Growth Hormones

Originally published July 10, 2016.
Contains: instant weight gain.

I originally published this under the “flash fiction” category. 1,500 words is probably too long to technically be flash fiction, but it certainly felt like flash fiction for me in comparison to my short stories. I usually write my stories over the course of several weeks, but this was a quick little piece I wrote in one afternoon while trying to beat a bout of writer’s block. It was inspired by all those YouTube videos of gainers chugging milk to grow bigger. Unlike them, the slobbish protagonist of this story didn’t intend to grow bigger when he started drinking milk right from the bottle one morning, but that certainly doesn’t stop him.

It was Saturday morning, and Billy emerged from his bedroom wearing an open bathrobe, a pair of boxers, and a shirt that hadn’t fit him since 30 pounds ago. He was a typical bachelor, living in an apartment on his own that he let get quite messy, as long as it fit his own admittedly loose standards of cleanliness. As he walked into the kitchen to prepare some kind of breakfast, he passed a garbage barrel that was now too full past the brim for the bag to be closed. He was going to have to deal with that at some point.

With a yawn, he turned on the TV before opening the sparsely filled cabinets to pick something to eat, settling on a cereal covered with cinnamon sugar. Now that he lived on his own and wasn’t subject to anyone else’s standards of healthy eating, his diet resembled what it might have been if he’d been given total freedom to pick his own foods when he was 10. Now that he was working and living on his own, though, he could do just that. So he ate a lot of sweet breakfast cereals, frozen pizzas, snack foods, and whatever desserts he desired.

It didn’t take long for the aftermath to show up on his waistline, as his shirt demonstrated that morning. He’d already worn all of his shirts that still fit him since he last did laundry, meaning he’d have to wash his clothes that weekend. In the meantime, he settled on a shirt that was too small to fit him now, letting the lobes of his flabby tummy peek out beneath it.

Billy poured a heaping bowl of the cereal, which he ate without milk so as to not dilute the sweet cinnamony taste. The sugar gave him a bit of a wakeup when he was too lazy to brew coffee, but he still felt groggy as he munched on the crunchy pieces. On the TV, the news droned on about some unpleasantness or other. At this point, it was too early for Billy to pay attention.

When Billy had finished his breakfast, he threw the bowl and spoon on top of the pile of dirty dishes accumulating in the sink, telling himself he should put it in the dishwasher soon. He still felt thirsty, so he walked to the fridge and took out the unopened gallon jug of milk he’d bought the day before. He twisted off the cap and, typical for him, started drinking it straight from the bottle.

But something was different about the milk that morning. Not only was the consistency thicker, but it also tasted sweeter, like it had somehow condensed in the jug. But the jug was still full to the top, so it couldn’t have been that. Billy didn’t think much more on it. He kept drinking the milk as dribbles of it fell down the side of his mouth and onto his shirt, being caught by his belly before they could hit the floor.

Something about the sweet taste of the milk made it extra appealing to Billy, and he kept drinking it long after he would have normally stopped. Or maybe he was just thirsty, he reckoned. Either way, the creamy drink cascaded down his throat as he kept chugging.

Unbeknownst to him, the milk was going to work on his body immediately. Once it hit his stomach, his belly started to swell like he was drinking the whole gallon in only a few seconds. As his belly expanded outward, it crept out of the bottom of his shirt. The body hairs pulled flat by the hem of the shirt made it look like his gut was rolling out of the cloth rather than his shirt rolling up. It didn’t take long for his belly button to peek out, and as he kept chugging, it only migrated farther from his shirt.

With a third of the gallon down, Billy had no inclination to stop, enjoying the surprisingly sweet milk too much to think of it. As such, his belly didn’t stop either, growing out until a stripe of skin appeared that stretched all the way around his torso, not just on the bottom of his stomach. In between gulps, Billy coughed from downing so much of the cold milk, sending a vibration down his abdomen that caused it to bounce.

With two thirds of the gallon down, Billy had graduated from the pudgy tummy he once sported to a full-on gut. What once resembled a small pillow stuffed under his shirt was now undeniably its own entity, round and firm with a presence of its own. The rest of his body was padding out too; his double chin now more resembled a ring of fat around his face, his arms had grown more beefy, and his chest had started to protrude like his stomach. But whereas before he only looked generally chunky, his belly was now the center of attention of his body.

To Billy’s surprise, he was soon faced with an empty jug propped up above his head. So sweet was the milk that he’d gulped down the entire gallon without realizing it. After he lapped up the last few drops that came out of the bottle, he wiped his mouth with the back of his hand as it still held the jug, before letting out a loud belch.

When Billy looked down, he was so surprised by what he saw that he dropped the plastic jug. What little looseness was left in his shirt had bunched up around the top of his belly, resembling a sports bra more than a tee shirt. His belly had grown to the size of a large beach ball, something that surely shouldn’t have been possible even if he drank that much milk at once. That was more volume than a gallon container could hold, he thought. How could it make him grow that much?

Billy found himself forced to lean back to counteract his new heft, while simultaneously swaying from the lethargy brought on by drinking a whole gallon of milk at once. With a nervous curiosity, he patted the side of his gut and found it rippled underneath his touch. He felt it over, top and bottom, his scraggly body hairs soft under his touch and even more sparse now. While the top was as tight as he would expect from a stomach holding a gallon of milk, the bottom felt much softer, like he’d put on that weight over the course of years, not in one morning.

As Billy was trying to make sense of it all, the morning news flashed it’s “Breaking Story” board before the anchor spoke:

“Breaking news this morning: Daily Dairy has issued an urgent recall on whole milk. Consumers are urged to return any Daily Dairy whole milk with a sell-by date of Monday, the 22nd, or later to the store they bought it from to receive a full refund on behalf of the company. Daily Dairy has not issued an official statement as to what motivated the refund. However, sources close to the company say it likely has something to do with the company’s sub-standard safety practices, as well as its controversial experiments on feeding growth-hormone-infused milk to its baby cows to accelerate their maturation, practices the company has recently come under fire for. For News 67, I’m Shelby Cole.”

As the news jingle played, Billy looked down to his right and saw the jug of milk staring back at him. He never gave much thought to what brands he bought when he went grocery shopping, but now he beheld the words “Daily Dairy”.

“It’s too early for this,” Billy grumbled with a voice huskier than it had been the day before, with a slight gargle from the words having to travel through the remnants of his milk chug. Rubbing his eyes, he turned toward the hallway and walked back to his bedroom. As he walked, his arms hung down at an angle away from his body and swung with a wide sway. His belly also had a sway of its own, swinging side to side as he walked. The flabby bottom of his belly bounced as every step sent a ripple up his body, a ripple that ended at his sodden stomach. His breathing had also grown heavier, as he wasn’t adjusted to moving this much mass around.

Billy turned the corner into his bedroom and closed the door. With one last heavy sigh, he fell onto his bed, not bothering to even pull up a comforter. As he lay on his back, his bulbous belly rose and fell with his belabored breaths, until the milk started to send him into a food comma. Only half-awake, he patted the side of his belly contentedly with a satisfied, drawn-out “Mmm.” As his eyelids grew heavier, he rubbed his new girth until his hand fell at his side as he fell asleep again.

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