BBW Compound Growth II (~BBW, ~XWG, Stuffing)

Discussion in 'Recent Additions' started by Benny Mon, Jul 18, 2019.

  1. Jul 18, 2019 #1

    Benny Mon

    Benny Mon

    Benny Mon

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    { Author's Note: This is the beginning of a sequel to Compound Growth, an earlier story of mine. You don’t have to read CG to understand this one--CG2’ll stand on its own and give you all the info you need--but you might enjoy it more if you do.]

    Compound Growth II
    by Benny Mon



    It was late. The committee members sat around the large meeting table, staring into their computer screens, encircling oily paper plates and cartons and half-empty coffee cups, all bathed in harsh fluorescent light. Everyone was silent, reading the latest application.

    Mattheson grumbled, brushing her hair behind her ear. “How many more of these do we have to do tonight?”

    “Four more after this,” intoned Stein. “So keep quiet so we can get through these.”

    Mattheson grumbled, slouching in her chair and watching her belly ripple under her dress as she shifted. She leaned over to Dukakis and whispered, “Are we already out of food?”

    Dukakis glared back, a dark eyebrow raised. “Yeah, cuz you ate it all. Don’t complain if you’re going to hog all the orange chicken.”

    Mattheson sunk even lower into her seat.

    “Ok,” said Stein, straightening his huge, muscular body. “That should be enough time. What do we think of this one?”

    “Uh,” sighed Diaz, “well….” He straightened up a little as well. “Actually, she looks pretty good. We’ve still got one more slot open for a scholarship recipient, and I think she’s a great fit. Very fat already, well over 300 pounds--”

    “333 exactly!” Mattheson interjected.

    “Yes,” Diaz nodded patiently, “333 exactly. At less than 20 years old. If that’s not demonstrated potential to gain, I don’t know what is.”

    “What are you talking about?” Dukakis said, her huge breasts shaking in indignation. “We’ve got 18-year-olds here with 100 pounds on her.”

    “That’s true,” Stein said, “but they come from some seriously rich families and have way better access to food. This applicant essentially comes from poverty. She’s done a hell of a lot with very little.”

    Ellison was about to pipe up when two sharp knocks announced Marvin’s entrance into the room.

    “How’s it going in here, folks?” His tone was genuinely warm, but weary.

    “It’d be better,” Mattheson whined, “if we could work in our old offices instead of being shoved into this depressing room.”

    “Mattheson--!” Stein began, but Marvin held up a hand.

    “It’s ok,” he said, “I know it’s not ideal. This conference room is a temporary thing, you know that. We had to turn your old offices into new accommodations, you know that. And you want that. Business is booming. We have more long-term residents than ever. That means more revenue, which soon enough will mean renovations. Within a year you’ll have new office space that’ll make the old space look like shit.”

    “We better,” mumbled Mattheson, louder than she thought.

    Marvin’s eyes narrowed, and he ran a hand over his smooth, shaved head. “Learn to whisper, Mattheson. And make sure you all send me the top 20 applicants by the end of the night. I’ll look at them first thing in the morning, but for now I need to get home to my wife before it gets any later.”

    “Yes, sir,” said Stein. “You’ll have them by midnight, maybe 1.”

    Marvin nodded and stepped out, and Mattheson groaned.

    “I still don’t know about this one,” Dukakis said.

    “Ok,” said Stein, “we clearly don’t have consensus, so we vote. All in favor?”

    Four hands shot up.

    “All opposed?”

    Dukakis’s one, lonely hand shot up faster, her upper arm jiggling.

    “Sorry Dukakis,” said Stein, “you’re outmatched. By a vote of 4-to-1, we are recommending that Marvin accept Yvonne Brookes as our final scholarship admit of the cycle. Now, on to the next one…”
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 22, 2019
  2. Jul 25, 2019 #2

    Benny Mon

    Benny Mon

    Benny Mon

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    Chapter 1

    David Díaz walked out of the cold and into the diner, shaking a bit of snow off the shoulders of his wool coat and removing a White Sox baseball cap. He ran a leather-gloved hand over his buzz-cut hair and scanned the restaurant. It was very early, and he seemed to be one of the first customers. Eventually a stout young waitress, aproned and apple-cheeked, waddled up to him.

    “Just one?”

    He nodded wordlessly, and she guided him to a booth in the middle of the restaurant. He asked for a black coffee and settled into the far inside end of his bench, avoiding the bright sunlight bathing the near end. The waitress returned with his coffee.

    “Thank you,” he hummed. He wrapped his hands around the hot mug and took a deep inhalation of the steam dancing off it.

    “First time here in Southvale?” asked the waitress.

    “What, you don’t have any other black people here?”

    “No, that’s not it!” She laughed generously, genuinely--he hadn’t thrown her off. He wondered if she was a light-skinned latina herself, though it was hard to tell. She wasn’t wearing a nametag. “Southvale is actually pretty diverse. A lot of Midwestern cities are diverse, but people don’t know that.”

    “I’m in from Chicago,” he said, smiling, “so I think I know a thing or two about it.”

    “Well, Chicago’s one thing, but you wouldn’t be the first Chicagoan to think everything outside the city is cornfields and white folks.”

    He shrugged and threw up his hands apologetically. “So, it’s just that I’m that obvious, huh?”

    She smiled back. “We don’t get that many customers this early. And you looked like you were checking the place out. What brings you to town?”

    “Work,” he sighed. “Nothing special. I may be here a while, though. Anything I should be sure to check out before I leave?”

    “I mean, the food here is amazing.” Her eyes went wide and she patted her big belly. “There’s been a sort of culinary renaissance here the past few years. It’s hard to go wrong, and new places are opening up all the time.”

    David’s eyebrows lifted. “Really? Doesn’t seem like there’s enough people around here to support that.”

    The waitress shrugged. “Everyone seems to be doing their part. I know I am.” She patted her belly again. “Speaking of which...can I get you anything to eat?”

    “Coffee’s fine for now. I’m waiting for a friend. A coworker. We’ll order when he gets here.”

    “Well, my name’s Jacinta, so just holler if you need anything.”

    He nodded and smiled politely. “You got it.”

    David was right: she was latina after all! It was just bizarre to hear someone named Jacinta speaking like she grew up on a farm in the Great Plains. Southvale, he had to remind himself, might not be Chicago, but it wasn’t Kansas, either. It was shaping up to be something weird and in-between. It was definitely weird how readily this waitress drew attention to her fat body, and to weight gain, no less. She was just about his first exposure to this new town, and she’d certainly made an impression.

    “Díaaaaaaaz!”

    David looked up and grinned: entering the diner was a short, mustachioed, hairy man beaming wide and glowing with energy. He came over to the booth and threw his arms tightly around David before taking off his coat and sitting down on the opposite bench.

    “Sal Lombardo,” said David, “how you been, man? It was bizarre to hear your voice on the phone, but it’s downright surreal to see you again in the flesh.”

    Sal patted his chest and throw out his arms. “What can I say? I make an impression.” He grinned and David laughed, and they put in orders for omelettes with Jacinta.

    “So,” said Sal, stirring cream and sugar into his own coffee, “how are things in the Chicago office of the Federal Elections Commission?”

    “Ugh.” David rolled his eyes. “I hate this question, and you already know the answer. There ain’t shit going on. We are underfunded, understaffed, and still we’re underutilized. That’s the only reason they could send me down here to help you out.”

    “I knew it was a long shot, but when they told me you were coming I couldn’t stop laughing.” He broke into a fit of laughter now.

    David just glared back. “You mean the FEC sending an investigator to help out a state Elections Commission with a minor case in some podunk town?”

    “Hey,” Sal pointed back at David, “this ain’t no podunk down. Look around. There’s money here, and style!”

    “That’s true, but you’re as surprised as I am. Admit it.”

    “I will, I will. I drove in from the state capital, and I did not expect Southvale to look like this. But don’t write us off, Díaz. You’re gonna salivate over this case. It’ll be way more interesting than whatever they had you working on before.”

    “That, my friend, is a low bar.”

    “It’ll be like what we dreamed of in college: bringing some justice to this godforsaken, corrupt political fucking system of ours!”

    “Don’t get ahead of yourself, Lombardo. That’s big talk for a government bureaucrat.”

    “If that ain’t the pot calling the kettle black!”

    “Hey, at least I know what I am.”

    Sal smirked back and let a stifled laugh escape.

    “So,” said David as their omelettes arrived, “why don’t you put your money where your mouth is and tell me about this case.” He took a bite of the omelette and cut Sal off and exclaimed, “Good God, why is this so good?”

    “Butter!” Jacinta yelled back over her meaty shoulder.

    “She already told ya you can’t go wrong around here, right?” Sal said. “Everything is amazing. But more to the point: we’re dealing with a fraud case. Undisclosed donations, illegal donations, the works. There’s gonna be criminal charges on top of whatever administrative penalties we impose.”

    “In a small-town mayor’s race? What, does the mayor have mob connections?”

    “Not exactly...but that’s what Alisha’s here to talk to us about. Perfect timing!” He waved over a ponytailed black woman who had just entered the diner. She settled in next to Sal, her belly folds bunching from within her t-shirt.
     
  3. Jul 25, 2019 #3

    Benny Mon

    Benny Mon

    Benny Mon

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    Ch. 1 cont'd

    “David,” said Sal, “this is Sergeant Thompson. Alisha, this is Inspector Díaz.”

    “Inspector?” she said, an eyebrow raised.

    “Investigator,” David corrected. “I’m FEC, not PD.”

    Alisha nodded, still skeptical. “That’s what I thought.”

    “So,” said David, “Sal did just tell me this could go criminal. That’s why you’re here?”

    “You don’t know the half of it. You already told him anything, Sal?”

    Sal held out both hands. “It’s all yours.”

    She settled in her seat, belly wobbling. “All right. I know this is gonna sound crazy, like a conspiracy theory, but you’re gonna agree with me by the time I’m done.”

    “I’m all ears,” said David.

    “So, a couple years back, we started hearing these rumors about a local businessman, Marvin O’Neill. He was a success story, started from nothing but built up some recreational weed shops once the stuff went legal. It was all good until people started saying he was using his profits to fund this underground fat camp--not like you think I mean, but in reverse. For perverts who get off on beefing up. O’Neill tried to play it off like somebody was coming up with a crazy, racist story to smear a successful black man, which is how it seemed, but then there’s suddenly a recall campaign against the mayor, for embezzlement and a million other things, and then O’Neill decides to run himself!”

    David shook his head. “What are you saying?”

    Alisha leaned in, her top belly roll pressing against the table. “I’m saying the man tried to run for mayor to cover his tracks, to hide whatever corrupt bullshit he’d been up to with this secret business. Our old mayor, Max Kaplan, he was a decent man, and he had this big health-promotion campaign. A chubby-chasin’ pervert would hate a guy like that.”

    David weighed the evidence. “Maybe. But your mayor isn’t Marvin O’Neill, so it must not’ve worked.”

    “He’s not,” Alisha admitted. “At a certain point Marvin started winding down his campaign, and then Kaplan’s own city manager, a guy named Al Harris, jumped in the race, too. It was a huge blow to Kaplan, to have one of his own guys running against him, and in the end he won by a landslide. People were frustrated that Kaplan, who was this clean-up-politics guy, turned out to have all this corruption in his administration, but they weren’t willing to go all in on a total newbie like O’Neill when an experienced politician like Harris was running.” She folded her hands and widened her eyes at David like she’d just proved something.

    “Ok,” he said. “So? That all makes sense.”

    “Yeah, all of it except why Harris would break from Kaplan, and why O’Neill would run so hard in the first place, and then do a 180 and drop out entirely.”

    “What are you saying?”

    “I’m saying Harris is in O’Neill’s pocket. That way O’Neill himself didn’t actually have to get elected or run the city, but he still gets to keep on with his shenanigans and avoid any scrutiny. Why hasn’t Harris looked into this fat camp thing if it was such a big deal before the recall election?”

    David sat back. “This is a bit...circumstantial. Not even that: it’s speculative! And pretty far-fetched.”

    “Are you kidding? This town has only gotten fatter in the past couple years, which hasn’t done anything to help with my diet!” Her voice cracked a little.

    David sighed and toned it down a little. “Listen, if you’re so worried about this, why are you only coming to me now?”

    “PD,” Sal jumped in, “doesn’t want to hear about this. There’s no hard evidence, and they don’t want to waste their time on some sergeant’s pet theory. But we at the Elections Commission have always thought this was fishy, from the recall onward. We just haven’t been staffed up enough to actually pursue it. Which is where you come in.”

    David exhaled slowly. “I guess I don’t have much choice here, do I. This is my assignment.”

    Sal grinned smugly. “It sure is.”

    “Ok. Well. Sergeant, I’m going to have to notify your chief and the mayor’s office that I’m conducting an investigation, that’s just protocol.”

    “Now, hold on--” she started.

    “It’s protocol, I can’t do anything about it, but I will not disclose your name. Everything you told me stays with me. And as skeptical as I am, I’m going to look into everything and give your theory every possible chance to be right. I’m thorough, and I’m good at my job.”

    She nodded, letting a little smile slip. “I appreciate that, Investigator.”

    He nodded and smiled politely back. “You can call me David.”

    Sal spread his arms across the top of his booth. “It’s settled, then! So, where you staying?”

    “I still have to find a place.”

    Sal leaned forward. “Wait, then where’s all your shit?”

    “In a locker at the bus station…”

    “You took a fuckin’ overnight bus? Why didn’t you just stay the night?”

    David winced. “I was hoping this would turn out to be nothing and I could head back to Chicago the same day. And if it were up to me, I would…”

    Sal belted out a single, loud laugh. “Lucky for us it’s not! You’re gonna be here a while, Díaz, so let’s find you somewhere you can settle in.”
     
  4. Aug 23, 2019 #4

    Benny Mon

    Benny Mon

    Benny Mon

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    Chapter 2

    Vonnie Brookes stepped down from her bus, careful not to slip on the newly fallen snow. It wasn’t easy to balance her bulk in good weather, let alone slick conditions. She felt a cold wind cutting through her body. Her tights and her hoodie, clinging to her rolls and bulges, were clearly inadequate to the late winter weather here in Southvale. It wasn’t this cold when she’d left Chicago. She pulled her backpack tight across her back and waddled into the bus station, dragging a suitcase behind her.

    It was nearly deserted inside—no one but a bored, chubby girl behind the ticket counter and an extremely fit, well-dressed black man pulling something out of a storage locker. He noticed her enter the space—out of the corner of his eye, maybe, or thanks to her audibly heavy breathing—and he stared at her, a beat too long to be normal or polite. She did what she always did in situations like this: she stared back. Quickly he blinked, surprised and embarrassed and hopefully ashamed, and he rolled his suitcase out the front door, speaking to someone out of view. Vonnie sighed, though she didn’t know why that behavior even surprised her anymore. She’d been putting up with it for years. Her whole life, practically.

    But things will be different here, she thought as she reached up to tidy up her tall, loose bun. Her belly button popped out from under her hoodie as she reached, a jewel at the center of a stretch of round bellyfat, but she didn’t notice. Things were supposed to be different, anyway. Her concierge at La Vie est Pleine had assured her that Sunnyvale was unique, that she wouldn’t stick out like a big, fat sore thumb, that she wouldn’t be ogled or harassed or, just as bad, ignored altogether. That man’s reaction wasn’t exactly an auspicious beginning, though she admitted that he might have been an out-of-towner. They were in the bus station, after all. In any case, she couldn’t expect a perfect world. This was America: with her dark black skin and light brown eyes, she could never count on the kindness, even the tolerance, of strangers. But maybe, just maybe, she wouldn’t have to stand out for being fat, too.

    Vonnie waddled out onto the street and called an Uber to take her to La Vie. She asked her driver, a very skinny white guy, if it normally snowed this time of year.

    “Not sure,” he said. “I’m not from here. Just moved from Quincy.”

    “Is that far?”

    “Eh? Sorta. Not far, not close. I guess we had some weird springs there, too, but this is cold.”

    “Very weird.”

    “You know what else is weird? Have you noticed how fat everyone is around here? I mean it’s not like they weren’t back home, but this is another level, you know?”

    Vonnie twisted silently in her seat, and her face flushed. Did he not see that she was fat, too? Still, she took some pleasure in his comments: maybe her concierge hadn’t lied to her after all. (And she gave him five stars in spite of herself. He drove well.)

    Her driver dropped her at La Vie, which was located oddly far from downtown in a warehouse district. The building itself, though, was stunning. It was more than a building, really, more like a campus, a cluster of structures sprawling outward and stretching upward, cute red brick with big windows and ornate crenellations. In cursive, neon letters, it read “La Vie est Pleine” above the automatic glass front entrance. The doors slid open, and Vonnie waddled inside.

    She found herself in a beautiful lobby, with marble floors, red walls, and a gorgeous wooden desk. An empty desk. Vonnie waddled up to it and leaned forward, smooshing her belly to look for someone crouching by the floor, or for a bell to ring for service. Nothing.

    “Hello?” she ventured tentatively. Nothing still.

    A little louder this time: “Hello?”

    A door beside the desk burst open, sending a short Asian-American woman practically spinning into the room and Vonnie’s heart leaping out of her chest.

    “I’m so sorry to keep you waiting,” the woman said breathlessly, pivoting on a foot to face her customer. She stopped and inhaled sharply. “God, you are beautiful!”

    Vonnie could barely speak—she didn’t get that compliment too often—but she slowed down enough to take the woman in. She was quite beautiful herself, with a cute little nose, flawless pale skin, and perfect, delicate teeth that bloomed in a candid smile. She was also very fat, with a thick, flabby neck, and porky limbs stuffed into a too-small suit that clearly wouldn’t close over her belly. Vonnie thought this woman might be as fat as she was.

    “I’m so sorry,” the woman said, catching Vonnie’s hesitation, “I hope that wasn’t too direct. I’m a little flustered and not even really on the shift here, it’s been years since I worked the desk.”

    “Years? I thought this place only opened a few months ago.”

    “Feels like years, of course,” said the woman without missing a beat, though Vonnie frowned. “There’s been so much going on, everything with the start of a new business. But enough: you’re here for a reason. What can I do for you?”

    “I’m checking in. My name’s Vonnie Brookes. Yvonne Brookes.”

    The woman clicked away at the computer silently for a few moments, alternately frowning and nodding, until she said, “Aha! Here you are. One of our scholarship recipients!” She looked up grinning and extended her hand to Vonnie. “Congratulations, Yovonne, we are just so excited to have you here.”

    “Vonnie,” said Vonnie, unable to pull her hand from the woman’s grip. “I’m, uh...grateful for the opportunity.”

    “It’s our pleasure,” said the woman, releasing Vonnie’s hand but still grinning. “Vonnie, my name is Cora Lee. Welcome to La Vie est Pleine.” She reached under the desk and pulled out a platter of donuts. “Would you like one? A little token of welcome from us to you.”

    Crisscrossed by conflicting feelings, Vonnie resolved them as she always had: “No, thank you. I’m not that hungry.”

    Cora paused, bemused, but moved on politely. “No problem, of course, there’s always plenty more where these came from. But I wouldn’t mind helping myself….” She picked up a small, narrow donut and crammed it down her throat in three bites, her eyes widening at each bite. Vonnie just stared as Cora wiped a little glaze off the corners of her mouth. “Now, she said, “if only Ana were here I could give you a little introductory tour. Your concierge is supposed to do that, of course, but I would love to show you the place myself. I just can’t abandon the desk…”

    Just then another woman entered through the door, an extraordinarily busty woman even shorter than Cora. She wore a tight green turtleneck that showed off every inch of her thick upper arms and her massive mammaries, and the backfat pouring over the edge of her skirt.

    “Ana,” Cora said, “where have you been?!”

    “Breakfast,” said Ana, sinking her fingers into her potbelly and moaning uncomfortably. “It...ran a little late.”

    “Ah,” said Cora, popping a glazed donut hole into her mouth. “Can’t blame you for that.” She sprayed a few crumbs as she spoke. “But I’m glad you’re back! I’m going to take Yvonne here on her introductory tour.” She lifted the platter with one hand as though to take the donuts with her.

    “Vonnie,” Vonnie corrected quietly.

    “Hey, give those back!” said Ana. “I need them. I mean, I need them for new guests! And isn’t her concierge supposed to give her the tour?”

    “Manuela can bring you more,” said Cora, brandishing a dense, cakey chocolate donut in one hand and pulling the platter along in the other. “Besides, you just ate, and I can’t take lunch for another hour. Let me at least have this tour!”

    “You set your own lunchtime,” Ana grumbled, but she didn’t press, instead picking up the phone to call for Manuela. Cora wobbled away and beckoned Vonnie down an adjoining hallway.
     
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  5. Aug 23, 2019 #5

    Benny Mon

    Benny Mon

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    Ch. 2, cont'd

    Vonnie waddled alongside her guide, dumbstruck. She’d never seen two women so openly gluttonous in front of her, in front of a total stranger. Not just a little indulgence, but full-on, piggish gluttony. Vonnie blinked and turned toward Cora. “Did she mean lunch?” she asked.

    “Hm?” Cora said, chewing through the chocolate donut.

    “The receptionist. She said she was back from breakfast, but didn’t she mean lunch?”

    “No, my dear, she meant breakfast! It’s too early for lunch.”

    “You get breakfast breaks here?”

    “Every employee does. Breakfast, lunch, even dinner, if they’re working all day. Coffee breaks, too. It’s hard work at La Vie, and we need to make sure everyone is fully nourished. It boosts morale, increases productivity, you wouldn’t believe it. I’m amazed every business doesn’t do this.”

    “Huh,” said Vonnie, staring off into the distance.

    Cora guided her into a beautiful, elaborate, expansive cafe, full of people of all shapes and sizes eating and chatting.

    “Normally,” said Cora, “your concierge would have some stiff, hokey speech they’re supposed to say, but you applied to this place, so you know the deal. La Vie est Pleine is a comprehensive, extended-stay spa facility designed to cater to our guests’ every need and desire. Our philosophy is that betterment comes through pleasure. We want to care for you and pamper you during your stay, so that you feel your best and can pursue your dreams and desires. And this cafe is central to that mission. We encourage our guests to get to know each other, to socialize and to break bread together. A strong social community is one of the most important things for your health, as is good, delicious food, so we want you share meals with your neighbors here.”

    As Cora spoke, Vonnie’s eyes glided across the room. At a second glance, she realized, the crowd didn’t quite cover all shapes and sizes, but it came closer. Very few people were skinny, and the rest ranged from chubby to mindbendingly, supermorbidly obese. But before she could take a closer look Cora was whisking her away and down another hall.

    “I really shouldn’t have another donut,” Cora mused aloud. “It always takes away my appetite. These things are so damn good, though,” and without a moment’s further hesitation she began munching away at a jelly donut, slurping up jelly to keep it from dripping down her chin. They began passing small rooms that lined this hall, and Cora gestured with the donut platter for Vonnie to peek inside.

    “The cafe’s the heart of our operation, but we want to stimulate your mind and body while you’re here, too. We have cooking classes, baking classes, exercise classes, reading groups...you name it, we have it, and if we don’t you can always put in a request for us to look into starting a new operation. Except for anything political, I should add.” Vonnie peered through a window and saw a bunch of fat women and men kneading dough on long counters, their bellies jiggling at the exertion. “We have off-campus activities and outings, too,” Cora continued, “and you’ll be able to access our digital schedule to keep up to speed on those.”

    All Vonnie could do was process in silence as Cora led her down another hall, and then another, continuing to pick out donuts even as she insisted it was a bad idea. “I’m so full now, but these little guys just keep calling my name...uraaap.” She acted like she hadn’t belched at all, which Vonnie could hardly believe.

    Finally, they reached a round, central room off of which branched several dormitory corridors.

    “That’s about it!” said Cora. “I mean, you haven’t seen the half of it, but now you have the idea. I’m sorry, that was a terrible tour--I never do these--but I was just so excited to show you around.”

    “Don’t worry,” said Vonnie politely, “you make a very good pitch for the place.”

    “You’re too kind,” said Cora, smiling through a grimace as she clutched her gurgling stomach. “Would you like the rest of these donuts?”

    Vonnie’s resolve cracked a little: “Maybe just one?”

    “Take two,” said Cora, sliding a cruller and a boston cream into Vonnie’s cupped palms. “But thanks for leaving me a few. I’d be sad to be cut off so soon. Not that I need them...ugh…” She groaned and suppressed a belch. “No, best to leave them alone for now. I’ve a bucket of fried chicken waiting for me in my office, and I wouldn’t want that to go to waste. Well, a pleasure to meet you, Cora! You’ll find your room down the hall straight ahead, number 333. I’m sure we’ll meet again soon!” And with a belch and a turn on her heel, Cora wobbled unsteadily back the way they came.

    Vonnie slowly turned around and found her room, with the key sitting in the unlocked door. She stepped inside to what was truly a dorm room: not terribly small, and with a queen bed on each side, but with little ornamentation. Two beds: that would mean she’d have a roommate, which was part of the deal when you were a scholarship student. Only paying guests could access nicer, private rooms. But that was just something Vonnie would have to live with. She slipped her backpack onto the floor and sat on the bed, the mattress buckling as her huge ass sank into it. Her stomach gurgled: she’d missed breakfast in the rush to catch her bus, and she hadn’t had donuts in God knows how long. She could feel herself shaking, maybe from low blood sugar, maybe from anticipation. Before she knew it the cruller was in her mouth, folding and flaking as her teeth sliced into it, tearing off an enormous bite that slid down her throat. Her heart beat faster at the sudden influx of sugar, and she took another bite and another, frosting sticking to the corners of her lips as her tongue wrapped around the sugary dough and carried it to the back of her throat. Before she’d even finished her last bite the boston cream came between her lips and burst as she bit, flooding her mouth with a cream she gulped down greedily. She barely chewed this one, opening her throat and letting the fat and sugar pour down as fast as possible. In mere seconds, she was panting and gasping, sticky fingers smearing on her tights, her belly overwhelmed but crying for more. This was why she had to say no, why she had to hold herself back. If she didn’t, there was no stopping her.

    Still, she didn’t always have to eat this way. This once was ok: it was a celebration. It was just like they told her: everyone here was fat, everyone. Sure, there were going to be holdovers from the old days, unreconstructed fatphobes who couldn’t help but glare and shakes their fists. But Vonnie had seen the place, the people. She would be at home here. She wouldn’t stick out. Hell, she was hardly the fattest person around. Brighter days were ahead of her. Leaning back on her bed, Vonnie unzipped her backpack and pulled out the latest issue of Ms. Marvel. Before she dove into the social scene here, she was going to enjoy the first true alone time she’d had in years.
     
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  6. Sep 5, 2019 #6

    Benny Mon

    Benny Mon

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    Chapter 3

    David wished he’d left his coat at home today. For weeks it had been unseasonably cold, and now, suddenly, today, it was spring, warm and sunny and colorful. He could feel the dampness under his arms and squirmed in discomfort as he approached City Hall.

    “‘Ey, buddy, hold up a sec,” said a cop at the entrance.

    David almost gasped at how fat this guy was. He stood beside the door in a wide stance, hands on his sprawling, expansive belly, his clean-shaven, pale, white face resting on a generous cushion of double chin. His head was cocked, emphasizing his neck fat, and he wore a stupid, aggressive expression.

    “I’m here on city business,” David managed eventually.

    “I don’t care, you gotta get a security check like everybody else.” He began to waddle forward in short, stiff steps, his belly rippling out of control. His buttons were gapping as he moved.

    David took a step back reflexively and grimaced. “Don’t you guys have a metal detector for that?”

    “Outta commission,” said the cop, breathing heavily now as he approached David. “Just stand with your legs spread and your arms out, I’m gonna pat you down.” David was in agony as the cop ran his arms over David’s body. He never wanted the police to lay a finger on him for any reason, but this was so much worse: the cop’s obtrusive belly pushing up against his body, his labored breathing pulsing in his ear. He felt the sweat spreading in his armpits, almost dripping down his sides.

    Eventually the cop took a few stiff steps back, wheezing noisily, and rested his arm on the building. “That’s fine,” he gasped. “You can go.”

    David just nodded and adjusted his coat. Thinking better of it, he yanked off the coat once inside, wriggling his arms, trying to air himself out. His stomach twisted as he thought about how the simplest motions had winded that cop. Repulsive.

    An old, wrinkled receptionist at the front desk directed him to the third floor, where he followed a hall to the back of the building and a corridor that said “PD” at the entrance. Another, equally old and wrinkled receptionist creaked up from her chair and slowly escorted him to a conference room, which he entered to find a handful of people.

    “Díaz!” said a loud, large man who leapt from his seat to take David’s hand.

    “Chief Simmons,” David smiled, “it’s a pleasure.” The police chief was a tall man, well over six feet, middle-aged and paunchy but not obese. He had short, close-cropped hair and a thin-lipped, toothy grin.

    Simmons slapped David on the shoulder. “Can’t take the Southvale spring, Díaz?”

    David wiped some sweat off his forehead and kept his cool. “I can, sir,” he said. “I’m from Chicago. Just forgot to check the weather before I left this morning.”

    “Well you better start checking or summer’s gonna fuckin’ whip your ass.” He ejected a single, sharp laugh. “Inspector, I think you’ll find that Southvale is more different from Chicago than you suspected. Please, though, I’m just fucking with you. Have a seat, get comfortable. Let me introduce you to Inspector Haines, from Internal Affairs, and Sergeant Berkman from the state PD. Since this is a state matter, of course.”

    David scanned Haines, a short, ruddy man who stared back at him coldly, and Berkman, a tall, silent cop who didn’t seem to be paying attention at all.

    “So,” said Simmons, sipping from a mug of coffee, “why don’t you tell us what you’ve been up to since you made it to Southvale, Inspector Díaz.”

    “Of course,” said David, “but before I do, any chance you’ve got some more of that coffee?”

    Simmons shook his head and smiled, tight-lipped. “‘Fraid we’re all out.”

    David watched the steam twist off Simmons’ fresh cup and cleared his throat.

    “Well,” he said, “as you know, I’m here from the FEC assisting with the state EC’s investigation into your last mayoral election. I’ve met with Inspector Lombardo from state and spent the last couple weeks getting up to speed on what they have already, and this is my first visit to City Hall. It’s a courtesy call: you already know about this case, but I wanted to introduce myself and get to know you all a little. We’ll be working together on this for a little while yet, I think.”

    Haines interrupted: “You work for Trump?”

    David was stopped in his tracks. “Uh, well...yes, I mean...yes: I work for the FEC, which is supervised by the President’s administration.”

    Haines lifted an eyebrow: “But are you a Democrat?”

    “I’m not allowed to discuss politics or let any political affiliation influence my work, Inspector--”

    “Me fuckin’ neither, but let’s say I’m askin’ from one private citizen to another: are you a card-carryin’ member of the Democrat Party?”

    David paused before responding: “I don’t have a registered affiliation with any political party.”

    “And you’re investigatin’ our pinko mayor?”

    “I wouldn’t use the same phrasing, but yes, I am.”

    Haines let his shoulder fall a little, breathed a little easier. “Good. If you’re going to come rootin’ around our city I don’t want it to be with some fuckin’ liberal agenda.”

    “Inspector, I assure you I’m here to conduct an impartial investigation based only on the facts.”

    Simmons leaned forward. “Don’t get us wrong, Díaz. I’m a Democrat, as is Sergeant Berkman.” Berkman seemed engaged in an intent examination of the surface of the table. “Our state is more purple than red. But what Inspector Haines is getting at is that we don’t want any additional loyalties getting in the way of your work here.”

    David felt a pit stain forming under the arms of his shirt. “I assure you that won’t happen, Chief,” he said evenly.

    Simmons nodded, satisfied. “Good! We’re here to help you, Díaz. As long as you’re here, we are your friends. Between us three, our mayor came to power under some suspicious fuckin’ circumstances, and we’ve had our eye on him ever since. Nothing unseemly, you understand, but we’ve been watching. And now that you have a mandate to poke around here a little, well...we couldn’t be happier.”

    David couldn’t believe Simmons would openly speak about his mayor like this, and he didn’t believe for a minute these men were his friends. Was this some kind of trap, or just gross unprofessionalism? Could be both, he supposed. It didn’t square with Sergeant Alisha Thompson’s story, either, of PD just not being interested. He was being had, he was sure, but he had to play along.

    “I’m very glad to hear it,” he said politely. “I hope that means you have some leads for me to follow.”

    “Of course,” said Simmons, gesturing toward the detective. “Haines and his team have written up something for you about that.”

    The group spent about twenty more minutes discussing Haines’ leads. The man had even lined up some meetings for David, which allowed him to let his guard down just a little. At the conclusion he stood and shook hands--even with Berkman--got another slap on the shoulder from Simmons, and saw himself out.
     
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  7. Sep 5, 2019 #7

    Benny Mon

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    Chapter 3 cont'd

    David had another meeting lined up, but he was a half-hour early, so he allowed himself to wander the corridors of City Hall in a daze. He tried to put the threatening strangeness of the last meeting behind him and simply take in his surroundings. This was an impressive building for a mid-size town, a miniature neoclassical mansion with plenty of interior wood and marble. Southvale hadn’t suffered quite like most other Midwestern towns, such that even these halls of government were bustling. Slowly bustling, if David was honest with himself: here as elsewhere, he couldn’t believe the number of fat people around. Not everyone, by a long shot, but there was a surprising number of bouncing bellies and big bottoms making their way through halls and across offices. Many of the secretaries, especially, seemed wide and heavy, but was that so unusual? He regretted not asking the police about this strange phenomenon, but on second thought he was glad. He didn’t need to draw any more attention to himself than he already had.

    Soon enough 9:30 rolled around, and David found himself on the fourth and top floor of the building, in the reception for the mayor’s suite of offices. He approached the secretary, a short, obese white woman in a staid but tight-fitting gray dress, and introduced himself.

    “You have a meeting with the mayor?” she repeated. David spotted an unfinished breakfast sandwich on the desk in front of her.

    “Yes,” he said patiently. “Inspector David Díaz, FEC.” He flashed his credentials, which he hated to do.

    “Hmph,” she said. “Ok.” She picked up the desk phone and dialed a few numbers, waiting and tapping her fingers on the desk, before hanging up. “Intercom’s not working,” she said. “Give me a minute.” The woman rolled her chair back from the desk and tipped herself to her feet, tightening her brown ponytail before tottering back through a door behind her. David couldn’t believe how revealing her dress was: her bulbous belly shook behind the seams of fabric that shouldn’t even have been clingy. She must have been over 300 pounds, David figured. And that dress would probably have been much more modest on a slimmer figure.

    Eventually she tottered back in, picking up her breakfast sandwich but remaining upright.

    “I’ll need you to come with me, sir.”

    “Inspector,” David corrected, but she was already off, back into the hallway. It didn’t take much to keep up: her rotund figure and short legs curtailed her speed, and David actually had to forcibly slow his pace to stay with her. She munched on her sandwich as they walked and, maddeningly, chewed with her mouth open.

    “Are you taking me to the mayor?” he asked.

    Without turning to him, she said something through a mouthful of food that he didn’t understand. He didn’t bother to ask for clarification.

    Finally they stopped outside a different suite, labeled “Deputy Mayor Marianne Colvin.”

    “Here you go,” said the secretary through another mouthful. Her cheeks, bulging with food, were pink from walking. “Martha, will you show him in?”

    An old, thin, creaky secretary waved her hand at the door behind her. “The Deputy Mayor will see you now,” she groaned. There only seemed to be two kinds of secretaries in this town: skeletons and pigs.

    David nodded curtly and stepped through the door, suddenly to have his hand taken and pumped vigorously: it was the deputy mayor herself. Marianne Colvin was tall, almost as tall as David, but also quite fat. Her belly, her love handles, and her enormous breasts jiggled readily beneath a silky blouse, bulging out over the waist of a too-tight skirt. Her blond hair, cut into a bob, shook and bounced just as readily as she spoke.

    “I’m so sorry you had to wait, Inspector,” she said, walking to her desk and settling her bulk on the front of it. “But I’m so excited to see you, as, you know, it’s not often we get a visit from the federal government, although I admit it’s not for the most auspicious of reasons--”

    She was speaking a mile a minute, so David cut her off: “I’m sorry, Deputy Mayor, but is this a bad time? Do you have time to talk right now?”

    She smiled brightly, highlighting deep dimples in her cheeks. “No no no no, I have plenty of time, I’ve just been known to be a little hyper! Especially if I haven’t had breakfast, and I did skip breakfast this morning, unfortunately.” David didn’t think she was the sort of person who skipped any meal, but just then she lifted a gigantic, creamy iced coffee off her desk and guzzled down a few gulps. Who needed breakfast when you got that many calories from your coffee?

    “I’m sorry,” David said uncertainly, “I didn’t mean--”

    “No offense taken, Inspector Díaz, none at all!” She circled the desk and plopped into her chair, her blouse rippling. “Please, have a seat.”

    David sat. “I thought I had an appointment with the mayor.”

    “You did,” she nodded sagely, “you did. But something came up last minute, and I’m sure you understand, when you’re the mayor the buck stops with you, you have to deal with things as they come. But I report directly to Mayor Harris, and everything we discuss here today will go straight to his desk, verbatim.”

    David, suddenly paranoid, wondered if that meant she was recording the conversation. He didn’t ask. “Well,” he said, “as you know, I’m here assisting the state EC investigation, and this is mostly a courtesy call. I wanted to let you know I’m here, introduce myself in person. I know this can’t be comfortable for any of you, but if we have your full cooperation with the investigation, it will be over sooner rather than later.”

    As he spoke, she drained her huge, plastic cup, which she sent tumbling onto a large pile of empty plastic cups in the trash. “We have nothing to hide, Inspector, nothing at all!”

    “Great!” said David. “I’ll be back another time for interviews, but I only have one question for you today: how do you explain the suspicious circumstances under which Mayor Harris entered and won the race?”

    Her thin, blond eyebrows lifted. “Suspicious? What do you mean?”

    “Well,” he said, “I’m not from here, so I only know what others have said. But I’m talking about Marvin O’Neill, already under substantial scrutiny, suddenly dropping out of the race, endorsing Harris, and sending him to victory. You can see how that would make people think Harris was a proxy for O’Neill. Not that I believe that, you understand, but I do want to know the real story.”

    “It’s very simple,” the deputy mayor responded. “It was a total coincidence. Mayor Harris was deeply committed to the previous administration, and heartbroken when he learned about what Max Kaplan had allowed under his watch, and without Harris even knowing! He wanted to carry forward Kaplan’s vision without any of the corruption that held it back, so as soon as he had the funds and the endorsements he entered the race. He would’ve done it with or without Marvin O’Neill, who is free to give his endorsement to whomever he pleases.”

    David nodded, polite but deeply skeptical. “Ok,” he said, and stood up. “Thank you, Deputy Mayor.” She shook his hand vigorously, her breasts flopping wildly, and saw him to the door. He made his way out of City Hall, past the fat and thin secretaries, past the morbidly obese cop on guard duty, rounded the corner, and leaned against the building, trying to take it all in. Gripping his coat, he reached inside its inner pockets, but he came up dry.
     
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  8. Sep 5, 2019 #8

    Benny Mon

    Benny Mon

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    Chapter 3 cont'd

    “Need a smoke?”

    David looked up abruptly, only to find Sergeant Berkman, the tall, absent-minded state police officer, standing beside him and extending him an open pack of cigarettes.

    “I shouldn’t,” said David. “I haven’t smoked in years.”

    “But the urge never goes away when you’re stressed, right?” said Berkman. He shrugged, pulling and lighting a cigarette, and leaned against the wall with David. “I haven’t smoked in years, either, but this is some bullshit.”

    David raised an eyebrow. “You didn’t have much to say about it during our meeting.”

    “I did not,” said Berkman, exhaling smoke through pursed lips. “There’s no reason to deal with those corrupt, racist motherfuckers. I don’t know why you’re wasting your time.”

    David stared back at his pasty white interlocutor. “You don’t normally hear cops talk about other cops that way.”

    “This department is a dumpster fire,” Berkman said. “They don’t deserve my respect. So many local PDs are a joke. But that’s why we have the state police. They think I’m here to help them, but I’m here to tell you not to let them jerk you around. Those leads they gave you? All bullshit. Throw ‘em in the trash. There is one person you need to be investigating, and that is Marvin O’Neill.”

    David was stunned. “I...thank you. I mean, I don’t think I can just throw out those leads…”

    Berkman nodded, waving a hand with the cigarette between his fingers. “Can’t look too suspicious, I know. Just don’t give them any more time than you have to. And don’t forget about O’Neill.” He dropped the cigarette and squashed it with his booted heel.

    “Thank you, Sergeant,” said David, shaking his hand. He didn’t know whether to trust Berkman, either, but he knew enough not to alienate him.

    “Don’t thank me till your work is done, Díaz. I want to see that cocksucker O’Neill behind bars before you leave town. You have my number from the meeting. Get in touch if you need me.” He turned and walked away, and David just stared at the ruined cigarette on the pavement.
     
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  9. Sep 9, 2019 #9

    Benny Mon

    Benny Mon

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    Chapter 4

    “Taylor,” said Vonnie, “pour me some more Bailey’s!”

    “Girl, pour it yourself!” said Taylor with mock indignance.

    “Tay, I’m curling my hair! You gotta pour it for me!”

    Taylor, Vonnie’s light-skinned roommate from Kansas City, giggled and pressed a panel in the wall of their room, which swung open to reveal a liquor cabinet. When Taylor had first moved in and discovered the cabinet, it had been a revelation to Vonnie. She’d only noticed the obvious at first: two queen beds, two closets, some shelves and tables. Nobody had told her that the walls of their room were full of secret panels devoted to food storage: cupboards, pantries, even a fridge and a freezer. Maybe that had been the job of her concierge, and Cora had just forgotten to say anything. That was months ago, in any case, and it didn’t take long to get used to the setup. Taylor was friendly but not overbearing, and Vonnie quickly came to look forward to midnight conversations with her over snacks or dessert.

    Taylor walked over to Vonnie and slipped a few slugs of Bailey’s into her glass, along with a few ice cubes. “Von, you want some more fries, too?”

    Vonnie, standing in front of her mirror with some hair wrapped around a curling iron, grimaced. “I dunno, we’re going out tonight. I don’t want to fill up before everything even starts.”

    “That’s bullshit, Von, and you know it.” Taylor transferred a paper basket of fries from her desk to Vonnie’s. “You are a true bottomless pit when you let yourself be.”

    “Hm,” said Vonnie. She didn’t want to talk about it, but it was true: the permissive, pampering, body-positive environment at La Vie had worn away any semblance of self-restraint Vonnie had had when she arrived. Her guilt, however, had stuck around and grown, such that even now, as she helplessly lifted handful after handful of fries to her mouth, she felt sickness and disappointment mix with the pleasure of the snack.

    Taylor stood closer, her hands on Vonnie’s soft, expansive hips. “Von, girl, I know what’s going through your head. You gotta let that shit go! Get in the spirit of this place! We’ve been here long enough that you have got to start taking pleasure in your pleasure! Besides”--she jiggled Vonnie’s wobbly hips gently--“these extra curves don’t look bad on you at all.”

    Vonnie watched her half-naked body ripple in the mirror and cringed. “Well I’m glad it doesn’t bother you. It sure doesn’t bother Joe, either….”

    A smile spread on Taylor’s face. “I know I say this all the time, but I am so fuckin’ glad you hit it off with someone so early. You deserve it, Von. And thank god he’s not someone from La Vie.”

    “It couldn’t have been! All the guys who stay here are gay as shit!”

    Taylor clicked her tongue. “Don’t know why ain’t no straight men comfortable enough with their goddamn masculinity to enjoy themselves at a place like this. It’s their fuckin’ loss!”

    “Amen,” muttered Vonnie.

    “So is Joe gonna be there tonight?”

    “He’s--ow!”

    “What’s wrong?”

    “Just burned my finger a little bit,” said Vonnie, sucking the tip of it. “Anyway, yes, he’ll be late, but he’s supposed to be there!”

    Taylor just smiled and shook her head. “I know that I’m looking for my own Joe Giuseppe tonight, that’s what I’m doing. See, this is why it’s good you let me know drag you to the bar back in April instead of leaving you here to read your...what, graphic novels?”

    “You can call them comic books. I’m not a snob.”

    “Whatever the hell they are, you know what I mean. You wouldn’t have met Joe otherwise!”

    “So you like to remind me….”

    They chatted like this for a while, Vonnie slowly curling her hair, Taylor refilling her friend’s fries and Bailey’s from time to time. Vonnie stood in front of her closet for 20 minutes trying to pick out an outfit. Her figure was somewhere between “pear” and “apple,” which meant she was big all over but still shapely--and thus very hard to dress. Even the clothes she’d brought with her were getting too tight. She ended up settling on a stretchy red dress that clung to every inch of her bulbous body. She couldn’t believe how elastic this thing was, and she was worried that even if it kept holding together, she’d eventually stretch it to the point of transparency. Taylor, over a hundred pounds lighter than Vonnie, had more choices, but she opted for a similarly tight, short black dress. Unlike Vonnie, she carried most of her weight in her legs and her ass, though she also had a potbelly no skinny girl would envy.

    They were running later than their other friends, so they called an Uber just as the sky was turning pink and gold. Everyone was meeting at Dalgaard, an upscale bar that hosted mixers for La Vie from time to time. Drinks and food would be free for members--all they had to do was flash a membership card and get their hand stamped--but anyone else, mostly men, would have to pay. Vonnie found it a satisfying inversion of the frat rule that hot girls get in for free.

    Cars took forever to get from downtown to La Vie, so Vonnie and Taylor found themselves idling in the lobby. Vonnie didn’t want to sit down--the dress would be more constricting--but standing made her achy, so she just paced back and forth in short, wedge heels, trying to distract herself. Finally, she said: “I gotta find a bathroom.”

    “Go,” said Taylor distractedly, absorbed in her phone. “I’ll call you if the car comes. It still says ten minutes.”

    Vonnie huffed off down a hall to one of the public restrooms, but as she returned, she lingered outside a gym locker room. How much weight have I gained? she wondered. This is where they kept the only scales in the building. She checked the time on her phone, looked each way, and slipped into the room, wobbling between lockers to reach the scales at the back. She slipped off her shoes and stepped on the platform, waiting for it to reveal her weight on the display directly in front of her.

    349.

    Vonnie’s forehead wrinkled as she looked away. Holy shit. That was almost 20 pounds over, what, two, three months? Her head swam. She knew she had a slow metabolism, but she’d never gained that much weight that fast. This was a disaster: if she really let herself go, she was going to be too big to bathe herself by the end of the year. How could she let this happen? It wasn’t like she’d come to La Vie to lose weight; she just wanted acceptance. But this was out of control.

    Back in the lobby, Taylor looked up from her phone and cocked her head. “Did you leave your shoes in the bathroom?” Vonnie sighed and trudged back to the locker room for her heels, feeling deeply the weight of her massive ass, her wobbling hips, her bouncing belly.
     
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  10. Sep 9, 2019 #10

    Benny Mon

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    Chapter 4 cont'd

    Soon they were in their car, headed to Dalgaard. The place was packed tonight, and Vonnie felt the size and heft of her body as she waded through the dimly lit, crowded spaces of the bar, bumping gingerly into other patrons as she moved. Happily, they were mostly other La Vie members, and so mostly fat themselves. It helped minimize the shame. Soon, she reached the bar.

    “I’ll take a Bailey’s and Kahula!” she yelled through the din.

    The bartender, a tall, thin girl who reminded her of a meth addict, seemed to disregard the comment. “Hey!” she yelled at Vonnie, leaning forward. “You from that La Vie est Belle place?”

    “Yeah,” said Vonnie, “something like that.”

    “So why is everybody there so fucking fat?”

    Vonnie’s face burned, but she did her best not to flee. “It’s because it’s such a body-positive place. How many places can you find like this that are so fat-friendly? It’s unique, so fat people from all over flock to it”

    “No,” said the bartender, shaking her head imperiously, “that’s not it. It’s the fat farm, or the fat camp, or whatever.”

    Vonnie felt her knees trembling, but she stayed at the bar. “I have no idea what you’re talking about.”

    “Why can’t any of you just admit it? You can’t keep this secret forever. That place is where sexual deviants go to get off on fattening up. It’s so obvious: there are so many of you. You’re going to have to come clean sooner or later.”

    Vonnie’s voice was frozen, but as she struggled to respond the bartender suddenly produced her drink. “You want to start a tab?”

    “We’re already covered.” Vonnie flashed her membership card.

    “Of course you are…” the bartender sneered as she walked away. Vonnie didn’t leave a tip.

    After forcing her flab through several other clots of people, she finally found Taylor and some of their friends, the few other black members of La Vie.

    “Southvale is so much more fatphobic than they told me it was going to be,” Vonnie despaired.

    “Truer words,” muttered Harry, the chubby son of wealthy Ghanaian immigrants.

    “It’s changing, though,” said Taylor. “People have told me. It doesn’t happen overnight, but La Vie is changing the way people think about fat people around here. It’s not everybody.”

    “Yeah,” said Audra, a Memphis lawyer on leave, “but they’re not gonna tolerate everybody, either. Fat black people are at the bottom of the list.”

    Even though she’d brought it up, Vonnie hated this kind of talk, the repetition of gloomy, immutable facts that everyone already knew. It might have helped others cope, but it only stirred up the hopelessness inside her, which she now felt swirling in her chest. But at that moment she felt a hand on her waist, and she turned around to find her boyfriend Joe. She squealed, relieved to see a friendly face, and ran her hands over his cheeks.

    “How the hell did you grow a full beard since the last time I saw you?!”

    He laughed, kissing her. “It’s not that long yet. Hardly a full beard. But I told you, if I don’t shave for a week I look like Castaway.”

    After that, Vonnie managed to put the horrible bartender out of her mind, dancing with Joe and her friends and knocking back Bailey’s and Kahlua and mozzarella sticks and wings. The steady stream of food and alcohol settled her into a dull, blissful haze, and she slowly gyrated on the dancefloor, feeling her wobbly, inertial flesh shake and her full stomach rock in a surprisingly pleasant way. Whatever Taylor had said, Vonnie wasn’t literally a bottomless pit, and as the night wore on she was reaching her limits.

    In time, the crowd thinned slightly, and Joe pulled Vonnie into a side hallway and pressed her against the wall, sloppily making out with her. Her head eventually squirmed to the side.

    “Joe,” she gasped, “I am so tired, and so full.”

    “Oh yeah?” He smiled mischievously. “I don’t think you’re that tired.” He groped at her breasts, and she could feel his boner pressing through his pants against her belly.

    She squirmed to the side again and pulled down the hem of her bunching dress. “Joe, I’m telling you, I’m exhausted. I just want to go home. Come back and snuggle with me.”

    “Maybe we can go back for a midnight snack,” he ventured. He was drunk, and she could see the lust glimmering faintly in his eyes.

    “I’m so full, Joe, I don’t want sex or food. Just come and snuggle with me, I’ve missed you.”

    “I know,” he said, “I’ve been out of town for a while. I mean, if you’re tired, I should just go home and rest, too. I have to travel again tomorrow night.”

    Vonnie fumed and shoved Joe, harder than he expected, and he tripped back a step. “What the fuck…?” he said, shocked and furious.

    “I am so sick of this!” she said, tears welling unexpectedly.

    “Whaddafuck are you talking about?” he slurred. “Where did this come from?”

    “You always do this to me!” she screamed. “You’re sweet and nice and so supportive about what I eat, but it’s just so you can get in my plus-size pants!”

    “We don’t just fuck,” he protested. “I feel like we’ve really gotten to know each other.”

    “Yeah, you listen to me, but it’s just so you can pork me up like a little experiment. You’re the reason I’ve gained 20 fucking pounds since I’ve gotten here!” She saw his eyes light up and regretted giving fuel to his feedist fire. She pushed him again, but this time he didn’t budge.

    “No,” he said vainly, “I don’t care what you eat or what your body does. I like ya a lot, and I hate that we’re fighting.”

    Suddenly Vonnie noticed that a few people in the main space had noticed their fight and were craning their necks to peek down the hallway toward her. Furious and impulsive, she marched away from Joe, her fat shaking wildly with each firm step, pushing out into the crowd. Joe called after her, but she didn’t hear the words. She cast about for her friends, but Taylor was lost to grinding up on some guy, and the rest were nowhere in sight. She felt like she was going to fall apart. She pushed out of the bar and onto the street. Joe followed her to the door, but he just waved his hand in angry dismissal and stepped back inside.
     
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  11. Sep 9, 2019 #11

    Benny Mon

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    Chapter 4 cont'd

    Vonnie couldn’t hold back the tears now: the floodgates burst, and she wandered pitifully for a block or two, turning heads with her unrestrained sobs. In spite of the summer, she was cold, and as her stomach shifted it suddenly felt like she’d opened up more space for food. In fact, she was ravenous. Sniffling and disoriented, she wandered into the first eatery she found, a hole-in-the-wall pizza place. Under the harsh fluorescent lighting, she stood at the counter and forked over ten bucks for an entire small pizza. Outside of the free meals and modest stipend she got from La Vie, she had almost no cash, but this was an impulse purchase she couldn’t turn down. Vonnie squeezed into a booth with her fresh pizza, grabbing at oozing pieces, the hot cheese scalding her fingers and the roof of her mouth. It didn’t stop her: frantic, compelled, she bit into the viscous cheese, gulping down bites, recklessly shoving entire pieces in. The fight faded away, the pizzeria dimmed, the shame disintegrated along with her sense of self. The fuller she got, the more she knew only the taste of bread and cheese and pepperoni, the pressure on her inflating stomach, the growing buzz in her head, the euphoria spreading through all her limbs. She was just a body, a mass of insatiable flesh, hoovering up every bit of food within reach. She chomped through the final slices, pushing stray bits of sauce and tendrils of cheese into her mouth, chewing and gulping and swallowing until the pizza was gone. Her arms fell limp, and she just sat there, breathing shallowly and feeling her whole body tingle.

    Then her eyes re-focused, and she noticed a woman standing and staring at her. An Asian-American woman. Cora. How long had she been there? Vonnie’s face reheated, pain flared into her stomach, and she burst out in tears once more.

    “No, no no!” Cora said, concern covering her face, and she rushed over to comfort Vonnie. “What’s wrong?”

    “I’m fugging miserable...hic!” Vonnie managed through the sobs. “This was supposed to be better than Chicago but I’m so lonely and it’s so hard to be here alooooone….” Words melted into tears, and Cora just hugged and soothed her.

    “You don’t want to be here anymore,” Cora said. “Let’s get you home. I’ll drive you. Come on.”

    So she stumbled to Cora’s car, one obese woman leading another, and she sniffled in the passenger seat as Cora drove her across town. They drove in silence for a few minutes, Vonnie turned to the window and squirming under the strictures of her seatbelt.

    “I have a seatbelt extender if you need one,” Cora said. “I should’ve asked.”

    “Thank you.”

    “Of course. It’s in the back seat. Just say the word.”

    “No, I mean, thank you for taking me home. For being there. What were you doing at that pizza shop, anyway?”

    “Grasso’s? They have the best pizza in town! Your instincts were good, Vonnie. Anyway, I was picking up a few slices.”

    “I’m sorry,” Vonnie groaned, “you didn’t get your pizza because of my stupid tantrum…”

    “No! You are not going down that road. I can get pizza anytime. You needed a friend now.”

    Vonnie sighed, still facing the window, trying and failing to look past her tear-stained reflection to the city lights drifting by outside. “I don’t know, Cora. Southvale was supposed to be better than Chicago. We were poor, but not poor poor, you know? Always teetering on the edge. It was so important to my parents to have good clothes, a clean house, a perfect daughter…” She sniffled. “And I was good! I never got in trouble, and I did pretty well in school. Always was friendly and helpful at church. I was good, but I wasn’t perfect, because I was too fucking fat, and they hated me for it.”

    “Nooo,” Cora interjected, “I’m sure they didn’t hate you!”

    Vonnie turned to her. “They did. I was the one give-away that their lives weren’t perfect. Fuck, maybe they didn’t hate me, but after the way they treated me for my weight, what’s the difference? And they always told me I’d never get married like that, that I was too fat even for the black men who like a little meat on the bones--and there aren’t even many of them, whatever you might have heard. And I finally had a boyfriend here in Southvale, and now I probably just fucked that up too…” She collapsed into tears again.

    “Ahhh, I see.” Vonnie reached over and pressed her hand onto Cora’s barrel-sized thigh. “This is about a guy.

    “Ugh,” Vonnie sighed, wiping away her tears, “I feel so guilty, but I shouldn’t! I was just a fuck buddy to him. He didn’t care about me. I mean, we hung out, and we talked, and I feel like I got to know him. But I never met his friends or heard about his family, and whenever I didn’t want to eat or fuck, it was like he lost interest. All the intimacy was...conditional.”

    “Well he can go fuck himself,” Cora said, which perked Vonnie up a bit and made her laugh. “You don’t need him, and you sure as hell shouldn’t let one bad guy ruin your time in Southvale. There are other guys, and other people! I’m sure you have friends at La Vie. And you have me.” She squeezed Vonnie’s thigh again, and Vonnie smiled back.

    The car eased to a stop, but Vonnie realized this wasn’t La Vie, and they weren’t even in the warehouse district. The street was lined with row houses.

    “You took us to the neighborhoods,” she said.

    “Yeah,” Cora ventured, “guilty as charged. Listen, you’re having a tough night, and maybe you don’t want to be around a lot of people right now. You can sleep on my couch if you want. Sorry--I should have asked you.”

    “No, it’s ok, I appreciate it. I’d love that.”

    They waddled out of the car and inside to Cora’s living room. Vonnie sat on the sofa while Cora poured them each a glass of cognac. Vonnie noticed that Cora was still wearing her pantsuit, and Cora’s belly threatened to pop the button on her pants.

    “Why are you still dressed up?” Vonnie asked. “It’s late on a Friday.”

    “Had to work late tonight,” she shrugged. She sat down next to Vonnie on the sofa.

    “You should change into more comfortable clothes.” Here, Vonnie paushed. “Cora, I need to tell you something. I should be honest with you.”

    Cora leaned forward a bit, straining her pants even further. “Anything. What is it?”

    Vonnie looked down at her feet, obscured by her belly. “I didn’t just leave Chicago because my parents were hard on my weight. It was also...I’m...I’m gay. I mean, not straight. I’m queer. Bi.”

    Cora smiled and took Vonnie’s hand.

    “I moved out after high school,” Vonnie continued, strangely calm. “I didn’t even apply to college, didn’t have a job. I was so depressed because my parents were so icy after I came out. They never said anything homophobic, but, I could just see...Anyway, I stayed with my aunt and uncle. They were sweet, they didn’t judge me. But they had to move all the time, so that was a dead end. Applying for La Vie, that was my last chance. I was desperate. And I was so happy when I was accepted, Cora, you have no idea. It was my first chance to get away, to breathe, to be myself.” She breathed deep, let it out. “And it makes me think: Joe wasn’t the best, but he wasn’t horrible, either. I don’t think I was that mad at him just because he was horny. It’s because...well, why be tied down to a guy when I have more choices? Why settle for a mediocre dude when I could have an amazing woman?”

    Cora grinned back at Vonnie, her small, perfect teeth gleaming in the low light. She leaned forward, her belly pressing into Vonnie’s, her hands on Vonnie’s hips. “I know exactly what you mean,” she whispered. She leaned in to kiss Vonnie, and as their lips locked her button finally flew open and dropped her zipper most of the way down. It didn’t matter: she was ripping her shirt off, tugging down her pants, and Vonnie was pulling her dress up over her head. They mashed into each other in a frenzy of kissing, Cora running her hands all over Vonnie’s flabby body, Vonnie undoing Cora’s bra and grasping Cora’s (comparatively) small, round breasts. They wrestled each other awkwardly back and forth on the sofa, trying to find space for their massive, twisting bodies, hearing the furniture creak beneath them. Suddenly Cora broke away, rising to stand on her thick legs, her belly shifting left and right, and she pushed Vonnie back onto the sofa, stopping her from following.

    “Just stay,” she whispered, “and open your legs.”

    Vonnie’s self-direction was lost: she did as she was told. She spread her meaty legs, she felt Cora’s cheeks brush against the warmth of her inner thighs, and she arched her back, moaning, as Cora’s lips touched her clit.
     
  12. Sep 12, 2019 #12

    Benny Mon

    Benny Mon

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    Chapter 5

    “That’s it?”

    David nodded back at Sal. “That’s it. Nothing. Zip.”

    The two men, alongside Sergeant Alisha Thompson, were gathered for another early-morning meeting, this time at an old coffee shop called The Beneficent Bean. The barista, a bottom-heavy Indian girl in a crop-top and leggings, waddled over with their breakfast sandwiches, each asscheek wiggling madly with every step. She was silent, bored and distracted, and David peeled back the toasted english muffin of his sandwich to make sure she’d gotten it right. Egg whites, turkey, a thin, gooey slice of swiss: he was in the clear.

    “I’ve talked to everyone who worked on the Harris campaign,” he continued. “We’ve subpoenaed the hell out of them, and documents are starting to trickle in. I’ll keep looking at them, but so far, there’s nothing. Everything is clean. I even talked to those leads the police gave me, but they just seem like random people. They don’t know anything.”

    Sal ran his hands through his hair in frustration, and Alisha sipped out of her big coffee mug with two hands. She looked like she’d lost a little weight.

    “You look like you’ve lost a little weight,” David said.

    She brightened. “I think I have. Not much, but my uniform is just fitting better. You know, I’m so obsessed with this case that I’m skipping meals, and it’s usually the opposite.”

    David nodded and smiled back. “Congratulations. It feels good, doesn’t it?”

    “This is all very nice,” Sal interrupted, “but we’ve got more pressing fucking matters.”

    “Just trying to lighten the mood,” David said.

    “The mood will lighten when we make some headway here. Do you have anything else?”

    “One thing: I haven’t talked to O’Neill yet.”

    Alisha perked up and leaned forward. “That’s it!”

    Sal put his hands on the table. “That is not it. We can’t go after O’Neill until we’re ready. We need to lay the groundwork.”

    “He’s in on this,” said Alisha, “and if we’re talking to everyone at City Hall, he already knows, and he’s already covering his tracks. If we don’t act fast, he’s gonna get away!”

    “It’s not happening,” Sal retorted.

    “But--”

    “It’s. Not. Happening.” He was louder this time. (David looked to see if the barista had noticed, but she was still working away listlessly. He sneered reflexively at the sight of her: it always amazed him how some people could just be chubby on top and massive on the bottom.) “You are not even formally part of this investigation, Alisha, and you don’t get to call the shots.”

    She glared at him in silence before turning to David. “If you don’t talk to Marvin, you should talk to Rose.”

    “Who’s Rose?” David asked.

    “Don’t waste your time,” Sal muttered.

    “Rose Cappellini and Ryan Sweet were friends of the O’Neills,” said Alisha, “and they were a couple.”

    “There’s more than one O’Neill?” David asked.

    “Yeah.” Alisha’s eyes widened, and she hesitated. “Did I not tell you about Kim?”

    David shook his head.

    “That’s Marvin’s wife. She’s big and always getting bigger. I haven’t seen her in a while, but she must be as big as a house by now. She’s the reason why people started figuring out Marvin’s a pervert in the first place. But what happened was, Rose tried to bring down the whole O’Neill campaign--went on the news and everything--because Ryan, her boyfriend, was having an affair with Kim. Plus, Ryan was a Kaplan guy. Meaning, he worked in the planning department for the old mayor. So the campaign dropped him, but the fact is, before that he was on the inside, and he could be our way in, too.”

    “This is all just gossip,” said Sal. “TMZ shit. We don’t know any of this. And Ryan skipped town ages ago. This won’t do anything.”

    David drummed his fingers on the table. “Sal, if you don’t want me going after O’Neill directly, I have to go somewhere. I’m going to talk to Rose Cappelli.”

    “Cappellini,” Alisha corrected.

    “Ok!” said Sal, tossing his hands in the air. “You wanna waste your time, you go for it! I’ll be waitin’ for you when you’re done. It’s all on the Trump dime, anyway, it’s no skin off my nose.”

    David rolled his eyes, still drumming his fingers. “Sal, why’d you shave?” he said finally. “The mustache was great, man.”

    Sal waved his hand, still grousing.
     
  13. Sep 12, 2019 #13

    Benny Mon

    Benny Mon

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    Chapter 5 cont'd

    * * *

    David pulled up outside a house in the far-flung neighborhoods of Southvale, almost the suburbs. He had access to a few subscription investigative databases, but none of them had turned up a viable phone number for Rose, so he decided to drive out to her most recent address on record. The place was a low-slung ranch, simple but clean, in a neighborhood of near-identical houses. There was a huge moving truck parked in the driveway, too, and a small army of muscular men transporting boxes and furniture from the house to the truck. He stood in the yard for a few minutes, arms akimbo, as these men carried on their task, seemingly oblivious to David’s watchful eye.

    But then another car, a large black sedan, pulled up to the curb and parked behind David’s rental. It slowly released its driver, unmistakably Rose Cappellini. David had watched her little news segment from 2016, the one where she ruined her boyfriend’s career, so he recognized her pale skin, her ice-blue eyes, her black bob, pulled now into a stubby ponytail with a few loose strands framing her face. But she was fatter, too. Much fatter. She was morbidly obese then, and, god, was she 100 pounds heavier now? The Rose of 2016 had been round like a bowling ball, but this one had outgrown her roundness for a misshapen blobbiness. A clingy summer dress did nothing to hide her overgrown belly, a doughy mass of flesh so big that her dress barely fell at a decent point on her stocky thighs. For a woman of her size, her breasts weren’t too big, but her upper arms were like sacks of flour, and her back fat seemed to be competing with her stomach for largest body part. And her ponytail only highlighted how fat her face had gotten: it was swimming in double chin.

    Gripping her car and the car door, on the count of one-two-three she eased herself to her feet, panting a bit as she stood. David spotted some empty fast food bags in her passenger seat, but it took her a moment to spot David. She started.

    “What are you doing on my lawn?” she asked. A red tinge had crept into her meaty cheeks.

    David jabbed his thumb behind him. “This your place?”

    She shut her car door. “What are you, a cop?”

    “God, no. I work for the Federal Elections Commission. Are you Rose Cappelli?”

    “No, I’m Rose Cappellini. And I’ll ask you again: what are you doing on my lawn?” A tiny purse hung from her shoulder, dwarfed by her enormous body.

    “I tried to call, but no one picked up! I’m working on a case here in Southvale, and I thought you might be able to help me.”

    “I don’t know what makes you think that.” She waddled forward, her belly slapping against her legs, and headed past David toward the house.

    “Because of Ryan.”

    Rose froze and turned her head back, inhibited by her massive second chin. “I haven’t talked to Ryan in a long time.”

    David walked up to her. “I’m sure, but you were talking back in 2016. When Marvin O’Neill ran for mayor. When Harris won.”

    Rose sighed. “I mean, we were barely talking even then. He was never home, just working all the time and cheating on me. I already went to the news, I told them what I knew. It wasn’t much.” She was silent for a moment. “This was his place, you know. After he moved out, I took over the lease, but now it’s expiring, and I’m, uh,”--she let her hands plop on her belly--“well, it’s getting a little too small for me.”

    David resisted the urge to grimace. Sergeant Thompson was right. This town was full of perverts. “Still,” he continued, “we should sit down and talk. Doesn’t matter if you don’t know much. You could still help my investigation. For instance, who was he spending time with back then?”

    Rose shrugged. “I don’t even know! I’m sorry, I’m not that helpful, and I honestly just want to leave that part of my life behind. And I have some moving to do, so I need to go.” David called after her, but she ignored him, greeting the movers and waddling inside and out of sight.

    David sighed and cracked his knuckles, settling back into his car. God, it was scalding hot in there. He undid a couple buttons of his pressed white shirt, giving his toned pecs a little air, and he turned on the car for AC. He didn’t know how fatties like Rose dealt with this summer heat. He ran a hand over the top of his head, too. It was time for a haircut. Drumming his fingers on the dashboard, David refocused. He shifted into gear and pulled away, calling Sergeant Alisha Thompson as he drove.

    “Just talked to Rose,” he said.

    “And?”

    “I got nothing, but I don’t trust her.”

    “Now you’re thinking like police,” she said.

    He laughed. “Really, though, it was pointless. She knows more than she’s letting on, but since I’m not actually a policeman, I don’t think I can get anything out of her.”

    “You should talk to O’Neill, then.”

    “I mean, the same thing’s going to happen, right? Sal’s right about this one: we can’t go after Marvin until we’re ready.”

    Alisha was silent for a few moments, and then: “I have an idea.”

    “I’m all ears.”

    “Ok, sure, save O’Neill for later. But swing by La Vie est Pleine. That’s the fat camp. Tell them that you’re thinking about staying there for a few days. That you want a tour. Talk to some people. See where it takes you!”

    “You know Sal would never go for this.”

    “He wouldn’t. But he doesn’t have to know.”

    “I don’t know...” David shook his head. “I mean, I have wanted to check the place out. Just morbid curiosity.”

    “There you go! Just go take a look. Not as the big FEC inspector, just as David Díaz. How could you not?”

    He took a deep breath. “Ok. Yeah. I’m going there now. I’ll keep you posted.”
     
  14. Sep 12, 2019 #14

    Benny Mon

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    Chapter 5 cont'd

    At the next red light, as David set up the directions on his maps app, he felt guilt stirring in his stomach. This was sloppy. He could do this right, be patient and fill in all the gaps, but he was angry and frustrated and baffled by his whole experience in Southvale. He simply did not understand the place, which drew him in as much as it repelled him. And so his impulses got the best of him, and he found himself winding his way through blocks of warehouses and parking outside the gaudy exterior of La Vie est Pleine. He didn’t like it when his impulses got the best of him. Still, he walked in and spotted a busty, fat young Latina at the front desk.

    “Hola,” he said, smiling wide.

    She looked up from her phone: “Yes?”

    “No, no,” he reassured her, “hablo español. Soy mexicano - o mis padres son mexicanos, soy de Chicago.”

    She folded her hands. “What can I do for you, sir?” She had an accent, but she wouldn’t reciprocate.

    Clearly rebuffed, David rested his hands on the counter. “I, uh, well...I’ve heard great things about this place. Wonderful things. And I’m overworked, so I need some good, old R&R.” He cringed inside at this absurdly bad speech. He regretted not preparing better, regretted doing this so impulsively in the first place.

    The receptionist didn’t seem perturbed at all. “You’d like to schedule a stay with us?” She clicked through to a new screen on her monitor.

    “Yes. No, I mean--I’d like a tour first, to see if I like it.”

    She looked up at him. “You have to schedule those ahead of time, sir.”

    “There’s no chance someone can take me right now?”

    The receptionist squinted (or was it glared?) at him slightly. “We’re not just waiting around all day for you to come and ask for a tour, sir.”

    David frowned. “What the--” But he caught himself as he noticed another employee had entered the reception, a short, slim man with a black ponytail.

    “Ana,” said the man, “I’m free right now. I can take Mr…?”

    “Díaz,” said David, immediately regretting giving a real name. He course corrected: “Andres Díaz.”

    “Ah!” said the man warmly, smiling and taking David’s hand. “I’m a Díaz, too. Manuel Díaz. I work in HR here. Application review, labor relations, that sort of thing. I’d be happy to show you around. I’ll take it from here, Ana.”

    The receptionist stared silently back at David, nibbling on a donut she’d suddenly produced from under her desk.

    “You’ll have to forgive Ana,” Manuel said as they walked. “She’s never too friendly to people who, well...if you’ll forgive me, people who look like cops.”

    David’s head swiveled. “Excuse me?”

    “So you’re not a cop?”

    God, no!”

    “Ok ok! I believe you. Just had to ask. But you’d have to tell me if you were a cop, right?”

    “I have literally no idea,” David sighed.

    “Fair enough,” said Manuel. “A cop would know.”

    They passed through a set of doors into a huge open space, and David’s brain filtered out the spiel Manuel had launched into as he took in the sight in front of him. He had never seen so many fat people in one place. Mostly women, of all races and shapes and sizes. Some sat at dining tables, others in clusters of sofas and chairs, and the whole hall was ringed with cafe counters swarmed by some of the residents. Some were chatting, others reading or on their phones, and nearly everyone was eating. Soon, though, David’s eye was drawn to one in particular, a morbidly obese black girl with light brown eyes, slouched alone in a chair near a set of restrooms. She looked dejected, unlike just about everyone else around him. Isolated. Disaffected. She was his way in.

    “Mr. Díaz. Mr. Díaz! Are you all right?”

    David snapped back. “Yes! Sorry, Manny, I’m ok.”

    “It’s Manuel.”

    “Ah, yeah. Sorry, Manuel. Hey, can you point me to the restrooms? I really have to take a piss.”

    “Geez, sure. They’re right over there.”

    David thanked him and walked toward the restrooms. The girl seemed to notice as he approached her, and he discreetly slipped her one of his cards as he passed. “If you ever need to talk about anything,” he whispered, “truly anything, give me a call.” He entered the bathroom, took the shortest piss of his life, washed his hands thoroughly, and exited. He didn’t look back to see if the girl was interested, or confused, or what; he just returned to Manuel Díaz.

    “Feeling better, Mr. Díaz?”

    “Much better now, Manuel, thank you.”

    Manuel grimaced. “Are you...sure you’re not a cop, Mr. Díaz?”

    That was his cue. “I should go,” David said abruptly. “Not feeling well.”

    “I’m so sorry,” said Manuel, “let me--”

    “I’ll see myself out,” David insisted, and he blew past Manuel, past Ana the receptionist, and back to his car. He felt almost frenzied, and it struck him how crazy it was that he was so involved now, that he was taking risks and arousing suspicions, when on that first day he’d just wanted to go back to Chicago. Something was going on here in Southvale, and he was going to figure it out.
     
  15. Sep 20, 2019 #15

    Benny Mon

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    Chapter 6

    A kiss on the lips...a longer kiss, and a tongue pressing against hers...Vonnie’s eyes fluttered as she drifted into consciousness, returning Cora’s kiss before rolling over. God, it was getting hard to roll like that now. She felt the mass of her body pressing into the bed, weighing her down, making even the simplest movement a great effort. She didn’t know how much she weighed now, but she was noticeably heavier than even a few months ago. She’d had to buy new clothes then, back in June, and it was getting to be that time again. Right now, though, she was just naked beneath the sheets, the only sensations on her skin the other fat parts of her body rubbing softly up against each other. Instinctively, her right hand went to her belly and hefted it. It was starting to give her ass a run for its money as largest body part. She snuggled against the pillow, feeling it brush against her bare head. She’d started shaving her head after she started dating Cora. It felt like the right thing to do if she was going to be in a gay relationship. Right? Hell, she had no idea what she was doing.

    Cora appeared in front of her face again, naked but out of bed. Well, it was Cora’s massive belly at first, but she crouched to kiss Vonnie again before trying to press into the bed from this side.

    “Ughh,” Vonnie moaned. “I don’t want to mooove.”

    Cora’s belly smooshed into her face, and she bent down to kiss Vonnie again. “You sure? Last night was so much fun.”

    “Yeah,” said Vonnie, “and it lasted all night. I need sleep.” She pulled the cover over her head.

    Cora snatched it back down. “Fine. How about breakfast?”

    “Mmm.” Vonnie’s eyes were closed, but she smiled wide.

    “You got it. Back in a few!” Cora threw on a black lace shawl and strolled out of the room.

    Vonnie dozed for another half hour, barely awake but for the tantalizing smells wafting in from the kitchen, bacon and eggs and bagels and something sweet. In the confusion of sleep, she dreamed she was in a New York bagel shop, ordering a lunch of a half-dozen bagels and a tub of cream cheese, and settling in Central Park to consume it all, slicing and slathering the bagels one by one and methodically chewing them into oblivion. But Cora’s footsteps into the room scattered the dream and broke the surface of her sleep. She twisted a little in bed, feeling a warmth in her crotch.

    “Was having a ngood dreamm--” Vonnie mumbled, until she saw what Cora brought. She pushed herself up in bed a little as Cora presented a huge platter of hot food: a mound of steaming scrambled eggs, a pile of glistening bacon, two everything bagels sliced and covered in chive cream cheese, and at the center a huge, fragrant cinnamon drowned in fresh frosting.

    “Eat up!” Cora grinned.

    “Where’s yours?”

    “This is all you, baby. I had some cereal out there.”

    “Come on, Cora, you--oomph.” Cora had stripped off a piece of the cinnamon roll, icing oozing over her fingers, and pushed it between Vonnie’s lips. The girl from Chicago moaned and ceased her complaints. “Cora that is so good.”

    Cora smiled mischievously. “You want more?”

    “More!” Vonnie’s eyes went wide and a little glassy.

    “No dessert till you finish your breakfast, babe.” She guided a forkful of eggs and bacon to Vonnie’s mouth, which Vonnie took in completely.

    Vonnie felt the heat and fat slide back on her tongue and down her throat and reached out to take the platter from Cora. “You’re not going to do this fast enough.” She began shoveling food down her throat.

    “Then I’m free to do something else.” Cora, still smiling, slid between Vonnie’s legs, pushed apart her fat thighs to make room for her face, and moved toward Vonnie’s pussy.

    “Cora,” Vonnie said through a mouthful of bagel, “chu don’t have to, dhis food if so goo--ahhhh.” She couldn’t stop Cora, whose tongue ran up and down her labia. She didn’t have the will to give in anymore. It was like this more and more often with Cora: the more time they spent at her house, the more they just focused on two things, sex and food, the only things Cora seemed to care much about outside of work. She was a glutton for all things, with an appetite for sex as big as her appetite for food, and she was pulling Vonnie along with her. Not that Vonnie needed much help. Right now, she forgot who and where she was, almost forgot about Cora, just shoveled more and more food down her throat, eggs, bacon, eggs, bagel, with cream cheese gushing over her lips at each bite, eggs, bacon, bacon, bacon...She obediently saved the cinnamon roll for the end, just as Cora had instructed. The tension built in her crotch, electric waves of pleasure washing over her with each lick, with each of her short, fast bites. She ate fast all the time now, and this was faster than usual. Soon there was nothing left but the cinnamon roll, and even though she could feel the food pressing against her very full stomach, she practically shoved the roll in her face, chewing frantically, smelling the hot, sweet, spiced fragrance, filling her mouth with bread and sugar, her eyes almost watering at how full she was. She felt Cora’s mouth pumping away at her clit, felt her body stiffening, barely getting the platter down before she spilled it, writhing in the bed...buzz...gripping the sheets...buzz...arching her back and feeling her belly wiggle at this slight motion...buzz buzz...moaning in pleasure, wheezing in pain...buzz!

    Vonnie shot up, accidentally pulling away from Cora’s mouth. “What the fuck is that buzzing!” she yelled.

    “Babe, forget it, it’s your phone!” Cora inched closed to her again, dragging her belly along the bed sheets. “Just ignore it.”

    “I have to turn it off. It’s ruining the moment.” She heaved her body awkwardly across the bed toward the night stand on which her phone sat.

    “It’s just going to be Joe again.”

    “ I mean, why do you think this is ruining the moment for me?”

    “It’s so awkward that he’s still texting you after all this time. You’re not even responding. Why can’t he just leave you the fuck alone?”

    “Oh, fuck…”

    “Vonnie, baby, what is it?”

    The rest of the world flooded back into Vonnie’s mind, and she wobbled out of bed. “I have to go.”

    “What? What happened?”

    “It’s Taylor,” said Vonnie, digging into her overnight bag and pulling out a yoga shirt and yoga pants. “I told her I’d meet her for a yoga class at La Vie today, and I’m late.”

    Cora walked up to Vonnie and hugged her close, pressing her belly against Vonnie’s fleshy hip. “You can miss this one. We were having so much fun…”

    “I’ve been missing them for weeks.” Vonnie, in her shirt, was now perched on the edge of the bed, struggling to work the yoga pants up her ankles and her thighs. “I feel terrible. I need to see Tay today.” She stood up, the pants and shirt not quite meeting at the apex of her belly, but otherwise clothed. “What do you think?”

    “I didn’t realize that was a crop top,” Cora teased. Vonnie just glared at her, kissed her, and grabbed her phone and her wallet while Cora called her an Uber.

    She couldn’t get comfortable in the car. The undischarged sexual energy left her body tense, and she was swamped by guilt toward her friends at La Vie. She’d left Chicago for a fresh start, for community, and she was worried she was giving it all up over a relationship that was 90% about sex. It bothered her that so many of her things were now housed at Cora’s, that she relied on her for so many of her meals, for a bed to sleep in. She unclipped her wallet, rooting through it absent-mindedly, sorting through an expired credit card, a single piece of gum, some very old receipts, and a folded-over business card. She unfolded it: “David Díaz. Associate Inspector. Federal Elections Commission.” That was such an odd day, when this man had slipped her his card and invited her to talk. About what? Elections? He’d been so earnest. She slipped the card back into place, not folded this time, and clipped the wallet shut.
     
  16. Sep 20, 2019 #16

    Benny Mon

    Benny Mon

    Benny Mon

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    Chapter 6 cont'd

    * * *

    Vonnie and Taylor lay on their mats in the La Vie yoga studio, bent legs in the air and fingers hooked around their big toes in Happy Baby pose. Taylor had gotten pretty good at yoga over the months, but Vonnie’s belly was so big now she could only just barely reach her feet. She strained against her bunching gut, feeling sweat beading on her forehead. She kept her gaze straight ahead, staring at the ceiling, unwilling to see whether other members of the class were watching her.

    Taylor finally spoke for the first time. “You don’t sound like you’re doing so good.”

    “I’m fine,” Vonnie managed.

    “This is a restorative class. It’s supposed to be the easy stuff. You can just leave if it’s not your thing.”

    “Tay, I am so, so sorry I was late.”

    “You’re lucky the teacher didn’t kick you out when you showed up twenty minutes late.”

    “I lost track of time, Tay, honest.”

    “You didn’t even remember we were doing this.”

    Vonnie was just silent, too afraid to admit the truth but unwilling to lie.

    “Thank you,” said the curvy, fit white teacher calmly. “We’re almost done now. Next, we’re going to move into shoulder stand. Please place your upper back on some blankets, place your upper arms firmly on the blankets, and push your legs and torso into the air, straight up, balancing firmly on your shoulders and elbows. Let your head hang off the blankets comfortably.”

    Vonnie released her feet, mercifully freeing her jiggly belly and letting the air rush back into her lungs. “Tay,” she said, preparing her blankets, “I know this isn’t healthy.”

    Taylor was already in position. “Fuck no it isn’t healthy! You’re obsessed with this woman. I barely see you anymore. And on top of that, she works here! I don’t know about that, either.”

    “What’s wrong with that?” asked Vonnie, resting on her stack of blankets.

    “It’s not going anywhere good.”

    Ignoring her friend, Vonnie took a deep breath and tried to kick her legs up into position. She barely got any air, and her feet thudded back to the ground. She tried over and over, her thighs wiggling under the spandex, until the teacher came over and gently placed a hand on Vonnie’s knee.

    “Why don’t I give you a little guidance,” she offered.

    Vonnie, breathing heavily, just nodded into her double chin. The teacher had her raise one leg slowly, which she grabbed and stabilized while the other slowly lifted to join it. Vonnie’s upper thighs struggled against her expansive belly, but the teacher slowly guided her legs up, which straightened her torso as well. She couldn’t believe how strong this teacher was, and soon, unbelievably, she was most vertical. It was a bizarre feeling, inverting the weightiness of her body and balancing it on her shoulders. In fact, she almost felt suffocated, and she began to freak out just as the teacher released her legs to let her balance on her own. That was a dubious proposition anytime, and in her panic she gave up any chance of staying upright. Her legs split in different directions and fell forward, tangling into the teacher and knocking her down as Vonnie’s ass thudded to the floor. She felt the sting in her ass and in her face as she looked straight up at the ceiling, trying not to see who had turned their heads to watch. “I’m so sorry, I’m so sorry,” she kept whispering to the teacher.

    The woman pulled herself up and placed her hand on Vonnie’s knee again. “Don’t worry, definitely not the first time this has happened. You’ll get there, we’ll just keep working on it.” Vonnie felt that she meant it, that she really was all about helping Vonnie get better at yoga. She felt guilty for wasting this woman’s time: she wasn’t planning on becoming a regular.

    The class wound to a close, and soon everyone was in the locker room, showering and changing.

    “Why aren’t you changing?” Taylor asked, perched on a bench and pulling on a fresh pair of shorts. Vonnie noticed that she hadn’t gained any weight in the past months. She might even have gotten a little more toned.

    “My clothes are at Cora’s,” she murmured. “I changed there.”

    “See? This is exactly what I’m talking about. You are codependent. Hell, you’re just dependent!”

    “Taylor, it’s not like I wanted it to go this way. I was so tired when I got here from Chicago. So tired, and then that whole thing with Joe...Cora just made it so easy. I didn’t have to do anything. So I just fell into it…” Tears began to trickle down her cheek.

    “Oh, girl, come here.” Taylor stood up and pulled Vonnie into a tight embrace. “I know. It’s not easy, but we’re gonna figure this out together. You’ve got me. You know you do.”

    Vonnie wiped at the tears with the back of her hand. “I know...I do know. Cora’s just fun, you know! She loves to eat like I do, and she loves...well, you know.”

    Taylor smirked. “I know.”

    “I love all that about her. But I just need to set some boundaries.”

    “Exactly. Whatever I think about Cora, I want you to be happy. I just don’t want it to cut you off from the rest of your life.”

    “You know, at least Joe would hang out with y’all. And we really did talk to each other, even if he had an angle.”

    Taylor looked back sternly. “Don’t go feeling warm and fuzzy about Joe, now.”

    Vonnie laughed cathartically. “Don’t worry, I won’t!”

    Most people had trailed out of the locker room by now. “I’m starving,” said Taylor. “Let’s go get some lunch.”

    “Go ahead. I need to sit for a minute, and then I’m going to go get some things from Cora’s and move them back here. I need some clothes back here…”

    Taylor slapped her on her meaty shoulder. “Good on you, girl. Dinner, then?”

    Vonnie nodded. “Dinner.”

    She sat in the locker room for a while, letting her breathing ease, her pulse lower. She was glad she’d come, glad she’d talked it all over with Taylor. The past few months with Cora had felt like an unrelenting rush, like she hadn’t had a chance till now to come up for air, to survey the situation. She wasn’t going to cry anymore--she was sick of crying. From here on out, she had to be strong. Rested, she heaved herself to her feet and began to walk out of the room. She spotted the scales out of the corner of her eye and stopped, wondering if she should weigh herself. Even now, just standing, she felt her corpulence pulling her down, like she was carrying around sacks of grain everywhere she went. No, she didn’t want to know. She’d have to stabilize her weight before she stepped on a scale.

    Her phone buzzed and buzzed, and she flipped it over to see a call from Cora.

    “Hello?”

    “Hey, where are you?” Is your class done?”

    Vonnie steeled herself. “Yeah, I was just gonna come back to--”

    “Perfect! I’m glad you’re coming back. Listen, I wanted to ask…” Cora trailed off, almost bashfully. “I wanted to see if you wanted to come to dinner tonight with my good friends. I...it would mean a lot to me if you met them.”

    Vonnie’s stomach turned; she felt pulled in different directions. On the one hand, it was time to slow things down with Cora, to give herself some space. On the other, this felt different from the past few months. It wasn’t just food and drink and making merry, it was about taking each other seriously, introducing each other to the people who mattered in their lives. Taylor would kill her if she canceled dinner, but…

    “Yes. I’d love to meet your friends, Cora. Let’s do it.”

    “Great!” Cora chirped. “Come on back and we can have lunch and get ready together.”

    “I’ll be there in twenty.”
     
  17. Sep 20, 2019 #17

    Benny Mon

    Benny Mon

    Benny Mon

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    Chapter 6 cont'd

    * * *

    It was evening. Vonnie stood on the stoop out in the neighborhoods, a rowhouse converted into apartments, and kept tugging at her shirt. She’d changed into flats, extremely stretchy black pants, and a shimmering maroon top that she had to pull down to meet her pants. She ran her hands self-consciously over her shaved head. It wasn’t a new development, of course, but she hadn’t exactly met new people, let alone good friends of Cora’s, without any hair. But she was going to be strong. She wouldn’t be intimidated or saddened. This was a new chapter. Even if Taylor was mad. Vonnie’s phone buzzed, and she looked down to see the tenth angry text from her friend. She’d been furious when Vonnie’d told her she’d been skipping out on dinner tonight, but there was no helping it. She would come around. Vonnie had to set boundaries with Tyalor, too, right?

    Cora, in a light blue maxi dress, rang the doorbell, and in moments someone glided down the inside flight of stairs and opened the door. Vonnie was taken aback by this muscle man, well over six feet tall and absolutely jacked. His pressed white shirt could barely contain his toned torso, and he was wearing stylishly short pants and sockless loafers. He extended his hand and gripped Vonnie’s firmly. “Tony Stein. Nice to meet you.” He hugged Cora lightly and held the door for them.

    “I love these old buildings,” Vonnie said as she stepped inside. “We have them in Chicago, too, but I never get sick of them. Is this your place?”

    “No, no,” Tony laughed, “I’m just another guest. It’s just easiest for me to run and get the door.” He surprised Vonnie but showing them to an elevator instead of taking the stairs. It was as big as a freight elevator, which Vonnie didn’t understand, but she was grateful she didn’t have to lose her breath climbing the stairs. The elevator opened directly into the apartment, a spare but beautiful contemporary space with bright recessed lighting. They were standing in a hallway, and a fat woman passing from one room to the next, stuffing a chicken wing into her mouth, paused when she saw them.

    “Cora!” she screamed, jiggling over to hug her friend. “It’s been so long. And you must be Vonnie.” She hugged Vonnie, too, but she had a few inches on her, which meant Vonnie was immediately smothered by this woman’s enormous breasts and her pale, waterbed arms. “I’m Lainey Dukakis.”

    “A pleasure,” Vonnie said, already a little overwhelmed.

    “I work with Stein here in HR. Application review. As of last week, in fact, I’ve been promoted to be his deputy.”

    “It’s not civil to gloat like that,” Tony said, but Cora ignored him and wrapped Lainey in a big hug of her own. It forced a bit of a smile from Tony.

    “Congratulations,” Vonnie said. “Where did you say you worked?”

    Lainey stared back a bit surprised, her dark eyebrows raised. “At La Vie. That’s how we all know each other, Cora and everyone. Cora, you didn’t tell her?”

    “So,” Vonnie said, turning to Cora, “this is a work party?”

    “Not at all,” Cora assured her.

    “It’s much more than that,” Lainey said. “When we all come here for a party, it’s as good friends, not as coworkers.”

    “So this isn’t your place, either?” Vonnie asked.

    Lainey stared incredulously at Cora, her double chin broadening. “You didn’t tell her anything!”

    “I wanted it to be a surprise,” Cora shrugged. Vonnie swore she could see Lainey’s gaze lingering on Cora, slightly skeptical.

    “Come on, Vonnie,” said Tony, taking her by the arm, “let’s introduce you to everyone else.” They entered a living room with high, deep, angular sectional sofas. “Vonnie, this is Rose, and that’s Marvin and Kim. Everyone, this is Vonnie.”

    Time slowed to a crawl. Looking back, Vonnie couldn’t say whether it was pure social anxiety or the extraordinary group before her. There was Marvin, a good-looking black man who rose to his feet to greet her. Next to him was Rose, a black-haired, pasty white, massive blob of a woman in a simple summer dress who didn’t rise to meet her, simply waving from the sofa instead. And then there was Kim, a stunningly obese white woman who was walking in from another room. She was about as tall as Vonnie and built similarly, but she had to have hundreds of pounds on the girl from Chicago. Hundreds! Vonnie had never seen someone so fat, someone who made her feel so small, not even the other residents of La Vie. In slow motion, Vonnie watched her move, massive thighs and a titanic ass wrapped in barely enough tight, stretchy pants, wobbling majestically with every step. She wore a sleeveless, revealing green crop top that, with her pants, exposed the middle third or so of her double belly, a soft, rippling, sprawling terrain both wide and deep, wrapping around into heavy folds of back fat that spilled out under the edge of the crop top. A thin gold necklace hung generally below chins that framed a beautiful face, and her auburn hair was pulled into a complex up-do. Vonnie watched her settle on the couch, waves of fat rolling across the full surface of her body. Her ass took up two cushions, her belly made it hard to sit up straight, and her chins buried her face.

    Time caught up, and Vonnie simply saw a stupefyingly obese woman sprawled on the couch, drowning in fat, panting. “Sorry,” she said, “I’m a little out of breath. Not as limber as I used to be. But I’m Kim! Great to meet you. Hey, Cora!” She smiled and waved at Vonnie’s girlfriend, her rippling arms putting even Lainey’s to shame.

    Vonnie and Cora settled into a sofa at Marvin’s invitation.

    “So this is your place,” Vonnie said.

    Kim nodded. “Mine and Marvin’s. Not bad, right?”

    “It’s absolutely gorgeous,” said Vonnie, her eyes still scanning the room. “And you two work at La Vie, too?”

    Marvin moved to speak, but Lainey cut him off.

    “They don’t,” she said, “but Cora worked on Marvin’s campaign for a while, so we know them through her.” Marvin sat back a little, looking, confused and searching, at Lainey.

    “Campaign?” Vonnie asked.

    “I ran for mayor,” Marvin admitted, “for a little while. We used to have a real shit mayor, so I was struck with a serious case of civic duty. Luckily a better candidate came along and let me drop out and get back to my real business. I run cannabis shops around town.”

    “Good for you,” said Vonnie. “Sounds like that was exciting. And does that mean, uh…?”

    “Yes,” said Tony, popping out of his seat, “the pot brownies should be coming out of the oven any minute. Let me see how they’re doing. Vonnie, Cora, can I get you a drink?”

    “White wine!” piped Cora.

    “I’ll wait for the pot,” said Vonnie.

    “Vonnie,” said Rose, adjusting her dress over her huge belly, “how do you like La Vie so far? Cora treating you well over there?”

    Vonnie felt herself flush. “Cora’s treating me very well, it’s just not over there,” she wanted to say, but instead: “It’s amazing. Unlike any place I’ve ever been. I’ve put up with so much fatphobia in my life, everywhere I go, and inside La Vie, at least, it’s just not there. I definitely don’t worry about my eating anymore. I’ve put on so much weight since I’ve there...” She gripped her belly uncertainly and felt the edges of her top peel up a bit.

    “I know the feeling,” said Rose, swigging some wine and jiggling her belly. Everyone laughed. “I had a good stay there myself a couple years back. It does amazing things.”

    Vonnie looked over at Cora, who had remained silent and was piling a plate with appetizers. She placed it in front of Vonnie, not herself, which made Vonnie frown a little.

    “It’s the best feeling,” said Kim, shimmying a little and sending ripples through her whole body. “When you’ve gone without for years and years and years, it’s the best thing to just let loose. Lean into it, Vonnie. Don’t set any limits. See how far you can go.” Vonnie heard Kim’s breath coming heavily whenever she spoke, and even when she didn’t, even when totally at rest.

    Vonnie nodded and smiled, politely if hesitantly. She wasn’t sure she should be taking advice from a woman who was half again her size, but everyone else in the room was nodding and humming in agreement. Where the fuck was she?

    “Brownies are done!” Tony walked back into the room, gloved in oven mitts and carrying a piping hot, freshly cut pan of pot brownies and a serving spatula. He worked his way around the room, easing a brownie onto everyone’s plate. Kim reached in herself, struggling from behind her belly, and grabbed a second.

    “That’s gonna fuck you up,” Tony warned.

    “Yeah, and it’ll make me hungry as fuck.” Wide-eyed, she licked her lips.

    “Like you need the help,” Lainey said.

    “Dig in!” Kim cried, and Vonnie joined the group in biting into the warm, soft, sugary treat.

    “Oomph, gob,” she said, wolfing down a few bites at once, “thif if so goob!”

    It had been ages since Vonnie had gotten high, and the brownie hit her hard within a minute or two. She felt a little sleepy and smiled broadly, and she watched the room as it seemed to expand and contract at the same time. Suddenly the mound of food Cora had assembled for her seemed irresistible, and she began to chow down on chicken wings, chips and dip, and fruits and veggies wrapped in bacon. With every bite her hunger grew, and she tuned out of the conversation, knowing only what she consumed and vaguely aware that Cora was rubbing her belly as she ate. Soon dinner was served, high-end Chinese take-out. She watched Lainey take all the orange chicken, made herself a full plate of dumplings, spotted Marvin and Tony chatting and laughing in the corner with beers, and kept asking to taste things on Rose’s plate. She thought, too, that sometimes Cora was shuttling things from her plate to Vonnie’s, and Vonnie ate them heedlessly.
     
  18. Sep 20, 2019 #18

    Benny Mon

    Benny Mon

    Benny Mon

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    Chapter 6 cont'd

    It was impossible to say how much time had passed, but at one point Vonnie saw Kim trying to rock to her feet, trying and trying, her belly and her ass sloshing forward and back like waves on the sea. Marvin noticed and rushed over to help her, and she waved him off before giving and letting him stabilize her grip as she pulled herself upright. She was breathing heavily through her nose, a few flecks of rice resting on her top.

    “What is it, Kim?” her husband asked.

    “I need to get something,” she wheezed.

    “I could’ve gotten it for you.”

    She walked slowly and ponderously out of the room, her tremendous ass rocking and wiggling from side to side. High out of her mind, Vonnie was worried the momentum of Kim’s ass would pull her to the side and topple her. It wouldn’t have been a crazy thought sober, either. Everyone heard some rustling in another room, a smile grew on Marvin’s face, and Kim came back into the room carrying a wide, black platform.

    “It’s been so long since we did this,” Lainey said. She was grinning, too.

    “What the fuck is that?” Vonnie muttered. Her brain on weed was worried it was a case containing a bomb or some horrible torture device.

    “It’s a scale!” Cora squeaked. She was rubbing her hands together.

    “We just ate,” Rose said, “you know this is going to be off.”

    “So knock off a few pounds,” said Kim, breathing through her mouth now. “Or keep them. It’s not like our bellies aren’t full round the clock these days, anyway.”

    Marvin took the scale and set it on the hardwood, away from the area carpet.

    “I can’t wait to see where we’re at!” said Cora, patting her belly excitedly.

    Scenes of the day flashed through Vonnie’s mind--feeling heavy in Cora’s bed this morning, the disaster yoga class, the locker-room scale she’d passed up. Was this a conspiracy to shame her for her weight gain? She shook her head, realizing that in this group that didn’t make sense, but she was scared and anxious.

    “Step on up!” said Marvin, swinging his free hand wide toward the scale.

    “I’ll go,” said Rose. With one, two tries she tipped herself to her feet, and her belly wobbled in several directions as she approached the scale and stepped on.

    “Four hundred and sixty-six point zero pounds,” the scale stated in a robotic feminine voice.

    “Fuck!” said Rose softly. “I swear to god I’d hit 475. I was 460 two months ago!”

    “Everybody hits plateaus,” Kim reassured her.

    Vonnie stared on, adrift and horrified. Lainey stepped on next.

    “Four hundred and nine pounds point two pounds.”

    Lainey threw her hands in the air and roared, and the room exploded as Vonnie sat mute.

    “You cleared 400!” said Tony. “We should throw a party just for that. I’m bringing you a cake to celebrate at work on Monday.”

    “Better bring two so everyone else can have some, too,” she said. She was beaming.

    Cora slapped Vonie’s thigh. “You wanna go?”

    “No…” Vonnie managed.

    “Ok, I’ll go first.” She hopped up and stood up straight on the scale, her huge belly pressing out from under her dress, her pearlescent smile pushing her round cheeks wide.

    “Three hundred and forty-seven pounds point seven pounds.”

    “Augh!” Cora said, bending her knees in exaggerated defeat and returning to her seat.

    “You’ll get there,” said Kim. She was still standing, leaning on a bookshelf and a little red in the face. Her belly rose and fell with each labored breath. She nodded toward Vonnie. “If you keep eating with this one, you’ll hit 350 there in no time. You’re a champ, Vonnie.” She nodded again, at the scale. “It’s just you and me now. After you.”

    “That’s ok.” Vonnie couldn’t maintain eye contact.

    “I insist. You’re my guest!”

    “It’s ok, dont…”

    “If you say so.” Marvin helped her huge, unstable body onto the scale, which was designed to fit the wide stance of someone so fat. Marvin released her grip, and her fat hands hung at an angle in mid-air, her labored breath the only sound in the room. She breathed deep, her chins puffing around her gorgeous face, and waited as the scale seemed to take extra long.

    And then: “Six hundred and sixty eight point nine pounds.”

    The room (minus Vonnie) clapped and cheered as Kim tottered back toward the sofa and crashed back into her seat. She took a few beats to catch her breath and said, “I was stuck around 660 for so long. That was almost ten pounds in two months!”

    “For someone her size,” Cora explained, “that’s unbelievable. If she keeps it up she’ll be closing in on 700 sometime next year.”

    “Okay, Vonnie,” said Kim, “you’re up!”

    Vonnie could only sit mute, staring at a spot on the floor.

    Cora nudged her. “It’s ok,” she said. “You’re here now. This isn’t Chicago. You don’t have to worry about these things. Embrace the freedom!”

    Vonnie turned to face Cora. “I really don’t want to,” she said. “I have to set this boundary.”

    “You’ve been living with too many boundaries,” said Cora, “and since you got here you’ve been taking them down, one by one. Don’t undo all that work. Don’t stop here. Take the leap.”

    The room was spinning, and Vonnie thought she could feel her digestion, a pressure in her head, her pulse beating and beating. The room was watching her, waiting. She stood up, her flabby body quivering slightly, and without thinking put one foot in front of the other and stood on the scale.

    “Remember this number,” said Kim. “It’s a sign of how far you’ve come. And you won’t have to turn back. You can just keep moving forward.”

    Vonnie stared back at Kim, at her flushed face wrapped in layers and layers of fat, at the parts of her body that sprawled so far she wouldn’t be able to touch them anymore, even see them in a mirror. Vonnie watched Kim’s thickly padded chest rise and fall, rise and fall, watched her reach for another massive plate of Chinese food. And then the scale spoke:

    “Three hundred and eight-one point seven pounds.”

    “That’s almost 50 pounds!” Lainey blurted out, and then she covered her mouth with her hands, her eyes wide and fearful.

    Vonnie’s head was swimming, and she felt tears building, but she held them back. Her face was hot, her ears were hot. “How the hell do you know that?”

    Lainey grimaced. “Well, I work in app review…”

    Vonnie sighed, disgusted, and turned to Cora. “Why did you make me get on that scale?”

    “Vonnie,” she said, standing walking forward, “I wasn’t trying to--”

    “What the fuck did you bring me to here? What is all this? What are you all in on?”

    “It’s…” Cora tried to take Vonnie’s hands, but Vonnie refused.

    “We didn’t talk about this.” Her voice was rising. “We haven’t talked about anything! I thought it meant something that I was meeting your friends tonight--”

    “It was! It is!”

    “--but it was just another way for you to get off on making me fatter! Yeah! You think I haven’t noticed? I’ve been so stupid. You’re just like Joe, except without the pretense of being interested in me as a person, and I’ve been so fucking stupid that I went along with it!”

    Cora just blinked, her eyes glistening. Her hands fell back to her sides.

    “Don’t you fucking cry,” said Vonnie. “Don’t make this about you. You used me and dragged me into something I didn’t ask for. I came to Southvale for me. Not for anyone else. For myself. I’m sick of other people deciding how my life is going to work.”

    “Vonnie,” said Kim, vainly trying to rock herself upright again.

    “Stay there,” said Vonnie. “I don’t want to hear it. I don’t need to hear you justify Cora’s actions to me. You can’t do it. And how do I know you’re not all in on this same perverted game?”

    Vonnie turned and walked off, snatching her purse and phone off the counter.

    “Vonnie,” said Cora, padding toward her with a few heavy steps, but Vonnie spun back around.

    “Do not follow me, Cora.”

    “Vonnie, please…” She took another step forward.

    “Do not fucking follow me out of this apartment.”

    Cora stayed still this time, grimacing and collapsing into tears. Rose hurried over to comfort her as Vonnie stepped away, rode the elevator to the ground floor, and found cool, breathable air again on the streets. Her head throbbed a little, and she felt thirsty and slightly displaced from herself. She was still high, and she still felt like crying, but instead she yelled, screamed one long, loud scream into the night. And then she stood there panting.

    “How did this fucking happen to me again...” she said. She walked a few steps down the road and then stopped, lost, tired, winded, very full, and somehow still ravenous. She sat on someone’s stoop and called Taylor, once, twice, she lost track. Taylor wouldn’t pick up. “Why did I fucking blow her off for dinner…She texts me all night and then won’t pick up my calls. Fuck.” She threw her wallet on the ground, and it snapped open, spilling her old credit card, her gum, and David Díaz’s business card. She picked it up and turned it over and over, marveling at it, and then, slowly, dialed his number.

    “Hello?” He sounded drowsy.

    “Are you asleep?”

    “No, I’m up. What’s up? You all right?”

    “I need to talk. You offered to talk and I need someone to talk to, and somehow you’re the only person I can talk to right now.”

    “Okay, I can talk.”

    Vonnie felt her stomach growl. “Over a meal. You need to buy me a meal.”

    “Fine. No problem.”

    “Okay. Come pick me up in the neighborhoods.”

    “You want a meal now? It’s after ten. Nothing’s open in this place after ten.”

    Was it that late? Had Vonnie lost track of time that badly? She guessed she was still high. “Okay, fine. Brunch tomorrow. First thing.”

    “I’ll meet you at the Beneficent Bean when they open. Eight?”

    “Eight o’clock.”

    Vonnie hung up and let her hand fall between her knees. Eventually she raised her phone again to call an Uber. Her stomach growled irritably. Not everything was closed. There had to be a McDonald’s in this town, and she was going to find it.
     
  19. Oct 4, 2019 #19

    Benny Mon

    Benny Mon

    Benny Mon

    Well-Known Member

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    Chapter 7

    A single crack of light crept in between the drapes in David’s hotel room, stretched across the floor, and climbed up his body and his face. David didn’t like to open the blinds too much in the morning. Resting in his desk chair, he sipped the rest of his hotel-room coffee and stood up to iron his shirt. The iron gushed steam, and he worked quickly and deftly. David loved to iron.

    He’d barely slept after Vonnie had called last night. The idea that she would ever call had long ago ceased to compel him, and he’d recently told his superiors that he’d be wrapping up in Southvale within the month. They’d need him once the midterms approached, anyway. Now, finally, he’d broken something open, just when he was on a timer with his bosses. He’d have to act fast.

    David pulled on his shirt, still warm from the steam, and slipped on some loafers. No jacket for him today: summer was still going strong, even in mid-September. He spotted his winter coat, shoved into a corner of the closet, and thought about the day he arrived here, the same day he thought he’d be turning right back around for Chicago. “Lord,” he muttered. He’d been in this room to long. He really needed to get back home--but not before he finished what he’d started.

    He decided to walk the fifteen minutes to the Beneficent Bean and still arrived early. So he was standing outside when that same Indian girl flipped the sign from “Closed” to “Open” and unlocked the front door. She stared at him like his presence was oppressive.

    David held up two fingers. “Table for two, please.”

    “Inside or outside?”

    “Inside, if you can.”

    The girl looked left and right slowly and said, “I think we can manage.”

    David almost smiled. He’d thought a sense of humor was beyond this girl. She sat him near the window, and he ordered a coffee and watched the place fill up bit by bit. Merely a coffee shop on weekdays, the Bean converted to a brunch operation on the weekends, with the Indian girl as hostess overseeing a small army of servers. David watched her ass cheeks jiggle violently at each step, watched the mostly rotund clientele creak onto their chairs and order vast, greasy, sugary breakfasts. He checked his watch at 8:10, again at 8:15. Nobody yet. He sipped his coffee and politely declined when his waiter, a short, plump, balding guy, offered him a refill.

    Finally, at 8:20 precisely, the girl rolled in. David almost didn’t recognize her. This was a fatter version of the woman he’d met months ago, much fatter, to the point that he second-guessed talking to her in the first place. Had she bought into the madness of this town? Would she give him anything? She stepped heavily toward him, clad in flip-flops and tight leggings and a casual green crop-top that let an awful lot of belly hang out and wobble for the world to see. She was bald now, too, and her face was fatter. A shame, he thought. Underneath all that padding, she was actually rather beautiful.

    David stood up to shake the girl’s hand, but she just flopped into her seat instead, sighing. She had circles around bloodshot eyes, which she rubbed compulsively.

    “Are you ok?” David asked. “Did you sleep last night?”

    “Eh.” She shrugged lightly. “I don’t know. Kinda. Probably not, cuz I’m starving.”

    David looked at her eyes again. “Are you...high?”

    She looked up at him for the first time with dilated pupils. “What? No, not...I mean, it’s not like I’ve never been high, but now...I don’t think I…I mean...”

    He blinked and looked aside in exasperation, and he called over the waiter to order her a coffee.

    “We haven’t properly met.” David extended his hand. “I’m David.”

    She reached out and shook it weakly. “I know. You gave me your card.”

    “I did. And you are?”

    “Vonnie.”

    “Vonnie! It’s great to meet you, I honestly didn’t think you would--”

    “Here you are, dear.” It was the hostess, showing much more warmth to Vonnie than she ever had to David. She set Vonnie’s coffee on the table and asked if they were ready to order.

    “You go first,” said Vonnie, flipping through a menu.

    “I’ll have scrambled egg whites,” said David, “with rye toast and Canadian bacon.” The hostess stared back at him coolly as she took his menu.

    Vonnie’s chin rested on one palm, fingers drumming her padded cheeks, while she the other held the menu open for perusal. “I”ll have...hmm...the Hangover Cure, but with the eggs scrambled, and can that be six eggs instead of…? Great, ok, and with bacon and sausage, if you can do that, and white bread toast. And for the potatoes I’ll do hashbrowns. Also chocolate chip pancakes, but not the side portion, the full thing, and can you bring whipped cream with that? Oh, and a large orange juice.

    The hostess took her menu. “You got it, hon.” She laid a few fingers lazily on Vonnie’s shoulder. “You need anything, you just let me know, okay? Just as for Mukta.”

    “Sure,” said Vonnie, rubbing an eye with her knuckle. “Actually, can I get a scone to start?”

    Mukta patted her on the shoulder as she left. “Coming right up.”

    “So,” said David, cracking his knuckles, struggling to contain himself, “like I said, I was surprised to hear from you. Something must have changed.”

    Vonnie was silent. Patiently she ripped open packets of sugar and half-and-half and dumped them into her coffee.
     
  20. Oct 4, 2019 #20

    Benny Mon

    Benny Mon

    Benny Mon

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    Chapter 7 cont'd

    David placed one hand on top of the other, unsure. “I’m sure you’ve had so much going on. It can’t be easy to know where to start. But something must have prompted you to get in touch with me after all this time.”

    Vonnie simply drained her cup in one, two, three, four gulps and accepted a refill from the bald server. Something buzzed, and she took her phone out of her pocket, only to sigh in disgust and place it face-down on the table. She repeated the adulteration of her fresh coffee as David sat, once again, in silence.

    “You can be open with me, I promise. This is a private conversation. Here, I’ll cut to the chase. What did you want to talk--”

    “It’s such bullshit, you know?” Vonnie’s faced was screwed up in confusion and frustration, and she straightened herself in her seat, her body rippling in response. “You think your problem is that nobody loves you, and then you leave Chicago and you show up here, and people are tripping over themselves to love you. So then you think you’ve got it all figured out, but then it turns out they’re all full of shit, and still nobody loves you, and you were right from the start.”

    “I...I’m not sure I follow…Are these people at La Vie…?”

    Vonnie ignored him and forged ahead. “Maybe I’ve been ignoring a good thing, maybe I should pay more attention to the other guests. But they’re all women or gay guys, you know? Almost all. Not that that’s a problem for me, judging by my current relationship; I could go for women, but I doubt they could for me, oh no. And the ones that do are fetishists, perverts anyway.”

    Quietly Mukta dropped off Vonnie’s scone, which the girl automatically picked up and tore into as she spoke. At the mention of fetishists David tried to interject, but Vonnie gave him no space.

    “I thought Joe was a total bust,” she said, “but at least he gave me something, at least he did something for me, you know? Cora’s like a drug: I can’t leave her alone, but I know it’s hurting me, and I can’t even tell if I’m enjoying it. And, like, look at that: those are my choices?” The scone was gone by now. “What kind of life is that?”

    “That sounds hard,” David eked in.

    “Right? It’s so fuckin’ hard.” Vonnie was tense, her eyes wide, her jaw clenched.

    The rest of their food arrived, and Vonnie doused her eggs and hashbrowns in ketchup and began shoveling it all in her mouth. “I thought I wanched to getchaway from all the rules and espectations at home,” she said through mouthfuls, “and it’s so differench here, but it doezhn’t, mmph, feel any better. I’m shtill not good enough: I was too fat, and now they want me to get fatter?!”

    David leaned forward. “Who’s that now?”

    “No, that’s not it: it’s not that I’m not good enough. I can get fatter. I can eat. I can barely hold myself back. And that’s the problem, I’m too good at living up to those expectations.” Vonnie cut the stack of pancakes, drowning in maple syrup and whipped cream, into big, uneven, triangular slices. “Fuck the expectations.” She speared a stack of slices with her fork. “I don’t want any of ‘em. Just let me enjoying my fucking food!” She shoved the fork between her lips, a little too much food all at once, filling her cheeks with pancake and with a mix of syrup and cream that spilled a little out the corners of her mouth. She chewed noisily and with abandon, shoving in bite after bite, breathing heavily, ignoring the dribbles of syrup that flecked her cheeks, crept down her chin, dripped on her shirt.

    “I know you want to enjoy your food,” David said cautiously, “but it’ll really help me if you can be more specific.” But Vonnie was lost now, he could see that. She shoved the toast, already generously buttered, between her lips, greasing the corners of her mouth as she inhaled it. Her eyes had glazed over, and she was working fast now, slicing the sausages into halves and stuffing them in before bites of egg or pancake were swallowed. David could hear her breathing, heavier and heavier, louder, now even with her vocal chords, almost a moan, as she picked up bacon with her hands and crunched through it, as she practically drank down the syrup from her plate, as she washed it all down with her concoction of sugar and cream and coffee. Inhumanly fast, the food was gone, Vonnie’s plates cleaned. She leaned back in her chair, her hands massaging her stuffed belly, her body still tense. Her legs were pushing and twisting together anxiously.

    “I, uh…” David was often uncomfortable, but rarely at a loss for words. He couldn’t think of a single thing to say. He looked around the restaurant, but no one seemed to have noticed.

    Vonnie blinked once, twice, and looked back at David, her eyes still bloodshot but her pupils a little narrower. She burped quietly and let it out the sides of her mouth. “David, what, uh, did you say you do at the FEC?”

    “Well, I--”

    “I need to use the bathroom.” She stood up abruptly, her face a little flushed, her legs still pressing together. She waddled over to the bathroom hastily, ungainly, and slammed the door behind her, not even bothering to run the water to cover up the the moaning she let out just seconds later. A few customers even turned their heads toward the restroom. Mukta worked behind the counter, unperturbed.
     

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