by Wilson Barbers
(This story first appeared in Dimensions #29 around 1989 or so)
Jan had been big most of her life, but she'd never accepted it. A fresh-faced Midwesterner with a physique bred from an early life spent in agricultural abundance, she'd married pushing the scales at 195 and spent most of her early twenties dreading what she saw as the inevitable climb into the double hundreds. Despite her husband's assurances that he loved her as she was, she could only occasionally believe him. How could any sane man love a woman as huge as she was, she thought.
On her 29th birthday, with thirty looming and the 200 mark passed years ago, she decided to actively do something about her weight. Using the money she'd saved from five years of clerking in a mall Lane Bryant's, she went full-tilt into an expensive exercise and diet program. Her husband was appalled by the price but could see she was adamant: he knew better than to try and dissuade her. Jan threw herself into the program with a single-mindedness that was frightening to watch. By the time she hit the big three-oh, she'd nearly halved her weight.
Hubby Harold was depressed by the sight of the new Janice: her face, which had been round and feminine, had harshened in its new thinness; her form was also less appealing. But he loved her despite her new obsessions. In bed he started using remembrances of an earlier Jan to push himself along. And though he once would have scoffed at any other married man engaged in the practice, he now often found himself spending most of his lunchtime at the newsstand, perusing those men's mags that specialized in plumper models.
His wife continued to work at the plus size shoppe - being somewhat taller than average she continued to need its clothes - but her attitude towards the fat customers there changed. Where she'd once seen them as sisters in suffering, she now began to pity them from afar. How miserable they must be, she thought as she remembered her own former state of self-loathing. If only she could help them and alleviate their suffering.
One day she was given the opportunity to do just that. She'd gone on her lunch break (plain yoghurt and a diet soda) and was sitting by a fountain in the mall when she saw the book. It was an old paperback, much read, and it had fallen between bench and fountain. She reached down to pick it up. In white lettering on a psychedelic multi-colored cover, was the title Fast Majicke. The author was anonymous.
Janice grabbed the book and flipped through the pages until she came to a spot that opened naturally. On the left of the page were instructions for the casting of a spell that supposedly would (for a short time at least) afford her the opportunity to aid her obese sisters. It was called an Absorption Spell, and basically it gave to the person who cast it the ability to help anybody they came into close contact with. All the person had to do was recite an incantation forwards and backwards, while concentrating on whatever it was they wanted to have eliminated on their peers. For the next hour, whoever they came into contact with would magically find that problem gone.
Normally, Janice didn't believe in magic, but she read the spell over and over, and knew she had to try it. Working in the mall she saw so many fat, unhappy housewives; it would be a blessing to help them find new thin selves. She sat up straight, read the incantations lowly aloud once again, and looked around. Off to the left, pushing a baby cart, was a heavy-hipped woman in her early twenties. Janice watched her come closer, stopping momentarily to turn and look into a shop window (and give a glimpse of her large shelving butt), then she passed right in front of the fountain bench. As she did, Janice felt a momentary lurch which caused her to blink her eyes. When she looked at the passing housewife again, the incredible had happened!
The woman looked like she had lost about thirty pounds: her rear was no longer prominent; her hips had substantially reduced. She wheeled her cart away, still oblivious to the miracle that had occurred. The book really worked!
Janice felt marvelous: she scanned the halls for someone else to help. Over by the hot pretzel stand she saw a fat teenaged girl, munching on a pretzel dipped in cream cheese. She put the book of magic spells into her purse, stood up and walked over to the girl-relieving her of sixty pounds in an instant. "You shouldn't eat that," she smiled at the now svelte sixteen-year-old. "It's bad for your diet."
"You should talk!" the girl replied. "Are you mad because I'm blocking your way?"
"Really," Janice persisted. "Take a look at yourself now, girl." She took the teen by the hand and led her over to a mirrored tile wall.
The young girl looked and let out a shriek of disbelief and delight. She was now fashionably thin. Her clothes had even shrunk to fit. "Is that me?" she said with wonder, her defensive belligerence now gone as she stared at her new self.
But Janice couldn't answer because she too was stunned at her own image.
She was fat again, almost as large as she had been at her peak! Her calves had filled out; her arms were plump; her hips were spreading. Her face had lost its angular look. She backed away from the mirrors, stunned by this unexpected vision of herself - right into a rotund man with a 46-inch waist. Instantly, he was slim, and she was bigger than she'd ever seen herself.
"Awesome!" the teenaged girl said, after watching the absorption. "Can you do that for anybody?" Jan just stared at herself, unable to answer. She looked to be somewhere around 330 pounds, with a belly that pushed out in front of her, straining the fabric of her lightweight dress.
There were two parts of her spell, she now realized: those who lost the weight and the person who took it. She had to get out of folks' proximity, had to hide until the spell dissipated. Jan rushed back to the store as fast as her newly fat body would let her, just missing a trio of matronly ladies coming out of a luncheon buffet. She got to the store entrance and was dismayed to see three of its largest regulars in the shop all at once. Standing behind the counter was Stephanie, her midsized co-worker.
She paused for a second, panting, her massive breasts heaving and jiggling. There was no place in the mall she could hide but the back store-room; her car keys were in her coat behind the counter. But could she risk entering the store? She'd have to pass Stephanie at least. She was torn with indecision until a voice behind her shook her into action.
"Hey!" It was the formerly fat teenager, with a pair of girlfriends who exceeded her former girth by at least twenty pounds apiece. They were coming her way. Jan panicked, rushed into the store and ran right into a rotating rack of nightshirt. Both rack and Jan went over and onto the floor. As she frantically struggled to extricate herself from the display, the shoppe patrons came over to help her up.
First thing Jan saw as she regained her senses and pulled a night-shirt sleeve off her eyes was a circle of thin women crowding around her, puzzled expressions on their faces. Then she stared at her forearm, or rather at the ring of fat that threatened to overlap her wrist. She attempted to sit up - but she was not used to moving in such a mammoth body. Ultimately, she had to be helped up by the shoppe customers grabbing hold of her massive upper arms.
She looked at herself in the fitting mirror reflections: she was now the largest woman she had ever seen, larger than any circus fat lady. Her belly was so big that it obscured her mammoth mammaries, which hung to both sides atop its ballooning bulkiness. It pulled her dress up and exposed her lower thighs which hung in fat folds around her multiply-dimpled knees. She was now so wide that three of the thin women could have stood before her without blocking her.
"What happened?, Stephanie asked.
"Look for yourself!" Jan panted, pointing towards the group's reflection with a fat finger. Stephanie was shocked at the sight of the new her.
"What'll my boyfriend say?" she sobbed. "He loved my body the way it was!" The other women also advanced towards their respective reflections, displaying a variety of reactions. Some, like the teenager's two young friends, were thrilled to see themselves suddenly so thin; others looked shocked, dismayed or disoriented by the change.
Jan took advantage of the confusion to move herself out of the limelight. She walked ponderously and unsteadily, disturbing the clothing displays on both sides of the aisle, until she got to the back-room entrance. Luckily, it was a saloon-type double door. She sat on a bench in the back, looked at her jowly face, her globular shoulders, the way her body had burgeoned so uncontrollably-and she felt like crying.
But she couldn't. She deserved this fat fate, she decided. She'd been too proud of herself, too caught up in the idea that thinness meant you were a better person. She hadn't appreciated the things she had: a husband who loved her even when she was only mildly fat, a comfortable life. Now what would she have?
"Is that you, Jan?" It was Stephanie who interrupted her reveries, leaning over to get a good look at her eyes. "What's happened here?"
Jan pulled the paperback out of her purse and opened to the page with her spell; she handed it to her co-worker. "Magic happened to me," she said. "I tried this spell. It worked."
"'A Weight Gain Spell'?" Stephanie read, puzzled. "Why in the world would you try a Weight Gain Spell? I thought you were so proud of the weight you lost!"
Jan grabbed the book back and glanced at the page. "This isn't the spell I used!" She began flipping though the book, but the rest of its contents seemed to be printed in Esperanto.
"Well, I sure could use it!" Stephanie said, taking the book out of her hands. "I don't know what's going on here, but it looks like you stole some of my figure!" She opened the book to the Weight Gain Spell, read the incantation (which sounded altogether different from the one Jan had read) aloud, and within an instant, she had doubled her old figure. She squeezed in front of her co-worker to get a look at herself in the vanity mirror and handed the book back. "Terry'll love me like this!" she squealed.
Jan opened the page where the Weight Gain Spell had been; in its place was now something called a Self-Esteem Enchantment. . . .
"One of us has to get back on the floor," Stephanie said. "I'm not even sure you could fit behind the counter, as big as you are!" She smiled and sidled her now supersized body out of the backroom.
Jan was too busy rereading the words in the book to answer. Just letting them reverb in her head was soothing, seemed to give her some perspective.
So what if she was fat? She was still the same loving person she'd always been. She'd kept that part of herself down, she realized, when she was diet-crazy, had ignored her husband badly in the last year. But she knew that she deeply loved him and that he, hopefully, still loved her.
She read the spell aloud.
Her husband appeared before her. "Jannie?" he asked. "Is that you?" She nodded her head and indicated at the book of spells that was resting on her stomach. "I found a book of magic spells," she said, "and it wasn't a fake!"
"You did this for me?" Harry said, marveling at her magnificent form, the way she rippled underneath with every slight movement. He came over to his wife, burying himself in her as he stood between her widely spread legs and put his arms on the sides of her mountainous torso. "You knew something about me that I didn't even know," he whispered to her. "I was attracted to you fat, but I never dreamed I'd be so aroused at the sight of you this size!" Jan restrained a smile. She felt good about herself now in a way she had never known before.
"Let's go home!" she said, slowly pushing herself off the bench and letting the magic book drop to the floor. The Absorption Spell had lifted, she suddenly realized: her husband still had his office worker's paunch. "I haven't been very loving lately, and I'd like a chance to make it up to you!"
"Sounds good to me!" Harry said, in awe of his wife as she waddled towards the door.
"And maybe we could stop at the drive-through to get something to eat?" Jan continued. "I'm starving!"
"Just one minute," Harry said as he picked up the Fast Majicke book before her. "I think I'd like to try a spell from this myself."
"What did you find?" she asked, knowing already that whatever it was, the spell would be different from the ones she'd seen.
He held the book open to its familiar place. It was a Limitless Food Spell.