Originally published March 14, 2019.
Contains: accelerated weight gain.
This story started with a suggestion from ruddiw, who messaged to point out that even though it would seem well aligned for gaining stories, he’s never read a gaining story inspired by Pi Day. I realized that I’d never read such a story either, so we both agreed that for the holiday, we would write a story inspired by the day.
This was at the end of last year, before some medical problems made it a lot harder for me to write. I ended up having to scale back my idea for the story into something more manageable, and even then, I fear it’ll feel like meager servings compared to what I usually cook up. But given what a challenge writing has been for the past few months, I’m proud I was able to finish something.
Synopsis: Jorge is a retired pie eating contest champion, who dominated the sport thanks to a stomach that can digest food just as quickly as he can eat it. While picking up a chocolate torte for his boyfriend at a local bakery, he ends up locked in when the last employee leaves while he’s in the bathroom. Before he can leave, Jorge is tantalized by the pies in the display window, and convinces himself that they won’t miss just one. One becomes dozens over the night, as his competitive eating instincts take over and his stomach stops him from feeling too full to continue.
It was the evening of Valentine’s Day, and Jorge had stopped in a local bakery after work to pick up a chocolate torte for him and his boyfriend to enjoy that night. As the baker pulled out the box, Jorge looked at the design on top and smiled. Topping the dark chocolate ganache was a red icing heart, with a darker red icing heart leaning out from behind it, like a shadow Simple and effective.
After giving the cake his approval, Jorge stepped back to browse the shop a bit, as he’d never been inside before. With the shop closing at 6:00 PM on weekdays, he could rarely spare the time. As he browsed, he spotted plenty of cakes ready to have messages written on them. He spotted cookies and cupcakes and individual slices of cake ready for sale, along with a selection of savory treats that all fit in with the sweet ones.
But all those could barely hold a candle to what he saw at the end of the display, which grabbed his attention immediately and would not let go. At the end was a display container that looked newer than the rest, and it contained an entire section of pies, looking as delectable as if they were home made. Jorge recognized an apples pie, pumpkin pie, pecan pie, key lime pie–
–7.86 pie… wait.
Shaking his head side to side, Jorge said, “Sorry,” and pulled out his wallet to pay.
“You eyeing those pies over there?”
With a pause, Jorge let out a self-effacing chuckle before he answered, “Yeah, I was. Used to be a competitive eater, and pie eating competitions were my speciality.”
“Really?” the man asked in disbelief. “You don’t look like a competitive eater.”
It was a fair assessment: with a tall frame and more muscle than fat, Jorge looked like he’d be found in a modeling shoot before he’d be found at a competitive eating table. But he’d heard that countless times before, and he had an explanation ready:
“Well, looks can be deceiving. You might think the biggest guy has the biggest appetite, but it’s really about how much food you can fit in your stomach at once. And those big guys don’t necessarily have bigger capacities with all that fat in their bellies.”
“You know, that makes sense,” the cashier admitted, prompting a nod from Jorge. But it was only a half truth. What Jorge had said was true for many competitive eaters, but not him. Rather, what made him so unstoppable at competitive eating was his digestive system’s superhuman ability to digest and process food as quickly as he could eat it. Many guys got bloated stomachs during those competitions, but for Jorge, the bloat was just a façade to hide the fact that every time he did one of those competitions, he put on three or four pounds. Of course, he’d lose that weight by the next competition, which allowed him to keep his secret under wraps.
At this point, having moved on from the competitive eating scene, he didn’t feel like explaining his unusual stomach to every stranger he encountered. So it was convenient that he could fall back on that old adage from the competitive eating community to avoid having to explain himself.
With his torte paid for, Jorge walked toward the door, while the man working the cash register went in the back. As he opened the door, Jorge decided he should use the restroom before he hit the road. The door’s bell range behind him as he entered the bathroom while the cashier ran some sort of loud machinery in the back. After locking the door behind him, he put his torte on the sink so it wouldn’t have to touch the ground, and sat down on the toilet, finding the single-stall bathroom didn’t have a urinal.
Unfortunately, Jorge found his tiring day at the office catching up with him. After rushing to get everything done so he could pick up the torte before the shop closed, he was dead tired. Without even realizing what was happening, he found himself dozing off on the toilet, head leaning forward as he came in and out of awareness. He didn’t think much of it, until his head came forward one last time, and he had a quick nap.
When he woke up, Jorge let out a surprised yelp, not expecting to fall asleep in such circumstances. After pulling his pants up, he recomposed himself and stepped out of the bathroom, hoping the cashier hadn’t heard him.
Jorge got his wish, because the cashier was no longer there. Opening the door, Jorge found the store shrouded in darkness, the chairs on the table, and none of the inside lights on.
“How did… oh this is bad,” Jorge said to himself. “I’m trespassing now. I need to get out of here before I’m caught.” With his torte in hand, Jorge scuttled to the door, thankful to find he could unlock it from the inside by just twisting a latch. “Okay, I’ll just get out of here, and hope that whoever opens tomorrow doesn’t get tonight’s guy in trouble for not locking the door.” Thankful to not see anyone out in the street in front of him, Jorge put his fingers on the latch and nearly turned it.
Until he saw the reflection of a light behind him in the glass. Turning around slowly, Jorge soon realized it was the display case for the pies, backlit to make them easier to browse. While everything else was obscured in the darkness of the store, the pies stood out in vivid, delectable detail. And they looked appetizing.
Jorge caught himself staring at the pie display for just a bit too long, before he shook his head side to side and said, “No, I need to get out of here.” But as he looked out the door, something in him prevented his hand from turning the lock. Slowly looking back at the pies, he muttered under his breath, “Well… I don’t suppose they’ll miss just one.”
After meandering back toward the pies, Jorge crept behind the display and found that it slid right open. Inside, he spotted twelve pies, and though they were tilted away from him, likely to be better presented to the customers, they still looked even better up close. With his fingers eagerly wiggling in front of him, he reached into the case and took his personal favorite, the pumpkin pie. After trying to pick it up out of the pan, he found it breaking apart in his hand, resulting in a slice-sized chunk he could hold in one hand. With a devious smile, he picked it up and took a bite.
The pie was delicious, one of the best Jorge had ever tasted. It was moist and flavored with the perfect blend of spices, and nice and rich. But as Jorge wolfed down a second bite of the pie before he’d even swallowed his first bite, it became clear that he wasn’t interested in savoring the pies to appreciate their flavor pallets. He was back into competitive eating mode, a one man machine in competition with no one but himself, and the desire to fill himself with as many pies as possible.
As the first pie made its way down Jorge’s greedy gullet, it was clear that it was going to be first of many. Grabbing a cherry pie, Jorge split it apart however it fell apart in his hands, and started gulping it down. The filling went down easily, with the sugared cherries slipping effortlessly into his stomach. No chewing was required as he scarfed his way through the second pie, finishing it quickly before he instinctively took a third one: key lime. The soft texture of the pie’s filling allowed him to make short work of it, greedily chomping his way through like it was the first thing he’d eaten in weeks.
Now fully back in his competitive eater mindset, Jorge didn’t care much about what pie he took. As long as he was munching on pie, that was all that mattered to him. As more and more went down his insatiable gullet, he took to keeping a slice of pie in both hands. Though this didn’t give him any advantage in terms of eating faster, it did help him put on a good show during competitions. For now, even with no one watching, it felt right. Holding food in both hands made him feel like an absolute glutton, and tapping into that feeling helped him eat faster.
With his competitive eating mentality fully engaged, Jorge lost count of how many pies he’d eaten. After all, that kind of information wasn’t going to help him win, when he could use that mental energy to push himself to eat more. Eat faster, bigger bites, swallow sooner, all these mantras he repeated to himself out of habit to keep the pies coming and finish them as quickly as he could. He couldn’t concern himself with whether the competition might catch up. He just had to put himself as far ahead of them as he could.
Thus Jorge plowed his way through all twelve of the display pies, never needing to slow down thanks to his body’s ability to digest the pies as quickly as he ate them. But if he had gotten that stuffed feeling, maybe he would have had the presence of mind to realize just how much he was eating. Instead, he swallowed down the last bites of the final pie–pecan–and licked his fingers clean, proud of how much he’d been able to get down. Of course, he soon remembered that it wasn’t much of a struggle for him to get that much food down, since he could digest them as quickly as he ate them. With a chuckle, he patted his stomach, as if congratulating it on a job well done.
But his hand didn’t land upon the flat, relatively firm abdomen he was used to. Rather, it landed upon a flabby paunch that jiggled under his touch. Looking down, Jorge saw that his belly looked like someone had stuck a partially-inflated basketball under his shirt. But it was all him, all flab he’d put on from eating 12 decadent pies in such a short amount of time.
This was, of course, nothing new for Jorge. He always ended his victorious eating competitions with a belly like that, a secondary trophy of sorts. For his belly to re-emerge was like seeing an old friend again after taking a trip down memory lane together. With a quiet chuckle, he patted his new pudge, enjoying the way it bounced underneath his hand.
Reality briefly managed to set in as Jorge realized he needed to get out of there before he was caught. But that awareness was soon replaced by a curiosity about a smell coming out of the kitchen. It seemed he’d been too nervous after waking up in the bathroom to notice it before, and too focused on the pies in front of him to notice after that. But now, with his mind less occupied, it was unmistakable.
Pumpkin pie. And the scent was strong.
After getting up with a few grunts, Jorge crept his way over to the door to the kitchen. After pushing through and turning on a light, he saw the source of the smell, and his eyes swelled wide like the belly beneath them. On the table in front of him were several rows of cooling racks, on which lay two dozen pumpkin pies. From the smell of the room, it was clear that they were freshly baked. The man who’d left earlier must have pulled them out of the oven while Jorge was in the bathroom, and left them for the next day’s staff to deal with.
Jorge was more than happy to relieve them of that duty.
As he approached the table that housed the pies, Jorge saw a stack of pre-boxed pies on the counter. For a moment, he considered leaving them alone, until he saw that the radiator was set up behind the counter, right where its heat could rise up to warm up the pies. With a grin on his face, Jorge found the thermostat by the door, and turned the heat up as high as it would go.
In the meantime, Jorge had his eyes on the many pumpkin pies populating the table in front of him. The pies were arranged in a four-by-six grid that would have made it obvious whether any were taken, but Jorge was beyond caring. With a wide grin on his face, he ambled up to the table and picked up the pie closest to him, breaking it in half and holding a half in each of his hands as he devoured both.
Immediately, Jorge fell back into his competitive eating mentality, enjoying the pie too much to savor it, instead wanting to just get it down as fast as he could. One pie gave way to another that gave way to another, as he kept picking them up and wolfing them down. The soundtrack of his voracious consumption was accompanied by loud “Mmm”s and various grunts as Jorge devoured pie after pie. He never groaned from how much he was eating, for his accelerated digestion left him blissfully unaware of just how much food he’d managed to consume in one evening.
But all that food had to go somewhere. With the pies immediately in front of him gone, Jorge had to lean over to reach for more, either across the counter or to his sides. As he did, he barely registered the feeling of the cold steel against the bottom of his swelling belly. Just like his current struggle with leaning forward, forcing him to strain to reach the last few pies, it was just another obstacle to be overcome. For most competitive eaters, that obstacle was their own fullness. For him, it came in more surprising ways, ways that he’d trained himself to ignore. And thanks to that training, nothing stopped him from finishing all of the 24 pumpkin pies on the center counter.
With the last bites of the final pie down in his gullet, Jorge let out a loud, self-contented, “Ahhhh”, followed by a lengthy belch, the kind competitive eaters like him rarely had the space for in their stomach. Not Jorge. With a smile, he thought about how he’d be able to walk out of the shop without a painful fullness or food coma threatening him as he drove. It was a sweet deal. With a self-satisfied smile, Jorge patted the sides of his belly.
He was a little shocked when he realized how much bigger it was than it had been upon his entry to the kitchen. That familiar paunch that he usually grew upon winning a competition had grown well past the point where it could resemble a food baby. All those pies had blown his belly up to the size of a beach ball, causing his tee shirt to ride up over it until it had bunched up on top. Looking down in disbelief, he rotated his torso side-to-side, causing his belly to revolve around him like a planet. It was upon feeling the weight of his gut moving in front of him that it truly sunk in: he’d grown fat.
It was around then that the room started to become noticeably hotter from the heat that Jorge had turned on. In spite of his surprise at how big he’d grown, the heat put him in a relaxed state. Rubbing his gut in disbelief turned into rubbing it because it felt good. His hands moved more slowly, pushing in more against his solid belly, making him feel like he was giving it an appreciative massage rather than a doubtful test of existence. He felt relaxed and content again.
Except in one regard: he wanted more pie.
As he rubbed his rotund gut some more, Jorge remembered the stack of boxed pies that was the very reason he’d turned the heat on in the first place. He could barely count how many pies lay in front of him, as columns upon columns of boxes held pies waiting to be eaten. They wouldn’t have to wait long. Licking his lips, Jorge waddled toward the boxes.
If there was one thing about baking that Ernesto didn’t like, it was the heat of the kitchen. But he didn’t put much stock in that old phrase about, “If you can’t stand the heat…”, which was why he’d decided to try something a little different with his thermostat that night. A few hours before he came in, it would set the temperature to be quite cool, so he could have some cold air as a buffer. It would take all his baking some time to warm the kitchen up to room temp again, meaning that at least when the shop opened, he wouldn’t have to worry about it being as hot in there as it usually was. Long-term, he knew he had to install better ventilation in his kitchen, but in the short term, he knew this just might save him.
Pulling into the parking lot before the sun was even up, Ernesto got out of his car and opened the bakery door, locking both behind him. He cursed himself when he saw that he’d left the lights on in the kitchen, but that wasn’t the strangest thing. Looking toward the pie display, the other source of light in the room, he saw that all his pies were gone.
“Now what could have happened to those?” he thought. Was it a robbery? Had one of the other employees come in the middle of the night and taken them? Soon he reached the back wall and turned on the lights, to get a better view. Thing only became stranger when he saw the chocolate tort he’d sold his last customer the night before still sitting on the counter, even though he could have sworn that customer had left. Not sure what to think, Ernesto walked into the kitchen to get some pies to replace those in the display.
What Ernesto saw made him stop in his tracks. On the floor of his kitchen was a man who looked like he weighed at least 350 pounds, if not more. His head hung over a gut the width of a truck tire, hanging out of the bottom of his comically ill-fitting shirt that was bunched up around his chest. His pants, too, seemed intended for a much smaller man, as the button and fly had come undone, causing them to be pushed down his legs and revealing a pair of white boxer briefs.
“Ah, Jesus!” Ernesto yelled out in surprise, causing the man to jolt awake too. A look of fear immediately filled his eyes. Once he could tear his vision away from the poorly-clothed fat man on the floor, Ernesto looked around and saw that all the pumpkin pies on the island were gone too. Looking toward the individually boxed pies, he saw that many of them had also disappeared, and the floor was littered with empty boxes.
The man looked like he was trying to get up, but that gut ensured he wasn’t going anywhere. All he could do was strain against its gravity, causing it to jiggle when he gave up the fight. He seemed to nearly exhaust himself trying to get up, before a glimmer of recognition flashed across Ernesto’s mind. He’d seen that face before, just not at its current heft.
“Say, are you the guy who bought the chocolate tort last night?”
The man froze mid exertion, before slowly looking back at Ernesto. “Uh… yeah… th-that was me… why?”
Upon hearing his answer, Ernesto broke out into a fit of uproarious laughter. In between trying to catch his breath, he managed to spurt out, “I guess I can believe you were a competitive eater.”