd trimmed her eyebrows into two thin lines on to her tawny forehead.
By the time she got to the banker, my Sofia was so out of breath that she initially couldn't say anything.
"You need something, Miss?" the banker politely asked, stubbing out his cigarette on the pavement. One quick look at this huffing fat woman, and he knew she wasn't one of the bank's regular customers.
"Miss?" she wanted to shout, but she couldn't get a word out. It wasn't just the fact that her ill-advised attempt at running had her gasping for air; the longer she stood there panting, the harder it became for her to come up with the right words to say. More and more Spanish phrases crowded into her brain, replacing the English ones she'd known all her life. It wasn't that she wasn't becoming less intelligent, but the nature of the information she possessed was changing. It was an effort for her to sift through it and get the right words out. And, to make matters worse, she suddenly couldn't remember her husband's name.
"No, senor," she finally replied, as memory of her marriage fled both their minds forever. In Ron's case, this was less of a stretch as he'd ceased to be emotionally invested in their marriage six months after the ceremony. But for Sofia, this was the final piece of her transformation. She turned to return to her old shock-worn Pontiac, as the puzzled banker watched her slowly waddle away.
"A shame the way these folks let themselves get so out of shape," he muttered to his plump girlfriend, who giggled in agreement. There were a lot of big people in his town, but this was easily the fattest woman he had ever seen in his life. Her belly swelled a good three feet ahead of her, a foot-and-a-half ahead of her deep, pendulous breasts. Her wide rear shelved behind her in her sweats; the back of her calves drooped in a fold by her ankles. No matter how much she tried to avoid it, her inner thighs rubbed together as she walked; all her sweatpants were seriously pilled on the inner legs.
Her clothes were sticking to her massive torso by the time Sofia collapsed on her deep-sunk driver's seat. It was not easy finding affordable clothes that fit her obesa body. She preferred loose dresses, but six months ago had outgrown all the ones she'd brought to this country.
I left a fresh helping of enchiladas in her car. She was feeling vaguely distressed now, though she couldn't identify the reason for her unease, and, as she usually did, she turned to food to push aside her ill feelings. All her life Sofia had been glotóna, and she couldn't see herself living any other way. The act of overeating gave her too much pleasure, and, besides, her size was an undeniable part of who she was. It imbued her with a maternal, yet no-nonsense air. If she weren't gorda, it would take away her place in the community.
Once she finished her last helping, I let her drive to the taco shop without further interference. She was feeling muy también by the time she arrived, of course, but from now on there wouldn't be many moments in her life when she wasn't hungry. She knew Myrna would have two plates of chile relleno waiting for her when she got to the shop, though, so she wasn't disappointed. I left a space for her right in front of the shop – that trek across the parking lot had been more than enough exercise – so she happily made her way inside. She loved the smell of this place, of grilled beef, chicken and pork, of chilies and all of her favorite spices. I was waiting for her in the shop, sipping on a bottle of Jarritos as she pushed open the door.
"Tia Sofia!" Myrna shouted from behind the counter when she saw the muy corpulenta woman sidle sideways through the taco shop door, her rear rubbing against its doorframe. When they weren't in school, the fat woman watched Myrna's two children in her trailer. Sofia loved Myrna's little ones almost as much as if they were her own. As payment, Myrna's husband Josef, who owned and operated the taco shop, provided enough bulk meats and vegetables from the restaurant to keep the famelica Sofia happy.
Marriage and two children had put close to a hundred extra pounds on the contented Myrna, though she still looked small compared to the massive Sofia. As a wife and madre, she'd learned to dress more modestly, favoring large colorful dresses without as much cleavage. That hint of sadness which I had first seen earlier was no longer on her matronly face; instead, she had a look of contentment that made me feel quietly proud. This, I knew, was why I was meant to be an Agent of Balance.
"So?" Myrna was asking. "How did your appointment go?"
"Bueno," Sofia said, lowering her voluminous rear onto a bench that had been placed in the shop for larger patrons like her. "I got to go back for an . . . interview, though," she added.
"It's always lots of paper," Myrna sympathized, as she carried a tray over to Sofia's table. The fat woman let out a small appreciative mmmmm, as the calorie-laden plates were deposited before here, her chins jiggling with anticipation. She patted her voluminous belly happily with both hands, then started in on her first plate. What's the phrase? "Eslava de su apetito." A slave to appetite.
I sat back with my orange soda and admired my handiwork. Seated, Sofia's belly swelled ahead of her nearly invisible knees; within her sweat pants, you could see her thighs swell and hang down on both sides of her. To make it more enjoyable, I turned her sweats into shorts, to better display her puffy striated calves and cankles. I raised the bottom of her top to show off her stomach and the fold beneath her breasts; it also uncovered two bulges of back fat that sagged and lightly touched her hips. Since her belly was providing her breasts all the support she required, I did away with her brassiere. To make her appear a little more festive, I refreshed her deep red lipstick, added some eyeliner and rouge, then gave her a pair of hoop earrings. As a closing touch, I undid her deep black hair; it fell onto her cushiony shoulders, framing her great fat woman's face evocatively.
She went through her chile rellenos, frijoles and a huge bowl of guacamole, and then, for dessert, had enough plantanos machos to feed a family of four. I watched the new Sofia as she blissfully ate her meal, and, though a part of me wanted to, I resisted the temptation to change her body further. At the rate she was going, I knew that she'd continue to further expand on her own: if she had a set weight, my influence had removed it. I did adjust her clothes just a smidge just before I headed for home, turning her top into a tube and lowering the waistline of her shorts so that her belly spilled over it. So many in this part of the country, I thought, were fat yet dressed as if they didn't realize it. And good for them.
Like I say, I still check in on Sofia occasionally. Though it took her more than one try, she passed her citizenship test and was ultimately made a naturalized American. Once she was legal, the matronly fat woman got a license for home day care and began supporting herself with referrals from the state; the money allowed her to move out of her beat-up trailer into a respectable looking doublewide. And not too long ago, she hooked up with a full-sized migrant worker named Reynaldo. Their time together, broken by Reynaldo's seasonal trips up north to work in corn country, is companionable and passionate, in part because her lover's migrant work keeps them apart for months at a time. It's a far cry from her previous relationship, but if you know how to look, you can detect a trace of her former banker husband in Sofia's rough-hewn boyfriend. Not my work, but I'm pretty familiar with the Agent responsible.
Sofia continued to grow fatter, of course, only at a more natural speed. Last time I saw her, she was in the 700-pound range, with much of the additional pounds gone into her breasts and magnificent belly. The motherly gorda is still able to get around, though she primarily presides over her young charges from her couch. They all learn quickly enough not to make her raise her super-sized body and cross the room. She never has to lift a hand to them: just the shadow of that super-sized form and a stern look on her quadruple-chinned face is enough to keep them in line.
Once a week, Sofia drives her mini-van into town to spend the day at the taco shop. For reasons she can't fully explain, she dresses in her tightest, most revealing outfits on these trips. Though the sight nearly always receives a disapproving look from Myrna, she just can't help herself. It's a part of who she is, and she really can't imagine herself ever changing. She's learned to ignore the stares of strangers; there aren't that many of them in her neck of the woods, anyway.
The fat woman's happy in her present life. These days, watching her charges or happily stuffing herself with plate loads of homemade dishes from her former village, she sometimes wonders what she did to deserve this pleasant existence. If you asked her friends and neighbors, they'd have an answer to that question. Sofia, they'd say, is a sweet lady; she deserves everything good that happens to her. And in this, they would be right. . .
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