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Tracking the Mountain Girl
by B J Morris

I work as a reporter for one of those supermarket tabloids that housewives are so fond of. I make no bones about the fact that the stories I get to write are 10 percent fact and 90 percent fiction but it pays the bills until I can finish my own version of the great American novel. There was one story I covered over a year ago that most people thought was complete fiction but, I'm happy to say, was complete truth.

I was in the backwood mountains of Arkansas investigating the story of a giant blue UFO that swooped down one night and made off with a whole herd of sheep. It wasn't my place to ask what the UFOnauts were going to do with a herd of sheep, merely to report the story in the most sensational way possible. So it was after a long day of interviewing thick-headed farmers that I found myself washing away the day's nonsense with a few brews at the Farley Motel's bar.

I was sitting on a stool at the bar half-heartedly watching the TV coverage of a state-wide beauty pageant (it was in Hawaii; I wondered why I got the stories in Arkansas and not places like that) when I noticed the people at a table near me. Three locals were sitting there, sipping beer and popping shots of JD. They would mumble amongst themselves, interspersing their comments with brittle laughter and an occasional "sheee-it", and otherwise look bored. Now this surprised me because the girls were parading around on the screen with barely nothing on and these good old boys looked like they could really care less. Curious, I tried to zero in on their conversion and pick out the reason why. (After all, I really had nothing better to do.) It was hard to pick out most of what was said, but after every three or four girls had paraded past I could hear the phrase "...ain't no Betty Jean Corrigan..." punctuated by a disparaging snort from each of the three.

Personally, I am never really enthralled by the skinny little sticks that win beauty contests; it takes the larger, filled out form of a real massive mama to make my blood boil. I was trying to think of a way to work my way over to the table of what I assumed to be fellow fat-lovers, when two of them stood up and said their good-byes. The third fellow seemed a little less oriented than his friends and obviously interested in sticking around until he could get outside of a bit more brew. I waited a minute or two, ordered myself another drink and a shot of JD for my (hopefully) new friend, and headed over to his table.

He was skeptical of me at first but after his eyes focused enough on the shot glass I carried, he became quite friendly. Indeed, as long as I was willing to buy the drinks, he seemed quite happy to tell me anything I wanted to know. I began to cautiously ask about his comments on the beauty pageant and he replied with that same phrase I overheard.

"Well, sheee-it, she ain't no Betty Jean Corrigan," he slurred.

I didn't know what he meant so I used my well honed investigative skills to pry the information out of him. "Whaddaya mean?" I asked.

He looked up woozily from the shot glass and tried to focus on me. "You ain't from around here, are y'all?" I shook my head. "Well, shee-it, you've been depraved son," he stated. That may be so, but I knew he meant deprived.

He began to enlighten me. And I couldn't believe what I was hearing. He told me about a girl who lived way up in the back hills who, by the time she was sixteen, was so beautiful that she used to drive every man that saw her absolutely nuts. Now you hear a lot of stories like this in this part of the country but this one had a new twist. He said this girl was so gorgeous that she drove every man she met to forget every other woman they knew. Single men and married men alike were so affected that they forgot all about their girlfriends, wives, and/or mistresses and started to hang around the Corrigan farm to woo young Betty Jean. Betty Jean, he explained, was a little simple. She kind of took all of this as the way life was so Ed and Mabel Corrigan had their hands full trying to keep their daughter pure with so many men running around.

Now, the women that the men abandoned, single and married alike, were extremely upset by all of this but there didn't seem to be much that they could do about it. Mother Nature had given Betty Jean too strong a hold over their menfolk. So they did the best they could and formed the Abandoned Women's Auxiliary to take turns patrolling the Corrigan farm for their wayward men.

This went on until Betty Jean turned seventeen and her parents both died in a bizarre plowing accident. One of the charter members of the AWA (as they were called) took in Betty Jean until any surviving relatives could be found (and to keep a close eye on the men who followed her). That was when an interesting thing was discovered: Betty Jean just loved to eat. In fact, given the opportunity, she would eat all day long. It seems that the only way she had been able to keep such a curvaceous figure was because Mabel Corrigan was the world's worst cook.

An emergency meeting of the AWA was called. It was unanimously decided that Betty Jean would be put up at the Corrigan farm and all the members would take turns at being one of three that would cook and serve her constantly. The food she consumed would be gladly provided by the combined membership of the AWA. They would, in effect, bury their problem under a mountain of blubber.

Their plan went into effect immediately and worked perfectly. Betty Jean, being rather simple, thought that the women of the AWA were incredibly kind to help her out the way that they did so she tried to repay their kindness by cleaning up each and every heaping plate placed before her. Within two months, the girl had put on about fifty pounds and the married men started to wander sheepishly back to their wives. After a year, Betty Jean had doubled her original weight of one hundred and twenty pounds and even the single men had forgotten all about her. The AWA, ever vigilant and on the off chance that bad cooking is hereditary, (my friend explained) continues to cook for Betty Jean to this day.

"And how long ago was this?" I asked with a bemused smile.

"Eight years ago," he replied. His eyes focused sharply on me. "You don't believe a word I've said, do you?" he asked. The expression on my face must have said it all because he stood up (wobbily) and marched over to the bar. He called over the bartender, they spoke, and returned with a well worn photo. "That's the way Betty Jean used to look," he announced.

The man hadn't lied.

Headlines ran through my head. "BEAUTIFUL MOUNTAIN GIRL BURIED UNDER MOUNTAIN OF BLUBBER". "FRIGHTENED FOLK FATTEN UP FABULOUS FEM". More importantly, I began to imagine what she looked like now.

I tried to buy the photo from the bartender, but he wouldn't part with it for even the five hundred dollars I offered him (and didn't have). He did, however, sell me the address of the guy with the negative for two hundred (which, unfortunately, I did have).

The next day it took me four hours (I got lost twice) to get there and another three hours and one hundred fifty bucks (I wrote a check) for a copy of the photo. After I explained who I was (and forked over another check for one hundred dollars), he was willing to part with the directions to the Corrigan farm. Just as I was ready to leave, he went into a back room.

"Here's a picture of Betty Jean when she was twenty," he said wistfully.

The cute little dimples she had as a child had become cavernous in a face enveloped by a double chin. Her upper arms had grown until they rounded out her shoulders. Breasts the size of grapefruit strained against the fabric of her too tight blouse. Buttons threatened to give way any moment against the onslaught of her rotund belly. Full hips framed the huge meaty thighs that hung below them flowing down to wide calves and plump ankles. I grew incredibly excited as I estimated her weight to be about three hundred pounds.

I bounced hurriedly along dirt roads winding higher and higher into the mountains. I nearly lost control on a sharp curve and had to pull over until I could regain some composure. Finally, high up overlooking the wooded valley below, I found the Corrigan farm.

No one came out as I parked. Fear struck me as the thought that I (and my money) had been taken filled me with dread and disappointment. Then I looked over at the clothesline blowing in the breeze and knew I was at the right place.

A pair of jeans hung on the line. The waistband was wider than I could stretch out both my arms. Two people could have easily stepped into one of the pant legs. There was a noise behind me and I turned to face the still gorgeous Betty Jean.

She stood on the wooden porch, planks creaking under her tremendous weight. Hair spilled down over shoulders enveloped in soft fat. Her triple chin had caused her neck to disappear. Her breasts had grown to three times the size I had seen in the picture but her stomach had grown at an even faster rate. It hung down, creased at the waistline and folding into a belly nearly as large. It was so big that though she wore the twin to the jeans on the clothesline, she could never have closed the waistband or zipped the zipper. The jeans she wore, however, had to be cut down to shorts for her thighs had swelled too large for them. Dimpled knees emerged from the shorts under thighs like enormous sausages. She had to weigh over five hundred pounds. She was everything I had hoped she'd be and much more.

Betty Jean swallowed the hunk of turkey leg she had been chewing and spoke softly.

"Well...it's been a long time since I saw that look..."

I sold the story for two thousand dollars over my expenses (an enormous sum in this business) to my paper and then sold it seven more times for a lot more to our competitors.

I still write for supermarket tabloids (got to pay the bills) but now I free lance. I get to spend more time writing my great American novel at home with my beautiful...and still eating...Betty Jean.