BHM Served (eventual BHM, civilian turned feeder, slow burn, economic satire)

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like the pancake
Dec 7, 2019
Status report? Christyn texted Damian as she finished cleaning her bar, gathered her things, and pushed her way through the crowd of patrons and other employees. Damian’s response came moments later.

Managed to finesse her into sticking around, meet us at the bench by the Ferris wheel

The tension in her body eased as she headed that way. “You know, spoiling my feedee is supposed to be my job,” she said as she came up on the two, Damian finishing up a huge plate of funnel cake that Auralee had bought him.

“He just gave me the puppy dog eyes, and I couldn’t say no!”

Christyn and Damian shared a secret smile. She’d have to congratulate him on his quick thinking later. “Now, if you’ve both had enough of the festivities, it’s time to go home.”

After they dropped Auralee off at her ivory tower apartment, Damian said, “You know, I like her. She’s like a weird, fun aunt I never had.”

“She’s a character,” Christyn agreed. “And I bet she made sure you got to eat good today, huh?”

“Yeah, she took care of me,” he said, then stammered, “S-she bought me a decent amount of food, that’s all I mean.”

“Relax, I’m not jealous.” Still parked in front of Auralee’s, she hiked up the armrest of her seat, leaned over, and slipped a hand underneath his shirt, splaying it against his middle. “Mmm, nice and full...I bet I know what you want to do now.” She kissed him deeply and he pulled her closer by her shoulders. When the kiss broke, she said, “Shall we get back to your place?”

“Yes please!”

They had barely gotten out of the car in the parking lot at Damian’s building before they were upon each other, all needy kisses and desperate groping hands. Somehow, they made it across the asphalt to his porch, where she pinned him against the door and pressed her body into his as they kissed. “By the way,” he said when he came up for air, “I really liked it back at the carnival when you said I was yours.” Then, suddenly, she felt a new hand on her shoulder. She broke away and turned around just in time to get sucker-punched in the face.

It was Estrella, and boy, did she look pissed.

“Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck,” Damian muttered.

“I knew you were a liar, Christyn!” Estrella snapped. “And Damian, you have some nerve!”

Still reeling from the punch, Christyn looked to Damian. “What is she doing here? What’s going on?”

“I’ll tell you what’s going on, I’m about to put this bitch’s lights out!” Estrella went in for another attack, but this time Damian was quick enough to stop her, holding her arms behind her back. “Let me go!” she screeched, thrashing in his grip.

“Look, Stella, calm down!” he pleaded with her. “I should have told you about me and Christyn. I should have let you down easy a long time ago. But can’t we just all talk about this like adults?”

At first, this just seemed to make her angrier. She fought harder against him, but he had her in an inescapable hold. Then, finally, she seemed to give up. “Fine. We can talk. Please let me go. I need something from my car.”

Damian released her, convinced by her performance. Christyn, however, was not, and as Estrella walked off into the parking lot, she decided it was time to make her own exit.

“Christyn, wait!” Damian followed after her until she got into her car. “Please stay. I can explain everything.” Her window was still rolled down all the way from when she’d been chain smoking on the way over, and just like she had those many months ago when he’d tried to leave her apartment complex drunk, he hooked his elbow over her car door.

She took his hand, mustered up her strength, and yanked him, whole-ass, through the window, letting him land face down with his forearms braced against the passenger’s seat. “Then explain on the road. She said she was getting something from her car, and I have a hunch what it is, but I don’t want to stick around here and find out if I’m right.”

She keyed the ignition while Damian scrambled into his seat. “How the hell did you do that?” he breathed. “You’re a mutant!”

“You’re only slightly harder to move than a full keg of beer. Now, about that explanation?”

As she drove, meandering a bit to throw Estrella off in case she was in pursuit, Damian told her how he had planned to invite Stella over and let her reject him over his recent weight gain, but forgot what day he’d told her to come. “So instead of pulling up, seeing you, and deciding you got too fat for her, she pulled up, saw me all over you, and flew into a jealous rage,” Christyn concluded. “Dude, you have got to plan these things better.”


like the pancake
Dec 7, 2019
She arrived at Alex’s and led the way up the stairs. “My roommate works in the morning, so we shouldn’t fuck like animals and keep him up all night, but you can stay with me in my bed tonight if you want to get a little tipsy. I know I do.”

“I just want to hold you and make sure you’re alright,” said Damian. “Don’t get me wrong, I want to fuck you...but that can wait.”

She put the key in the lock and went inside.

For once, Alex was home. He was practicing guitar on the living room sofa with the TV muted. “Alex, this is Damian. Damian, Alex.”

“You’re the new boyfriend, I guess?” said Alex, and Christyn saw Damian crack a smile. She wound an arm around his waist.

“Yes, he’s mine.”

Their sweet moment was short-lived, as soon, the lock on the door appeared to turn of its own accord. “Shit, who invited him?” Christyn muttered, trying to conceal her dread, but her voice trembled and she started to shake all over, and Damian picked right up on it, holding her in an attempt at comfort.

When Jesse strode in, he had a relaxed air about him, as if he lived here.

“Hey! How’d you even get in here? Get the fuck out!” snapped Alex.

“He picked the lock, he’s done it at my place, too,” said Christyn. Steeling her will, she stepped out of Damian’s embrace and confronted Jesse. “What are you doing here?”

“I was just on my way home from a late night at the office, and I thought I might pay my cousin a visit...then I saw my slave girl’s car drive into his complex, and I thought, isn’t this the development? I thought perhaps you had repented, that you wanted your Master back and in your desperation, you may have resorted to using Alexander to make me jealous. But really?” He gave her and Damian the once-over and said, “You ended up with the idiot barback instead? And, what’s more…” A slow smirk spread across his face. “You know, you can put a couple pounds on the guy, kitten, but you won’t recreate what you and I had.”

“It was my idea, dickwad,” Damian muttered.

Jesse didn’t even look at him. “Wow, Christyn, that is a nice touch. You may have more of a flair for mind control than I--”

BANG! Before he could finish his sentence, the door flew open, kicked at full force. “CHRISTYN, IT’S TIME TO EAT LEAD, YOU WHORE!” Estrella screeched, fixing Christyn’s head right in the scope of a semi-automatic assault rifle.

“Oh, come on, it wasn’t even locked that time!” Alex complained.

“Oh, for Christ’s sake, put the gun down, little girl,” said Jesse, his intonation sounding almost bored. He grabbed the gun around the barrel and jerked it towards the ceiling; Estrella fired a shot but it didn’t shake Jesse’s grip as the bullet went through the plaster, and soon, he had it yanked out of her hands and threw it across the room.

“Great, how much is that going to cost me?” Alex grumbled, staring at the hole in the ceiling.

“I wouldn’t worry, Stella. Christyn is no threat to you; she still belongs to me deep down. And as for Damian...well, I might be willing to teach you a few tricks to get him under your spell. Why, a beautiful young lady such as yourself--”

“Alright, alright,” Alex interrupted, picking up an empty bottle off a nearby end table and breaking it open at the bottom to brandish it as a weapon. “I’ve got four of y’all in my house now. One pays rent and one is with her, but I’m gonna need the rest of y’all to get the fuck out!”

“You call this a house?” remarked Jesse.

“And I don’t belong to you anymore!” said Christyn, glaring defiantly at Jesse even as anxiety tore her insides to shreds.

“How can you be so sure?” said Jesse. His voice had dropped to that low, dark croon that used to lull her easily into a state of complacency, but now, she was on her guard. “You say that, but you know that with a snap of my fingers, I can still take away all of your self-control.”

“It won’t work.”

“We’ll see, kitten.”


Christyn laughed. He had no more power over her. Of course he hadn’t! But then...then she couldn’t stop laughing. Then, she started to hyperventilate, terrified by what was happening to her. Her surroundings seemed to distort before her eyes. She reached out a hand in front of herself and tried to bend her fingers. They bent, but seemingly of their own accord; she felt disembodied. She couldn’t feel it in her throat, but she heard her gasps and laughter turn into a series of struggled shrieks of panic. She felt the same way she had the one and only time she’d ever tried marijuana.

“What the fuck did you do to her?” Damian demanded, but he didn’t stick around for an answer, instead guiding her out the door while she fought to catch her breath.

Removed from the situation, she began to feel her clarity returning to her, but it wasn’t until they had reached her car that she was one hundred percent back to normal.

“What are we gonna do now?” asked Damian.

“I don’t know.”

They ended up driving all night and into the morning. Christyn ran low on gas at one point, but was able to fill up at a Circle K on Richmond Avenue and kept going. They must have driven the length of the city before she stopped in Hermann Park for a nap in the driver’s seat. When she woke up, she was laying across the center console with her head in Damian’s lap and he was holding her hand.

“Sorry, must have moved around in my sleep,” she said, righting herself.

“It’s alright. You’re cute when you sleep, even if you snore a little.”

“Hey, what’s your tattoo mean?” she asked, fingertips brushing the bit of lettering inked into his upper forearm, which she’d never thought to ask about before, but decided to now, as if they were just taking a normal trip to the park and she hadn’t had a gun pointed to her head less than a day ago.

“It’s ancient Swahili for ‘hope’. I did it myself while I was in juvie.”

“I like that.”

She drove for a little while after that before he asked if they could stop for lunch. “Sorry, I didn’t even notice the time, and I’m still too stressed out to be hungry.”

“You’re the opposite of me, I eat when I’m stressed.”

He must have been under a tremendous amount of stress, because when she took him to a little Chinese buffet nearby that she knew Jesse hated, he cleared four plates while she had to force herself to finish two veggie egg rolls so she wouldn’t faint at the wheel. He looked like he was about to pass out in the booth by the time she paid the bill, but he said he felt better.

Eventually, she had to take him back to his place so he could get ready for work. He was understandably worried that Estrella might be hanging around, lurking behind a fikas or something, but Christyn told the building’s security to be on the lookout for a young woman matching her description and carrying a big gun.


like the pancake
Dec 7, 2019
Once she was alone, the anxiety set in once more. She called Alex to make sure the coast was clear at home before heading that way. While she was on the road, Auralee phoned her up in a worried state. “Chrissy, are you okay? Damian just told me over text that the craziest shit happened to y’all!”

“I’m glad you called, Aura,” said Christyn. “I’m on my way to Alex’s to get a few things, but after that, I don’t think I want to stay there for long. I need somewhere else to stay, where Jesse doesn’t know where to find me.”

“You can stay with me!” Auralee offered.

“I’m thinking farther out. Jesse knows you; if he looks for me again, yours is the first place he’ll go. I was gonna call an apartment locator, but since I have you on the line, I thought maybe you could help me out. I’ll compensate you, of course.” As wealthy as her family was, Auralee must know a couple of property managers who would be willing to cut a friend a good deal, right?

“Don’t even worry about payment. I’ll find you a place. In fact, maybe I’ll find us a place.”

“You want to move in with me?” asked Christyn. “But I thought you loved it at the penthouse?”

“Yeah, but my lease expires at the end of the month, and since they’re starting to install these ‘smart’ appliances hooked up to Wi-Fi in every unit, I decided not to renew. The last thing I want is my fridge talking to my doctor when all I have in there is cake for my boys and liquor. So what do you say?”

“Sounds like a plan, so long as you stay out of the kitchen. I don’t want you burning down the place drunk.”

When she got home, she packed up her work clothes and a bag of toiletries. She showered quickly and picked up a shift downtown at the convention center banquet waiting for a gala. Over the course of her shift, she formulated a plan that might just be crazy enough to shake Jesse off her trail.

She slept in her car that night. She could have gone to a motel, but she was worried that Jesse would call every motel in town and ask if she was there. She didn’t know if he was truly obsessed enough to do that, but she was taking no chances.

On Wednesday, she bought a gun.

It was a small 9-mm pistol that fit nicely in her grip. After completing the process to obtain her license to conceal and carry, she called one of her colleagues from the Rodeo and invited him to come to the range and shoot with her. He was experienced; she was not, but he showed her the ropes and by the end of four hours, she was quite an accurate marksman. She kept the gun in her glove box in case she’d have to use it, and never stopped watching her back.

On Thursday, she returned to Alex’s, but only to pick up some plastic bags and a couple of the 20-lb weights he used in his workouts. He had so many of them, he wouldn’t miss one pair. That night, she practiced tying knots in the bags like the ones she used to use to secure the prep bags of frozen food while she helped out in the kitchen at the bowling alley. Practiced untying them. Practiced untying them with 20-lb weights tied to her ankles. She drove to the edge of the Kegan’s Bayou, stripped down to her essentials, walked to the edge of the water, and practiced drowning.

On Friday, the call came in from Auralee: “I found us a place. By the end of today you should get a call from your uncle Chester’s bank so you can go sign for the rights to the estate in Richmond he’s left you in his last will and testament.”

“Last will--? That means he’s--!”

“Seducing him into writing you in was so easy.”

“And then you murdered him?”

“You’d be surprised how easy it is to fake an accidental overdose these days.”

Christyn didn’t know why she was shocked. She had seen Auralee get away with some pretty psychotic things in the past. “Jesus, Auralee, I actually liked my uncle.”

“You have got to stop forgiving that lecher. If you found out someone in Damian’s family had touched him while he was underage, how would you feel?”

Auralee was right, but was a murder really justified here? Christyn tried not to think of the words ‘horrified’ or ‘morally bankrupt’. She was in too deep to turn back now.

Before going to the bank, she washed her hair in the sink of a bathroom at a fast food joint and redid her makeup in the rear view of her car.

On Saturday, she texted Damian to inform him of her plan. Then, at sunset, she parked on the shoulder of the overpass overlooking the bayou, left everything that wasn’t waterproof (phone, social security, cigarettes, etc) in her glove box, and texted Jesse.

I’m sorry, Master.

She told him where to find her.

Then, she called the police. “Hello, 911? I’m driving down Beltway 8 and I think I just witnessed a suicide in progress.”

Jesse showed up first on the scene. “What have you got to say for yourself, kitten?”

When he arrived, she was sitting on the edge of the overpass, next to the weights and plastic bags.

“Oh, Master...I’m so glad you came!”

In the distance, sirens blared.

“You made it very clear the last time we spoke that if you couldn’t have me, no one should. Well, Master, I wanted to make things right.” She attached the weights to her ankles and watched his face go pale.

“I never said that. Kitten, let’s talk.”

“But I’m such a bad submissive.”

“It doesn’t matter! I take you back!” he declared.

“I don’t deserve you. I need to be punished.”

By now, the cops had pulled up.

Jesse tried to talk to her, but she couldn't hear him over the blaring sirens or the negotiator shouting at her through a megaphone.

Exactly as she planned it.

What she hadn’t planned was for Damian to show up.

She saw him pushing his way through the small crowd of spectators who had begun to gather around. She had told him over text to stay away tonight, but apparently he had decided showing up would make for a better performance. “Christyn, what are you thinking?” he shouted over the sirens.

“It has to be this way!” she screamed back.

“I don’t know what’s going on with you, but please, don’t do this!”

Were...were those tears in his eyes?

Damn, he was good.

“I’m sorry!” she shouted, and let herself fall backwards into the bayou.

The water hit her like a cold, hard slap, and she sank all the way to the bottom where she knew from practice that the water was shallow. She could hold her breath for almost a full four minutes, so she counted two in her head before untying herself from her bonds. She planned to come up under the overpass and slip past the cops into the nearby wooded area, wait out the hours, and pick up her car when the coast was clear...but even though the water was calm, even though she knew she could swim, she felt herself being dragged to the surface way too fast, and something had her around the waist.

She came up on solid ground facedown. Bracing her hands against the earth, she pushed herself up, looking around. Damian was beside her, his hand on her back. “So, you thought you’d die with me, huh?” she said. “You do realize how much more complicated this is going to make things, right? They’re going to have to investigate a double suicide in the absense of two corpses now.”

“What are you talking about? Chrissy, I thought you were about to die!” There was a tremor in his voice. Her heart dropped.

“You mean...that on the overpass...that wasn’t a performance? Damian, didn’t you get my text?”

“What text? Shit, my phone bill’s not paid…”

They must have cut off his service.

She quickly brought him up to speed on her plan to fake her own death to evade Jesse. Before he could even respond, police flooded the bank of the bayou. One of them slammed Damian facedown on the ground and put him in handcuffs.

“Damian! What? No!”

And there, standing above her, was Jesse, smirking triumphantly. “Nice ruse, kitten. You almost had me fooled. But as usual, you’ve done nothing but make a mess of your life and others’ without me. Before your little lover boy dove in to ‘save’ you, he punched a cop who was impeding his way. Assault of an officer is a serious offense, you know.”

It made bile rise up in her throat to hear him talking to her like he’d won. She was almost grateful when they put her in cuffs, too.


like the pancake
Dec 7, 2019
They held her under psychiatric supervision for three days, but after that, they had to let her go. She cooperated with the staff and ate the meals they brought her, even if the thought of Damian going back to jail brought her to nausea. They’d been nice enough to make accomodations for her vegetarianism, so she’d feel bad if she let their small mercy go to waste. Upon release, she picked up her car from the tow lot and made one last trip home for the rest of her essentials. While she packed, Auralee rang her.

“Hey, what’s up?” she asked.

“What’s up? What’s up? I thought we were moving in together! Instead you disappear for three days!”

“Yeah, that’s still the plan, Aura,” she said through the haze of depression that had washed over her from missing Damian. “It’s a long story, I’ve just been under a tremendous amount of stress.”

“Alright, well, my lease is up, like, yesterday, so you need to come over here right now and give me my set of keys to the new place so we can go.”

“Hey, do you know the specifics on how to bail someone out of jail?”

“Oh my god, Chrissy, shut up! You know everything’s tapped these days. We’ll talk when you get to my place.” As she hung up, Christyn thought she heard the hint of a secret in her voice. Over the years, she had learned how to pick up when Auralee was being mischievous. But she was too sad to put much thought into it, so she drove to Auralee’s with the radio on full blast to drown out her thoughts.

Only when she got there, Damian tackled her with a hug before Auralee could even let her through the door. “What--? How--?”

“I didn’t want to say anything over the phone,” said Auralee. “You know there’s no such thing as privacy in the information age. But go on, dude, tell Chrissy what you did!”

“I managed to smooth-talk my way out of jail halfway through processing!” he explained to her. “Your NLP stuff did the trick! I didn’t know where else to go, so I called Aura, and she told me y’all were supposed to move in together, so I camped out here and we’ve both been waiting to hear from you. I was worried they were gonna throw you in county!”

“No, just suicide watch, and don’t you even get me started on worry! I thought you were in jail!”

“He’s supposed to be in jail, which means technically, he’s a fugitive,” said Auralee.

“Yeah, I forgot to think through what I’d do at this point,” Damian admitted sheepishly.

“You’re coming with us! Is it even a question?” said Christyn. “If that’s what you want, of course.”

“Damn, if getting to move in with two feeders is what I get for assaulting an officer, maybe I should punch some more!”

Auralee was going to be a few hours delayed, since all of her stuff needed to be hauled into the moving van downstairs, so Christyn decided to get a head start on the trip with Damian. On the way, she stopped at a grocery store and picked him up a burner phone and a prepaid debit card, so the police couldn’t track his calls or transactions, along with a chicken salad wrap for him and a platter of vegetable sticks and dip for them to split. “Oh, thank God, real food,” he said when she came back. “All Auralee keeps in the house is desserts and alcohol. By the end of the second day I felt like I was about to be in a coma.”

“My poor baby! Don’t worry. I’m here now, and I’ll make sure you stay properly nourished,” Christyn reassured him. “Other than that, how was your visit with Auntie Aura?”

Over the forty-five minute drive, he told her all about his stay at the penthouse. He and Auralee had watched short films and gotten drunk together while the movers handled the packing of her things. Jesse came calling once--just like she had guessed--but they had kept all the lights off and pretended not to be home. They even built a blanket fort and roasted marshmallows.

At last, they came up on the house, a ten-bedroom, sprawling estate in the middle of nowhere with no neighbors for at least a mile in every direction. “Holy shit,” Damian breathed, his eyes going wide. “You inherited this?”

“Aura pulled some strings for me, but yes, the house is in my name.”

“I’ve never seen a house so big! Note to self: definitely punch more cops!”


like the pancake
Dec 7, 2019
3. La Dolce Vita


The first few weeks at the mansion were exciting. Christyn got hired on the spot as a bartender at the nearby Hotel Flamenco days after moving in. They started her on a fulltime schedule of mornings on Mondays and Tuesdays, with Wednesdays and Thursdays off, opening one Friday and closing the next, and nights on the weekends. On her days off she picked up the occasional shift with ABC and drove back into the city, but she still felt like she had plenty more free time than she was used to having. Not having to worry about rent was greatly liberating, and every once in a while it blew her mind all over again that she was really out here, starting a new life in a new town and exploring uncharted sexual territory with a full-fledged fugitive of the law.

One Wednesday evening off, she pulled out her phone at the dinner table and decided to initiate a conversation with Damian she thought was long overdue. “I’ve been reading up about feedism, and I wanted to take an inventory of what you’d like to do, as well as your hard limits,” she said.


“You know, the stuff you don’t want to do,” she explained. “Can you think of anything?”

He was drawing a blank, so she decided to give him some prompting. “You gave me some numbers when we first started talking about this, remember? You asked me how I’d feel if you reached 230 pounds. Is that a goal you have in mind?”

“I guess kind of a fantasy,” he said. “But I would really like to get there in real life.”

“Only 230?” said Auralee from the doorway.

Auralee had taken up residence in one of the back bedrooms on the first floor, for a modest rent of $300 that Christyn was reluctant to take at first, but Auralee had assured her that she would end up owing at least that much in liquor alone if Christyn did all the shopping. Her presence was sprawling; already, Christyn was finding her clothes, jewelry, shoes without mates, and empty liquor bottles strewn in odd places all over the house, and the air in the halls wafted with the scent of her sweet, candy-like perfume. She had opted out of joining Christyn and Damian for dinner tonight, even though Christyn had made her, if she could toot her own horn, amazing three-bean vegetarian meatloaf, about which Damian had been skeptical at first, but which had impressed him so much that he asked for a second helping. That didn’t stop her, however, from shambling in and out of the kitchen, drinking vodka straight out of the handle and inviting herself intermittently into their conversation.

“Seems a shame not to shoot for at least 3.”

“300 pounds?!” Damian blurted. “N-no, I definitely want to cap it at 230 for now.”

“230 it is, then,” said Christyn. “Now, is that a goal, or a limit?”

“I guess both.”

“Alright, now we’re getting somewhere. Let’s see, what else? We already know that eating until you can barely move gives you a massive erection for some reason,” Christyn went on. She couldn’t imagine what that was like, herself. She was a pragmatist when it came to food--she ate when she was hungry, stopped when she was satisfied, and if she were to ever overdo it, the last thing she’d feel like doing afterwards was have sex.

“That actually makes a lot of sense,” Auralee supplied. “When you’re full, your stomach presses down on your internal sex organs, including the prostate for males, which some people find extremely pleasurable.” With that, she wandered out for a cigarette.

“Huh. The more you know, I guess,” said Christyn. “There’s a lot of other stuff in this kink, too. Is being fed with a funnel or a tube something you’d be interested in?” she asked, pulling up somebody’s blog entry on her phone for reference. She passed it across the table to him so he could take a look at the photos.

“No,” he said, shaking his head frenetically. “A spoon would be hot, though.”

“Would you want me to tie your hands while I did it?”

“Then I couldn’t touch you,” he pointed out, looking disheartened at the prospect.

“Gotcha, striking out rope bondage,” said Christyn. She took back her phone and continued to scroll through the feedist blogosphere. “What about...hang on, what’s this?” she muttered as she stumbled upon a particularly puzzling post. “What is ‘weight gain powder’?” she muttered to herself more than anyone else.

Damian shrugged. “Powder that makes you gain weight?”

“HOLY SHIT, REALLY?” said Christyn, unable to hold back the snark.

“It’s that protein powder bodybuilders buy at the grocery store to try and bulk up, but don’t waste your money,” said Auralee, who had reappeared in the doorway. “You can get more calories on the dime if you just mix heavy cream with maltodextrin. Alternatively, you can mix maltodextrin with peanut butter and put it on everything.”

“What’s maltodextrin?” asked Damian.

“Just an insulin trigger,” said Auralee. “It’ll open up your fat cells so that whatever calorie source you’re using, cream or peanut butter or what have you, can get dumped directly in there. You can buy it online and it’s probably the most cost-efficient way to see a fast gain.”

“Insulin trigger?” Christyn repeated. “Hang on now, I don’t want to give him diabetes!” She took his hand and gave it a protective squeeze under the table.

“He’ll be fine. Bodybuilders use this stuff, too. Trust me, my brother is a doctor.”

“I thought your brother was dead,” said Damian.

“JD’s deceased; Ashton’s a doctor.”

“He’s a psychiatrist!” Christyn recalled. “Besides, you only talk to him when you want fake scripts!”

“They’re real scripts,” Auralee protested. “They’re just for medications that I don’t personally need.”

“Like that makes it better?”

“I think I’m gonna go with Chrissy on this one. Besides, drinking cream straight sounds gross,” said Damian.

“That...surprises me. You take two creamers in your iced tea,” said Christyn.

“Yeah, I like it in stuff, but not alone.”

“What about water bloating?” suggested Auralee.

“What would be the point? Ain’t no calories in water,” said Damian.

“Capacity training. Stretch your stomach out so you can eat more.”

“No!” said Christyn, giving his hand another squeeze. She had done extensive research in order to put the shreds of herself back together after years of alcoholism, including addressing a case of chronic dehydration, and the information she had gathered told her Auralee’s idea was a bad one. “Water toxicity can be fatal. If you drink more than your body can handle, you can flood your brain.”

“It doesn’t sound like fun, anyway,” said Damian.

“Well, what about inflation?” proposed Auralee.
“In this economy, I sure as fuck hope not,” said Christyn.

Auralee rolled her eyes. “Not that kind of inflation. I’m talking about sticking a bike pump hose up your--”

“I don’t think I need to hear anymore,” said Damian.

He cleaned the last of his mashed potatoes from his plate, and Christyn stood up to clear the dishes. “I think I’ve got you figured out,” she said. “You’re a sweet guy with simple needs. You like to be spoiled and you’re an epicurean at heart.”

“A what?”

“It means you enjoy good food,” she said. She put the dishes in the sink and returned to him in his seat, where she ruffled his hair before holding his head against her own body. He let slip a sigh of pleasure at their contact. “And you like physical intimacy; to touch and be touched, that is...I can definitely work with these parameters.”

Auralee had thankfully returned to the patio for another smoke. Christyn bent down and stole a kiss from Damian before grabbing him by the front of his shirt and dragging him to bed.


like the pancake
Dec 7, 2019
She was having more fun than she’d had in any of her past relationships. She’d thought at first that slipping into the role of a feeder was just something she was doing to make Damian happy, but more and more, she found it warmed her heart when he complimented her cooking at lunch or dinner, or when the smell of her baking lured him to the kitchen and he couldn’t help but take one of her cupcakes out of the pan and stuff it in his mouth the moment she took a batch out of the oven.

Under her instruction, he became an expert at pleasuring her, too. She taught him how to eat her like she was his favorite dessert, savoring her slowly as he sucked her clit and rewarding him with wet blowjobs and passionate sex. He wasn’t subtle about his admiration for thick women, but showed an initial hesitation about breaching her boundaries and making her self-conscious--a hesitation she broke down one night in bed when she took his hand and placed it on her stomach after she’d caught him looking. “You can touch me where I’m soft, too,” she said. “Go ahead and give me a squeeze. It feels good, I promise.” It was a welcome bliss to be played with and adored, especially after a long day at work.

The Hotel Flamenco was owned by Robert and Sylvia Walker, who ran the place on principles of unchecked nepotism. Their three bratty daughters worked as waitresses even though the youngest and brattiest, Ruby, wasn’t old enough to serve alcohol. Within the first month of her employment, Christyn was written up for keeping somebody’s tab open--apparently, there was a rule in place that nobody had told her about stating that only servers, not bartenders, were allowed to hold tabs. It was completely backwards and clearly designed to keep money in the family.

The next week she and the food and beverage manager, Esteban, found both their paychecks deducted from, the reason being that they had split an extra pizza that the kitchen had made by mistake. “You ate it, so I went ahead and charged you for it. You still got the employee discount,” Sylvia reasoned. Esteban had tried to fight her on it, but she was having none of it, and she even went so far as to call him a ‘thief’ of the ‘generous wage’ she paid him, all because he had called in a few days earlier to take care of his wife, who had come down with a serious case of influenza.

As frustrating as it was, she was able to put her work stress out of her mind when she came home to Damian. She always made sure to feed him well, and she was loving the effect her pampering had on his body. The next ten pounds suited him well, the weight distributing evenly to soften his arms, chest, thighs, and ass, and push his belly an inch or so further past the waistband of his sweatpants. He looked as if his body had always wanted to fill out, but had simply never been given the chance until now. At this point, the slacks she’d taken out for him stood no chance of getting up past his ass, and she couldn’t resist giving it a playful smack to watch it jiggle when she caught him trying one afternoon. Knowing she was personally responsible for the comfortable, decadent lifestyle that was steadily filling out his frame made her desperately wet in a way that caught her unawares. After dinner, it was often straight to bed, where she delighted in exploring every added inch of his body and riding him to the most powerful orgasms she’d ever had in her life. It was enough to make her ignore the dishes that were still in the sink from the previous night when she came home from work, at least for a long while.

Then one day at work, she had a particularly frustrating party of old white ladies take up her whole bar-top, all order soda pop, run her back and forth from the kitchen several times to fetch them extra condiments, and all stiff her on what had to amount to over $300 in sales. She and the other two bartenders (Christopher and Kristen--yeah, that caused more than a little confusion on the clock, until they all agreed to shorten it to Chrissy, Topher, and Sten) still had to tip out the barback, the busboy, and, for some reason, the server, even though at every other restaurant it was the servers who had to tip out the bar, and she got an alert on her phone that the cable company had charged her account $40.

After work, the other bartenders and Esteban invited Christyn to come out drinking with them, but she politely declined. “I got a man at home waiting up for me,” she stated as the reason, but she really wanted to see what was going on with the cable bill.

Earlier that morning, she’d done all the dishes in the sink, but otherwise, the house was just as much of a mess as it had been when she arrived home. She found Damian and Auralee in front of the TV, passing a pipe between the two of them.

“Auralee, since when do you smoke weed? And Damian, did you order $40 worth of pay-per-view?”

“I had the day off, your boy wanted to smoke, so I figured I’d try it out. And since I threw down for the weed, he threw down for the movie marathon.”

“How can he ‘throw down’ when he’s not making any money?”

“It’s not like I can get a job, with the cops looking for me,” Damian pointed out.

Christyn winced, knowing she’d hit a sensitive spot. “Look, I’m sorry. I’ve just had a rough day at work and it’d be nice if you helped me out, like you used to at the restaurant. Maybe clean the house before you decide to veg out and order Australian B-horror flicks from 2005.”

“Hey, Brett Leonard is a great director. Could have done without the whole shocking twist at the end, but calling his movie a B-horror--”

“No offense, Damian,” Christyn cut him off, “but I really don’t care about the quality of the movie.”

“Whoa, Chrissy, careful there,” said Auralee. “Make him get off his ass too much and he might end up losing some weight.”

“Yeah, well, the alternative is me losing my goddamn mind,” she muttered, pushing back the fringe of her hair in frustration.

She drank a couple shots and went straight to bed without waiting for him, but a few minutes later, he came in, quietly at first, sitting on the edge of the bed and placing a hand on her shoulder. “Chrissy, I’m sorry,” he said. “I guess I’ve been having too much fun here and I forgot to think about making you happy, too.”

“You make me very happy,” she said. “Come here.”

He cuddled up to her in bed and she sighed with contentment, pressing herself into his warmth. Beautiful though it was, the house was poorly insulated, and it got chilly even as the early months of spring arrived. Her favorite thing to do nowadays was lay wrapped up in his arms just like this.

“I’ll help you out from now on. I promise.”


like the pancake
Dec 7, 2019
“Can you give me all the details you remember from the attack, Ms. Brandywine?”

Christyn had only minutes ago regained consciousness and here she was in Esteban’s tiny office, sitting at his computer chair while a police detective asked her questions.

Her head hurt, and she struggled to recall the events of the evening. “I got to work at 5...then at 7, I was serving a customer a glass of wine. All of the sudden, the customer told me to look out behind me, and I saw in the reflection in the wine glass, there was a guy in all black and a ski mask...with a gun.”

“Then what happened?”

“He grabbed me around the shoulders and put the gun against my head. He told me to open the register, so I did, and then…”


“Well, he had to let me go so I could open the register. And once I had my hands free, I...I made a lunge for him,” she said as it came back to her.

“What do you remember thinking at that moment?”

“I thought if I could get the gun out of his hands, I could keep him from shooting any innocent people.”

“That was very brave, and very reckless of you, Ms. Brandywine,” said the detective. “Then what happened?”

“I, I don’t know, Officer. I woke up behind the bar. My manager said I was unconscious for forty-five minutes after my attacker hit me in the back of the head with the gun.”

“I see. Can you describe your assailant?”

“Well, like I said, he was wearing a ski mask.”

“Just do your best.”

She racked her brain. “I don’t know, maybe 5’8”, 180 pounds, he had this distinctly wide stance and kept adjusting his crotch.” If that description matched anyone she knew, her nerves were too fried for her to make the connection, and if she’d shared with anyone the approximate layout of the hotel bar, including the fact that she often kept the back door propped open with a brick so that she could slip easily in and out for a smoke break, it didn’t occur to her in the moment, either.

Esteban gave her the rest of the week off, along with all of the next, so she could collect herself and ease her nerves. She waited until the police left to go home; before the interrogation, Esteban had offered her a glass of water, which turned out to be a vodka and water, and the last thing she wanted was to be pulled over and Breathalyzed on her way out. She left through the back, and as she passed the dumpsters, she was assailed once more from the side. She thrashed as her attacker wrapped an arm around her body and clapped a hand over her mouth before she could scream.

“Chrissy, relax! It’s me!” Damian pulled off his ski mask and gave her a dopey grin like he hadn’t just committed a robbery at her workplace.

“Damian, what the fuck! You attacked me? You could’ve given me a concussion! And--is that my gun?”

“Relax! It’s not loaded. Do you think I’m crazy?”

“It was loaded when I left it in the glove box,” said Christyn. “Where did the bullets go?”

“I, uh…”

“Damian, where did the bullets go?”

“You see, here’s the thing. If I got caught, I didn’t want them to think you and I were in cahoots together, so I thought if I made it look like I didn’t like you, you’d be safe for sure, right?” He said this while they were walking to her car, and when they got there, she realized he had emptied the entire magazine into her windshield.

“You’re paying for that.”

She looked up an auto shop that was open until 9 PM and put the address in her GPS.

“I was just trying to contribute,” he said on the way there. “I don’t actually like not working. When you’re not home, I just feel like a bum. I know you said I should clean the house, but I won’t be satisfied just being your stay-at-home trophy boyfriend. I figured if I couldn’t get a job, I might hit a lick and split the money with you. Use my half to take you out somewhere nice…”

“How did you even get to the hotel?”

“Auralee dropped me off. I didn’t tell her what I was doing and she didn’t ask.”

The bill for the windshield came out to $218, which left Damian with exactly twelve bucks left from the robbery. He still wanted to take her out to dinner, so while her car was getting worked on, he walked her to the $6 chicken buffet down the street. She fixed herself a modest plate--well, more like half a plate--of steamed green beans and bread rolls, and barely picked at it before she went digging in her wallet for a tip for the waitress.

“Man, I’m so sorry. I didn’t think you’d be this stressed out. I know how that fucks with your appetite,” said Damian, already on his second plate.

“That and I’m a vegetarian. I don’t know why I expect you to remember.”

When they finally arrived home, Christyn took a look around the living room and cracked the smallest of smiles in spite of herself. “Well, at least you cleaned the house.”


like the pancake
Dec 7, 2019

When Damian came downstairs the next morning, Christyn was on the phone while she made breakfast. “No, no, it’s not a bad time. I actually just came into some time off at my full-time job, so I’d be glad to pick up as many shifts as you need me for in the coming week!” she was saying to someone who must have been a manager at the staffing agency.

Auralee was also on the phone. As Christyn plated eggs, toast, and pancakes made from scratch, she paced the kitchen, pleading, “Sebastian, please, don’t do this to me! And over the phone, no less! You know you’re my favorite.” He guessed she was talking to one of her online feedees; she had mentioned she had one in New York and one in California, and he figured probably a couple others as well.

“Wonderful, I look forward to seeing you tomorrow!” Christyn finished up on the phone before turning to Damian. “The agency is sending me to work at a series of banquets in Beaumont. I’ll be gone for a week, starting tomorrow.”

Damian’s heart sank. “A whole week?”

Just then, Auralee got off the phone, too, and it seemed he was wrong about who she was on the line with: “Goddamit, my best barback just quit on me. You want a job, kid? Chrissy tells me you’re pretty good, and now that we’re living together, I can drive you to work and back.”

Damian looked from Christyn to Auralee. He’d wanted a job, in theory, but there were still complications. “That’s back in the city, right?” he said. “What about my warrants?”

“Don’t worry about it. My dad used to be a cop of pretty high ranking. He has connections and ways of getting around the system,” said Auralee. “I myself am pretty much above the law, along with anyone under my protection. I’ll make sure you get your check cut and the HPD doesn’t touch you. Besides, you’re probably already quite a few pounds removed from resemblance to your mugshot, anyway.”

“The work can be stressful as shit,” said Christyn. “Trust me, you’ll be taking my old job. But this is exactly what you wanted! If you think you can handle it, I say go for it!”

“With you gone for a week, I think I’ll die of loneliness in here if I don’t,” said Damian. “Okay, Auralee, you’ve got yourself a barback!”

She printed him out his onboarding paperwork within the hour. “Fill this out, and be ready tomorrow morning at 8. We start at 9, open at 10, and it’s a long drive.”

The dress code at the bowling alley, Auralee explained, was black on black, and yes, sweatpants would be fine. He showered and got dressed first thing in the morning and was downstairs just in time to meet Auralee. Christyn was already awake and dressed in her full waitstaff uniform, complete with a tie and a black vest that hugged her curves and pushed her tits up in a way that really made him wish they had more time before work--but at least now he had a workplace to go to!

She handed him a plastic container before she left and said, “Here, I made you some breakfast tacos for the road. Don’t worry, no onions.”

“Thanks.” That was awfully nice of her, but he couldn’t help but worry that she was still mad at him. Why else would she decide to leave town for a week?

Auralee drove a boxy, brown secondhand SUV that was as comically large as Christyn’s Fiat was comically small, and she was an awful driver. Back when Damian had a car, he liked to drive fast, but he was never a jerk on the road, at least, not when he was sober. Auralee weaved in and out of traffic, cutting people off with only inches to spare, all the while honking and swearing as if the other people were the ones at fault.

At one point, they were sitting in traffic behind a four-car pile-up, and Damian finally felt brave enough to eat breakfast, knowing they’d be at a standstill for a while. The stress from the nerve-wracking drive so far combined with the presence of more cops at the scene of the accident than he was comfortable with only intensified his appetite, and he crushed all three tacos Christyn had sent him off with in under a minute each.

“Boy, that Chrissy sure knows how to pick ‘em,” said Auralee. “If I’m allowed to say so, you do have quite an impressive appetite. And she’s shaping up to be a better feeder than I imagined; it was probably a smart idea of hers to leave town for a week. Without her around to stuff you on the daily, your body might get tricked into starvation mode, and when she comes back and picks up where she left off, you’ll put the weight on faster than ever.”

“I don’t think that’s why she left,” said Damian. “She’s probably still mad that I hit a lick on her at the hotel.”

“You...licked her?” said Auralee with a confused expression.

“Christyn didn’t tell you? I committed a robbery in the bar. I was just trying to help out with funds,” he admitted.

“Hit a, that’s another one I haven’t heard before. Back in my day you ‘knocked over’ the hotel bar.”

They arrived with only a minute to spare, but Auralee was the manager, so Damian figured she could’ve been late if she wanted to be. The bowling alley was huge inside, with 24 lanes from wall to wall lit in a harsh fluorescent. The restaurant area, however, was tiny in comparison. There were eight bar seats in total and eight tables: four high-tops and four low four-tops. The front end of the kitchen was accessible behind the bar through either side, with a wall separating them in the middle. “We don’t have very many people sit in the restaurant itself,” explained Auralee. “Most of them just take their drinks and go back to the lanes. I don’t even have these tables numbered.” She put him in the system via the POS behind the bar and gave him a 4-digit access code so he could clock in. “And of course Zeke isn’t here yet...looks like you and me will have to set up the kitchen!”

She gave him a brief tour while they set the prep station up with a cutting board, turned on the fryers, the flat-top stove, and the pizza oven. “Chrissy used to help out in the kitchen, too. She’s an inspired cook, as I’m sure you know.”

There were eighteen beer taps, all connected to lines that ran through the ceiling and into the far back walk-in, where the kegs sat on a top and bottom shelf, which must have been where Christyn had spent days shackled after stealing one of Auralee’s boyfriends. The lines attached to the kegs were labeled with numbers that corresponded to their position in the bar. There was a separate walk-in for food in the back kitchen, by the pizza assembly station. As Auralee led him around, he noticed that for some reason, there was a step built into the floor behind the bar right under the taps, and that the only hand-wash sink was in the back of the kitchen next to the ice machine, with no sinks at all behind the bar or in the front kitchen. Five minutes before open, she said, “Alright, now it’s time for my breakfast,” and poured herself a plastic cup of red wine. “Can’t be hungover if you’re still drunk, right?”

Zeke, the cook, showed up right at 10. He was a tall, skinny Black guy in a baggy button-up with the sleeves rolled up halfway and his cap on backwards. “You’re late,” said Auralee.

“You’re welcome! Now y’all don’t have to pay me for an hour of labor,” said Zeke. “What’s this, you finally hire another cook so I don’t have to be alone back there?”

“Actually, I’m training as a barback,” said Damian.

“Training? Don’t be modest, Damian, you’re already trained. Chrissy recommends you highly and I don’t see why I shouldn’t throw you in the mix off the bat, especially with how short-staffed we’ve been. I’ve been having to use my assistant lead bartender as a barback two shifts a week for the last month, even with Sebastian working.”

“Wait, you know Chrissy?” said Zeke. “That’s what’s up!” He went in for a high-five and Damian met him halfway. “That was my best friend back when she worked here...before she left to go work at Common Table with my sister. So how you know Chrissy?”

“We met at my old restaurant job, and I guess now I’m dating her.”

“In that case, you better do right by that girl, you hear?” said Zeke, and Damian decided to keep it to himself that he’d hit a lick at her job.

The work itself was easy. People trickled into the bar and mostly ordered food, then a few draft beers and occasionally a mixed drink. Damian spent most of the first shift running food, the biggest obstacle being finding where it was supposed to go, as Auralee’s tickets all had obscure names like Guy with a Green Shirt or Soccer Mom Looking Chick or Crackhead Mikey. Other than that, he had a lot of downtime and spent much of it checking his phone. After seeing some of the feedee and feeder blogs Christyn had come across in her ‘research,’ he’d decided to start one of his own, just to document his progress, as well as chat about his experiences with other like-minded folks while still having anonymity. He was pleased to see that his selfie in the mirror (with his head cropped out of the frame, of course), in Christyn’s hoodie, which wouldn’t even close anymore, had gotten 50 likes. He had a few questions in his inbox from anonymous senders, too, and one from someone using the screen name ColderEveryWinter, who said she (or at least, he assumed it was a she) liked his blog and that she was a feedist working in the bar industry, too, although a look through her blog gave away nothing about her sexual life. Mostly, she reposted articles about impending climate change and the corruption of the 1%. He answered when he got a moment to spare.

After a short lunch rush, Auralee told Zeke, “Why don’t you make us all a snack?”

“Sure, what you want, boss?”

“I don’t know, maybe some cheese sticks?”

A few minutes later, Zeke placed a plate of four of the biggest cheese sticks Damian had ever seen on the corner of the bar. Auralee nudged it towards Damian and said, “Try one. I know you haven’t eaten since breakfast.”


like the pancake
Dec 7, 2019
Damian wasn’t sure what was in the cheese sticks that made them so filling and heavy--or maybe it was just that each one was about as thick around as Auralee’s wrist, if not damn near. He barely managed to get through a quarter of one before he gave up. It sat like a rock at the pit of his stomach while his breathing took a labored pace. He knew it was crazy, but he would have sworn he could actually feel his arteries protesting.

“They’re a little decadent, I’ll admit,” said Auralee. Boy, what an understatement. He wondered if Auralee had simply been replacing most of her food intake with alcohol for so long that she had forgotten how food worked, how it was supposed to take into account well-coupled flavors and balance, instead of being a mess of as much grease and carbs as she could put together on one plate. In any case, Christyn had a good reason for banning Auralee from the kitchen at home. If Auralee were to do the cooking, they’d all be having heart attacks in a month. “I’ve had a few new hires actually get sick the first few times after eating here. You get used to it.” She had a bite of one cheese stick herself, and Zeke refused to even touch the stuff. “Anyway, be sure to get a good meal in tonight, and for breakfast tomorrow. Trust me, you’ll need it for stamina.”

“Today was easy enough,” said Damian.

“Tomorrow morning, though, I’ll be at my other job. It’ll just be you, another new guy, and Sabine.”

There was much less traffic on their way back home that night, and, without anyone to yell at on the road, Auralee turned up the radio. She had it tuned to the rock station, and as she drove, she began to sing along. Her voice was beautiful, strong and on-pitch, and much better than anything he was used to hearing.

“Holy shit, Auralee, you got some pipes!” he said. “You ever thought about being a singer?”

“Thanks, Damian! I...I have given it some thought...but I don’t play any instruments, so I don’t feel very musically talented.”

“You’re talented as fuck! You’re a natural!”

“You’re too sweet for your own good, kid.”

In the morning, Auralee dropped Damian off at the bowling alley and drove off to the downtown farmer’s market, where she sold pies as a side-hustle. A few minutes later, every car alarm in the parking lot went off, and then, Sabine Mathison walked in, placing a motorcycle helmet on the corner of the bar.

He had seen her name on the schedule, listed today and a few other days as a bartender, and as a barback on weekend nights with Auralee bartending and managing. This must be the assistant lead Auralee had mentioned. Until she arrived, he didn’t know what to expect. He had never met another Sabine, and didn’t know until he saw her whether she’d be a guy or girl. The first thing Damian noticed about her was that she was short--very short. He understood now why there was a step built into the floor behind the bar; without it, this girl would barely be able to reach the beer taps. She had black hair that fought to escape the rubber band that secured her stubby ponytail, and wore thick-rimmed, rectangular glasses. She had narrow shoulders, shapely hips, and an hourglass waist, and wore a lot of black eyeliner, but no lipstick. She introduced herself with a curt handshake, and although she told him it was “a pleasure to make your acquaintance,” she did not smile.

“So you’re one of the new barbacks?”

“Yeah, I’m Damian, it’s nice to--”

“Auralee tells me you’re experienced. I certainly hope she’s right, because we have a full house of birthday and office parties booked today, and Zeke comes in whenever he wants to come in, so you might have to do my job and yours while I jump in the kitchen in his stead. Now, we’re a little early. I’m sure Auralee gave you the tour, but since we have time, let’s take a look around in case she missed anything.”

She led the way past the front kitchen and back into the prep kitchen. “Right here, where I’m standing,” she said, standing next to the dishwasher, “this here is a blind spot to the cameras. Here’s another one.” She moved to the back of the prep kitchen, right inside the back doorway. “And all down the hall to the beer cooler. Now, did Auralee show you how to get out of the walk in in case you get stuck?”

“Get stuck?” he repeated, horrified.

“The door handle is broken on the inside, so if you’re inside and someone closes the door, you’re locked in. That’s why we keep this little metal rod up there,” she explained, leading him inside and pointing to a pipe that ran above the door. “It’s right on top of the pipe. You take the rod and jam it in that hole in the door and then you’re sprung. But I guess if it’s me, I’m double fucked, because I can’t reach.”

She showed him a few more things, like the dry storage area behind the lanes where he might find extra Styrofoam cups and to-go boxes if they weren’t stocked in the bar, and how to operate the dishwasher, because apparently they didn’t have a guy for that, they all just took turns. “Now, the machine’s for glassware only. When we do use plates and silver, like for special reservations, we wash them by hand, but we almost always just use the paper boats and plastic forks. Got it?”

He nodded.

Handling opening wasn’t too hard. He was more or less familiar with how to ring things in on the computer, so as the first of the customers started to trickle in, he fell into a comfortable rhythm on the register while Sabine mixed drinks and made food. Business was steady, but not overwhelmingly busy.

At around noon, the other barback on the schedule came in.

His name was Will and he was a tall, skinny string-bean kind of guy, probably about Damian’s own age, with short dark hair and a meek handshake. They exchanged words briefly. He was new, too, it was his first day. He’d put on his application that he’d been a barback before, but he’d lied.

“Oh, it’s easy,” said Damian. “All you have to do is keep the bar stocked, change out the kegs when they get empty, and do whatever the bartender says she needs you to do, then clean up after the end of the shift. If you need me to, I can show you the ropes, but you’ll probably be fine.”

About that time, Zeke finally showed up, throwing his bag on the corner of the bar and clapping Damian on the back. “What’s up, my dude? Where Beans at?”


“Sabine. She’s a girl that works here.”

Sabine emerged from the kitchen holding a spatula and shaking her head. “Look who decided to show up for work.”

“You’re alright, cooking ain’t that hard.” He took the spatula from her, clocked in and jumped on his station.

“Damian, go ahead and take a lunch break now, because this is about the slowest we’re gonna get all shift,” said Sabine, “but be back in 30 minutes because that’s when the biggest parties come in and I’m gonna need all hands on deck.”

Damian clocked out and went to the gas station across the street for a bag of chips, a pack of mini donuts, and his favorite mid-day treat of sweet tea with two creamers. He took his full 30 minutes outside by the pumps to enjoy the fresh air, guessing he wouldn’t have much downtime when he walked back into work.

He had no idea what would be in store for him when he returned.

The bowling alley was packed to the brim with people. There were now three servers on the floor, two on the lanes and one for the restaurant area, and they were all weeded. The expo window was full of fried appetizers losing heat by the second, and Sabine was screaming her lungs out at Will behind the bar.
“HOW THE FUCK AM I ALREADY OUT OF MARTINI GLASSES? You’re supposed to bring them back to the dish pit when they’re empty, not just let them sit on tables! I have food that needs expo and I already told you about the kegs five minutes ago!”

“Which kegs need to be changed? Just give me the numbers,” said Damian as he clocked back in.

“Oh, thank God you’re back. 3, 5, and 12.”

“On it. Hey Will, do you want to jump on either expo or glassware?”

Damian made his way to the back and changed the first two kegs in a personal record time. He hadn’t done this in a long while, but he still remembered how to turn off the hose, take it out, and put it into the new keg just the way Christyn had taught him. The kegs were heavy, but they were nothing he couldn’t handle, and he actually felt stronger than he had been back at the Capital. Maybe it had something to do with getting used to carrying an extra 40 pounds in body weight.

As he got started on the third keg, he realized that instead of jumping on the hot line, Will had followed him to the far back walk-in, where he was standing in the doorway looking like he had never seen a keg of beer before, let alone handled one. “Will you teach me how to do that?” he asked.

“Sure, here, just watch me.” He walked Will through the steps as he worked. “Got it?”

“I think so.”

“Okay, good. Now let’s go, Sabine needs hands on the line.”

“What does that mean?”

“She needs us to bring food out to the lanes.”

Damian took the lead, pleased to see that Sabine’s tickets had lane numbers on them, making it easy for him. He coached Will through the process of running food before Sabine yelled at no one in particular, “WHERE THE FUCK ARE MY MARTINI GLASSES?”


like the pancake
Dec 7, 2019
“Give me a minute, I got you. Will, lock in on expo.”

Damian made a quick sweep of the place, ran a rack of glasses through the machine, and had them all polished in the next few minutes. He thought he was doing pretty good for his first busy day here, until Sabine snapped, “Damian, I need ten kamikaze shots on lane 14, pronto!”

Well, fuck.

He looked up the recipe on his phone as quickly as he could, relieved to see it was simple, with only three ingredients. He figured he could make five at a time in one shaker, and had made his way to the well to start filling one with ice, but then Sabine took it out of his hands and knocked him out of the way. “Jesus Christ, if you can’t keep pace then just tell me!” she barked, and a part of him started to wonder if he’d be better at keeping up if he hadn’t decided to gain a bunch of weight on purpose.

But then he watched as Sabine poured vodka, triple sec, and lime juice into two shakers at once, and he realized, no normal person could keep up with her. He’d once seen Christyn pour five drinks in under a minute. Sabine had ten poured in about half that time. The girl was some kind of mutant.

“Well, don’t just watch me!” she snapped. “I don’t tip you out to stand around with your thumb in your ass!”

“Yes, Sergeant,” he answered defiantly. She looked like she wanted to smack him in the face. He took the tray out to lane 14 before she could do it.

The rush remained in full swing all shift. Damian kept himself busy to avoid Sabine’s frustrated bursts of wrath, to which, for some reason, Zeke seemed to be the only exception. On his way in and out of the dish pit, Damian would see Sabine approach Zeke gently, pull a ticket, and mutter, “I need this on the fly,” or Zeke emerge from his station to rub her shoulders behind the bar between onslaughts of customers.

It wasn’t until 4 PM that the line in front of the register finally died. Damian was making a batch of Jello shots while Will cleaned up in the lanes when Sabine handed him some money rolled up. “Auralee should be here in a minute. Not bad today,” she said, ran out of the bar to tip out Will, and dipped out the side of the building.

When Auralee arrived, she was walking unsteadily and smelled like liquor. “Sorry I’m late!” she said, her voice a slow drawl. “One of my online feedees is in town visiting family, and I had leftover pie from the farmer’s market, so we decided to meet up and make a detour back to the house.”

“It’s no problem, I was only alone here for a few minutes.”

Just then, a tall, slim blonde woman clothed in a gray suit with her hair in a bun walked into the bar. “Auralee, the folks at lane 8 said their fried green beans are too spicy.”

“Shit, don’t look at me, I just got here,” said Auralee. “Oh, excuse me, where are my manners? Mom, this is Damian, my new barback. Damian, this is my mother, Virtue Kingston, the owner of the establishment.”

Virtue extended her hand to shake, but her grip was slack and after she broke away he felt awkward for squeezing. She didn't say a word to him, instead looking at Auralee: “I thought we just hired a barback.”

“I can’t run just one barback on every shift. I need at least two, sometimes both at once.”

“One? What happened to Sebastian?”

“His mom got sick so he left with an immediate notice so he could take care of her.”

“Oh. Tragic,” said Virtue, but the sentiment didn’t reach her eyes. “Auralee, do you think you could have a talk with your staff about looking presentable for work?” She looked pointedly at Damian.

“What’s wrong with him, Mother?”

“I think dress slacks should be the standard for front of the house staff.”

“I already told him the sweatpants were fine. Besides, you didn’t say anything to Sabine when she came in in leather pants.”

“Sabine didn’t look sloppy.”

“I just washed these last night!” Damian protested. And who was she to call him ‘sloppy,’ anyway, when Auralee was clearly drunk?

“I guess you are the bar manager,” said Virtue, and walked off rolling her eyes and sighing.

The shift was slow after a hectic morning. Damian spent most of it cleaning up the last shift’s mess behind the bar while Will did the same out in the lanes. At about five, Zeke left and another cook, Girard, took his place. Girard didn’t talk much, just made tickets as they were rung in and listened to Tejano music on a set of speakers in the back kitchen while he ran the dishwasher. By seven, Virtue returned to the bar to tell Auralee, “Labor is too high for profits at the moment; I need you to send one of your barbacks home.” She didn’t stick around, much to Damian’s relief.

“Guess it’ll have to be the other guy, since I’m your ride,” Auralee said to Damian. “What’s his name again?”

“It’s Will. Didn’t you hire him?”

“My mother hired him. How did he do this morning?”

“Pretty good,” Damian lied.

“Good. Mom has a bad habit of hiring people who are incompetent, as long as she likes what she sees. She has a lot of bias against plus-sized people and hires me a lot of these skinny little kids who can barely lift a beer pitcher, nevermind a keg.”

“I imagine that must have been hard for you, growing up.”

Auralee must not have been in the mood to talk about her childhood, because she made no comment, instead walking to the doorway between the kitchen and the lanes. “Hey Will!”

“Yes?” He ran up to the doorway to meet her, seeming to look up at her even though they were the same height. “What’s your name?”

“Auralee. I’m the bar manager. Now, I bet you’ve been working hard all morning; you can go ahead and take off now. Me and Damian have got it from here.”

Will seemed disappointed to be leaving, and his eyes lingered on Auralee the whole while he was getting his stuff and working his way out. Damian fought back a smile, remembering the days when he was fresh in the industry with a crush on his bar manager.

On the drive home, Auralee said to him, “I don’t like when my mom interferes on the restaurant side.”

Said, “I know what I’m doing. I do it well, and I do it all for 2.13.”

Said, “Years back, I had a salary, but that meant I couldn’t keep tips as a manager. Anything I made on a credit card was supposed to be redistributed to the rest of the staff, but instead, I caught her skimming. So I voluntarily took a paycut so I could make tips and distribute them properly to the staff.”

Said, “Have you eaten dinner?”

He hadn’t, but he didn’t want to make her stop.
When they got home he found the living room a mess. Not only had she and her afternoon date left the pie tin on the floor along with a spattering of crumbs, but they had somehow managed to flip the coffee table over and get whipped cream on the ceiling.

The next day, he was a double again, opening with Sabine, closing with Auralee. Although he kept up close enough with Sabine, the end of the first shift found him winded and starving. Zeke, who got off at the same time he did, winced when he caught sight of him slumped over the bar cooler with fatigue. “Hey, you don’t look so good, little bro,” he said. “I’m finna go get some food that doesn’t taste like you’re actively having a heart attack. Want to come with? You look like you could use a little pick-me-up.”

Zeke drove a red sedan that was in dire need of a paint job, but clean inside and in good working condition. He took them to this Italian restaurant, where they were greeted and sat down at a table by a very busty blonde waitress with the first two buttons of her white dress shirt undone. “Who’s your friend, Zeke?” she asked.

“You two know each other?” said Damian.

“In a biblical sense,” said the blonde.

Zeke rolled his eyes. “I forget, subtlety ain’t one of your strong suits, Maize. This Damian, by the way. He work at the bowling alley. Damian, this Maizy.”

It took him a while to get that ‘biblical’ comment, but then he remembered that in the Bible, ‘knew’ meant ‘fucked.’

“So you’re Zeke’s girlfriend?”

“I don’t know if that’d be the right word,” said Maizy. “My best friend Betty just knows him from law school, and she and I have known each other since diapers and we share everything.”

Damian looked at Zeke, stunned. “You’re in law school?”

“Yeah, trying not to brag about it.”

“And what do you mean, share?” he asked the waitress.

“Typical, Maize, just typical. Running your mouth at tables and letting the guests get thirsty.” Another waitress approached the table and set a beer down in front of Zeke. She was a tall, Hispanic girl with long, wavy black hair. “It’s been too long, Ezekiel. We’ve been starting to get lonely over here.” She squeezed his shoulder before turning her attention to Damian. “For those of us here for the first time, welcome! My name is Beatriz, but you can call me Betty, and myself and Maizy will be at your service today. Now what can I get you to drink, mijo?”

For a moment, Damian couldn’t speak. Was he to understand that Zeke was fucking both of these fine waitresses, and they were perfectly content to share him? And he thought he had been living the life. Eventually he found the words to order himself an iced tea, two creamers.

“And let’s go ahead and get some food for the table, too, my brother looked like he was finna faint at work. Bring us a sampler, if ya would?” said Zeke.


like the pancake
Dec 7, 2019
The food was delicious. Between the two of them, they managed to clear a tray of cheese sticks, stuffed mushrooms, tomato caprese bites, and Italian spiced wings, along with two baskets of garlic bread. The cheese sticks in particular were a lot better than the ones at the bowling alley, where the breading was too crumbly and soaked up way too much grease. Damian was still a little hungry, so he ordered a side salad with extra dressing. He didn’t used to think he was a salad guy, but Christyn had gotten him into it.

“Is it good, mijo?” asked Betty, the next time the waitresses came to check on them. “It looks like you’re enjoying it.” She turned to Zeke and said, “Your friend is quite a little snack, isn’t that what they say?”

“Looks more like a whole meal to me,” said Maizy. “Meat, rolls, thighs, sides, and cake, mmh!”

“Girls, lay off, he got a whole woman!” said Zeke.

“Just one?” said Betty.

“It’s better with two,” said Maizy.

“Or three. Ezekiel, have you spoke to Doloriz from Consumer Law?”

“Or Sabine, from your job? When is she coming back to play?”

Damian choked on his tea. Zeke had four women? How the hell did he do it?

It wasn’t surprising to learn that one of them was Sabine, though. Those two had seemed affectionate at the bowling alley.

The waitresses gave them a half-off discount when they dropped the check and Betty asked Zeke, “When do you get off next?”

“That depends on y’all,” he joked, before answering seriously, “I’m working Saturday but only ‘til five, and off Sunday all day.”

On Saturday, Auralee was tied up in meetings with food vendors all afternoon, so it was Sabine behind the bar again, and Damian made the mistake of pulling out a book to read on the well during his downtime. It was an annotated copy of The 120 Days of Sodom that he’d found in the glove box of Auralee’s car. She had certain pages marked with sticky notes, which all contained passages where a character was coaxed to eat something. It was kind of sexy, but he didn’t get very far into it before Sabine confiscated it from him.

“The fuck do I tip you out for?” she snapped.

“There’s nothing to do!”

“You don’t see me standing around.” Indeed, before she came to confront him, she had been mixing up a batch of strawberry daiquiri for the frozen drink machine, but she hadn’t looked like she had needed any help. “You can have your book back at the end of the shift. Why don’t you just go in the back and see what Zeke needs help with?”

Zeke was ‘blanching’ fries, as he called it. “We pre-cook them until they’re halfway done, then put ‘em in bags and throw ‘em in the freezer, and cook ‘em the rest of the way when someone orders ‘em.”

“Do we cut the potatoes here?”

“Yeah, in fact, want to give it a try?”

Zeke led the way back into the prep kitchen and hauled a sack of potatoes out of the walk-in, struggling a bit. Damian took it out of his hands to help him out, set it on the prep table, and took out a potato. “Now what?”

Mounted on the wall was a contraption that consisted of a metal arm and a box-shaped blade. Zeke motioned toward it and Damian quickly figured it out, placing the potato on top of the box-looking thing and pulling the crank down to push it through the criss-crossing blade. “Not bad, got it in one whack! Usually takes me two or three,” said Zeke, and Damian felt a surge of pride knowing the past few months’ added weight had come with added strength. “You’re supposed to put a bucket underneath, though,” he remarked, gesturing to the mess of raw fries now scattered on the floor.

“Shit, sorry. I’ll get a broom.”

“Nah, just kick ‘em under the three compartment sink. We’ll let the closer deal with it.”

Damian didn’t feel right about doing something so unsanitary, but in the end, he did as Zeke said, thinking maybe Zeke had beef with whoever was working at night. For the rest of the shift, he helped Zeke blanch, portion, and bag the fries. It was slow all shift, but they found ways to amuse themselves, like throwing ice cubes onto the grill or swordfighting with plastic-wrapped stacks of Styrofoam cups, until Auralee came back from her meetings to give Damian a ride home. She had to go right back to work so Sabine could take the night off, and it wasn’t until she was two hours gone that he remembered neither of them had gone to the store.

He checked the fridge--yep, nothing but vodka. With a groan, he collapsed on the couch, pulled out his phone, and tried to think of what to order for delivery. He didn’t have any money left on his prepaid card, and he hadn’t thought to have Auralee stop at the grocery store on the way home so he could load it, so he’d have to call Christyn and get her credentials. He’d pay her back out of his cash tips when she got back from Beaumont…

Then, he had a better idea.

He logged onto his blog and posted a short vent: Broke, gf out of town, no food in the house. He made an account on one of those third-party money-sending apps, and to his relief, was able to connect his prepaid card. Then, he waited.

Within the hour, he got a message from someone with the screen name, Mistress-B.

Mistress-B: Hey big boy. If I buy you a pizza can I watch you eat it over video chat?

He considered the offer for a moment. It felt a little weird doing feedist stuff with someone other than Christyn...but it wasn’t cheating unless they actually had sex, right? Besides, it wasn’t too much different from posting a picture or a video, was it? So, he wrote back.

SpaceCityFeedee2001: Sure any requests?

Mistress-B: Order a large, your choice of toppings. Just tell me where to send the $

He looked up pizza places and found a place that was having a special on a large 2-topping with a 2-liter of soda for $12.99. He gave her his handle on the money app and told her the pizza was $25. His phone dinged as the cash hit his account, and he placed the order online for a large pepperoni and black olive pizza with root beer.

“Hope you and your family enjoy!” said the driver when she dropped off his order. After tipping her, he brought the box and the soda into the living room, where he set it all down on the coffee table. He opened up a video chat with Mistress-B and focused the camera on the spread before him once she answered.

“Holy shit, look at this thing, it’s huge!” he said, thinking they should have called it an extra large.

“For twenty-five bucks, I hope so,” she replied. “Well, don’t keep me waiting.” Her voice was a little distorted over the call, but he could still make her out pretty clearly.

“Alright give me a sec.” He fetched a chair from the kitchen and placed it on the other side of the coffee table, propping his phone up against the back so he could sit on the couch with his face out of the frame. Mistress-B seemed to have the same idea; she was sitting in her computer chair with her webcam angled downward so that she was visible only from the neck down. To his relief, she was fully clothed, wearing a black button down and black pants that reminded him of a server uniform. She probably was one; foodservice was a great profession if you liked watching people eat.

He took the first slice out of the box and dug in. The pizza was not great; the crust was too hard and there was way too much cheese, threatening to ooze and drip over the edges, but right now he’d take what he could get for free.

“Yes, keep eating,” said Mistress-B as he moved onto his second and third slices. “You like that, don’t you? You like shoving all that grease and all those carbs down your throat, being lazy and knowing that soon all those calories are turning into pounds of extra fat on your body. Keep going. I want to see you get stuffed.”

“Oh my God,” he moaned between bites. She was good at dirty talk and he was getting hard.

About halfway through the fourth slice, he reached that pleasant level of fullness that made him want a good fuck and a long nap. Breathing was now taking some effort and his stomach had rounded out slightly; it wasn’t as dramatic a change like back when he was thinner and stuffed, but it made his tight shirt ride up almost an inch. He leaned back in his seat and massaged his full gut to put on a show for his benefactor. “Fuck, I’m so full,” he said.

But it looked like she was not yet impressed.

“How do you expect to get to 230 pounds if you stop eating when you’re full?” she teased. “Come on, no pain, no gain, as they say.”

“I guess you’re right,” he said, and finished the fourth slice.

By the end of the fifth slice--and they were big slices--he was in genuine discomfort, which had never happened to him. He liked to take himself right to the threshold, but now he was past that point and he didn’t like it at all. His stomach ached sharply with indigestion from all that damn cheese, and he had an acid taste in the back of his throat, like things were about to start coming back up. Trying to wash it all down with soda only seemed to make things worse. “’s starting to hurt,” he said. To his surprise, she started to squirm in her seat and rub herself through her pants.

“Good, I want it to hurt you.”


By the time he got the sixth slice down, he felt like absolute dog crap. Bent double on the couch near tears of pain, he said, “I really can’t do it.”

“Is that all you’ve got? Pathetic.”


“Come on, finish it. I want to see you wreck your body.”


like the pancake
Dec 7, 2019
Her dirty talk had started to cross into a weird territory for him. He’d never been humiliated in the context of this kink before, and he could already tell it wasn’t going to be his thing. It didn’t help either that he was on the verge of throwing up. “Girl, the only thing I’m about to wreck is the plumbing if you make me keep going.”

Shaking slightly, he leaned forward to check his phone and see what all the notifications were about, and found that more cash had hit his account in increments of five dollars at a time. “Why are you still paying me?”

“Well shit, you should have told me if you were willing to let me say all this mean stuff to you for free!” she said. “Tell you what, though, I’ll pay you forty if you can finish the pizza.”

He really didn’t think he could...but an extra forty bucks did sound nice. “Just let me take a little breather. Five minutes.”

“You’re boring me.” She picked up a book and started to read, and he couldn’t help but notice it had the same cover as the one he’d forgotten to get back from Sabine this afternoon.

“BEANS? THE ‘B’ STANDS FOR BEANS?” he blurted.

“FUCK!” she screamed. “Who the fuck…? Oh my God. Damian? From work?” She angled the camera toward her face and pointed straight into the lens. “Listen, you breathe a word about this to Zeke and I’ll punch you so hard it’ll be Tuesday!”

She hung up abruptly.

Despite her threat making no sense, he thought it would be best to heed it.

The moment he tried to stand up, his worst fears came to pass and his gag reflex reacted violently. Helpless, he ran to the kitchen to puke in the sink.

Auralee came home to find him on the couch, eyes still watery as he rested off the evening’s ordeal. “Aww, what happened to you?” she asked, but he had a feeling she guessed as she glanced at the pizza box. He explained everything, but left Sabine’s name out of it at the very end. “Well that’s no good. I can’t think of anything more counterproductive than making yourself sick,” she said. “Maybe you ought to get yourself on that capacity training regimen I told you about. Start out with a liter of water and slowly work your way up to two. I could help you,” she offered.

Having some trouble following what she was saying in his current state, but not liking the overall sound of it, he shook his head. “Chrissy said something about water toxicity,” he said. Christyn would’ve never let this happen to him...she always took such good care of him.

“So you’re gonna go with Chrissy on this one?” said Auralee. “I know you think she’s your perfectly infallible chubby-chasing goddess, but she’s just as much a novice at this as you are, and just so you know, the only thing she really knows how to chase is a check. Do you want to know why she left the bowling alley? Not because of all the nastiness between us over Roger Simmons, not over what happened to JD, but because another restaurant manager came along and promised her more money. She’ll play along in the feeder role for now, but what do you think she’ll do if you two’s little project becomes too expensive for her liking?”

“Whatever you’re trying to do, it won't work. Now can you leave me the fuck alone, Auralee!”

“Relax, dude, I was just testing you. You passed. That Chrissy is a lucky woman. Also.” She guided his hand to the upper part of his belly where it still hurt the most. “Small, firm, clockwise circles.” She ruffled his hair and left him in peace, but it still took him another couple of hours to pass out, though her advice did help him out a little. Aching from both the lingering nausea and a renewed sense of Christyn’s absence, he wished tomorrow would come already so she’d be back in town.


like the pancake
Dec 7, 2019
“So you’re into the whole feeder thing, too, huh?” Damian asked Sabine the next day while they got the bar ready for the guests to arrive. They had a full house booked, so at the height of the rush, they’d be fully staffed with Sabine on the well, Auralee on the register, Damian on the expo window, and Will restocking the bar, but for now, Auralee was in the back doing inventory, and Will didn’t come in until noon, which meant they could talk in private about the previous night.

“Oh, I’m not nearly that complex,” said Sabine. “More of your garden-variety sadist, really. Usually I’ll find guys on the Internet willing to endure a little pain and I’ll pay ‘em to flagellate themselves, or maybe burn themselves with hot wax. It’s just how I blow off steam after work, though, I wouldn’t do any of that stuff to someone if I was actually dating them. I think it’s better doing it online anyway; if I have them self-administering the pain, I don’t have to worry about personally dealing too much damage. Like, if you hurt yourself, that’s on you, buddy, I didn’t force you to go that hard.”


“It means whip.” She paused while setting up the well to pull 120 Days out of her bag on the counter and hand it back to him. “Here’s your book back, by the way.”

“Thanks, it’s Auralee’s.”

“And hey, listen--I probably won’t get too many server tickets early in the shift, so let me know if you need any help on expo, if you’re still feeling queasy from last night.”

“Thanks, but I think I’ll be fine.”

Will and Auralee had left a mess the previous night, and Damian couldn’t help but resent them a little as he wiped what looked like ranch dressing off the counter in the server station. “So Zeke--?”

“It’s not a big deal. We’ve hooked up a couple times...I think I’d die of shame if he knew I called myself ‘Mistress’ on the internet, though.”

“What’s so bad about--? Oh, cause he’s Black,” Damian realized a moment too late. “Chrissy doesn’t know about my blog, neither. It’s not that I’m hiding it from her, it just hasn’t come up and she’s been out of town.”

“Chrissy, that’s your feeder girlfriend’s name?” said Sabine. “For some reason, after I found out you were a feedee, I thought you were with Auralee. You said your girlfriend was out of town, but don’t you guys live in Richmond? So she technically was out of town, since she was here.”

“Technically. But Hell no. Auralee’s--”

“She’s too much, I know. Especially when she’s drunk.”

“Hey, where are you from?” He’d been meaning to ask her for a while now; she had a thick southern accent but it didn’t quite sound Texan, but he’d never had time to ask.

“Virginia. My family moved here when my dad switched jobs from textiles to oil and gas.”

It was easier talking to Sabine now that they’d seen the most secret sides of one another. The conversation continued on until the bowling alley opened, and she made good on her promise to show him a little mercy.

But what wrath she spared Damian that day, Will received instead. From the moment he walked in, it was, “YOU’RE LATE! Don’t bother clocking in, Auralee will fix your hours later, just get me a damn rack of rocks glasses restocked on the double!” and, “That table in the restaurant got up and left five minutes ago! Why the FUCK is it still dirty?” and, “Could you be going any fucking slower? God, it’s like trying to give directions to a newborn!”

Damian had the easiest job, just dropping off food at tables, and he usually had the window cleared for minutes at a time and ended up jumping in to pick up the slack for Will, who wasn’t doing a bad job, he was just not apparently up to Sabine’s standard. On the shifts they worked together, Damian had tried his best to help Will learn his way around this job, and he was definitely improving, but Damian was so much quicker at everything and blew him out of the water when it came to heavy lifting. He felt a little guilty for making him look bad, but he couldn’t help it that he was more experienced.

With the workload moving faster, Sabine calmed down a little, until she sent Will into the back to fetch her a bucket of ranch dressing when the server station started to run low on pre-portioned cups of the stuff. On his way back up to the bar, he slipped in some spilled beer and landed on his back with the wind knocked out of him, absolutely covered in ranch, and that’s when Sabine lost it.

“THAT’S WHY YOU’RE SUPPOSED TO COME TO WORK IN NON SLIP SHOES, YOU FUCKING IDIOT!” she screeched, dealing him a kick to the side while he was still down.

Damian liked Sabine, he really did. But right now she was being completely unreasonable, and he felt compelled to do something about it. He knew he’d be playing a dangerous game: unlike Christyn, who tipped out a percentage of sales, and Auralee, who tipped out a percentage of tips, Sabine tipped out based on performance, which meant that if you weren’t pulling your weight or if she decided you were out of line, you were screwed for the shift. Nevertheless, as she moved to make another attack on the other barback, Damian said, “I think someone needs a time-out,” and scooped her right up, bridal-style. She fought him tooth and nail, flailing and thrashing, and even knocked him in the skull with her fist, but he still managed to contain her until he could set her down on top of the bar-top.

Once she scrambled into an upright position with her little legs dangling high above ground level, her angry demeanor shifted into one of terror. “How the fuck am I supposed to get down?” she said between quickened breaths.

“Give it time, Beans. You need to cool down.”

About thirty minutes later, he finally helped her down. As his shift ended, she came up to him. There was murder in her eyes, but she still handed him a fat $150, the highest tipout he had ever recieved. “You’ve got balls, dude. Just don’t do it again.”

On the drive home with Auralee, a text came in from Christyn:

On the bus back now. I’ll be home at 8. I know it’s late, but save your appetite ;)

He squirmed in his seat with anticipation of whatever she had planned for him.

It wasn’t like he would have time to eat, anyway. In only three hours, he had so much work to do. “Hey, Auralee? Can we stop at the store? I need to pick up some things. There’s literally no food in the house, and I probably need some drain cleaner for the kitchen sink. Oh, and something to clean the pie off the living room ceiling...and I want a bottle of wine! You’ll have to pay for that, but I can just hand you the cash.”

Auralee smiled and made a left turn. “That Chrissy doesn’t know how lucky she is.”


like the pancake
Dec 7, 2019

Christyn arrived early to the office of ABC Hospitality, from which a bus would take about 50 servers and bartenders to Lamar University and back, or drop them off at their hotel if they were scheduled to work for more than one day. The bus was boarded alphabetically, making her seatmates with L’vonte Brown, which was a relief. After their potato soup night, she had worked with him a couple more times at the convention center and once at the Houston Symphony. She was glad not to be spending the long bus ride next to a complete stranger who might end up being a total jerk.

They chatted for a while, but L’vonte eventually fell asleep in his seat, so Christyn occupied herself doing some more research on this ‘feedism’ business on her phone. She found some erotic literature online featuring fattening protagonists, some being better quality than others. She had to sort through a number of stories featuring the same old tropes (man starts a new job at a bakery and starts packing on the pounds to the delight of his fat-admiring female coworker, woman wakes up tied to a chair with a feeding tube down her throat, etc), and she really wished some of these authors would learn the difference between an ‘overhang,’ which was what your belly did if your pants were too tight, and a ‘hangover,’ which was what you got the day after you drank too much.

She did find some gems, though, including a lovingly detailed fanfiction of a popular space opera that her dad used to leave on TV when he fell asleep on the couch when she was very young. In the fic, the spaceship captain returned from an away mission having gained a significant amount of weight after spending weeks in diplomatic negotiation on a planet with extremely calorie-dense food, and it was driving his first officer mad with lust. Christyn felt empathy for that spaceman; like the character, she had always prided herself on values of pragmatism and logic, but there was nothing logical about wanting to watch her boyfriend fatten up out of his clothes. But Damian was so happy, and the new, pillowy excess of his body was so endearing to look at and felt lovely against her palms and her fingers.

She had dusted off the climate change blog she used to operate on an obscure blogging platform and was surfing through a bunch of feeder and feedee blogs when L’vonte stirred awake. She was sure he hadn’t meant to look over her shoulder, but once he did, he couldn’t help but comment. “Why we looking at a bunch of fat people for?”

She blushed furiously. “My senior thesis is on the growing prevalence of adipophilia in the working class. In my paper, I’m going to propose that the stagnant wage is in part responsible for a modern surge in popularity of the sexual attraction towards, as well as an effort to attain, a heavier body type, by making food a luxury for some rather than the everyday convenience it should be,” she quickly invented.

“Well, damn! I mean, I like a girl with some cake, but here you go making it deep. What’s your Masters gonna be in, women and gender studies?”


He seemed to buy it, which was a relief; Christyn was about to set foot on a college campus for the first time to work these banquets and had been worried about her story not being convincing enough. But L’vonte was about college-aged; if he were in college he’d be there right now, instead of sitting on the bus next to her.

One blog in particular caught her eye, not that she was thirsting over the blogger, although he did have a nice, balanced shape that looked pleasantly soft and softening--rather, she liked the sheer irreverence with which he answered some of his anonymous questions.

Like the answer this one anon got after saying his UGW (ultimate goal weight) wasn’t ambitious enough and that he should aim for a loftier number, perhaps somewhere in the 675 neighborhood:

Hey fucko, I still need to fit behind the bar for work

She followed SpaceCityFeedee2001 and sent him a quick message:

ColderEveryWinter: Hey, I like your spunk and I just wanted to pop in and say hi. Also it’s good to meet a fellow bartender with this kink!

“We sliding in the DMs now?” said L’vonte.

“I’m deep undercover.”

Within minutes, she had a reply.

SpaceCityFeedee2001: Thanks u gaining or encouraging? I can’t rlly tell from ur blog. And you’re bartending, neat! My girl does that. I’m still just a barback, I actually just started my new job today. My boss a whole feeder too, which is kind of weird cause I’m not really into her like that, but so far it hasn’t made any drama so I guess that’s good.

Wait a second...his story was far too familiar. She scrolled through his pictures, but none of them had his face in the of them, though, was a dead giveaway, and she couldn’t stop herself from blurting, “Is that my hoodie?”

After that, she knew L’vonte knew her secret, but he made no further comment.

They arrived at the university, and Christyn was surprised to see Julian from the BBQ place in uniform near the front of the crowd. “Julian, I didn’t know you worked here!”

“Yeah, this is my second gig. Hey, I heard you took Javier’s job at the Capital Cafe.”

“We shut down last year, not too long after I was promoted,” she said.

“That sucks. Where are you at now?”

“I moved out to Richmond with my new boyfriend and our roommate. I’m working at a hotel now, but I had the week off.”

“Good, so you finally got rid of that Markham creep.”

“Did everyone know but me that Jesse was bad news? And why didn’t anyone tell me?”

“Literally everyone told you, Christyn, multiple times. The message just wasn’t going through.”

“Quiet down, everyone!” Abigail came off the bus and clapped her hands together to get everyone to pay attention. “Bartenders to the right, servers to the left, please.”

Julian moved off to the left with a smirk of ‘I’m-a-bartender’ superiority while Christyn raised her hand. “What if we’re doing both?”

“Then get in the group for what you’re doing tonight on this shift.”

She joined L’vonte on the right as Abigail continued to lead pre-shift.

“Alright, folks. Dinner tonight is going to be buffet service, so all you’ll have to do until 8 is clear plates. Dessert, however, is going to be delivered. It’s going to be bananas foster in martini glasses, and it is very, very imperative that you handle them with care. If you don’t think you can hold a tray of 6, get with me or one of the other managers and we will get you help from someone who can.”

Christyn raised her hand again. “Are the bananas fosters going to be on fire?”

She got a few snickers from the crowd and an eye roll from Abigail.

“No, they won’t be on fire. It’s just that not every server here has nine years of experience like you do, and I don’t want anyone who isn’t comfortable holding ten martini glasses on a tray attempting it anyway and spilling on a guest.”

Christyn never even got to serve the bananas fosters on the first day of service. Midway through dinner, she noticed the bus station was piling up with dishes, leaving no room for her to place the stack of dirty plates in her hands. L’vonte came up two paces behind her with a similar dilemma. Christyn decided to drop the dishes off directly to the dishwasher, since there was no place to put them without stacking them precariously high on a table that looked like it might collapse if it was put under any more weight, and L’vonte followed her into the back.

Only, when they got there, they realized there was no dishwasher on staff.

“Shit, what do we do now?” asked L’vonte.

“Crush some dishes, I guess.”

Christyn had never been a dishwasher before. Sure, she had washed dishes at Memorial Lanes back in the day, but they hadn’t had a machine those years ago, and learning to operate the heavy duty washer in the kitchens at Lamar was a learning curve. It took some time, but she and L’vonte eventually figured out how to most efficiently send racks of plates through the washer for servers to pick up and return to the dish station and how to pre-rinse the silverware without squirting themselves or one another with the hose. They fell into stations, Christyn loading, L’vonte unloading, going through the motions of the now-repetitive work over and over until they lost track of time.

After some period of time, a supervisor from the University dining staff poked her head into the dish room. “How are things going in here?”

“Great, we’ve just about finished the lot.” Finally, she checked her phone for the first time that night. “Holy crap, is it really almost 9? We need to find Abigail and let her know where we’ve been!”

“Abigail already knows where y’all are. She said to stay here and keep doing what you’re doing, you’ve really been a great help tonight!”

Later on, after the bus had dropped the crew off at their hotel for the night, Abigail held Christyn and L’vonte back in the lobby while the others found their rooms. “I want to thank you both for showing initiative tonight,” she said, “and, moving forward, I’d like to offer you both a promotion to shift lead. The position entails all the responsibilities you’re already familiar with, along with signing your teammates in and out for payroll and acting as a liaison between the agency and the clients. The paperwork will be uploaded to your employee portals along with some more information; you’ll have to accept the promotion electronically. Now, we’ve all had a long night, and tomorrow you have an early morning, so best get to bed!”

As they wandered up the hallway, searching for their rooms, L’vonte couldn’t stop smiling. “Was that badass or what?”


like the pancake
Dec 7, 2019
“First promotion?” Christyn laughed. It was cute, watching new servers delight in the small bright spots this industry had to offer.

“Hey, once we get back to town, we should celebrate! A little cocktail, maybe a little dinner…just as a friend, obviously. From the looks of things, you got a man. I just think we oughta treat ourselves.”

“I’d like that,” she said. “And I’m glad you’re still open to having dinner with the girl who’s into fattening up her man.”

“Girl, we been having dinner already. Be kinda stupid to cut off the friendship just cause I found out this new bit of info.”

“See, you get it...but I know not everyone will.”


By the middle of the week, Christyn was starting to feel pretty lonely. She was laying in bed in her hotel room after a bartending shift, watching a porno entitled ‘Gay Feedee Daddy and Bear Cub’ while her roommate, Elaine Blake, was in the shower. Actually, was it technically a porno if there wasn’t any sex? Just a chubby shirtless dude feeding a much bigger shirtless dude a whole box of donuts.

Halfway through, she muttered to herself, “What am I doing?” and phoned Damian.

“Hey Chrissy, what’s up?”

“I’m off work. What are you up to?”

“Not much, I’m off too. I’m actually just finishing up eating dinner.”

“Well I don’t mean to pull you from your conversation with Auralee--”

“I’m on the back patio. It’s weird if she watches.”

“So we can talk, then?”

“Yeah, bet! I’m glad you called, I was worried you were still mad at me.”

“Nah, I just can’t stand to be cooped up in the house, that’s all it is.” Over the line, she heard him make a little groan of satisfaction and something hit the ground softly. “Was...was that a takeout box? Damian, don’t you dare leave that outside! You know how I feel about the environment. Take it to the kitchen and throw it in the trash!”

“Hmm, I kind of like when you get bossy,” he said. “Don’t worry, I’ll do it. Just let me sit here and digest for a minute. I’m so stuffed.”

Christyn clenched her thighs together.

“What’d you have for dinner?”

“Auralee ordered Chinese. Beef and broccoli, fried rice...she got herself crab rangoon, too, but she only wanted one of them, so I slammed down the other five. They’re not even my favorite, but I was starving after work.”

“Rough day?”

“Yeah, the other bartender is a slavedriver. Zeke even called her out on it. He’s like, ‘Yeah, crack that whip, girl, make the ancestors proud!’ She calmed down a little after that, but she still ran us around like chickens all shift.”

“Yep, that’s Zeke.” Christyn laughed. “Anyway, I’m kinda lonely...and kinda horny…”

“What are you saying?”

“I’m saying, send me a dick pic.”

“Hang on, lemme just set my camera timer…”

A few seconds later, the picture came in. He had propped his phone up against the railing of the patio and sat reclined on the bench, his expression adorably drowsy and satiated, with his shirt riding up, one hand pressed into the side of his glutted belly and the other wrapped around his massive erection. “Oh my God, I wish that was my hand,” she sighed. “Actually, scratch that: I wish that was my cooch.”

She had more to say--she wanted to order him back to the bedroom and make him jack himself off while giving himself a belly rub. She wanted to tell him to pleasure himself after every meal while she was gone so his stamina would be built up by the time she got back. But that was when Elaine came out of the shower in her fluffy white robe. “Hey Christyn, I snuck a bottle of wine into my bag from the gala, want to--? Oh, you’re on the phone. Sorry!”

Christyn placed her hand over the receiver and said, “Sure, you can pour me one glass.” Then, to Damian, “Sorry. Roommate.”


“Yeah. So, what do the numbers look like?”

“I think I’m actually down a few pounds,” he said, sounding disappointed. “And not because I’m not trying!”

“Aww, I know you’re trying, babe! Do you know your TDEE?”

“My what?”

“Your total daily energy expenditure. Basically how many calories you need to maintain your weight. Let me see here…” She fired up her phone’s browser and found a calculator online. “You’re 5’8”, about 180…”

“I’m 5’9” and a half.”

“Nice try. Okay, it says your TDEE is 2800. Now, one pound of body fat equals 3500 calories. There are seven days in a week, 3500 divided by 7 is 500, so…”

“So if I just add 500 extra calories a day on top of my expenses--”


“Then I’ll be putting on...holy shit, ten pounds a week? Um, nut!”

“Hate to burst your excited little bubble, but it’s only a pound a week. Anyway, Imma let you go so me and this chica can drink this wine,” she said as Elaine presented her with a glass of red poured into one of the plastic mouthwash cups provided by the hotel.

“Aight. I love you!”

Christyn blushed deeply. “Remember, 2800!”

She took the wine and sipped. “Man, the agency is going to be in so much trouble when this comes up missing from inventory,” she said. “But hey, I’m not the one who stole it.”

“Who said it was one of us? Maybe one of the guests nabbed it.”

“They’re university professors, Elaine. They can afford way better wine than this.”

“So, was that your boo?”

“Yeah,” said Christyn, glad she had been lying on the bed facing the bathroom door, so Elaine wouldn’t see her phone screen.

Elaine took a seat on the other bed with her cup and said, “It’s really sweet of you to help him lose weight.”

Christyn had been having this thought for the last few days. She knew if people knew what she and Damian were doing, they would be judgmental. She had decided it shouldn’t be that way. In a society where to be thin was to be worthy, to take pleasure in food was seen as a vice. But food was life. To desire the comfort of adequate nourishment should be considered normal. To care for someone so much that you strove to protect them from starvation--and even overprotect them--should be a virtue rather than a perversion. So, she turned to Elaine, smiled defiantly, and said, “That’s not what I’m doing.”

Elaine raised an eyebrow. “Elaborate?”

Christyn took the bottle off the nightstand and filled Elaine’s glass to the brim. “Alright, strap in.”


On her way home from the ABC office, Christyn stopped by the hotel to pick up last week’s check.

It was Sten and Topher behind the bar. Topher had a 45-caliber pistol strapped to his hip.

“Damn, we’re open carrying behind the bar now?” said Christyn.

“Esteban insists on it, after what happened to you,” said Topher.


Sten got out from behind the bar and hugged her. “I was so worried about you! Come have a smoke with me!”

While they were outside, Sten caught her up on what she had missed. “Ruby’s been a brat, as usual. Me and Topher are kind of an item now. Since the attack on you, he hasn’t been letting me out of his sight, and well, we’ve gotten close. Hey, we were talking, and he thinks you should go with him to buy a gun. He said he’d go to the range with you, help you practice.”

“I already have a gun, but I’ll come to the range, that sounds like fun!”

“And maybe you can join my all female kickboxing class! It’s good training for self defense, and maybe it’ll help you lose a couple of those stubborn pounds!”

Christyn laughed. “Thanks, but the extra weight is staying,” she said, running a hand up her own front. “I like my body. I know it’s hard for some people to understand, but I do. And my man prefers me on the curvy side anyway.”


“In fact, he likes me to be fattening him up a little, too,” she added with a devious smirk.

Sten shifted uncomfortably. “Well, to each his own, I guess.”

“This really is a conservative little town, isn’t it?”
Last edited:


like the pancake
Dec 7, 2019
When Christyn returned to the mansion in Richmond, Damian was awaiting her with the tightest, warmest hug, and a bottle of French chardonnay, which she had once mentioned to him was her favorite wine varietal, chilling in a bucket of ice on the kitchen table. “This has to be a $60 bottle of Macon--at least!” she said, turning the bottle 360 degrees so she could appraise the label. “You really didn’t have to go to the trouble for me.”

“Don’t worry about it, Auralee and Sabine tip out pretty good, and I wanted to make sure I got you something nice, for an apology present,” he said.

“Apology present? Don’t be stupid, you’ve already paid for my windshield. Besides, I feel like I’m the one who should apologize now--look at you! I leave for a week on business and you’ve wasted away, poor thing!”

He had only lost a miniscule amount of weight, a couple of pounds at the most, but she happened to know, from watching his blog and sending a few anonymous questions, that this was the sort of verbal teasing he liked: attentive, fretting concern over how he was ‘getting too thin,’ even if that was clearly not the case. His cheeks flushed pink and though he shifted to try and hide it, she could see his cock jump to attention, probably at half mast in his sweatpants. “Sit!” she ordered, and pushed him into one of the chairs. “If you’ll be so kind as to crack open that bottle, I’ll take care of dinner, you must be famished!”

She had planned on ordering takeout, but to her surprise and approval, Damian had taken the time to stock up on groceries. Or maybe it had been Auralee, but she doubted that, seeing as Auralee so rarely ate herself. The house, she noted, was strikingly clean, too, which she suspected she could credit to him: without having to ask, she already knew Auralee must have trashed the place at least once on a drunken spree during her absence. The pantry was well-furnished with rice, pasta, a few herbs and spices in addition to the ones she’d already had in there, as well as a respectable amount of canned goods. In the fridge, she found eggs, butter, a vast array of vegetables, and a block of parmesan cheese. “No meat?” she asked, surveying what she had to work with.

“I didn’t know if you’d know how to cook it, since you’re a vegetarian.”

“Aww, you remembered!” She beamed. “For future reference, though, I can cook anything.”

She settled on a simple pasta primavera as an entree, and whipped up a five-ingredient pan of brownies to sit baking in the oven while they had dinner and wine. He ate heartily, praising her skill in the kitchen and asking for seconds and then thirds of pasta, which she dutifully got up and fetched for him, citing his need to ‘sit down, stay relaxed, you’ve done enough work while I was gone and I don’t want to make you burn any more calories than necessary.’ Her words seemed to fuel his vigor, and as he cleaned his third plate, leaning back in his chair to work his thumb under the waistband of his pants and give himself more breathing room, she internally patted herself on the back for a job well done.

For dessert, she moved them to the bedroom, where she sat him on the edge of the bed and fulfilled his longtime fantasy of feeding him while sitting in his lap. “Come on, another bite, sweetheart,” she coaxed him, “we need to get some meat back on your bones.” Even with his mouth full, he voiced his enthusiasm with little ‘mhmms’ and moans of pleasure. Once he’d finished, she set his plate on the nightstand and began to lay on the praise. “You ate so much for me tonight...such a good boy! I’m so proud of you, Damian, and so turned on, lie down on the bed and let me see what I’ve done to you.”

She rid him of his shirt and ran her hands upward from his hips over the dome of his full stomach, round and tight under a layer of pliable pudge. “Good God, you’re so pretty when you’re full.” She took a small bottle of lotion from the nightstand and squeezed a dollop into her hand, rubbing both of them together to warm it up before returning her attention to his belly. The extra lubrication allowed her to massage deeper as her hands glided over his skin, and his breath started to come out in deep exhales of satisfaction.

“God, that feels so good. Where’d you learn that?”

“From a video. It was a long bus ride, so I did some more research on my phone.”

His cock was now standing fully at attention against the inside of her thigh as she straddled him. She was surprised he hadn’t deduced that she’d found his blog, or if he had, that he hadn’t said anything, as she said all the words she knew he wanted to hear, not that this was solely a performance for his benefit--she meant all of it. He was probably having a bit of trouble thinking straight, though. His blood was clearly rushing south and all he seemed capable of saying was “Please, Chrissy, please, please, please,” hips bucking up into her as his engorged cock yearned for relief.

She helped him out of his pants, tore a condom out of its wrapper, and rolled it onto his erect penis. She mounted him and began to ride him, still caressing the sweet little swell of his full gut. His length and girth were a lot easier for her to take in when she was on top, since she could control his pace and depth. It didn’t hurt either that she was so aroused she was dripping.

Perhaps she was a little too good at playing out his fantasies--she wasn’t on top of him for long before he came, gripping her hips and screaming her name before he became a mess of stammered apologies. “It’s okay,” she assured him. “You missed me. I missed you too. But you can make it up to me in the morning if you eat my pussy before I stuff you with breakfast.”


like the pancake
Dec 7, 2019

Damian awoke still pleasantly sated from last night’s wonderful dinner. He rubbed his belly absently, only to have Christyn slip her hand underneath of his.

She was awake, smoking a cigarette and watching something on the TV with the volume off. He must have become so used to the smell of smoke that he hadn’t noticed it; in fact, he had missed it in her absence. Now, it brought him comfort, and might have actually lulled him back to sleep if she hadn’t put out her smoke and pinned him to the bed by his shoulders the moment she realized he’d stirred. “Good morning to you too, cupcake,” he said with a laugh. Though she’d promised to make use of his mouth this morning, it looked like the plan had changed; she just couldn’t wait to take him for another ride, not that he was complaining. He lasted a lot longer underneath her than he had last night, when he’d had the double-whammy of being stuffed and stimulated to contend with. He took the opportunity to run his hands up and down her body, giving her thighs, ass, and waist plenty of appreciative squeezes and caresses. Back when he was thin, he had envied her for the luscious softness her body had to offer, evidence of a well-fed and well-financed lifestyle. In the time he had known her, her body hadn’t changed much, unless she was under an amount of stress that tamped down her appetite, but his had been through a great deal of change, and now that he was the heavier one of the two, he found the contrast between them mesmerizing. She felt so little and dainty and feminine now, on top of his broader, wider frame.

“What’s your workday look like today?” she asked as they dressed and made their way downstairs for breakfast.

“Split double, opening with Auralee, breaking out at 2, then I come back at 3 and close with Beans. Sabine, I mean.” Over dinner last night, he’d briefly detailed how his work week had gone, including his clocked hours on the battlefield under ‘Sergeant’ Sabine Mathison. Christyn had found that nickname clever. He hadn’t told her about his accidental encounter over webcam with Beans, though.

“Beans is the tough one, right?”


“Well, I can’t run the risk of you collapsing on the floor on her watch, can I?” She whipped up a thick stack of French toast on the stove and insisted that he eat every last bite, not that she had to insist very hard. Between the temptation of intoxicating overfullness, the knowledge that he wouldn’t get a chance to eat again until 2 (unless he wanted to settle for Auralee’s nasty bowling alley fare), and Christyn’s culinary genius, breakfast went down in record time before Auralee came downstairs to take him to work.

“Chrissy feed you well?” asked Auralee over the radio on the drive.

“Yeah, she takes good care of me,” said Damian. He leaned back in his seat and thought about taking a nap, but then Auralee hit a pothole head on and he remembered why it was useless to try and relax while she was in the driver’s seat. He just hoped she wouldn’t make him motion-sick.

“I may have underestimated her as a feeder,” said Auralee.

“Oh, yeah, she’s a natural.” She indulged his every wish and she made him feel loved, even if she never said the L word. He didn’t share that last part with Auralee, though, not wanting to give her any ammunition.

It was on Auralee’s shift that Virtue Kingston called him into her office behind the front desk. He thought she was going to talk to him about wearing sweatpants to work again, but Auralee had already resolved that issue for him, hadn’t she?

The conversation took an unexpected turn right off the bat.

“Something fishy is going on in that restaurant,” she said, pacing her office in a skirted suit and Loubotins, shuffling through a stack of expense reports.

“Fishy how?” asked Damian. She stopped in her pacing and stared straight at him.

“Don’t you think the food costs are way too low to be accurate?”

“I don’t really look at the numbers,” Damian started to say, but she spoke over him before he could complete the next part of his thought.

“I think Auralee is misreporting her expenses in order to get me to increase her budget, but I haven’t been able to catch her in the act...but, if I was able to rely on the reports of someone who works closely with her…”

Now, it wasn’t as though he and Auralee had never had a disagreement, but for the most part, she treated him well as an employee. She’d gotten him the job, she took him to work every day...besides all this, she was Christyn’s best friend, even if those two did butt heads from time to time. In light of this all, betraying her was out of the question. Anyway, why was it his problem if she was cooking the books?

“I’m sorry, Mrs. Kingston, but spying on Auralee is above my pay grade.”

“It’s a shame you feel that way,” said Virtue. “By the way, have you heard about the Keto diet?”

After Virtue dismissed him, he walked back to the bar carrying a sense of dread. It had not been his best idea to snark off at the lady in charge of his entire workplace, who happened to be married to a former detective from the HPD, while he had open warrants. Emmett Kingston’s status and connections could protect him, but, should he suddenly find himself in bad standing with Virtue, that protection might be yanked from under his feet.

“I wouldn’t worry about your job or your freedom,” Auralee assured him over the break when he brought it up. “Now that I’m thin and beautiful and have no problems whatsoever,” she went on, voice dripping with sarcasm, “Daddy’s wrapped around my finger, and if I vouch for you, you’ll be safe. And I will vouch for you. Not every barback I’ve had has been as loyal as you. Not many have had the audacity to defy my mom to her face...most of them agreed to go digging in my business for her and then never followed through, but the ones that did...well, I had to get rid of them. Be prepared to feel some retaliation, though. There are some things here at Memorial Lanes that fall within Mommy’s power.”

“Like what?”

“Well, payroll, for one.”

He had gotten so caught up talking to Auralee that he had forgotten to eat lunch, and by the halfway point of his shift with Beans, he was running on fumes. He still had enough steam to go on, but he was slowing down, and she noticed when she caught him pausing for breath in the expo window.

“The Hell is wrong with you today?” she snapped.

“I’m sorry, Sabine, it’s just I’ve been here since this morning, and I haven’t ate since breakfast, and I’m hungry as fuck.”

“Well, the rush is in full swing, so suck it up! You can eat when you’re dead!”

“That doesn’t even make any sense!”

Eventually, she let him break and drink a soda, which helped his energy level, but by the time the shift was over, he felt wrecked. When Auralee came to pick him up from work, she was drunk, but he didn’t know the way home, so against his better judgment, he let her drive. He was half nauseated with hunger at this point, which she picked up on when he slumped in his seat with his forehead pressed to the dash. Just about the only drawback to this weight gain thing was how much more he needed to eat just to feel satisfied. Back when he was thinner, hunger had been uncomfortable, but it was a pain he was used to. Now, it was on par with torture. “Aww, you must have worked straight through, I’ll buy you a snack.” She stopped at a drive-through and bought him a burger and a chocolate milkshake. He didn’t like to eat in front of her, knowing it did something for her, and knowing her history of competing with Christyn over men, but tonight, he would make an exception. The burger wasn’t great, but after the day he’d had, getting some food down felt so good, he could have cried.

Halfway back to Richmond, it started to rain, and Auralee lost control of the car, partially due to the deep puddles, partially due to being drunk, and partially due to just being a terrible driver--and he was sure it didn’t help that she kept stealing sly sideways glances at him while he was trying to eat. They did a full spin on the empty freeway before she was able to screech to a halt and right herself. “Let’s not tell Chrissy about that, yeah?”

He resolved not to tell Christyn, not wanting her to worry, but he did have to confess to missing lunch after she caught him raiding the fridge at 3 AM, still hungry, and from that point on, she started sending him to work with a sack lunch.


like the pancake
Dec 7, 2019
One Friday afternoon when he, Will, and Auralee were scheduled to close together, Auralee got them there a few minutes early and disappeared into the office, leaving him alone with Sabine in the bar area. “Damn,” said Sabine as he unpacked three baguette sandwiches in a plastic bag. “That feeder chick of yours is really trying to test the waistband of those sweatpants, huh?”

“Actually, she said one of these is for Zeke--they’re old friends, see,” he explained, “and one’s for you.” He left out the part where Christyn had said, Maybe if that Beans girl got a good meal in her once in a while, she wouldn’t be so cranky.

They sat down at the bar, made themselves comfortable, and saved a place for Zeke, who showed up a few minutes late for his scheduled in-time, but before any action started to pick up in the restaurant nevertheless. “What’s all this, we having a picnic?”

“Christyn says hi,” said Damian, “and she made you lunch.”

The sandwiches were delicious, loaded with cold cuts, fresh vegetables, mayo, and some sort of Vietnamese hot sauce. Both Zeke and Sabine agreed Christyn was some kind of wizard in the kitchen, and though Damian was glad to catch this moment with his friends, just talking and kicking back at the bar over some good food, he couldn’t shake the anxiety that had been following him around all week, and he kept glancing over his shoulder at the office door.

“You guys missed a mess the other night!” said Zeke. “Will asked out Auralee to a fancy cafe on the west side.”

“Isn’t she like, 30?” said Sabine. “And what did she say?”

“She said no...then she said maybe, if he’d be willing to put on some weight for her. Mind y’all, she was drunk and she said it at about top volume in front of a line of people out the door. Guy was so humiliated he looked like he was gonna cry.”

“That’s fucking gold!” Sabine laughed. “Damian, no comment?”

“I wonder what’s taking Auralee so long in there.”

Auralee was angry when she reported to the bar. “Damn bitch, thinks she can do whatever the fuck she wants to my employees,” she muttered under her breath. “Beans, you can take off for the day, I got this.”

But Beans seemed intent on sticking around to see the mounting drama. “What’s going on? Is your mom on her shit again?”

Sure enough, Virtue Kingston strode into the restaurant, envelopes in hand. “You know what day it is! Damian, I have your check here at the top of the stack...a word, outside, if you will?”

She seemed cheerful today, but Damian knew off the bat that the brightness of her tone was just as fake as all the plastic in her face. “Now, I know this is going to come as a disappointment, but, given the recent expansion within the company, I’m having to issue pay cuts across the board.” She handed him his check and when he tore it open, his fears were confirmed.

“7.25? But Auralee said I’d be starting at twelve!”

“I’m sorry, Damian. I’m sure my daughter promised a lot of new hires more money than we can pay out right now. If you’ll return to your post, I’d like to speak to the others one-on-one as well.”

She took Will aside next, and Damian didn’t stick around, just headed back into the beer cooler to rearrange the kegs before tomorrow's delivery. A couple shifts ago, he’d had to change five of them--the full ones had still been too heavy for him to lift up onto the shelves at the time, but today, after some use, the ones he’d left on the floor were empty enough so he could move them up to make room for the new ones. The physical exertion helped make him feel a little better, but he was still pissed off and highly suspicious of Mrs. Kingston. She couldn’t have really cut everyone’s hourly pay, could she?

He loaded up a bucket of beers for the cooler behind the bar, and on his way back to the front, he asked Zeke, who had taken his place on the grill, “Did you get your pay cut?”

“No, why?”

Sabine was still sitting at the bar, waiting for someone to fill her in on the hot gossip. “Hey, Beans, Mrs. K cut your pay today?”

“I already got my pay cut, last year, when she asked me to dig some dirt on Auralee for her and I told her she could get bent. Is that what happened to you?”

“Damn, you got your pay cut?” asked Will, who was sweeping the already spotless dining room floor in an attempt to look busy.

“Yeah, you too?” asked Damian.

“Nah, bro, I got a raise. Mrs. K. said I’ve shown a great improvement lately.”

“What the fuck? So she cuts me, and gives your ass more money?”

Will shrugged. “Did you fuck up somehow?”

Damian had never felt more insulted in his life. It was thanks to his patience and guidance that Will even knew how to handle the rush at this place, and the guy still could barely move an empty keg an inch off the ground!

It was slow for a Friday night, which was fortunate, because Auralee spent most of the shift furiously typing on her phone, leaving Damian to handle all of the pouring and ringing up behind the bar. Zeke stepped in and out of his station to catch the scoop from Sabine, who had still not gone home, and Will was shooting the shit with some of the ladies at one of the lanes, so Damian ended up handling most of expo, too.

As the shift started to wind down, Zeke approached him in the well and said, “I think you have the grounds to take Ms. Virtue to court.”

“For what?”

“I have a good guess, but first, inform me:exactly what did Ms. Virtue say to you out there?”

“Just that she was issuing pay cuts due to some recent expansion--”

“Hold it right there,” said Zeke. “Did what she said sound like a veiled fat joke?”

“I...what? Maybe?”

“You might have a case for weight discrimination,” said Zeke.

“I can sue for that?”

“Yeah, I mean, the legality of weight discrimination is still kind of up in the air, but if you did take this to court, there is a precedent for this kind of case in the county. Kane v McIntyre, 2020, look it up.”

“Trust me, you have a case,” said Auralee, who had been listening in on and off, and handed him her phone. Just then, five people came up to the bar, so Damian left Auralee’s phone by the printer and helped her knock out the beer orders as she finally took her place on the register.

Before the end of the shift, Zeke made himself a quesadilla and offered Damian half, but Damian turned him down--while anxiety made him want to eat like crazy to drown his worries with a comforting pressure in his stomach, anger had the opposite effect on his appetite. So Zeke went halvsies with Sabine while Damian mopped, swept, and took out the trash, and when he came back inside, finally took a look at what Auralee had wanted to show him.

It was an email correspondence between Auralee and her mother:


I am writing to ask in the most formal way I know, to reconsider your actions in adjusting the pay rate of my barback Damian Mendez. When I hired Damian, I had promised him his salary based on experience of which he has plenty, with the possibility of advancement or pay raise based on performance. If you were to sit in and observe him at work for one shift, you would agree his performance was deserving of a raise (although I doubt you’d give it to him.) But please consider bumping him back up to 12.

Thanks, Auralee


Dearest Auralee,

Payroll has always been my final call. The blame for promising a new hire a higher hourly rate than we are able to pay rests squarely on your shoulders. If what you say about your employee is true, then hopefully this cut will incentivize him to keep working hard, if not harder, for your tipout, and hopefully shed a few lbs in the process.

Virtue Kingston
Owner and Operator, Memorial Lanes Bowling Center

Once Auralee finished counting the register, she declared, “I need a drink. Who’s with me? I’m buying.” Damian was the first to fall in line, despite still being two years shy of 21, and Zeke and Sabine soon joined them.

“Where’s the party?” asked Will as he made his way out.

“Nowhere,” said Damian, “Go home.”

All through the car ride, he fumed. “Man, fuck that guy! I helped him, and now he’s the first one to stand by and let me get crushed under the boot!”

“Calm down. man. Forget about Will,” said Zeke. “We need to talk about your legal case.”

They pulled up at the Sapphire Lounge, which Damian remembered--the last time he set foot in here, he had been asking the bartender to borrow a squeegee sharpener. He was glad the bartender didn't seem to remember him.

They got a table on the back patio, and Auralee went inside to buy the group a round of shots. Damian choked his down, trying not to cough or complain--he didn’t like the burn, but he did like the buzz.

“What you need to do,” said Zeke, “is get all your warrants cleared. Hopefully that won’t take too long, and the wages you’ve missed out due to the pay cut will only amount to, let’s say $3000?”

Damian knew Zeke was underestating his list of warrants by a long shot. The only way he could hope to get back in good standing with the courts now was to spend a few years in jail, but there was enough gloom and doom in his work life right now for him to think about that, so he let Zeke carry on with this relatively lighthearted scenario where he sued his current boss.

“If you take Ms. Virtue to small claims court for the money, you don’t have to pay for a lawyer, you can represent yourself. You cite discrination as the basis for the unfair pay, and then...well, then, you run the risk of being tied up in litigation for months and months on end, as happens often in small claims cases. But, I suspect that won’t happen, ‘cause if I know Ms. Virtue at all, she’ll then try to counter-sue you for fraud. At this point the state should pick up your attorney if you can’t afford one, but I’d hope you’d think of ol’ boy, since I’ll be out of school by then. You could pay me later, we could work something out.”

“And then?”

“Well, then, you proceed to trial.”


like the pancake
Dec 7, 2019
They’d all been standing around the table, but then, suddenly, Zeke pushed Damian onto the bench. “Mind stating your name and occupation for the jury, son?”

Zeke really wanted to do this here?

Damian looked around; Auralee and Sabine seemed to be waiting for him to play along. So, after a few seconds, he figured, why not? This might be fun, especially after a few more drinks. “Alright, fine, Damian Mendez, and I’m a barback at Memorial Lanes,” he said, rolling his eyes a little at the absurdity of it all.

“Hey, cool it on the attitude, bro, I’m your defense attorney. Work with me,” said Zeke, before slipping back into character. “And what is the grounds of your suit against your current employer?”

“Well, I signed a contract promising me $12 an hour, and suddenly I get cut down to minimum wage, while the skinny dude gets a raise even though he does a quarter of the work I do.”

“I see, and do you find that your comparatively higher weight in relation to your colleague’s gives you any difficulty in performing the daily functions of work?”

“No, in fact, I’m the one that doesn’t whine like a piss-baby whenever Beans makes me go in the cooler.”

“It’s true,” Sabine whispered to Auralee. “Will always complains. Half the time I have to drown him out with my own screaming just to keep myself sane.”

“So,” Zeke went on, “you would say that your employer has no fair grounds on which to cut you a minimum wage paycheck?”

“Uh, yeah?”

Just then, Auralee seemed to get an idea. She strode forward, pulled her hair back into a bun with a rubber band around her wrist, and announced, “The advocation for Virtue Kingston wishes to cross-examine!”

Zeke shrugged. “Your witness, I guess.”

Though Auralee was supposed to be playing her mother’s lawyer, Damian thought she was doing a good impression of Virtue herself, all standing up straight, arms crossed, chin out, staring down her nose as if she’d just seen something disgusting. “Mr. Mendez, tell the courtroom, what was your start date at Memorial Lanes?”

“Sometime in early June, 2021.”

“And what is your current BMI?”

“Oh, hey, I know this one!” Christyn had calculated it for him one night in her head after the latest readout from the scale. “26.6.” Placing him just over the line into ‘medically overweight’ territory, a fact which got him excited whenever he thought about it.

“I see, placing you in the category of ‘clinically overweight,’” said Auralee, as if reading his mind. “And are you able to provide any documentation of any gym memberships, visits to a nutritionist or weight management specialist, anything that would show the court you’ve made an effort to get your weight under control?”

“Do texts from my girlfriend count? She makes me eat a salad like twice a week, something about vitamins.” He earned himself a laugh from Zeke and a few bystanders, and even Auralee almost broke character to crack a smile.

But then she turned to stone again. “So you can’t provide any of the documentation I’ve asked for?”

“Well, no, but--”

“Then who is to say that you haven’t been deliberately maintaining an above-average BMI in order to carry out a fraudulent lawsuit against my client on the grounds of perceived ‘discrimination’ in retaliation to a performance-based adjustment to your pay?”

To that, he had no response. He knew Auralee didn’t mean any of that; in fact, it was impressive seeing her go so deeply into character. There were no hard feelings, but if they really threw this at him in court, he’d be stumped. After all, he really had put on most of the weight on purpose. A few of the strangers at the bar had started to take interest and make comments:

“What’s all this?”

“I didn’t come out expecting a show, but hey, I’ll take it.”

Auralee smacked the surface of the table. “HA! GOTCHA! You’re a fraud artist, and you’re going back to jail!”

From the crowd:

“Can she do that? Can she send a dude to jail just for being a little thick?”

“Nobody’s going to jail, they’re probably just holding a mock trial. I think I remember that one guy from my Consumer Law class.”

“I think I remember that other guy from county jail.”

At some point during the ‘cross-examination,’ Sabine had left, and as she returned with another round of shots, one of the onlookers said, “Wait, don’t ol’ boy get a character witness?”

“That”s a great idea,” said Zeke. “The defense calls to the stand Sabine Mathison!”

They all took their shots, Damian once again choking his down. He thought he might puke, until a total stranger offered him a cola to wash it down. He stood up and switched places with Sabine, and Zeke started up again with, “Will you please state your name and occupation for the court?”

“My name, as you’ve just stated, is Sabine Mathison, and I’m the assistant lead bartender at Memorial Lanes.”

“And how would you characterize your relationship with the defendant?”

“He is my direct subordinate.”

“And how would you rate his performance on the job?”

“He’s the most competent barback we’ve had in all of the two years I’ve worked here, and we’ve been through a lot of them.”

“Well, there you have it,” said Zeke. “My opponent wishes to suppose that she pays her employees on the basis of performance, but as we can see, that’s not the case.”

“Hold on, she’s my witness now,” said Auralee, just catching the end of Zeke’s speech as she came back out from inside the bar with more shots. Damian groaned and chucked his back, wondering how the others did this so easily so many times in a row, and Auralee took Zeke’s place to address the ‘witness'.

“Ms. Mathison, it is my understanding that the employment contract at Memorial Lanes does not include a non-fraternization clause.”

“That’s correct,” said Sabine.

“Tell me, Ms. Mathison, have you ever fraternized with the defendant?”

For a moment, Damian held his breath, wondering if Auralee knew about his short encounter with Sabine over a webcam.

But Sabine held it together, sat up straight, and lied. “Not once,” she said, “and even if I had, don’t think for a minute I’d show him a lick of favoritism. heart already belongs to someone else in the company.”


“Zeke Thomas, on grills.”

Damian and Auralee both gasped. Zeke, for his part, seemed unperturbed. “Good misdirection, girl, we got this!” He gave Sabine a high five as she stood from the ‘witness stand.’ “Ey, I’m finna go get us some more alcohol. Yo Dame, mind stepping in in your own defense this round?”

“Why the fuck not?” He was really starting to have fun with this, probably because the alcohol was hitting him full-force by now. To be honest, when Zeke had first put him in the hot seat, he had expected flashbacks from actual court, but this was nothing like that, just a bunch of drunk people making fun of their boss.

“I guess that makes me Virtue’s lawyer,” said Sabine.

“I thought I was my mom’s lawyer,” said Auralee.

“Not if I call you to the stand. You know the drill: name, occupation, position, and all that jazz,” said Sabine as she stood up and motioned for Auralee to take her place.


like the pancake
Dec 7, 2019
The transition in Auralee’s carriage was striking; one second, she was walking around like she owned the place, and the next, she was slumped in the bench with her elbow on the table and her legs up on the seat so she took up the whole length of it, much more like the Auralee Damian was used to. She shook her hair out of its bun and said, “Auralee Kingston, food and beverage manager, bar manager, lead bartender, and third and youngest child of the owner of Memorial Lanes, not that it matters. That hag cuts me no slack.”

Damian’s phone dinged then. It was Christyn: Just got off a shift @ the federal reserve. U still at work?

He typed a quick response, At Sapphire, on trial for fraud if u wanna come thru, and returned his attention to the girls.

“Ms. Kingston, would you please run us through your list of responsibilities at Memorial Lanes?”

“Sure. I’m responsible for all the purchasing and inventory in the restaurant, as well as the scheduling of bartenders, barbacks, and servers. I also take restaurant reservations, I handle phones, and I speak to beer and liquor reps.”

“I see. So you pretty much handle it all?”

“You could say that.”

“How often does your mother step into the restaurant area?”

“Only to hand out checks.”

“My opponent claims his client had his wages adjusted on a discriminatory basis; however, given your mother’s minimal involvement in the restaurant side of Memorial Lanes, would she even have the time to single out one employee and cut his wages almost in half for the simple act of existing behind the bar whilst modestly overweight?”

“She cut me into thirds, so why not?”

“Are you referring to a personal pay cut you’ve been issued?”

“No, I’m referring to the bariatric surgery I underwent at my mother’s insistence some years ago, which resulted in what some of my acquaintances call ‘bariatric psychosis’ along with what I believe might be PTSD as a result of me waking up on the operation table, due to an error of my anesthesiologist.”

“And are you able to provide documentation of these psychological conditions?” asked Sabine.

“It doesn’t take a genius to read the DSM or use a search engine.”

“And self-diagnoses aren’t admissible in court.”

With all this talk of documentation, Damian wished he had brought up the emails Auralee had shown him while he was in the hot seat. Those alone might have won him the case. Then again, he was having fun watching Sabine and Auralee go at each other’s throats.

“Tell me, Ms. Kingston, you cohabitate with the defendant, do you not?”

“Yes, I pay a small rent at the house he and a friend of mine are sharing.”

“And have you ever fraternized with the defendant?”

“Of course not, he’s spoken for.”

“But you’ve thought about it?”

“How is that relevant to the case?”

“Ooh, I didn’t hear a ‘no,’” said Sabine. “There you have it--if the fault lays with anyone, it is with young Miss Kingston for promising her employee an extravagant starting wage in likely anticipation of some sort of sexual reciprocation. Your witness.” She stepped aside and looked expectantly at Damian.

Auralee was looking at him too. Her face was downcast but her eyes were locked on his, making her look a lot like an evil clown in a horror movie. She seemed to have something she wanted to say; she’d had that same look on her face ever since the subject of her surgery had come up. So he went with that, hoping she might give him something to work with.

“Ms. Kingston, can you go over the details of the surgery you mentioned?”

“Sure; I underwent the initial procedure in 2014. In the two years following the surgery, I had lost 50 pounds; another five years and my weight finally stabilized at a net loss of 200. Since 2014, I’ve also undergone two corrective surgeries due to complications of the first, and I’m anticipating another corrective surgery early next year. Oh, and in case anyone missed it, I woke up on the surgery table.”

“Yeah, I got that the first time.” It sounded horrific; Damian had always had the sense that Auralee hadn’t really wanted to go through with the operation, and it seemed to him like she had good reason. Which begged a question that had been burning in his mind for quite some time that he’d never had the chance to why not now? “When you got the operation you were…” He counted backwards in his head. “Twenty-one?”

“Twenty-three,” said Auralee.


“That’s not a word.”

“--you were a legal adult,” he continued as if she hadn’t interrupted him. “You said you got the surgery because your mother insisted, yet she couldn’t force you at that age. What was your reason for going through with it?”

“Medically, I didn’t have one,” said Auralee, her voice a slow drawl. “I had a perfectly clean bill of health, and though you’re right in that Mommy couldn’t force me, she did say I’d do it if I wanted to keep my job, and my share of the inheritance.”

The onlookers gave a collective gasp.

She said, “Maybe I don’t really need this job. The greater Houston area is full of bars that are hiring. But I know what my mother is like, and even all those years ago I knew I couldn’t just stand by and let her treat her staff with the same indignity she gave to me.”

Said, “I do hope I’m a good manager.”

It was probably the alcohol that had made her get all sentimental; he doubted she would remember any of this in the morning. Nevertheless, he found himself feeling a deep sympathy for her. As she took a cigarette out of her bag, he sat down across from her and said, not as a fake lawyer but just as a friend, “There you have it. I think we’re all entitled to reparations from that bowling alley, you most of all.”

She passed him a cigarette across the table, and he lit up with her. “Thank you,” she said, “but you’re still not acquitted for fraud.”

Behind him, he heard mixed grunts in the crowd, along with a soft, “Excuse me, excuse me, I’m sorry…” until Christyn pushed her way through the crowd and ran up to him. “Damian, what does this mean? ‘On trial for fraud--?’”

He felt his cheeks go hot. “It’s just a game...I’m not really in trouble…” He proceeded to explain to her what had happened with his paycheck and how he wound up at the bar, while Auralee brought her up to speed on the events of the mock trial so far.

“You could have explained that over text! I think I had four heart attacks on the drive here, I was afraid you’d caught another charge!” Christyn reached down to cup his face, tilting his head so he looked up at her while she stroked his cheek with the pad of her thumb. “Never, and I mean, NEVER, do that to me again.”

Zeke returned, holding two shots in each hand. “Well, look here, it’s Christmas Day!”

“It’s summer,” Damian pointed out.

“That’s one of his nicknames for me,” Christyn explained.

“Shit, if I knew you were coming, I woulda bought you a shot, girl!” Zeke passed the shots out to Damian, Auralee, and Sabine, but Damian was not feeling up to this round. He already had a good buzz going, but he felt like another shot might take his ability to walk. He was also regretting missing dinner; now that his anger about all the workplace drama had subsided, he felt himself becoming more miserably hungry by the second, and he knew more liquor without any food to hold it down would just make him more miserable.

Luckily, Christyn was eager to come to his rescue, as always. “I think I deserve this,” she said, taking the shot glass from his hand and downing its contents, no chaser, no ice.

Everyone else took their shots, and Auralee, once she swallowed, grabbed Christyn by the arm and threw her on the bench. “Take the stand!” she exclaimed. “Name! Occupation! Relationship to the defendant!”

“Oh, geez, um…” Christyn squirmed in her seat.

God, what it did to him, just seeing her shift her weight from one hip to the other. Her ankles crossing and uncrossing.

“Christyn Victoria Brandywine, bartender at the Hotel Flamenco; shift lead, bartender and server with ABC Hospitality. Our defendant used to work directly underneath me, but nowadays I find myself underneath him quite a bit, too.”

A few people in the crowd snickered, along with Zeke and Sabine. Meanwhile, Auralee was putting her hair back up and getting back into prosecutor mode.

“And how would you describe his job performance, in your own words?”

For a moment, Damian thought Christyn might bring up some humiliating detail of his time at the Capital, like how she had to be the one to teach him how to change a keg, or how he’d screwed up trying to strain a martini (a skill he had yet to master), but she never betrayed him. “Damian has always been an exceptional employee. He’s quick, eager to take direction, has a passion for cleanliness that borders on obsession, and most importantly, always steps up to help his team.”