BHM Hays Code (BHM, Stuffing, WG)

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Shh! Don’t tell!

Well-Known Member
May 5, 2018
BHM, Stuffing. Isaiah Resnik and Liam McAllister try to survive awards season. A sequel to Big Shot.

Hays Code

By Shh! Don’t tell!

-Part 1 can be found here:


So, you have an anger management problem. You might even be starting to become angry reading this pamphlet.

Ugh, thought Isaiah, tossing aside the self help pamphlet he’d descreetly picked up the previous day. What a load of crap. He sat for a moment, arms crossed over his chest, before remembering all the times he’d exploded at people he actually liked for no good reason. He picked up the patronizing pamphlet again and flipped through it, looking for something helpful.

Often, excessive anger can disguise other emotions, like sadness or fear. When you feel angry, ask yourself-what am I really feeling?

Oof. That was a little much to deal with.

“Garbage,” mumbled Isaiah as he got up to go meet Liam at Columbia.

“So,” said Liam, pacing the front of his lecture hall. “Does anyone have any questions about the role of seduction in the narrative?”

“I have a question,” someone yelled from the back of the room. “When are you going to let these kids go enjoy their Friday afternoon?”

Liam crossed his arms, grinning. “Excuse me, sir, I don’t believe you’re enrolled here.”

Students chuckled. A few turned to stare at Isaiah, who was leaning against the doorway.

“Is that...” Someone whispered.

“We are actually out of time,” Liam conceded, glancing at the clock. “Alright. See you all next week.”

The students filed out.

“You know,” said Liam, as Isaiah walked down the stairs towards him. “You can’t keep interrupting my classes.”

Isaiah smiled mischievously. “Sorry,” he said, not looking entirely sorry. “God, you make one hot professor. All these college kids must be drooling over you.”

“No, they’re not.”

“Sure,” said Isaiah. “They’re not attracted to the young, tall, hot, incredibly successful guy teaching their creative writing class. Get real. Half the class wants to bang you.”

“You’re projecting. How was your day?” Liam asked as they walked out into the snowy campus.

“It was good. I did some reading.” Isaiah brushed his sleek dark hair out of his face. It was getting long and looked fantastically thick. “I did some photography out our window. People walking outside in the snow. I’m trying not to be too nervous about tomorrow.”

Tomorrow was the day that the Oscar nominees would be announced and Isaiah had been jittery over it for days on end. Liam had woken up in the middle of the night earlier that week to find him staring out the window like a moody byronic hero. Poor silly, sweet, dramatic, man.

“Don’t be nervous,” Liam said. “Everything will be fine.”

“You’ve never lived through an award season before. It can get really ugly. You’ll understand, soon.”

“Uh-huh,” said Liam, covertly scooping up a handful of snow and pressing it into a snowball.

“It’s war. People get-hey!” Liam had thrown his snowball. It hit Isaiah in his belly, which was an unfairly large target. “You asshole!” Isaiah scooped up a loose handful of snow and flung it at Liam, who laughed and ran. “I’ll get you for that. When you least expect it!”

“Oh, I’m terrified.”

The pair made their way to the diner near campus, where they had been eating dinner after Liam’s classes. Isaiah announced that he was starving because he’d only had a roast beef sandwich and chips for lunch and nothing since then.

“Can’t have that,” Liam growled, giving Isaiah’s gut a casual slap. It felt heavy and solid, not particularly empty, but not at full capacity. “Let’s get you some food.”

Isaiah got a bacon cheeseburger with fries and a side of onion rings. Liam got a modest sandwich with fries and added another side of loaded potato skins for Isaiah. He watched with pleasure as Isaiah chowed down. His weight gain had slowed significantly over the past month, but he was still overeating and slowly but surely getting fatter. As Liam watched, Isaiah finished off the onion rings, after having already demolished the burger and fries. He stifled a belch and wiped his greasy lips with a napkin.

“I’m full,” he remarked, as he moved on to the potato skins. He winked at Liam. Flirty bastard.

“Will you come to the anthropology exhibit at the campus museum?” Liam asked. It had come to Liam’s attention that his director-roommate-boyfriend was not particularly well-educated, so he’d taken it upon himself to bring him to museums and send him to lectures. Isaiah, who’d hated school as a child and teenager, actually enjoyed learning without the pressure of schoolwork or the distraction of the bad things, that Liam knew existed but did not dare probe into, that had plagued his childhood. “My old adviser helped organize it and it’ll probably help distract you from the nominations.”

Isaiah nodded, his mouth full of potatoes. After he finished his dinner, some of Liam’s fries and a slice of apple pie a la mode, they trudged back across campus to the museum.

“Weird!” said Isaiah, looking at an ancient figurine with spike-like nipples. “Where’s this from?”

“West Africa,” said a grey haired man. “Hello, Liam!”

“Hi, Jack!” said Liam enthusiastically. “Isaiah, this is Jack Leary. He was my adviser when I was an undergrad.”

“Hello, Isaiah,” said Leary. “It’s a pleasure to meet you.”

Isaiah shook Leary’s hand. “Nice to meet you.”

“Some movie you two put out,” Leary said. “It’s just like Liam to get really successful, then come back and teach anyway.”

“He’s so modest,” agreed Isaiah.

“Stop it,” said Liam, blushing furiously.

“What’s that over there?” Isaiah asked, pointing to a wall of photos.

“Oh, that’s female body modification rituals in a variety of cultures. Here’s a Padung woman with an elongated neck-they do it to protect themselves from enslavement. And this one is quite abusive and grostesque- force-feeding for male sexual pleasure-“

“What?” said Isaiah, his eyes going as wide as saucers as he took in the images of several obese young women.

“In certain parts of Africa. Here’s a woman from Morocco. And here’s a Tunisian woman.”

“Huh,” said Isaiah. “Huh.” Liam nudged him in the side.

“Well,” said Liam, later, as they walked into the apartment. “That was enlightening.”

“It was!” Isaiah took off his puffy winter coat revealing his puffy fat body underneath it. “There’s a whole world of perverts like us out there. I wonder how many other men like getting fat and not just watching women get fat.” He turned to Liam. “Do you like fat women, too?”

“Um. Yes. Sometimes. I prefer fat men.”

“Interesting,” said Isaiah. He flopped down on the bed. “Ugh. I’m still nervous about the nominations.” Liam walked over and sat down next to him, rubbing soothing circles on his belly. It was tight, round, packed with food. “Mmm,” Isaiah sighed. “Oh. That’s nice.”

“The nominations will be fine,” Liam soothed. “It’ll be fine.” He freed Isaiah’s cock from his pants, marveling at the way his belly looked mountainous from below and how the little pillow of fat above his shaft had gotten just a little larger since their first time. “Mm. Look at you. Getting so big and round.”

“I’d probably be popular in Turkey. Or what was it? It wasn’t Turkey. Micronesia? Oh, yes, baby, just like that.” Liam rubbed Isaiah’s belly worshipfully as he sucked his cock.

Isaiah woke up at four in the morning and couldn’t get back to sleep. He tossed and turned. He paced. He brushed his teeth. At six, he made himself tea. At seven, he put some coffee on for Liam and made some toast, slathering on massive quantities of butter. Shortly after that, he gently shook Liam, who looked incredibly beautiful in sleep, awake.

“Psst,” Isaiah whispered. “Liam. The broadcast starts soon. Get up. I made you coffee.”

Liam dragged himself out of bed and joined Isaiah in front of the television. The announcer was beginning, listing names, so many names. For a long time, they waited through the endless listings of celebrities and unknown strangers.

“Jack Simmons,” the announcer said, and Liam sat up straight. Isaiah nodded, sipping tea.

“Evelyn Weiss,” she said.

“Evelyn!” Liam said. Isaiah grinned like an idiot.

“Liam McAllister,” she said and Isaiah all but tackled him, knocking him over on the couch.

She listed directors off. “Fredrick De Luca. Sam Rosenthal. Isaiah Resnik.”

Liam whooped and pulled Isaiah close.

“Call your mom,” Isaiah whispered. “Go do it.”

“Yes,” said Liam. “I will.”

“Jesus.” Isaiah shook his head. “It’s fucking awards season.”
Last edited by a moderator:

Clandy Caine

Aug 22, 2016
Best surprise ever! Although I had my fingers crossed I was not expecting you to start the sequel so soon, but I’m so glad you did! Great first chapter!

Shh! Don’t tell!

Well-Known Member
May 5, 2018

“You goddamn brilliant bastard,” Isaiah gave Liam a rough kiss on the lips. “If you don’t win then those assholes at the academy really have no clue what they’re doing. You’re-“

The phone was ringing.

“-Isaiah, the phone.”

“Got it!” Isaiah disentangled himself from Liam and walked over to the ringing landline. “Hello?”

“Resnik?” said Zach Berger’s thick New York twang. “Isn’t this McAllister’s line?”

“Berger! Good morning! How are you on this beautiful January day?”

“I’ve been trying to get a hold of you for days! Have you been in New York this whole time?”


“Well, as long as you’re here, I can talk to you both at once. Get McAllister over here and put me on speakerphone.”

“Okay. Hey, Liam, it’s,” Isaiah waggled his eyebrows. “The studio, so keep it professional.”

“You both there?”

“You’ve got us both,” said Liam as he came up to the phone.

“McAllister, do you need help removing this man from your home?”

“No, he can stay.” Liam reached an arm around Isaiah and gave his flank a gentle stroke. Soft, cushy, and warm.

There was crinkling of papers, as though Berger was shifting things around on his desk. “Since you’re both in town, both of you should come to a meeting we’re having at the studio. Tuesday at Eleven. We’re discussing how things will precede these next few months, and how we expect you to behave as nominees. A lot of this is going to be an image game. Resnik, that pertains to you, in particular-“

The other phone rang on the other side of the house.

“I’ll get it,” said Isaiah, eager to get away from Berger’s lecture.

“No,” said Berger. “I’m not done talking to you.”

“I’ll get it,” said Liam, walking over to the other phone. “Have fun-“

“Screw you!” Isaiah mouthed after him.

Liam picked up the other line. “Hello?” He said.

“Hi Liam,” said Evelyn,

“Hi, Ev! Congratulations!”

“You as well! You as well. Do you know where I could get a hold of Isaiah?”

“He’s here with me, actually.”

“Like right there?”

Liam looked up across the room at Isaiah, who was gesturing aggressively as he spoke on the phone, even though Berger couldn’t see him doing it. “He’s on the other side of the room, arguing with Zach Berger over the phone.”

Liam could hear Evelyn’s smile in her voice. “That seems about right. Liam, um-do you, um-What part of New York do you live in, again?”


“I see. What do you think about the West Village? Do you have-” she struggled for a moment. “An opinion on it?”

Was she asking if she was gay? She was! She was! Jesus Christ. “Not particularly,” Liam said, evading the question underlying her question. “I don’t go down there in my day to day, so I don’t have much to base an opinion on.” Sorry Ev, Liam thought. You’ll just have to keep wondering.

“I know you were raised catholic,” Evelyn continued, not letting the issue go. “Do you think the clubs down there are-“ She fumbled for words, seeming frustrated. “Morally wrong?”

“No,” he said, furrowing his brow. “I don’t think the clubs are morally wrong. I don’t like to judge people that way.” God, what a shitty cop-out answer. If only he’d been able to concoct something witty and clever that communicated how he felt without outing himself. It would be so much easier, he thought, just to answer her directly, answer her real question. Lying was hard. This whole phone call had left him feeling tense.

“Is that Evelyn?” Isaiah bellowed as he came over to join Liam’s phone call. “Ev, I knew you could do it. You’re a fucking star. How’s L.A?”


“No kidding.”

“What are you doing?”

“What, this?” Liam looked up at Isaiah who was blinking blindly down at Liam’s penis. “Just washing.”

“Do you pull it back every time you take a shower?”

“Every time. I have to to keep it clean.”

“Let me try.” Isaiah reached down and gently pushed back Liam’s foreskin, seeming genuinely curious about his hygiene habits. Liam laughed quietly .

Taking showers together was fun-he loved watching Isaiah wobble around under the hot water, lather himself up with soap until he was slick as a seal, heft his heavy belly with one arm so he could clean the underside with a wash cloth. It was endlessly entertaining.

“I want to have a big eating day today,” Isaiah murmured. “I feel like kind of a big deal, and like I’ve earned a big eating day. I already had breakfast, I had toast, but I want to go out to the diner after this. I’m in the mood for pancakes. With lots of bacon. I’m in one of those moods where I want to get absolutely enormous, you know? I keep imagining my belly sticking out to-“ he stuck his hand about a foot away from the crest of his gut. “Here. I had this incredible fantasy this morning. I had a fantasy about walking into that meeting on Tuesday with Berger so full I could barely move. Can you imagine that? He’d be yapping away about awards show this and public appearances that and I’d just wheeze and burp and waddle very slowly towards the brunch spread-“

It was a little difficult to grab Isaiah with all that slippery soap covering his body, but Liam managed it.

Shh! Don’t tell!

Well-Known Member
May 5, 2018

“I’m hungry,” Isaiah muttered, by accident, under his breath. He hadn’t meant to say it out loud-it had slipped out from between his lips and he wished he could force it back inside, because now his father was glaring across the room at him. His mother was at work and he had been trying to avoid attracting attention, making up a story in his head in the corner of the room, but now he’d gotten careless and said something and now his father was staring at him with a white-hot hatred.

“What did you say?”

“Nothing. Nothing.”

“No, you said something! What did you say?”


“You little bastard, don’t you lie to me! You did say something!”


“You said you were hungry. How could you be hungry? You ate this morning!” A carefully measured portion of cereal that had left him feeling hungrier then before. His mother hadn’t eaten anything, she’d skipped breakfast before work to stretch out the box for him and his father, but it just wasn’t enough, not enough to fill the aching hunger from an insufficient dinner of only soup and a sandwich the night before. The checks from his mothers job came biweekly and they were halfway into the second week. Just a few days to go and then there’d be a big dinner. He wished he could curl up and sleep until the next check came in and the food was hot and ready.

“You don’t even know what real hunger is,” his father continued. “When I was your age, my whole family was starving. We went to our neighbors to ask for food, and they were starving too.”

Isaiah had heard this story nearly word for word before and didn’t want to hear it again, but there was no way to stop it. His father continued.

“Nobody had any food. There was nothing! Absolutely nothing! We just kept walking on and on and no matter where we went, no one had any food. We walked through a village and we thought the people there might attack us, but they were sick and weak because they were starving too- they left us alone because they could see we didn’t have any food. Don’t cover your ears! Put your hands down!”

Isaiah’s father advanced towards him, and knelt down almost on top of him. He pulled Isaiah’s hands from his ears and pinned them to the floor, putting his weight on them.

“You got the nerve to cover your ears while I’m talking to you?”

“I’m sorry-I’m sorry-“

“Never do that again-“

“I’m sorry-I’m sorry-I’m sorry-“ Please stop crushing my hands, please stop, please stop.

“In this village they had piled up the bodies, instead of burying them. They weren’t like us. They were like animals. They didn’t even take the time to bury their dead and they were standing near the pile and circling it like hungry dogs. They were so hungry that the bodies looked like meat to them-they were staring and drooling-and I watched you eat cereal and milk for breakfast and now you say you’re hungry? You aren’t hungry. You’re ungrateful-“

“Tatty, I’m sorry-I’m sorry-“ The pain and terror was making Isaiah hyperventilate. Red fireworks and dancing purple lights flashed before his eyes.

“You’re ungrateful!”

Oh god, just make it go away. Get me out of here. I’m not here. This isn’t really happening. I’m somewhere else. I’m someone else. Please, enough, no more.

“I’ll teach you a lesson-“

Isaiah opened his eyes, certain that he was about to be struck. Instead, he found himself staring at Liam’s worried, wide eyed face, lit up by city lights pouring in through the window.

“Are you okay?” Liam asked, his voice croaky and tired. It was late at night. “You were moving around in your sleep a lot.”

“I’m sorry,” Isaiah said. I’m here, not there. I’m here. “I woke you up-“

“Don’t worry about that. Are you okay?”

His heart was racing fast and hard. It had been so vividly real that he was looking around the room for something to hide under, some way to shield himself.

“Isaiah?” Liam asked. “Hey, look at me.”

Liam reached out to touch Isaiah’s hand, but the touch was like an electric shock and Isaiah twitched and pulled away when Liam touched him. “Oh, honey, what’s wrong?”

Isaiah touched his stomach, and looked down, surprised by how large it was. My god, I’ve changed my body a lot. It looks nothing like it did when I was young. He rested a hand there as a sensory reminder of where and when he was. “I had a bad dream,” he said. “I’m sorry. You must think I’m a pussy for being scared of a bad dream.”

“No, it’s okay. I get scared all the time. If I touch you now, will you jump again?”

Isaiah shook his head. “No.”

Liam gently touched Isaiah’s chest. “Your heart’s pounding. What’s scaring you? Is it the Oscars?”

Isaiah shook his head. “No.”

“Is it nuclear war?”

“Jesus Christ, well now it is.” Isaiah rolled over. “What time is it?”

“It’s four o clock. Not so early.”

“Can I have a sandwich?”

Liam snorted. “Yeah, you can have a sandwich. Want me to make you one?”

Isaiah nodded.

Liam made him a couple of greasy grilled cheese sandwiches and watched him eat them at the kitchen table. Snow was falling outside. It was Monday.

“You wake up a lot at night,” Liam said.


“Yeah. Sometimes I’ll wake up and see that you’re out of bed.”

“Sorry. I don’t mean to wake you up.”

“No, it’s okay. Do you have nightmares often?”

Isaiah took a massive bite of grilled cheese and found himself unable to swallow it. He chewed vigorously. “No,” he said, after managing to swallow. “Not so often. Usually I’ll just wake up feeling nervous and have trouble falling back asleep.”

“Maybe I could read to you, if you can’t sleep. You know, I’m really not supposed to share these, but some of my students write really bad stories for the assignments. Like, really terrible. Do you want to help me figure out what to write for feedback?”

“Augustina flipped her long blonde hair. Her breasts were huge and perky. “I’m so sick of all these little boys,” she said. “I want a real man, like you.” I took her aside. “You know I can’t,” I said. “I have to focus on my work.””

“Jeeeezzzus,” Isaiah moaned through a mouthful of potato chips. “Just fail him. Kick him out. Kick him out of school.”

“No, I have to give him feedback and help him grow as a writer.” Liam flipped through the rest of the ten page long story. “I won’t bore you with the rest of this. It’s all more of the same. There’s also one about a vampire that’s just-an erotic version of Dracula, basically. Or, a more erotic version, the original is already pretty charged.” Liam looked up at him. “What’s that look you’re giving me?”

“Nothing,” said Isaiah in a fake Transylvanian accent.

“Jesus. Stop that.”

“Vhy? Zis is how ve speak, in ze old country-“

“That’s not even at all Transylvanian anymore,” Liam protested. “It’s closer to German.”

“I did not think zis accent through. I am trying my best.” Isaiah got onto all fours and began to crawl towards Liam, slowly, grinning deviously, all dark eyes and plump lips. His swollen belly and fuzzy body hair ruined the vampiric impression somewhat. “I’m hungry-I must feed on the blood of the living-“

“Shush and eat your potato chips, Count.”

“I vant to suck your blood, Mr. McAllister-“

The phone rang. Liam picked it up.

“Hello?” said a woman on the other end in a thick foreign accent that Liam couldn’t completely place, but found familiar. Her voice was apologetic and nervous. “Who’s there?”

“Who’s this?”

“Is Isaiah there-“

“Who is it?” Isaiah asked, draping himself over Liam to take the phone. “Hello? Hi, Mama. I know-it’s great.”

Liam froze, listening. He’d seen Isaiah send his mother money, checks with a sprawled I.R. on the line, and talk about how much he admired her, respected her. Liam hadn’t thought of her as having a first language other then English, although in retrospect it made perfect sense.

“Did you get the check I sent?” Isaiah asked.

“I did, but you don’t need to send those,” Liam heard her say.

“Well, if I don’t need to, let me because I want to.”

“So much money...”

“It’s nothing. Don’t think anything of it.”

“Is New York cold?”

“Compared to L.A.”

“Wear a hat! You need to cover your ears!”


There was something Liam couldn’t make out.

“Yeah. I could. Not this week, but maybe in a few weeks. I’ll check...”

Liam wandered out of the room and stood in the kitchen for a while as Isaiah talked to his mother. He sorted through his students stories. One, with excellent dialogue, took place in-and a shiver ran down Liam’s spine-the West Village. Why was this symbol of out-ness haunting him like a shirtless and oiled down specter? The writing really was excellent, not the sort of thing that could be popular in the mainstream , but smart and witty and fun to read. Which of his students wrote this? Liam checked. Steven Rosso. Who was that?

Isaiah emerged from the bedroom. “Hey.” He said. “Would you want to come if I visited my mother for a long weekend?”

“Sure,” Liam said. “Where? In Chicago?”

“No, in Transylvania.” Isaiah advanced towards him.

“Oh no-“ Liam laughed. “Stay back. I’ll stake you-“

“Oh, that makes me want steak.” Isaiah leaned into Liam’s chest, breathing him in. “There’s a weird part of me that wants to actually bite you.”

“Don’t you dare.”

“Sorry. Yeah, in Chicago.”

Shh! Don’t tell!

Well-Known Member
May 5, 2018

“Before we begin, I want to address the subject that I think is on everyone’s mind. Resnik,” Zach Berger smiled, excited to say the punchline he’d just thought of. “When are you due?”

“Aw, fuck you-“

“Is it a boy or a girl?”

Isaiah turned his attention back to the plate he’d loaded up from the brunch spread.

“Look what you’re eating!” Berger exclaimed. “Look at your plate-you know most people chose to either eat a muffin, a croissant, a bagel, instead of eating one of each-“

“I wanted one of each. And I’m eating some fruit salad, too-that’s healthy, right?”

“You’re blowing up.”

“I’m still thinner then you.”

”No, I don’t think you are.”

“What?” Isaiah looked at Berger, who didn’t seem to be joking, which didn’t make sense, because Isaiah was definitely still smaller then him. Berger was big, big all over, broad and squat, and although Isaiah had gained a lot of weight, he still had the frame of a skinny guy, just with a big gut attached to it. There was no way he could be fatter then Berger. Could he? He looked over at Liam, whose eyes were darting frenetically between the two bellies. “I’m still thinner then him, right, Liam?”

Liam started, as though he’d been in a trance. He shook his head. “Um. I’m not sure.”

Berger snorted. “Neutrality. A wise choice. Well, let’s get down to business. The competition is close this year. We’ve-ah-been cozying up with the academy-“

Chuckles from around the room. It was a dirty reality of the industry, but every studio expended vast amounts of money promoting their Oscar nominated films to voters in the academy.

“But we need you both to behave yourselves. In many ways, this is a likability contest. McAllister-you’re doing fine. God knows you’re always polite, unlike SOMEONE ELSE who needs to stop cursing at the paparazzi. But don’t be so stoick. Tell people a little about your personal life-let people get to know you. We’ll get an interview with the New Yorker lined up-“

Liam furrowed his brow. “But I do tell people things about my personal life.”

“No, I mean other things,” Berger sighed, tenting his fingers. “Look, if you don’t tell people-what you get up to- the tabloids are going to start making things up and we wouldn’t want that. You follow me, don’t you?”

“I don’t know if I do.”

“Oh, come on, don’t play stupid, McAllister, you have to know what I mean-“

“I’m not stupid, I’m just a little confused-I don’t know what else I could share with people that I haven’t already.“

“Hey, Zach,” Isaiah interjected. “Didn’t you want to tell me about how I need to stop telling journalists to fuck themselves?”

Liam had a hot, sick feeling in his chest. He’d known exactly what Zach meant and why it applied to him and not Isaiah, who was publicly known to have slept with beautiful actresses. Liam on the other hand, to the public eye, was suspiciously single. Why would a handsome guy like him not be dating anyone? Berger was right, it did look suspicious.

Across the table, Berger was lecturing Isaiah, who was cramming food into his mouth in an seemingly intentionally sloppy way. That must have been his forth bagel. Could that be right? His forth? The guy was a fucking animal. Three bagels with lox already in his gut and he was scarfing down the forth like it was nothing.

Liam watched as Isaiah quaffed the latest of many glasses of orange juice and then belched quietly and sickly.

“I made a bet on you,” Berger was saying. “That you could be just as good as-“

“Oh, I’m not good now? I’m sorry, whose film was it that broke the record at the box office-“

“It’s not about the film-it’s about you. I made a bet on you, that you could conduct yourself within the standards of our society, and be likable and sociable and charming. And when you misbehave, it reflects badly on me. On all of us.”

“Jesus, calm down-“

“I decided to include you, I decided to stake my bets with you. Why can’t you act a little more like Sam Rosenthal? He’s always so polite-“

“Maybe you should have bet on Sam instead of me, if you don’t like the way I am.”

“Sam’s respectable. Try for some respectability...”

Liam didn’t like the feeling in the room. Unpleasant and tense in a way he didn’t really understand .

“What are you doing?” Isaiah exclaimed, his voice full of horror. Liam looked up. Berger was scooping out the doughy middle of his bagel, leaving only the hard outside.

“There’s less carbs this way,” Berger said matter of factly. “I lost five pounds just from eating less carbs.You ought to try it.”

“But that’s the good part.” Isaiah looked down at the pile of discarded bagel that was forming on Berger’s plate. He seemed genuinely heart broken. “How could you just waste it?”

“Do you want it?”

“No,” Isaiah wrinkled his nose. “You touched it. It’s dirty now. Oops.”

Isaiah had dropped his napkin. He leaned down to retrieve it, grunting in discomfort as the change in posture put pressure on his full stomach. Then-

Pop. Ping.

A four holed button, reminiscent of an unblinking black eye, landed next to Liam’s chair. No fucking way, Liam thought, glancing at Isaiah, who was staring in apparent disbelief at his suddenly partially open fly. Liam picked up the button and met Isaiah’s gaze; he held it up to show it to him and noticed with pleasure that there was a slight flush to Isaiah’s cheeks and that his breathing had quickened. Berger didn’t seem to have noticed what had happened.

“I gotta take a leak-“ Isaiah muttered as he got up with the table, trying to subtly hold his pants closed as he walked over to the bathroom. Liam followed him, picking up a rubber band on the buffet table that must have been at one point associated with one of the containers the food came in. Maybe he could macgyver Isaiah’s pants closed using that somehow. He entered the bathroom. Isaiah was standing in front of the mirror, gut spilling out of his ruined pants.

“I feel like I deserve some sort of trophy,” he said, sounding oddly breathless.

“Here,” Liam pressed the button into Isaiah’s hand. “How’s this for a trophy?”

“Perfect,” Isaiah examined it thoughtfully. “Now, how am I going to do back out there without exposing myself? Actually maybe I should do that.”

“No, I don’t think that’s a good idea,” Liam took out the rubber band. “Try and tie your pants closed with this.”

Isaiah took the rubber band and looked down, frowning. “I would if I could see my fly. I’m a little too big for that. The button hole is, um-underneath.”

Underneath. Out of Isaiah’s line of sight, below the equator of his gut.

“I’ll help you,” Liam choked out, taking the rubber band back and bending down to try and figure out how to fix the button situation. Luckily, the button had left a little hole where it had popped off, perfect for threading the rubberband through. Threading it through both that hole and the other was a challenge, though. Isaiah’s belly seemed too large to even close the flaps around.

“Could you try to suck your belly in?” Liam requested.

“Okay.” Isaiah inhaled. His cheeks went pink and he made an expression as though he was expending a great physical effort, but his belly did not shift an inch. He’s too full to suck in, Liam realized. “Do it quick,” Isaiah gasped. “This is hard. It hurts.”

“Forgot it,” Liam said. “Let’s um-let’s try something out. You can stop sucking in. Let me think. Um. Try and press your stomach in with your hands.”

Isaiah pressed his hands futilely into the flesh of his belly. “Ow,” he mumbled, then burped. It was useless.

“It won’t work,” said Liam.

“Maybe I could just untuck my shirt. That might hide it.” Isaiah pulled out his shirt so that it’s full length covered his fly. He looked like a slob, but not indecent. It would do, Liam decided. “Good?”


“God, I can’t believe I popped a button on my pants. Hey-am-am I really fatter then Zach Berger?”

“That depends on what you mean by fatter. He’s-bigger then you. But your belly is so much rounder, and so much proportionally larger. I think you might have a larger waist then him.”

“A larger waist then him,” Isaiah dug his fingers into his gut, his face pensive.

“I have a question. The things that Berger was saying-“

“Which ones?”

“About the academy. Does the studio bribe the academy?”

“Not directly. They send them gifts and hire consultants who try to convince voters our film should win. It’s sleazy and I don’t like it, but it’s legal and all the major studio do it.”

“Oh.” That was a little better then straight bribery, Liam thought, but it left a sour taste in his mouth. “Also, the, um, the interview-with the New Yorker-“

“I’ll get you out of that. Berger’s a dick, he thinks he knows what’s best for you. Don’t worry about it.”

“And what he was saying to you-“

“About what-“


“It’s-it’s,” Isaiah shook his head. “I don’t know. I mean-it’s complicated. He’s being a asshole.”

They went back to the table and sat down.

“You really need to think about your image,” said Zach.

“Mm,” said Isaiah.

“And maybe consider going on a diet. Low carb works really well-“

“No thanks. While you’ve been dieting like a insecure housewife, I’ve been eating like a fucking king.” Isaiah patted his belly appreciatively.

“Watch it, Resnik. Don’t talk back to me. And think about what I said. Also, cut your hair. You look like a hippie.”

“At least I have hair.”

“Thin ice, kiddo.”

“Hey, Zach, what exactly do you want Liam to say in his interview? Could you spell it out very clearly? I’m a little slow-I only have a high school diploma-“

Berger rubbed his temples. “Don’t be like this.”

“But it sounds like you’re implying something-“

“I’m not-I’m saying someone else might imply something. That’s all I’m saying.”
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Shh! Don’t tell!

Well-Known Member
May 5, 2018

In the aftermath of the meeting with the studio, Isaiah had an episode of directionless, interminable rage. He paced the apartment, back and forth, fantasizing about hitting Zach Berger in the head, knocking his brain around. How dare he say those things to him, imply that stuff about Liam? His blood boiled.

“Hey, could you please try and calm down?” Liam implored.

“I’m calm!” Isaiah snarled at him.

He paced feverish, frantic circles until he tired himself out and curled up in a ball on the couch. His head was swimming with visions of Zach Berger’s smug face, pale, piled corpses-where had that image come from, he’d never even seen that. Phantom smells of the stockyards, of trash, of other things floated through his mind and he wanted to gag. He looked up at Liam, who looked so upset.

“I’m sorry,” Isaiah said. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to get so angry. I’m just very worried. He’s-“ it felt hard to draw breath. “Berger’s suspicious of you. I’m sorry. I want to figure out how to fix this-”

“Isaiah, I think maybe you’re turning this into a bigger deal then it really is.”

“It’s a big deal.”

“Look, I just want you to try and relax for me. Can you try and do that? Here-lie down. There we go. Nice, deep breaths.”

Isaiah let Liam hold him on the coach and tried to match his even, heavy breathing.

“I’m sorry I yelled at you,” he whispered. “I’m going to try to not be that way anymore. Going to try to stay calmer. I don’t like being like this...”

“That’s good,” said Liam. “That’s a good thing to do. But I knew you were like this when I met you, and I like you whether you change or not.”

“Why do people think you’re gay but not me?”

“You dated Emily Rue and I’ve never been seen in public alone with a woman.”

“Oh. That makes sense.”

“Evelyn sort of asked me if I was gay the other day.”

“Really? What did she say?”

“She asked me what I thought about the West Village.”

“Huh.” Isaiah closed his eyes. “Evelyn’s safe, I think. I trust her.”

“Should I have outed myself to her?”

“I didn’t say that. I said I trust her. I don’t really know what I’m saying.” Isaiah’s stomach growled.

“Hungry?” Liam laughed.

“God, I’m fucking starving. Those bagels just shot straight through me.”



In his class, Liam handed back the graded stories and kept an eye on the one that took place in the west village, the one by Steven Rosso. Was that Steven Rosso, the slightly feminine blond, there? No. The handsome black youth with the graceful features? No, not him.

A dark haired young man with the look of a football player in the off season approached his desk. A football player who’d gotten swollen, soft. Oh, no. Liam gave himself an internal slap. Don’t think about your students that way. The boy reached out his hand and took the paper signed Steven Rosso.

“Great work,” Liam said. Steven looked up, seeming surprised.

“Me?” He said, in a voice slightly higher then his appearance would suggest.

“Yeah. It’s good. Good dialogue.”

“Thank you.”

“How long do you see it being when it’s complete?”

“I’m not sure. I think a mid-length novel.’

Isaiah met him outside of class with their packed bags and they went to the airport.

“What’s fun in to do in Chicago?” Liam asked.

“I used to have a great time going to clubs there, but it was to pick up girls, so-maybe let’s not do that. In the summer, I liked to go to movies and to the park or to the lake, but in the winter it’s really, really cold. We probably won’t do to much walking. There’s lot of good food. Sausages. Real pizza, not that thin crust bullshit. If it’s still early enough when we get in, maybe we can go and get some deep-dish. And tomorrow, I’ll visit my mom.”

In the airplane, Liam looked out the window at the clouds, the land below. What a beautiful world. “Isaiah,” Liam asked. “Do you ever see your father?”

“Never.” said Isaiah. “I haven’t since I was six.” They were flying over farmland, endless empty fields. “I don’t even know if he’s alive.”

As the plane descended over Chicago, Liam noticed a couple of things. One, the vast icy lake and the ice breaking ships cutting its surface, two, the vast quantity of smoke and smog rising from the city, and three-

“It’s flat!” Liam exclaimed. New York was hilly, Los Angeles nestled among mountains, but Chicago was flat, flat as a pancake. “There are no hills!”

“We’re in the Midwest,” Isaiah said. “No shit, it’s flat

The plane landed, and the pilot said something horrifying. “The local time is nine o’clock. The temperature outside is -14 degrees...”

“No,” Liam moaned. “He didn’t just say that.”

Isaiah snorted with glee. “Welcome to Chicago!”

“Are you laughing at this? You sick bastard, I’m going to freeze to death!”

“You’ll be alright. Did you bring mittens?”

“No, I brought gloves.”

“We’ll buy you some mittens.”

But no mittens could be located in the airport, and though Liam wore his gloves, the walk to the cab left his face and hands red and burning.

“Oh, ouch. I’m sorry,” Isaiah said, watching Liam examine his hands in the backseat. He unzipped his coat. “Put them under my sweater.” He whispered to Liam. “To warm them up.”

Liam slipped his stiff hands under the thick red sweater.

“You know, I think we still have time to get pizza,” Isaiah said.

Shh! Don’t tell!

Well-Known Member
May 5, 2018
The pizza place was mostly empty. That made sense on such a cold night.

“I’m so excited,” Isaiah said as he pushed the door open. “I’ve been missing Chicago style pizza. It’s so good. You’re gonna have to roll me out of here.”

A big Italian guy about Isaiah’s age emerged from the back of the restaurant with an enthusiastic “Rezzy!” Liam watched as Isaiah greeted the man with a shouted “Heeey! Nicky!” and something halfway between a hug and a high five.

“He used to eat here almost everyday,” Nicky said to Liam. He had a Chicago accent. It was weird to be somewhere were Isaiah’s accent was the norm instead of unusual. “I saw your movie. Amazing, amazing movie. Everyone’s talking about it. You want the usual? Small sausage pizza?”

“Better make it a large. I’m starving. And I’d like a beer, please.”

“Hey, Rezzy, you know a large is really big, right?”

“If it’s too much we’ll pack it up to go,” said Liam. “I’ll have a beer too, please.”

“And some baked ravioli and mozzarella sticks to start,” said Isaiah.

Chicago style deep dish, Liam soon realized, wasn’t what he typically thought of as pizza. It was several inches thick, more a literal “pie” then normal pizza. The weirdest thing about it was that the sauce was on top of the cheese. Bizarre. Liam took a bite. It was good, but, he decided, not actually pizza, and he told Isaiah so.

“Snobby snooty New York asshole,” Isaiah said through a mouthful of deep dish.

The other thing about deep dish pizza was that it was much heavier then normal pizza. Liam knew a large New York style pizza was a walk in the park for Isaiah, but by the time he had gotten five slices of the deep dish down he seemed to be struggling slightly. He drained his beer and ordered another. Liam nibbled his second slice, watching the show.

On his third beer. Seven slices down. There was a sheen of sweat glistening on Isaiah’s forehead. “I can do this.” Isaiah muttered thickly. “Okay. Okay.”

He took a bite of the eighth slice. Winced. Gulped more beer. Bite by painful bite, he ate the final slice of pizza. He sat back, his belly bulging massively.

“I want cannolis,” he said, his voice guttural. “And more beer. And an ice cream sundae.”

Isaiah was a wreck after dessert. He clutched his stomach, face and body tense with pain. As they left, he leaned helplessly into Liam’s side.

“Hurts,” he whispered in Liam’s ear. “My stomach hurts.” His head nodded sleepily on the drive to the hotel, mouth hanging open.

Once in the hotel room, Isaiah flopped down on the bed. He technically had a separate hotel room from Liam that he had booked, but it was a farce, a trick, an illusion, a cover up for some hypothetical scenario where if someone asked him why they were sharing a hotel room so he could say, we’re not. I’m staying in the room down the hall. There was something hard on the pillow under his head. Isaiah reached for it-a chocolate. He unwrapped it, popped it in his mouth and chewed it lazily. His stomach was making strange noises, unhappy gurgles and rumbles and every so often he would make a breathy little sound of distress, a little “ah” or “oh” or “god.”

“Are you alright?” Liam asked.

“Yeah. Yeah. Just full.” Isaiah sighed and patted his belly. “Feels like I swallowed bricks.”

Liam glanced out the window. He shivered. “It’s cold as hell out there.”

“Cold as fuck.”

“Colder then a witches tit.”

“Colder then-“ Isaiah yawned. “I don’t know. Ah. I need to sleep. Need to di-gest.”

Liam walked over to the bed and lay down next to Isaiah. He studied his eyes, his skin, his thick, healthy hair. Good stuff.

“Whats your mom’s name?” Liam asked.


“Where’s she from?”


“That’s in Russia?”

“Yeah. She came over when she was a kid.”

“You don’t speak any Russian, do you?”

“Only curse words and food words.”

“So, same as English.”

Isaiah lightly socked him on the shoulder, then put a hand on his own belly, wincing. “Ugh. I’m too full. All that pizza. No, but sometimes I wish I was better at learning languages. My mother can speak English, Yiddish and Russian, but she mostly spoke English to me when I was little, so I never really learned anything else. Which is awful when my aunts are over and they all start gabbing away a million miles a minute and I can only understand five words. I always think they’re talking about me.”

Liam got up early and brought some coffee, tea, and pastries from downstairs to the room.

“Oh-“ Isaiah sighed as Liam brought him his tea. “Thank you.” He sat up in bed and sipped it. “I’m still sort of full from last night.”

They drove across town, through the icy mid morning. They passed through a neighborhood full of construction projects paused for the winter, whole blocks of building demolished into open pits. He heard Isaiah inhale sharply.

“They tore it down-“ Isaiah breathed. “Stop the car for a minute. That was where I lived when I was little. The building that used to be there.”

He pointed to a pit in the ground. Emptiness. Nothingness, just dirt and the knowledge that something used to be there.

“I’m sorry,” Liam said, unsure what to say.

“No, it’s fine. I’m not-I’m not upset. I wonder- Hey! Excuse me!” Isaiah leapt out of the stopped car and approached a man walking past. Liam watched as they talked for a moment. Isaiah came back into the car.

“He says they’re building new apartments,” Isaiah said. “Projects. I guess that’s life. They tear down shitty little apartment and put up other shitty little apartments. Maybe they’ll be better then what was there before. Or maybe they’ll be worse. Who knows what will happen? I don’t. Whatever.”

“You good?”

Isaiah leaned back in his seat and closed his eyes. “Yeah.”

They drove on.

Isaiah’s mom lived in a cute brown townhouse in a cute little neighborhood.

“Bought it for her,” Isaiah said proudly. “As soon as I had enough money.” He rang the doorbell.

Liam didn’t really know what he’d been expecting Isaiah’s mom to be like. He’d had some vision in his mind of a stereotypical old Russian lady in a kerchief. The woman who opened the door was not wearing a kerchief, nor was she all that old. Fifty, maybe, Liam thought. Her hair was dark, without any visible grey and her skin showed few signs of aging. She didn’t look very much like Isaiah. Much fairer, with a different face shape. She was very petite, as well-she could not have been five feet tall.


“Hi, Mama. This is Liam-“

“Hello,” she said, a little cautiously. She had an air of nervousness.

“How do you do?” Liam said, trying to smile reassuringly. She smiled back, but cautiously, carefully.

They quickly came inside out of the cold and hung up their coats.

“You look so different!” Isaiah’s mother exclaimed. Liam tensed. “Your hair is so long!” Liam exhaled in relief.

“Everyone’s wearing it like this,” Isaiah ran his hands throw his hair, brushing off snowflakes. “It’s ‘in’ right now.”

“It is?”


“Well-it’s different-“ A pause. “But it looks good!” she added, as though she wanted to make sure she was being supportive. “Do you want something to drink, some tea? I have some fresh fruit, too. I remember you didn’t want anything besides fruit last time because of your diet but there’s cookies too.”

Nothing besides fruit because of your diet. Liam felt like he’d been punched in the chest when he heard those words and recalled the frightening months of not eating. Isaiah looked down sheepishly.

“I’m not on a diet anymore,” he said. “I’d love some cookies. Thank you.”

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