Griffin, morbidly obese, jobless and recently homeless is ready to end his life, only to be intercepted by Blanche. Blanche, more existing than living herself, has not been able to touch a living creature for three years due to what she believes to be bad karma. She offers to let Griffin stay with her in her house far removed from society. The exceptional combination of togetherness and isolation unearths more than any of them imagined. The Untouchables by Unbasher Chapter 1 (1/3). Griffin: Growing The wind had picked up speed and an arctic rain was pelting down on my thin sweat jacket like a multi-tailed whip. As I bent over the icy metal rail on top of the concrete parapet that came up to my where my waist used to be, the frothy brown water seemed to beckon more and more. With all the seasonal rain typical for the end of January in this part of Germany, the river had probably grown to an at least twenty-five feet deep and ten foot deep torrent of murky water – perfect for swallowing up the disgusting waste of space I had become. Only a year ago I'd been on top of the world. Granted, an almost 400 lbs. guy being on top of anything inevitably leads to indents, cracks or breaks, but at 6’4” I carried it pretty well. Plus, a lot of it was muscle and the skinnier guys at the garage were happy to let me do the heavy lifting. And there was a lot of that to be done. It seemed with every year more orders were pouring in: checkups, tuning, tire changes, the works, and our small team of four accumulated overtime fast. Good mechanics were hard to come by in general, a fact made even worse by the younger generation being increasingly unwilling to put down their smartphones and get their hands dirty. Still, thanks to our amazing team as well as our boss Oskar, who worked us hard but paid good money and still believed in the concept of work-life balance, I looked forward to almost every day of work. Over the past months, though, my diet had gotten out of whack. This last Christmas I'd taken overindulgence to a whole new level and I hadn't managed to get off the chocolate and other snacks they way I usually did. My increasing workload contributed to that: I’ve never been the breakfast type and during the day there were increasingly fewer opportunities to take a proper lunch break, leaving me no choice but to raid the fridge in the evenings. I’ve always been a big guy because I love food, and I’d grown even more since I met my girlfriend, Silke. I’ll never forget the day we met five years ago: one day she’d driven her Peugeot 206 into our garage for tuning, and her love for cars, her smile and most of all her curves had caught my eye immediately. A big girl herself, around 230 pounds on a 5’5” frame, Silke was my first partner that not only accepted but actually appreciated my weight and even encouraged me to eat how much I wanted. She loved to grab and knead my belly or to pat my butt, even in public. Never indecently so but she was unashamedly obvious about the fact that she was into my body. Increasingly less so, though. “You know I love that you’re a big guy,” she told me when she saw me raid the fridge after work the other day, “but please watch it, OK?” It was the first time I noticed she was eyeing my body with anything but approval and it did not feel good. It was also the first time she’d ever criticized my weight. She never did so with anyone, not after what she had been through with her mom. After years of trying to please her and fighting her own weight, she’d finally embraced it. She’d been in a dark place and wouldn’t ever go back, she always told me with a grin, patting whatever part of me was closest to her at the time. Lately those parts of me got closer and closer, though, creeping onto and taking over her side of the bed. I was gaining fast, mostly on my gut but also thighs and butt. I was becoming soft and doughy, not a sight a woman who preferred a mix of flab and muscle liked waking up to. That she would address my weight openly now told me the matter was serious. So far I hadn’t thought so. I guess every big person has to make a decision at some point how much they let other people’s comments and stares get to them. With my dad I’d managed pretty quickly to let both bounce off, and meanwhile I really couldn’t give a damn what anyone else thought either. I’d so far brushed off my colleagues’ ribbing, too. My best friend Lars, who I unfortunately only got to see every few weeks due to his busy job, also seemed a little worried the last time I saw him, but he didn’t get on my case too much either. “As long as you’re healthy and happy with yourself,” he told me, “it’s your business. Just be careful, OK?” “Hey,” I grinned back at him, “I’d never let myself get as big as those guys they have to lift out of their places with a crane.” It seemed I was well on my way, though. I did take Silke’s words to heart but I just couldn’t seem to break out of the pattern I’d fallen into. I kept gaining. I began to waddle. One day I felt a cool breeze on the underside of my belly and discovered with horror that the lowest part was peeking out. No, not just peeking: hanging. I was only 31 and already sagging! Due to my height I already wore extra-long T-shirts and even those couldn’t contain me anymore? At work it wasn’t that much of a problem since we wore overalls but even the 4XL ones I wore these days were having more and more trouble keeping all of me contained. My gut kept getting in the way, too, causing me to bump into and knock over things I couldn’t see anymore. We had that little niche where we kept some of the tools and it began to be a pretty tight fit in there, as were the chairs whenever I went out for after-work drinks with the guys. I also had to sit down and rest more and my arms were getting heavy during overhead work. I guess it was only a matter of time before Oskar, my boss, would call me into his cramped office, and one day in late spring he did. When I entered, he unfolded his gaunt body from his creaky chair, pushed some documents on the paper-strewn desk aside and sat on the edge as he usually did when he had something to discuss. He’d never been big on formality and we got along as if we were the same age even though he was close to 60. He motioned for me to have a seat on the old but sturdy round table in the corner and I carefully lowered myself onto it, grateful he hadn’t suggested the chairs with the armrests. “Griffin,” he began with a frown and a worried look over the reading glasses he had pushed down his long nose, “you’re one of my best men but… your weight is becoming a problem.” Instantly I felt the heat in my face. I have that skin type that’s prone to blushing and I’ve never been good at hiding what I’m thinking, which is I usually don’t bother, but right now I wished I had one of those poker faces. “I haven’t had any complaints,” Oskar went on in his gravelly voice I suddenly had trouble concentrating on, “but I’ve observed some things and overheard others from the guys: you tire easily. You keep knocking things over or get stuck because you can’t work in confined spaces anymore.” He took off his glasses, twirling them in his long, cracked fingers. “Griffin, I’m worried.” I didn’t know when I’d last seen that particular look in his eyes and I wished it would go away. “I know things have been getting out of hand,” I finally managed to answer. I could hardly tell him that was due to stuffing myself at night after not being able to take a proper break during the day. How pathetic would that sound, and it would come across as not being able to handle the work load. If I hoped to get a raise soon, I’d better shut up. “Do you need some time off?” Oskar asked when I didn’t continue. “I can’t really spare you at the moment but if it would help, I could move some things around—“ Instantly I held up my hand, suddenly noticing how chubby it looked, especially in contrast to Oskar’s. “No, it’s fine. I want to be here.” “And I’m glad that you do.” Still that worried look. I hated that look. “But if there is anything I can do, let me know, OK? You’ve got to get your weight under control. I would hate to lose you.” Lose me? I knew it was serious but ‘lose me’? Suddenly not getting a raise sounded like the least thing I should worry about. “You won’t,” I managed to tell him before I heaved myself to my feet again and Oskar clapped me on the shoulder, the sensation startling me for a moment. When had I developed so much back fat that Oskar’s hand would cause ripples? Was it really that bad? I didn’t feel bad. Sure, I got winded and tired more easily these days and I sweated more. Yeah, some tasks were becoming difficult to do but I could still handle my job. When I reentered the work area, it felt as everyone was looking at me but nobody except for Olli, our first-year apprentice, came up and asked what our talk had been about, telling me the others had guessed it already. Olli, on the other hand, attended trade school two days a week and hadn’t witnessed all my little incidents and accidents. I managed to make up something believable and went back to work, my mind still snagged on something Oskar had said: he had ‘overheard some things’ from the guys. Had anyone snitched? No, I couldn’t imagine that. We’d always been a great team and nobody had ever seemed to have a problem with my size. Or did they?