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Getting it Backwards

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Big Beautiful Dreamer

ridiculously contented
Feb 26, 2006
Getting it Backwards

I swiveled idly back and forth, feeling logy and sluggish. With one hand I twiddled the cursor around via the mouse. I rested my other hand on my stomach, which was actually bulging. Between the bottom of my rib cage and the belt that I’d let out a notch after lunch, my midriff swelled like a balloon full of air, and it felt about as unyielding.

I’d made the mistake of crossing the lobby to the break room just as three or four guys from another department arrived, heading out the door, and had gotten swept up in their gusty enthusiasm. We’d headed down the block to the Italian restaurant and, since my contacts were bothering me and I hadn’t wanted to squint blurrily at the menu, I’d ordered the special.

Which turned out to be an enormously heaping plateful of spaghetti with the best sauce I’d ever tasted. I’d plowed through it as though I hadn’t eaten in weeks, helping myself along with slice after slice of unremarkable garlic bread, the better to mop up that ambrosial sauce.

The occasion had turned out to be Todd Druckman’s divorce having been finalized. I’d heard vaguely that his wife had been a serial cheater, stepping out on him more or less nonstop, until the day he’d come home unexpectedly to meet with the repair guy and found Daizee in bed with the local trainer from Todd’s gym.

So while the others, who knew him better, were cheerfully predicting a wild future for the Druck, I, who didn’t know any of them that well, occupied myself with slurping up a pound or so of spaghetti.

The clock ticked, I slid the mouse back and forth, and tried to stir my dulled brain into putting a thought together. All I could think was how stuffed I felt. The blood flow seemed to have been diverted from mental activity to my bulging and tender stomach, which actually ached from being so full. I contemplated letting my belt out another notch, but I could feel my stretched belly pressing heavily against the hook of my trousers – what good would it do to loosen the belt?

I must have actually dozed off, lulled into a sated snooze. I felt myself snort and felt my neck jerk stiffly, with a twinge. Heard a faint throat-clearing.

What’s her name was in the doorway. Tall and well built, brunette hair brushing her shoulders, a burgundy cowl-neck dress outlining a very decent rack, unremarkable waist, and the way she stood at an angle in the doorway I could get a glimpse of a woman’s bottom, not some little-girl bum, and below the skirt beautifully turned legs, my favorite part, trim ankles, the swooping curve of calf, the artistic displacement of emptiness – suddenly I longed to see them in motion, exquisitely manufactured moving parts.

I blinked. “Oh. Um. Sorry,” I mumbled, feeling a blush heat my cheeks.

She smiled. “You must have been really absorbed in those numbers,” she said, and stepped into the room. I was the head of accounting, which meant I rated a small but actual office, with a door and everything. Course, we did ship in the neighborhood of $17 million in furniture every year.

As she progressed toward my desk, I stood up. The grunt of effort was en-tirely involuntary. I glanced down to reassure myself that there were no spaghetti sauce stains on my shirt. My belly was still heavily full, but the in-sistent ache and steady discomfort of serious overloading had eased. Still protruded, though. Dammit.

“Danica was wondering if you would mind looking over these figures,”she said, extending the folder toward me. My eyebrows flicked up.

“What’s wrong with them?” Danica didn’t usually ask me to look over the quarterly figures until a lot closer to the end of the quarter.

The woman shrugged. “I don’t know. I was headed this way and Danica asked if I would bring you this.” I detected a glimmer of impatience.

“Okay. Thanks,” I said, and took the folder. I was entranced by the rear view I saw as she left my office. As anticipated, marvelously constructed moving parts, a heart-stopping swirl of skirt, the unthinking foundation of the hip joints doing their job. I had started to ask her name, but for once common sense prevailed. I would ask Danica when I took the folder back.

I dutifully spread the papers out on my desk and dutifully tapped the eraser end of a pencil over them all afternoon, not seeing a thing. Not only was I still soggy with the huge, carb-laden lunch (digestion now making itself felt with a series of belches I was glad no one else could hear), I kept seeing those legs. Marvelous.

In the evening, I sprawled on the sofa while a movie flickered in the back-ground. Every once in a while I tuned in, enough to keep abreast of Hillary Swank clawing her way first through college and then through law school to free her brother from prison. Mindful of that huge lunch, I made a peanut butter sandwich and ate it, only half aware later of dipping pretzels out of the bag throughout the movie.

The next morning, my belly seemed back to normal. I ran two miles on the treadmill, lifted my weights, did my sit-ups and push-ups.

I was able to look at Danica’s figures with a clear head and a sharp focus that morning, and immediately saw what was worrying her. The folder didn’t contain quarterly figures for this quarter, but the last 18 months’ worth. The accounts receivable numbers didn’t look as they should. Several payments were lower than expected. In each case, customers were current – we weren’t seeing a pattern of slow pays – but it did look like a pattern, and one that was different from the usual.

I wondered, almost idly, if someone was lapping the accounts. If someone, somewhere along the line, had helped himself to – for example – $100 meant to pay for a receivable, he could apply $100 of the next receivable to cover up the absent money. I summoned Danica, and we spent the morning going over the last three years’ worth. It was hard to tell if, in fact, this lapping was going on, and even harder to pinpoint when it might have started.

Unfortunately, like a fool, I let myself get caught up in the same group at lunchtime. Apparently they had enjoyed themselves enough that they wanted to go out again today. To the same restaurant. And on autopilot after a complicated morning, I ordered the spaghetti thing again, and like an idiot I cleaned my plate of another pound or so of spaghetti, reveling in the sauce, and mopping up with the garlic bread.

And spent the afternoon sodden and dopey, leaning back in my chair and staring unseeing at something on the computer screen and resting a hand on my bulging and bloated midsection. Some dim part of my mind registered a sleepy satisfaction at having loaded up so thoroughly, took a curious pride in the creak of my belt and the pressure of my sides and front straining the fabric of my trousers. Something about stuffing myself to the brim satisfied a deep and untapped instinct. So it was that even as I half-dozed away another afternoon, I didn’t seem to mind as much as I ought to have.


That was the name of the folder deliverer from the other day, Danica had mentioned. She was the head of the legal department. She and Danica were friendly, and she’d happened to be passing through just as Danica had stood up to bring me the folder.

Our company was alive with gossip. If I started coming in to work early and staying late, whoever was fiddling the books would hear about it and would know immediately that I was on to something. I would have to do what I could during regular work hours.

Accounting detective work is like police detecting work: an infinite patience to knock on a hundred doors, to flip through thousands of fingerprints, to make dozens of fruitless phone calls. Or to plod meticulously through daily cash summaries and compare them with the sums of the cash receipts journal entries, which is where I started. Everything agreed, and it was only after I’d devoted a couple of days to this bootless exercise that it occurred to me that they would agree even if lapping were going on. I tried checking uncollectible accounts write-off dates. Nada.

And concocted a reason to make an appointment with Petra. Once we were in her office with the door closed, however, I found myself blushing from neck to hairline.

“I actually … wanted to know … if you would like to have dinner together,” I said, nervous but managing to meet her gaze.

Petra openly eyed me up and down, taking her time. I was vividly conscious of the big bowl of chili that sat in my stomach, giving me mild heartburn, and of the way my post-lunch belly once again seemed bloated and swollen, stubbornly protruding out over my belt, skewing my necktie.

“I’d like that,” she finally said.

It was all I could do to manage not to blurt, “You would?”

We were both mindful of the company’s propensity for gossip and agreed on a restaurant some 20 miles away, separate cars, the whole deal.

And I got back, as best I could, to seeing if anything untoward was really going on. In between verifying other accountants’ valuation-or-allocation statements, clients’ inventory listing schedules, and the similar fun and games to which I normally devoted myself.

“I was actually teaching at Franklin and Marshall College of Law,” she said, “and trying to ignore my husband’s love affair with the Internet, when I saw an ad in a legal journal that this place was looking for an internal counselor. I thought it sounded really cool, and a change of pace. About then, my husband left me for leopardskinwarrior76 from San Francisco, so I was really ready for a … um … change of pace.”

I made a wry face. “Never been married. I guess accountancy is a turnoff.”

Petra rolled her eyes. “Come on. Accountants are like detectives. Very interesting. I swore to myself I wouldn’t bring up work, but do you have anything detective-ish on your desk?”

I grinned and shook my head. “Let’s don’t. You’re right.” At some point, if there was a problem, and I thought there was, Petra would have to come in. But a first date wasn’t the time or place.

It had been more than a year since my last relationship had tailed off, and I’d forgotten the pleasure of company, conversation, a shared meal. Sub-consciously I think I wanted to prolong our time together, so although nei-ther of us had more than a single glass of wine (driving), I’d ordered an ap-petizer, a salad, dawdled over my huge serving of steak, garlic potatoes, mixed vegetables, slowly consumed a rich chocolate dessert, lingered as long as I could over coffee. I scribbled a large tip to compensate for the waiter not being able to turn the table, and reluctantly stood up.

Oof. Sliding out of the booth was one thing, but when I straightened up, the heaviness and warmth of my severely overloaded belly seemed to drag me back down. My stomach was so full that I didn’t, it seemed, have the strength to lift it fully upright. I was saved from mortification by the knowledge that Petra seemed to be in the same predicament.

“Ooh,” she said. “Hic.” She laid a hand on her stomach. The burgundy dress I had admired the first day was pulled very snugly across her midriff, showcasing a tummy that actually bulged. She looked as though she’d just had a big Thanksgiving dinner.

She hiccupped again. “This is embarrassing. Hic. I’m about to pop right out of this dress.”

Suddenly, despite our mutual satiation, we both seemed aware of a shift in the momentary silence. She cleared her throat.

“I’d better get going. I’ll, um, I really enjoyed this.”

“Next Friday? Same time and place?” Someone with my voice spoke those words.

“Yes. Yeah. Um, yes,” Petra said, and turned. I stood frozen, watching her rear view, the skirt just a tad tighter over her lovely bottom, those legs ending in maroon high heels moving slowly and steadily away from me.

In a daze, I staggered to the car and sank in, groaning at the pain my ef-forts produced. Oof. I was stuffed to the gills. My skin felt tightly stretched, my sides pulling and my front ready to burst. The compression caused by sitting back down forced an enormous belch and for a moment I thought I might lose consciousness.

I felt lightheaded as it took me several attempts to fasten the seat belt. I drove home seven or eight miles above the speed limit the whole way, wanting nothing more than to get out of my car, out of my clothes, out of this upright position.

Forty-five minutes later, down to my boxer shorts and in my recliner, I was sipping a little brandy from last Christmas and beginning to feel the immedi-ate discomfort subside. Everything was working its way through the system, the bloating that was an aftermath of digestion was easing, and I was feel-ing comfortably replete, able to savor the sensation of plenitude. At the same time, I was floating, replaying Petra’s laugh, the way her fingertips accidentally grazed my wrist, the light glinting off her hair, the damp glow of her throat when we’d stood after that big dinner, the visible strain of dress fabric over her tummy.

What the hell! I was getting hard. Not my belly – that was still firm and un-yielding. But I was unmistakably stiffening in another area. I forced my thoughts onto accounting, let my drowsiness take over, and drifted incre-mentally into sleep.

By the time I had finished comparing check deposit dates with remittance credits; the daily cash summaries with the cash receipts journal entries, and the uncollectible account write-offs, plus five or six other possible avenues, I was beginning to doubt myself. Maybe Danica was jumping at shadows. Maybe there was nothing there.

I was also 25 pounds heavier. I now had, even when standing, an unmistakable paunch, a pot belly that perched over the waistband of my trousers – which were getting damn hard to fasten, thank you. When I sat down, the pockets gapped open, and whenever I stood up, the trousers showed sharp creases along the thighs. I was down to the next-to-last hole on my belt and wondering if and when anyone would notice that I was leaving my shirt’s top button undone. I had taken to wearing undershirts because my nipples were otherwise painfully visible under my shirts.

I had overheard Jason Tapper telling Ellis Hanservoort that I was getting a “good little pot belly.” Ellis, over running water in the men’s room, said:

“Ha. He must be in love. You know – you get a girlfriend, you start going out … you pork up.”

“So what’s your excuse – two girlfriends?”

“Shove it, Tapper, you got enough of a spare tire yourself.”

“I’m married,” Jason said smugly. “I don’t have to work at it anymore.”

Ellis snorted. “Now I remember why I feel sorry for Deirdre.”

It stung a little that people were noticing, but it was unmistakable. Hell, I was noticing. Was Petra?

After dinner that Friday evening at what had become our usual restaurant, I was helping her on with her coat when I said:

“… Petra?”


“Am I … y’know … putting on weight?”

Petra turned, her coat unbuttoned still, and gave me the disconcerting slow gaze she’d given me in her office.

“Wait until we get to the hotel,” she said, “and we’ll see.”

Um, hotel?

“Follow me.”

I followed her down the highway from the restaurant to a hotel and watched as she checked in. She carried an overnight bag. We got in to the room.
Immediately, Petra shrugged off her coat and turned her back to me. “Unzip me, please, quick.”

I tugged the zipper down and it sprang open as though relieved. Petra peeled off the dress, tugged her pantyhose down to her knees, and sank onto the bed to finish getting them off. Shoes kicked off, she stood and faced me again. Below her bra, her midsection protruded, gravid and taut, clearly showing the large meal she’d enjoyed. The red line of pressure from her pantyhose was visible just above the visibly straining waistband of her panties. I wanted to massage away that red line, but I was in no position to do much of anything at the moment. Still fully dressed, I could feel the pressure of my gorged belly threatening to pop the button on my trousers, and that waistband wasn’t the only fabric being strained.

“I hope you don’t mind me being so forward,” Petra said teasingly.

“Uh … uh …”

Petra padded toward me. I felt her rounded tummy brush against my own tautly distended belly and arousal surged through me.

“I believe you asked me a question,” Petra said. “And I need to examine the evidence before I rule on the motion.”

I stood there frozen as a mullet while she slowly got rid of my tie, undid my shirt buttons, tugged the undershirt over my head. She undid the belt and trousers (thank you), tugged my boxers until they fell to my ankles. She slowly slid her hand, soft and warm, down my front and pressed ever so gently on my belly. It swelled, distended, suspended above my privates, stuffed so full that it was too taut to relax into the love handles and squashy spare tire it affected when empty. Or emptier.

Then we were face to face in bed, and the pressure of her full stomach on mine felt indescribably wonderful, the instant sheen of perspiration on con-tact, the gentle steady pressure from sternum to sack both easing my im-mediate discomfort and celebrating the heavily stuffed feeling, as if I had eaten myself full to bursting solely so I could feel her weight on an overloaded middle.

There was no conversation afterward, just cuddling, and sleep, and in the morning, in spite of a hovering awkwardness, there was also contentment.
It had felt indescribably good to have the weight and warmth of her full stomach pressed full length against the swell and stretch of my own glutted belly. I’d never in my life experienced sex like that, and it added an aspect, a dimension to it that I wanted again and again and again. Immediately on the heels of that deep, subconscious desire, though, was the knowledge that my 25-pound weight gain couldn’t be attractive to Petra and that I owed it to her to shape up.

As I pursued the accounting figures, continuing to catch the faint but unmis-takable whiff of wrongdoing but still unable to suss it out, I upped my workout mileage, watched what I ate, and slowly whittled myself back down from 210 pounds to 185.

The sex, which was now a regular part of our Friday routine, went from spectacular to so-so. I couldn’t put my finger on why, just as I couldn’t put my finger on the accounting shenanigans. I stopped being so cautious. My paunch inched back into view, my trousers tightening, my belt pinching again.

At Thanksgiving, Petra brightly invited me to have dinner with her family. I phoned my parents and asked if next-day leftovers would be all right. They would. Score!

Petra’s family – four of the six children, with spouses and offspring, a couple of aunts and uncles, a grandfather, her mother – made for a large and noisy Thanksgiving. I shook away the cobwebs of concern about our sex life and the accounting stuff and threw myself into the day with enthusiasm. I played touch football, took the dog for a walk, ate and drank everything that was offered, watched football on television, and joined the other fifteen or so humans at the main table, two card tables, and the coffee table in demolishing approximately five thousand calories apiece.

Afterward we all staggered back in to the living room or basement – depending on whether or not we had children to “supervise” – and sank into hibernation. Jeans were undone, hands slid down suddenly snug underwear waistbands, and belches were produced amid groans about how full we were, and how fat.

I sprawled in a corner of a sofa, my entire torso ready to burst, feeling the skin strain from ribs all the way down below my navel. I was so stuffed my eyeballs felt heavy, so full to the brim that I could take only shallow breaths: I was afraid that a deep breath would cause rupture. I rested my hand on the shelf of my belly, aching and swollen, so stuffed that it protruded forward for several inches before beginning its downward slope. My sides had ballooned, my belly button was a slit, and I had undone my jeans before even leaving the table. I would never be able to do them up again.

Petra sank down next to me, and doped as I was, I registered the pleasure of feeling her warmth against my side. She draped both hands across her tummy, which protruded round and rosy beneath a sweater that hadn’t been quite so snug before dinner. I could tell it was taut as a drum, I could see the outline of her belly button, and suddenly – even though I was so achingly stuffed that I was trying not to even breathe – I wanted to bed her more than I’d ever wanted anything.

Silently Petra struggled back up off the sofa. Without a word, I followed her. We went all the way up to the attic, warmed by a space heater and with a double bed in one corner. Silently we undressed, and silently we made sweet glorious love, and the sex was better than it had ever been, and afterward, demure, we came back downstairs and sat at the table and ate pie. I had a slice of apple and two slices of pumpkin and it was delicious.

Without thinking much about it, I continued to let my dietary conscientiousness slip during the holidays. There were always snack foods around, I had pigged out on Thanksgiving, and if Petra minded, she wasn’t saying anything. It continued to niggle the back of my mind, though, that I really ought to lose weight.

Didn’t happen over Christmas, which fell on a Thursday, which allowed me to spend five days with my parents, two of them with my sister and brother-in-law and my two nieces. I basically ate my way from Wednesday right through Sunday, and when I finally drove away with a large tin of brownies in the passenger seat, my jeans – the new ones meant to accommodate my 220 pounds – were undone in deference to the laws of physics, and the sweatshirt was pulled too snugly to do any good in concealing that fact.

When I examined myself in the mirror after workouts, I saw a torso that flared below my heavier, fuller pecs; grabbable love handles; a spare tire. My face was becoming padded, my backside was spreading, and my waistline now seemed disconcertingly wide, the circumference visibly greater, hinting at equatorial.

That’s where most of my weight seemed to be centered, my belly making a cushion below my ribs. I had to admit, the sex was back to spectacular, and it was oddly satisfying to feel my loaded belly being pushed up and down by Petra’s full tummy in bed. The aching weight and rhythmic duet of sloshing somehow added to the pleasure.

After that initial question, which Petra had essentially answered by jumping my bones, I hadn’t quite had the nerve to ask her again whether she minded that I was unmistakably putting on weight. Conversely, she hadn’t asked me how I felt about her figure, which was slowly but steadily padding up. Her breasts ripened deliciously, her hips took on a new level of va-voom, her backside was positively delicious, her face rosy and soft, her legs transcendently lush.

Petra’s large and boisterous family reassembled for New Year’s Eve and I seemed to be being handed food nonstop right through midnight. By the time I weighed myself, with some trepidation, on January 1, I was up to 230 pounds.

The double chin was no longer being hinted at; it was there, all the time, whether I looked down or not. I could feel it nuzzling my throat, which had added a couple of layers itself. My cheeks were pudgy, almost threatening to turn into jowls. My pecs rested flabbily on my chest. My upper arms rubbed against my underarms, just as my thighs rubbed together when I walked. I switched to looser-cut boxers. By spare tire was now a two-stack, my backside was almost a shelf.

I finally confronted Petra. I had broken down the last of the boxes, Petra had opened a bottle of champagne, and we had toasted my moving in to her little house.

“I’ve gotten fat,” I said bluntly. “I’ve put on almost fifty pounds in the last six months. I know it must bother you. It bothers me.”

Petra, uncharacteristically, was silent. I could tell by the look on her face that she was choosing her words before she spoke.

“You have it backwards, my love,” she said. “I find you exceptionally attractive. Specially your belly. It’s sturdy and warm and it feels marvelous to have your arms around me and to be folded into your bulk. It makes me feel safe, it makes me feel like I’ve come home, and in case you haven’t noticed, I love it in bed.

“And, my darling,” Petra added, “I’ve put on weight myself. You must have noticed.” She stood up and posed in the cropped T shirt and shorts that were damp with perspiration. Her midriff gleamed, gravid and teardrop-shaped, and suddenly the shame and conflicting emotions I’d had vanished.

Her breasts, rounded and succulent, strained the fabric of the shirt, whose brief hem pulled tightly across her ribs. Below the shirt, her belly was invitingly soft, the padding enhancing her generous figure, her navel a jewel on a ripple of rich fabric. Her hips cradled a pair of love handles, temptingly grabbable, and her magnificently crafted legs diminished subtly to her knees, below which they curved, sloping again to her ankles.

Oh, I’d noticed.

Petra sat back down and leaned in, her face earnest. “All your life, you’ve seen the fat kid get teased. You’ve seen movies and TV shows and commercials that ostracize the fat man and made him the comedian or the butt of jokes. We’ve all been told that thin people are superior, and that fat people are lazy and out of control. ‘Fat’ is not a four-letter word. It’s a three-letter word … like ‘sex’ … The only four-letter word in this room is love.”

Backwards. Petra had said I’d had it backwards. Suddenly everything clicked.

“Marry me,” I said urgently.


“Marry me. Like, now. Let’s go to Las Vegas.” I was out of my mind. I’d never been so sure of anything in my life.

Petra – calculating, legal eagle, triple-checking Petra –hopped up and booted up her laptop.

“If you can wait two weeks, stud muffin,” she said, laughing at me, “the plane fare will cost us $389 instead of $749.”

I could wait two weeks. I had something to check at work.

Jason Tapper was arrested in the lobby, at closing time, which meant that forty or fifty people saw him doing the perp walk out the front door.

“Backwards,” Petra had said. It had finally occurred to me to compare the dates that checks were being deposited per bank statements with the dates that remittance credits were being recorded. It was like “The Purloined Let-ter,” hiding almost in plain sight. Jason had “lapped” twenty thousand dollars in two years. Penny-ante stuff, perhaps. But in forty years, at 9 percent interest, he would have had a four-million-dollar nest egg.

A week later, we flew to Las Vegas. The rumor mill was still buzzing over Jason. It took almost ten days for word to get around of what we’d done.

Another year for Petra and I each to get a healthy bonus for our detective work. By then, Petra carried 260 pounds on her enchantingly crafted frame, and her legs were a magnificent bounty, lush and prodigal, warmly soft and inviting, so irresistible that she laughingly complained that some nights I forgot entirely about what lay between them.

Well, not entirely.

As for me? My ambivalence had long since vanished, and I enjoyed my own heft as much as I enjoyed the accounting work. I clocked in at three hundred and forty-seven pounds – at the moment, anyway. My breasts rounded out and tucked under, creating a dampness where they rested on top of my belly. My gut protruded spherically, a smooth globe, wrapping around to rear love handles and a layer of back fat. My cheeks, as I’d expected, had deepened into jowls, flowing smoothly into the second of what was becoming three chins. A third chin peeped whenever I looked down. My face was now pleasantly ruddy all the time.

In silence we listened to the news anchor report that the company where Jason Tapper had worked before coming to us had checked its records and discovered that he had lapped them the entire five years he had been there. They were now suing him for forty thousand dollars, plus punitive damages.

Beside me, Petra snorted as she turned toward me in bed. “Partly their fault.”


“They should have had you investigating.”

“This is the only investigating I want to do,” I said. I clicked off the television and, in the dimly lit bedroom, turned to her.

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