by Wilson Barbers
Annie Nicholas frowned, deepening the dimples in her plus-size model's face as she did, and held the unopened letter to the light.
The envelope's post-mark was smeared, its return address non-existent. Her name and home address looked like they'd been typed on an old manual Royal (did people still use typewriters?) She was tempted to toss it away unopened, but that ran counter to her new resolution: after a year of letting her boyfriend/manager open and respond to all her fan mail, super-model Annie Nicholas wanted to give her fans (some of 'em, anyway) the personal touch. Couldn't turn back with her very first letter.
Once she opened it, though, Annie discovered that it wasn't even fan mail. It read:
"APPETITE IS ALL POWERFUL.
"This letter has been sent to you to keep you thin. The Original is in Illinois. It has been around the world twelve (12!) times. It Really Works! Within FOUR days of receiving this letter, YOU could find yourself LOSING weight and attaining a state of IDEAL thinness. Provided you send copies to others that you also know want to be thin. Do NOT keep this letter. It must leave your hands within 48 hours.
"An Ohio housewife received this letter and found herself FIFTY (50!) pounds thinner within one month! A professional woman in New York City did NOT circulate it. By the end of the year, she was appearing on "Geraldo" as part of a show about people grown TOO BIG to leave their houses!
"This letter works. Please send TWENTY COPIES within two days. Send no money. Do not ignore this. APPETITE is all powerful.
So much for good intentions. First time in over a year that she tried to answer her own fan mail, and she got a chain letter on the first shot. "Ideal weight," indeed. Her whole career had been spent redefining "ideal weight." Tossing both letter and envelope into the circular file, Annie returned to her pile of fan letters in earnest. She wouldn't think about the chain letter until the middle of the weekend.
By then, of course, it was already too late.
Annie Nicholas was an exception in the ultra-rarefied world of super-models: five-ten, zaftig and curvy in the manner of an earlier era's pin-up queens, more than passingly reminiscent of a much-imitated bleach-blond sex symbol, she was a living argument against the belief that life ended above size twelve. Her full-bodied hourglass had won a place of honor in one of the better-known men's magazines; her casual glamour poses for a line of designer jeans had captured an even broader audience. Clearly, Annie Nicholas was on a tremendous career high.
It ended at a Friday night movie premiere. The flick featured Annie's first screen walk-on, so naturally she was there with the rest of the cast. She attended in a form-fitting dress that accented her lush form and showed off her slender legs. Beside her, boyfriend/manager Dan struggled to look like he was comfortable in a tux, his awkwardness heightening her look of poise and sexual confidence.
It was four days after she'd discarded the chain letter.
The flick was forgettable, though no one was about to say that during the post-premiere party. What folks could say without too much contradiction was that Annie had looked ravishing in her one big scene. All night, they came up to her by the buffet - where she stood with a plate full of noshable items - and made some variations on this safe statement.
Dan, who was pressing flesh with as many big media names as he could, only occasionally took note of his girlfriend client. He was too busy feeling high on success and champagne cocktails. First time he got any indication that something was up with Annie, he heard it from a passing conversation.
"So I asked her when she was expecting the baby, and she said that she wasn't pregnant," a nasally female voice was saying. "You could've fooled me!"
"You kiddin'?" an even more nasal voice answered. "You seen the way she's been packing it in at the buffet table? Maybe our Annie thinks bigger is even more beautiful."
Dan excused himself from his shmoozing to search for his girlfriend. He found her where he expected, though on first sight, his reaction was to deny it was even her.
That's not Annie! he thought, but a celebrity impostor forty pounds heavier - a plumpened parody of his girlfriend. Once he got within Annie's eyeshot and she waved a barbecued buffalo wing at him, he knew this was the real Annie Nicholas. Two small piles of empty plates rested behind her; she was holding a styrofoam plate that was in danger of spilling its overload. So, for that matter, was her dress.
"Dan!" she smiled as she tossed aside a well-stripped chicken wing, a dab of barbecue sauce in her growing cleavage. She'd had added about twenty of those extra pounds to her middle, which explained that bitchy partygoer's crack about her looking pregnant. The rest was more evenly distributed, softening her substantially.
"Annie!" he clipped, working to sound assertive through his champagne haze. "Time to leave!" He pulled the pudgy super-model away from the buffet table, then took the plate away from her. She dutifully followed, after grabbing several crab puffs and quickly cramming them one by one into her mouth.
"What are you doing?" he charged once they got into the cab.
"What d'you mean?" Annie asked, a puzzled look on her face.
"You!" he sputtered. "At the buffet!
"Buffet?" she echoed. "That's simple. I was eating!"
"That wasn't eating! That was gorging!"
They said nothing further the rest of the way home. In the dark taxi, it was easy for Dan to ignore his girlfriend's extra poundage and the probable effect it would have on her - no: their career. He sat quietly, feeling vaguely dislocated. Annie, meanwhile, had ceased puzzling over the meaning of Dan's uncharacteristic outburst and was thinking of some post-party snacks.
Once they returned to the apartment, though, she was unable to find anything in the fridge that really spoke to her. Each selection was designed to keep her from passing beyond size fourteen (even a top plus-size model had to keep herself within a specified range), while she craved something more solid. She'd been eating "sensibly" for years: one night of frivolity wouldn't hurt her.
For some strange reason, though, Dan was being a killjoy.
"Don't tell me you're getting more to eat!" he groused from the couch, and she almost snapped back that personal movie premieres only came once in a lifetime. She wanted to celebrate!
"No," she said instead, joining him on the couch with a bottle and two glasses of champagne. They did two glasses apiece, and while that usually was enough to get her drowsy, she found herself feeling more alert than ever. Dan, however, was quickly out on the couch.
Seizing the moment, Annie changed and snuck out soon as she heard her boyfriend snoring. She headed for an all-night deli. Dressed in a loose sweat-suit with a baseball cap covering her hair, she commandeered a booth and proceeded to go through the deli's considerable menu of sandwiches.
By sunrise, she'd moved away from the booth (which had gotten a bit confining) and was seated on a counter stool Sometime in the last hour, she had devoured her last sandwich and passed onto the dessert menu. The graveyard shift counterman watched her with a combination of disbelief and admiration.
She was halfway through an apple pie a la mode when Dan discovered her. He'd been searching all over the neighborhood and, in fact, had passed Annie twice without recognizing her. When he finally realized that it was indeed Annie Nicholas at the counter, he saw:
a tall, fat woman in a sweat-suit that looked pasted onto her mid-sized form, weight somewhere around 280, much of the new poundage in her breasts, butt and belly. She was tipping back a jumbo shake, draining it in continuous gulps like a college boy in a chugging contest, her newly developed second chin undulating. As she leaned her head back, her belly jutted into the counter assertively, announcing itself proudly.
"You never saw this," Dan told the counterman, waving a twenty under his nose before pulling the protesting Annie from her unfinished fare.
"The fat party?" the counterman answered, as he slipped the bill into his apron pocket. "Anything you say, pal. Wish I had customers like her every night, though!"
Dan led Annie back to their apartment and did what he should've done the night before: he showed Annie her reflection in the mirror. She was predictably stunned by the change in her figure.
"I'm huge!" she moaned, backing away from the mirror image. "How could you let this happen to me?" She futilely tried to pull her sweatshirt down over her paunch-induced gap, then burst into tears. "I'm ruined!"
Maybe not, he replied. Sure, she'd packed on a lot of poundage, but she'd done enough photo shoots recently to last at least six months. They'd go on hiatus, head for a fat farm known for its confidentiality, and get her back to her old form in no time.
"How could this happen so quickly?" Annie sobbed. She plopped down on the living room couch, which squeaked in protest. Both sweat pants and top rode free of her 46-inch belly.
A good question - yet it caught Dan off guard. He'd been too focused on the effect of her binging to consider how fantastic it all was: Annie had close to doubled her old weight. "I don't know," he finally said. "Who ever heard of such a thing?"
"I have," Annie suddenly realized, remembering the woman who had grown too big to leave her house. She quickly rose off the couch, using the armrest to get to her feet. Tromping in to the study, the fat model grabbed a waste can and dumped its contents. She found the crumpled letter stuck to the bottom, then handed it to her boyfriend.
"This can't be real," Dan said, once he'd perused its contents. "Chain letters don't work!"
"Got a better explanation?" Annie asked. "I've never eaten so much food at one time before - and I still feel famished! Read the letter again: it really works!"
"Stay here!" Dan told her, and he grabbed the letter and went in search of an open copy shop. It was too early for most of them, but he finally found an all-night Kinko's. He returned with twenty copies to find his girlfriend munching on what looked to be the last of her eighth six-pack of bagels. A variety of emptied Danish cartons were by her pudgy feet; she was washing it down with a half-gallon carton of chocolate milk. He didn't know that groceries could be delivered so quickly.
"Offered 'em a big tip," she explained, panting slightly. If Dan needed convincing that something bizarre was going on, the lack of concern in her voice cinched it. Though he'd left her in tears, Annie was once more eating like there was no tomorrow.
She'd stripped out of her sweat-suit, which no longer could've held her, anyway, and was sitting in her bra and panties. Annie had added another fifty pounds in his absence. Her belly had developed a horizontal crease from her navel and started to texture with stretch marks; her once pre-eminent breasts retrained their globular majesty but could no longer keep up with her paunch. Annie's chins had dropped to cover her upper neck; her upper arms had started to bulge over her elbows.
Dan didn't waste any time chastising her. He returned to the study, started randomly pulling names out of the phone book, addressed and stamped twenty envelopes. Then he lead his girlfriend back into the bedroom, unplugged the phone and locked the bedroom door from outside.
The way he figured, he had to keep Annie away from food until Monday when the chain letters got delivered. Then, hopefully, her all-powerful appetite would cease or be passed onto someone else. Annie couldn't be the only one who ignored chain mail.
On the other hand, what if this kind of chain typically reached receivers unsatisfied with their weight, women and men willing to risk six bucks and some time on the slim chance that they would lose those unwanted pounds? Was Annie receiving all their unwanted poundage? How much could that be?
When he got back to the apartment, he discovered the bedroom still locked - and Annie seated on the bed quietly stuffing herself with cheeseburgers. The room was loaded with fast food bags; the bedroom smelled like a restaurant. Of course, she was much bigger than she'd been when he left her.
Annie was somewhere near 400 pounds, with breasts in the 52DD range and a belly that spread into the mid-sixties seated. Her calves had fattened significantly near her knees, which were hidden by the bulge of her drooping thighs. She'd discarded all her underthings many pounds ago and was sweating from the exertion of nonstop eating. As he came into the room, she pushed a whole soft-shell taco into her mouth and waved happily.
"Where'd this come from?" Dan demanded. Annie shrugged her hefty shoulders and said that she didn't know. She'd fallen asleep soon after he left and awaken to find this trove of food in the room. "Why not?" he groaned, pulling her out of the bedroom, her body quivering with a will of its own. They returned to the living room, where he seated her on the couch. "What were you thinking of?" he accused. "Look at how much bigger you've gotten!"
"I can't help it," she groaned. "I feel so good eating like this. It's like nothing I've ever felt before!"
"We'll get through this," he decided. "I'm staying right by you until your letters have been delivered." Dan stood to get a laserdisc of one of Annie's favorite movies, was setting up the television when he saw the bucket of Kentucky Fried pop onto Annie's voluminous right thigh. "What th - ?" he started. Before he could yank the bucket away from her, she'd grabbed two breasts and quickly stripped one clean.
He carried the rest to the kitchen, but as he did, a carton mashed potatoes and gravy appeared on her shrinking lap. She eagerly spooned the potatoes into her wide mouth, emptying half the carton before Dan could get it from her. As he struggled to pull it away, a box of chicken nuggets suddenly materialized on the couch.
He stood by her after that. And every time a new item blinked within reach of his ravenous girlfriend, he pushed it away. The food came faster and faster. There was no way he could keep her from biting into some of it, but he remained at his post.
He was starting to feel like a pony soldier at the Little Big Horn when the mysterious materializations suddenly ceased. Even when it became obvious that they'd stopped, Dan stood by her and kept an eye out. Annie just sat, eyes on the tube, with a smile on her round face.
When the laserdisc ceased playing, Dan finally relaxed. He hadn't batted away any food for at least a half hour, so perhaps the worst was over. It was then he saw how much bigger Annie had gotten.
She'd added at least 150 pounds over the past thirty minutes, taking up most of the couch. Her upper arms segmented into triple bulges; her breasts were overwhelmed by them, pressed together by their swelling weight. Annie's lower arms had also started to develop inner folds, as had her calves. Her belly draped over the couch's edge in two unequal hangs which shifted in size every time she moved.
Behind her beatific smile, he saw, Annie was chewing something. "What have you got?" he shouted.
"S'not polite to talk with your mouth full," she said once she swallowed, then she closed her mouth to once more recommence placidly chewing. Incredibly, the food was now manifesting itself inside her mouth!
Dan knew he was licked, so he let her return to their bedroom. The food inside still smelled fresh and warm. He watched Annie eat and grow, and by Sunday evening, he found himself unable to recall living any other way. The ravenous Annie cleaned out the bedroom, only to find that the living room was now packed with tempting foods. So she slowly rose and waddled into the middle of this fresh bounty.
By then, Annie Nicholas, the former super-model, weighed over 700 pounds, and it took some time for her to return to the living room. Where once she'd nonchalantly strutted down long fashion runways, she now got winded walking a fraction of the distance. When she wiped out this last offering, she hit 860 pounds, her days of effortless posing finished. Once she settled her bulk onto the furniture, her spreading body took charge. Annie practically took the couch up with her when she stood, which was not all that often.
The food ceased appearing by the end of the weekend. Annie's gain slowed, though she never stopped feeling at least mildly hungry. The pleasure of overeating had overwhelmed most everything else. As for Dan, the longer he stayed shut in with his ballooning girlfriend, the more he began to see her in a different light. He'd always been drawn to women considered "fat" in the fashion world, but he hadn't really looked at genuine fatness until now. Once he'd done so, Dan found the mountainous Annie even sexier than her former self.
The super-model had become a bulging mass of womanhood. She'd lost any semblance of a lap, as her swelling belly drooped over both knees, reaching halfway down her calves at its nadir. Though they'd gained several folds, her legs still retained a vestige of feminine shapeliness, even as her ankles disappeared under the lowest bulge. Her breasts remained in competition with her upper arms, with areolae as wide as his hand-spread. The most prominent parts of her face were her jowls; they hung down to her cleavage like a miniature version of magnificent paunch. Annie had grown two inches shorter as she'd gotten wider, her legs' wider spread to support her torso had lowered her to Dan's eye level.
On Monday, Dan contacted a private seamstress specializing in super-sized clients and brought her to the apartment. She did a double-take when she saw Annie, but an extra fee assured her silence. By day's end, she'd created an expanded version of the dress Annie had been wearing to the premiere. Standing with it on, her lower belly hanging several inches beneath the dress' lower hem, flesh jiggling happily beneath its clinging fabric, she made Dan shiver with excitement. That dress didn't stay on for long.
They spent the week in the apartment, rearranging it to Annie's new specifications, widening the bedroom door into a pair of French doors, ordering beaucoup takeout, and getting to know her new body. The future was still a huge unknown, though it was obvious that no mere fat farm was going to be able to whittle Annie down to her old size.
Not that Annie cared. Or Dan either, for that matter. Over the week, they'd grown attached in ways that neither could have foreseen.
Nobody saw Annie Nicholas in person again. One choice rumor had her married to an abusive husband somewhere down in Texas (the same guy who'd gotten her pregnant), stressed and looking a lot less glamorous. Her jilted boyfriend Dan quickly recovered from her disappearance, marrying an actress who went on to make a name for herself in cult flicks. A massively obese woman close to a half ton in size, more than passingly reminiscent of a famous circus fat lady, Nicki Link became a favorite of late-night talk shows for both her wit and the way she managed to come across so sexy even at her barely mobile size.
Once, when asked by an interviewer about the secret of her unprecedented success, she paused, looked offstage at her husband, and slowly said: "I got. . . this. . . chain letter." The line drew a decent laugh from the audience - and a bigger one from her husband.
At times it would occur to Nicki that her role on film and television was not that much different from that of the early side show women. It kept her in food, though, which was no mean accomplishment. For though her magical gain had stopped, her appetite still surpassed her basic body needs. Few months passed without the actress adding at least five more pounds to her form.
"I'm. . . the Baby Ruth Pontico. . . of the nineties," she'd pant to Dan between bites of between-meal gormandizing, and with her hair its natural color, it was more than just a metaphor. "I used to. . . wanna be. . . Monroe. . .But this. . . is more fun. . ." Then she'd take another bite (a sight she knew Dan found more erotic each passing day), remembering the missive that had brought her to this happy state. She didn't know who'd written it or where it originated.
All she knew was: it really worked.
Copyright 1998 - Oakhaus Designs