At first glance the envelope wasn't very promising: nondescript, with a boldly typed address label, it looked like the kind of blandly threatening notice you got from a collection agency. Standing in the doorway, leafing through the day's mail, Jay Skrivan nearly tossed it unopened into the trash with the advertising circulars. Then he took a second look at the name on the label; instead of his real name, the letter was addressed to his pseudonym.
That was curious, he thought, as he slit the envelope open. Interest piqued, he read its contents through twice, then raced off to find his wife.
For close to five years, Jay had been writing and selling short stories to sundry mens' magazines under the nom-de-plume of "Sherman Billingsley." A regular fixture in the lower level skin books, "Sherman" specialized in light sexual fantasies: magazine filler between breast and crotch shots. It was a harmless way to supplement his income. While the money wasn't princely, it was usually enough for dinner for two and a compact disc. And if writing tales about men and women with the sexual responsibility of the average street cat didn't qualify for the National Book Award, Jay continued to get an adolescent charge out of it.
There were even times when the passion of writing spilled into his relationship with his wife.
His favorite type of tale, one that had given him a modest reputation among readers who shared his predilection, was a specialized fantasy. A longtime fat admirer, Jay enjoyed reaching back twenty years to his teenaged imagination to create weight gain stories, tales about women who found themselves rapidly and fantastically expanding, adding poundage and then learning to cope with their new obesity. Though he was unsure of the genesis of this fantasy, it was one he'd had in one form or another since adolescence, and it spurred a lot of stories.
To his amazement, the writer discovered that his fantasy was shared by a number of male fat fanciers across the country. Whenever he had a weight gain story printed in one of the few titles specializing in plumper models, it brought out at least one fan letter. Since skin mag letters more typically concentrated on their authors' own rarified fantasies, that one letter was enough to convince the editors that Jay was a literary phenomenon.
Jay's wife Brenda was less impressed by his underground fame. A mid-sized woman who'd been big since childhood, she wasn't in sympathy with fiction whose prime raison d'etre was the fattening of unsuspecting heroines. If anything, she found the idea a bit offensive. As the Billingsley oeuvre grew, Brenda increasingly found herself wishing her husband would turn his creative energies to something less, well, kinky.
Too, the thought that her husband was basing part of his fantasies on her was disconcerting. Despite Jay's assurances to the contrary, Brenda couldn't rid herself of the nagging suspicion that this weight gain motif was symptomatic of a failing on her part. Why else would he keep slipping those details from their life together into his stories?
Jay was just too damn enthusiastic in his descriptions, she thought, too insistent in his equation of size with sensuality. Compared to Jay's imaginary femmes, Brenda was downright slight, a paltry two-fiftysomething, and she couldn't see herself willingly venturing near the seeming weight of her spouse's dreams. Her husband's output had to be motivated partly by some level of dissatisfaction.
"This is fiction, not real life; I put those details in to help ground the fantasy," Jay would repeat, whenever the subject re-emerged in their conversations. "I married you for more than your size, Babe. I fell in love with you for a variety of reasons!"
"These are?" his wife would prompt, and because Jay was much better at putting words to paper than at actual conversation, he would labor through the next five minutes trying to come up with a sentence that didn't sound awkward to his ears. In his struggle, he effectively undermined every reassuring word.
Thus, when the writer came brandishing the "Sherman Billingsley" letter to his wife in the kitchen, Brenda's first response was even less enthusiastic than her husband's. "Fan mail from some flounder?" she snorted, struggling to read the missive in her husband's shaky hand, her pudgy fingers kneading a bowl of meatloaf fixings.
"Nope," Jay answered, and he proceeded to read the letter's contents aloud. "'Mr. Billinsley. We are a relatively small publishing company wishing to venture into the realm of large-sized erotica. Our new publication, Avoirdupois Illustrated, is scheduled to appear on the stands by the end of the year, and we are soliciting submissions from you. Rate of pay is...'" Jay paused and dramatically adjusted his wire rims, then mentioned a sum that was over quadruple his usual rate. "'We would love to be able to print a Sherman Billingsley tale in our premiere issue.'"
"Pretty flattering," Brenda admitted, rolling the meatloaf into a baking pan.
"Payment is the sincerest form of flattery," the writer said. "At least in the world of free-lance writing."
"So how do you know these guys are for real?"
"I don't completely," Jay admitted. "They've included a list of their previous publications on the back of the letter, though. Paperbacks mostly-with an occult theme."
"Sounds reputable enough," Brenda chortled. She turned back to dinner preparations, spreading a layer of barbecue sauce over the uncooked loaf with a spatula. Jay loved to watch his wife work with food: she gave the task an earnest attentiveness that he knew he lacked, and she looked sexy as hell in an apron. He leaned over to kiss her, patting her full round bottom affectionately, his right hip pressing into her soft belly. She returned his kiss happily, then went back to working on supper.
Jay retreated to his study until dinnertime. Perhaps it was the money; perhaps it was the fact that he'd been commissioned for the first time in his life-whatever the reason, he attacked his new writing assignment eagerly. He slid a Young Fresh Fellows disc into the stereo and zipped through his story's opening:
"Reality is what you make it, but sometimes a greater consensus can change things. Case in point: Andrew Cutler.
"Andrew was a writer of erotica, much of it concerning women of ample size. Cutler loved recreating his earliest fantasies in the pages of men's magazines across the country: all those dreams of womanly fat, all those thoughts of weight gain.
"Fortunately for Andrew, he had a steady market for these imaginings."
By the time his wife came knocking to announce dinner, Jay had roughed his way through three pages and had the rest of his story outlined. The story clearly held him. Brenda sighed and resigned herself to a week of evenings with a semi-present husband.
It took Jay two weeks to get his story, "Big Changes," to the point where he felt good mailing it off. He never thought of his writing as finished-just worked to the point where he couldn't do anything new to it-yet this piece had come so easily that he felt an unusual sense of completion as he dropped it into the post office slot.
Five months later he saw the packaged product. It arrived in the mail in a large white envelope-the premiere issue of Avoirdupois Illustrated! This, Jay knew, was unusual: a skin mag sending out a contributor's copy. Usually, he had to seek his own stories out on the magazine racks, nervously scouring through the "Adults Only" section, paging through magazines that many times didn't even bother to list their fiction on the contents page. These guys had actually sent him a free copy!
A.I. was clearly a class act: the paper glossy with a near luminescence, the lay-out striking and detailed, the artwork imaginative and fully rendered, the photography crisp and sensual. Virtually every well-known model in the field of plus-sized erotica was represented, as were well known writers and artists. Even the photo blurbs were well written. Jay flipped through the magazine twice, then sat back to read "Big Changes" for any editorial snafus. He found none. You never knew if a story was going to read the same in print as it did in manuscript, but in this case the magazine's slick format mitigated any flaws he might otherwise have found in his prose.
That night, as Jay made love to Brenda, scenes from "Changes" kept flickering through his head. That wasn't unusual, though perhaps the clarity of his fantasy was: his usual lovemaking fantasies were rather amorphous, sparked by words rather than images. This time, he saw his wife as the growing heroine of his tale.
Perhaps this was prophetic. For as the days passed between Jay's receiving his premiere issue and its appearance on the newsstand, Brenda began to behave as though she had stepped from the pages of his manuscript. Their nights after work became increasingly food-centered, as she took over all cooking chores and worked up a succession of feasts for the two of them. The meals she prepared became larger, more elaborate and richer; her appetite also grew larger. The effects were soon apparent on them both, particularly on Brenda. Her formerly hourglass shape began to fill out in the middle. Her belly swiftly grew, spilling into the front of her slacks, severely tightening the fabric.
Even more significant, his wife seemed totally undaunted by her accumulation. Jay had seen Brenda through several short-term diets in the past, all prompted by a ten pound gain beyond the range she referred to as her "comfort zone." But now when she'd gone at least fifteen pounds past that boundary, she seemed utterly unfazed. The whole thing was both mysterious and exciting, so much like one of his own tales that it was frightening. He thought of writing his impressions down as he watched his wife develop-with an eye towards using this material in a future story-but he couldn't stop watching her long enough to get to the word processor.
By the time A.I. number one finally hit the racks, Brenda had added close to forty pounds to her frame. But that was only the beginning.
Jay knew things had started to go beyond the pale one night when he went to pick up Brenda after work. It was the day after Avoirdupois' newsstand debut, a humid summer evening, and he had arrived at the pet shop late. His wife was waiting outside the store for him, but he almost didn't recognize her. Waddling towards their car, her expanded paunch trembling under her cotton slacks, Brenda had seemingly doubled her weight gain in the space of a work day! Yet her outfit, though seemingly stretched to the limit, was still intact. Smiling as she eased herself into the Volvo's passenger seat and adjusting it back as far as it would go, her breasts and belly flattening against the glove box, she brought to mind one of Jay's favorite super-sized models, a memory from his youth. He never thought he'd be comparing his wife to her!
That night, Brenda announced she was too tired to cook. Instead, she went to the phone and called in a series of dinner orders large enough to feed a good-sized party. They sat in the living room together, a set of TV trays in front of them, and he watched his wife balloon. As she ate her way through an incredible volume of food, chatting happily as she visibly filled out, her clothing started to gap and then rip at the seams. By the time she finished and slowly rose to go to bed, she'd discarded all of her outgrown clothing.
His eyes followed her as she made her way to the bedroom. Brenda's gain through the evening surpassed the day's growth: she was wide and round, and while much of her new weight continued to fill her belly, she had gained elsewhere to help support her new heft. Her thighs had started to swell towards her buttocks, obscuring their demarcation; her calves had developed folds at the top of her ankles. Even her formerly thin lips had filled out enticingly.
If the old Brenda could have seen herself now, he thought, she'd have screamed in dismay.Yet the new Brenda seemed to revel in her size. Lying on their queen-sized bed provocatively, she traced her swollen body demonstratively as he undressed to join her. A come-hither smile graced her newly plumpened lips. He explored his wife eagerly.
The next day she was off work, and Jay nearly called in sick just to spend the day with her. But he headed for the office in the morning, vowing to return by lunchtime. When he did return at noon, he discovered his massive wife lying in bed, wearing an outfit he had never seen, paper plates filled with sandwiches stacked in front of her. She was sixty pounds heavier than when he'd left her.
"Where'd you get the dress?" he asked, walking to the bed.
"This?" she said, between bites on a rib-eye sandwich. "Found it in the closet. It's a little tight, though." Brenda raised her left arm, revealing a gap in the seam. "See?" she sighed, and with that breath, the seam popped all along the length of her torso as rolls of feminine flesh pushed out .
"There goes another one," she giggled. Rolling off the bed, Brenda stood before the doorway and cast off her split dress. With every deep breath she took, his wife seemed to wax even larger. She was now too wide to get through the bedroom door. Jay backed out of the room, and as he stood in the dining room, the arch of the doorway began to blur before his eyes. He took off his glasses to check for a smudge, but before he could, the entire doorframe began to shimmer like something out of his hallucinogenic youth. By the time he got his glasses back in place, the wood had stopped wiggling. The doorway was now wide enough to accommodate Brenda.
He didn't go back to work that afternoon; when the house started moving, he thought it was time to sit the day out. Brenda waddled into the kitchen to grab a bottle of New York Seltzer, returned to her bedroom closet to pick out a new form-fitting outfit, and plopped down to continue working on her sandwiches. Jay sat in a daze as his wife continued to eat and grow, bursting through her dresses with clockwork regularity, then pulling new ones from the closet. Where did all these clothes (and, for that matter, all this food) come from?
It was beyond Jay, and he was the man who trafficked in this kind of fictional insanity. He watched his wife happily consume throughout the weekend, neither of them sleeping, and for the first time he understood what it was like to be one of his heroes, caught between fascinated desire and fear of the unknown. Brenda looked gorgeous in her bulk, he thought, but why and how was this happening?
His first clue appeared late Sunday, when he received an excited long-distance call from Avoirdupois's other name writer. The two authors corresponded sporadically, and while Jay preferred to maintain his contacts through mail, his peer liked to run up his phone bill.
"I had to tell you about this," the caller said."It's like something from one of our stories. Word here is that both..." (and here he named two West Coast models who had also appeared in A.I.'s premiere) "...have had amazing weightgains in the last three weeks! Nobody can explain it, but supposedly both gals are at record-breaking size and none the worse for wear from it!
"In fact," he added, "what I'm hearing is that both of them feel more comfortable at their new size than they did before. No aches, leg or back problems. It's as if their whole bodies have adapted to accommodate them!"
As soon as he hung up the phone, Jay dashed into the study and pulled out his copy of A.I. number one. He paged through it until he got to the layouts of the models in question. Hadn't he used both in the past for descriptive inspiration in earlier weight gain stories? Hadn't he fantasized about both women growing even bigger? He'd bet most of the magazine's male readers did the same at one time or another.
Suppose this magazine somehow focussed all that sweaty imagining? Focussed it and made it a reality? Had he inadvertently drawn that focus by putting so many real-life bits of Brenda in his story? All those occult titles that were mentioned in the publisher's introductory letter-suppose they weren't bogus?
He returned to the bedroom-which had grown several times over the weekend to meet Brenda's needs-and scrutinized his naked wife. She was the largest woman he'd ever seen, a great sexy sphere seated on a sinking king-sized mattress. Her amply jowled face sunk between her blubbery shoulders; her upper legs were almost totally obscured by her vast belly flowing over both sides of her thighs. Her upper arms seemed to meld into the sides of her globular body. Every breath she took caused her flesh to wave. Watching her flesh move was as lovely and awesome as watching the ocean.
She was resting a paperback against the uppermost fold of her paunch. It was the first time all weekend that she hadn't either been asleep or eating. The sight brought a sense of fresh love to Jay, a reminder of all the things beyond her size that had attracted him to Brenda. Her smile. Her voice. Her sense of humor and way of relating to others. Her size had magically changed along with her attitude about it-but the rest of her was still the woman that he'd married.
He leaned over and kissed her fleshy shoulder.
"Surely you can do better than that," Brenda said, snapping the book shut.
"I can try," Jay replied, joining her on the bed.
His wife's weight gain seemed to slow after that-as if his realization of the reason behind her accumulation was enough to halt the process. Perhaps the answer simply lay in the fact that the magazine's readers had shot their wad in the first week of publication and were onto fresher fantasies.
That Monday, Jay received his third envelope from his new publishers. Attached to a check for a sum that went beyond princely was an unsigned note that said simply, "A little something extra to feed your Muse."
Joining his wife in the kitchen (despite her magnificent bulk, she was still able to get around their revamped house), he showed her the check and its accompanying note. Brenda smiled and took a sip from her 32 ounce mug. "Your Muse, eh?" she said. "Must mean me. Good thing you got this. I don't see me fitting behind the counter at the store anymore."
Jay stretched across her vast body and kissed her on the chins. Her form-hugging dress pulled up and revealed the base of her well-fed belly.
"I think you're right," he said, pulling back to adjust her outfit. "Any ideas on what you want to do now?"
"I was wondering," Brenda answered, "if they pay as well for models at ol' Avoirdupois Illustrated as they do for writers."
"Probably better," Jay said. "The models, after all,are the magazine's big draw."
"Would you be willing to write and ask?" she said, following him into the living room and settling on a couch.
"Sure thing," Jay said, and he headed for the study. He turned to look at Brenda and saw her reading his story, chuckling at passages she previously would have worried over.
Good thing, Jay thought: all morning he'd been thinking about the possibility of a sequel to
"Big Changes." copyright 1996 Wilson Barbers/Dimensions ß
Wilson Barbers has written over two dozen fantasies, most of which have contained FA themes, for the pages of various men's magazines. He is married, a regular Dimensions contributor and an Illinoisian, which probably explains those repeated references to "corn-fed beauties" in his stories. During the day, he works in the social service field under an assumed name.