Originally published August 4, 2019.
Contains: general fatness.
The idea for this story came from digiheo. While writing it, I drew on my own experiences with job interviews and the people I’ve worked with. A lot of the little details in here are inspired by actual events.
I have another story I’m working on that I’m expecting to get up by Saturday. It’s a lengthy one, and one of the more story-driven stories of mine, so I’m glad I could give you folks this short and sweet one in the meantime.
Synopsis: Ali is nervous but confident about his prospects as he arrives at Aerial Systems for a job interview. Things start out smoothly, as he interviews with his portly prospective manager. But with each person who interviews him being progressively fatter, he has a hard time maintaining his composure.
Ali sat in the lobby of Aerial Systems, waiting for his job interview to begin. He’d arrived promptly at 8:45 AM, not wanting to be late for his 9:00 interview, nor wanting to arrive too early. But as he sat in the soft and surprisingly short chairs in the lobby, he wished he’d arrived only ten or even five minutes early. Sure, 15 minutes early would make him look punctual, and like he valued the company’s time. But it also gave him 15 minutes that he needed to kill until his potential manager showed up. And he could only pass so much time by adjusting his tie.
Ali had made sure to not be overdressed, a mistake he’d made for his first interview at a tech company. He’d followed the common wisdom that you can’t go wrong wearing a suit to a job interview, but he’d found a way to go wrong. Most of the folks at that company just wore a button-down shirt and maybe a blazer or tie, and the ones who didn’t were dressed even more casually. And while he knew that suit wasn’t the reason he didn’t get the job, he was still convinced that dressing down a bit couldn’t hurt.
So he’d worn some nice khakis, a light blue button-down shirt, and a purple tie to the interview, nothing too pretentious. After all, he wanted to make a good first impression. Which was the same reason why he didn’t want to spend too much of the waiting period on his phone. So instead, he picked up one of the paperback books with the company’s logo on the front on the table in front of him, and started browsing. Those sure are some words on that page, he thought to himself. And even more words on this one, wow.
Ali browsed the words that ostensibly meant something, until he heard someone behind him say, “Hi, are you Ali?”
“Yes, I am,” Ali said as he put the book back on the table, relieved that someone had shown up five minutes ahead of schedule.
“I’m Brian, nice to meet you,” the man said as he extended his hand. Brian was the man that Ali had talked with over the phone, and would be his manager if he was hired. He was also quite a rotund man, something Ali had not mentally prepared himself for. His grid-patterned button-down shirt wrapped over an impressively round beach-ball-sized belly, which stuck out past his elbow as his arm was extended.
But Ali quickly collected himself and shook Brian’s hand, looking him in the eye with a confident smile. Brian’s face was quite round too, with pudgy cheeks and a thick double chin, all centered around a well-trimmed mustache. He looked quite friendly all told, and Ali had a good feeling about the interview.
Ali followed Brian to the room they’d be interviewing in, giving him a chance to look at Brian’s remarkably voluminous rear end. It didn’t quite bounce as he walked, rather rocking back and forth with the movement of his legs. But it was still an enjoyable sight to see, one he made sure to only enjoy when there was no one coming down the hall who could catch him ogling his potential boss.
Once they came upon the small conference room that Brian had arranged to use, they both sat on opposite ends of a table. Ali tried to sit up as straight in the chair as he could, with his hands clasped out of sight. Brian, meanwhile, leaned back in his chair after putting his folder on the table. “So, what kind of things do you like to do outside of work?” Brian asked.
“Well, I really like to draw.”
“Oh, nice! What kind of things do you draw?”
Ali thought back to all of the chubby guys he’d drawn, almost exclusively in some state of undress. “Portraits.”
With a nod, Brian continued, “What drew you to portraits?”
“You could say it’s my way of appreciating people who aren’t traditionally considered attractive.”
“Oh great! You know, we could really use someone who’s willing to go against the grain for this position,” Brian said, which transitioned them into talking about Ali’s experiences and skills.
As the conversation went on, Ali couldn’t help but catch a few more glances as Brian’s belly. His shirt wasn’t baggy by any means, but it did fit him quite comfortably. When he wasn’t taking notes, he did like to lean back in his chair with his arms behind his head. This gave Ali a better look at his belly, which rested quite comfortably on the chair, the wide-set armrests giving it plenty of room.
But Brian’s belly wasn’t so attention grabbing that Ali couldn’t maintain eye contact with him. Granted, Brian’s face was quite enjoyable for him to look at too. He had a smile so alluring that it almost outshone his friendly eyes, squinting just a little bit like bedroom eyes, but not quite as unprofessional. And the way he smiled and nodded as Ali answered his questions had Ali feeling pretty good about his chances.
“Okay, well, looks like that’s all the time we have,” Brian said as the clock struck 9:45. “Leo will be coming in after me. He’s one of our engineers, and if we choose you, he’ll be your mentor.” Ali stood up as Brian did, causing him to say, “Oh, he’ll be meeting you in this room.”
“Okay,” Ali said before extending his hand with a smile.
After Brian smiled, he shook Ali’s hand and said, “Wonderful to talk with you, Ali. I’ll go get Leo now. Shouldn’t be too long.”
After Brian left, Ali let out a lengthy sigh and slumped over in his chair. He thought he’d done a pretty good job in the interview, and Brian didn’t seem to ever catch him staring at his belly. But he knew he could do his best and still be overshadowed by someone more qualified. The uncertainty was the worst part. But all he could do was try to put his best foot forward. So as he heard footsteps approaching the door, he sat up straight. When he heard the door opening, he stood up and extended his hand.
“Hi, you must be Ali.”
The husky voice came out of a man who made Leo freeze in place. His facial features went flat as he beheld the next person who would be interviewing him.
Leo was a bit shorter than Brian, and even shorter than Ali, and very much squat. His button-down shirt was a good deal tighter than Brian’s, rounding out his impressively hefty belly. The top of his shirt was taut like a fitted sheet, before it wrapped around the globular front of his gut. It looked like he’d stuffed the bottom of a charcoal kettle grill under his shirt. But it was all him, as was revealed when it bounced as he stepped into the room.
His face left Ali just as dumbstruck, with round cheeks peeking out over a bushy beard that, in spite of its density, couldn’t conceal just how big his double chin was. His mustache connected with the beard to frame a slight smile, topped by eyes looking right into Ali’s.
“I’m Leo,” he said as he took Ali’s hand.
Ali blinked and shook himself out of his dumbfounded state. “Nice to meet you Leo.”
“So, I’ll be serving as your mentor if you take this position,” Leo said as he walked around the table. He moved at a slow pace, arms sticking out like his love handles were pushing them away. But even with his slow steps, his belly jiggled every time his feet hit the floor. Ali couldn’t help being captivated as his belly bounced, and barely looked back up to his face in time to avoid being caught before he sat down. “You can take a seat.”
“Oh, yes,” Ali said, quickly returning to his chair as Leo slowly sat down.
Once Leo was in the seat, he let out an “oof” before looking back up at Ali with a smile. “Gotta be careful how I sit in these chairs. This wouldn’t be the first time I’ve broken one,” he chuckled, his open-mouthed smile pushing up his cheeks and closing his eyes slightly. It was adorable, and momentarily helped Ali maintain eye contact rather than staring at Leo’s protruding belly.
“Ah. That’s, um… unfortunate.”
“Yeah, well, what can you do?” Leo asked rhetorically. “So, let’s talk about your experience.”
Ali managed to keep his mind on the topic at hand and answer Leo’s questions. But he simply couldn’t help but look down at Leo’s impressive belly all throughout the interview. As Leo sat back in the chair with his arms crossed in front of his chest, he looked like royalty of some kind. Maybe a sultan from a time when a heavyset figure was a sign of prestige. The fact that he could rest his arms on top of his plump belly was only making it harder for Ali to not stare.
Making things even harder was the fit of his shirt, which had proven too tight for Leo once he sat down. Between the buttons of his shirt, the edges were spreading from being pulled a little too tight. They weren’t quite gapping, but the fact that they were pulling apart still demonstrated just how rotund Leo was. On either side of his belly, his shirt had horizontal ripples that showed just how tight it fit.
It was hard for Ali to keep his eyes off of Leo’s belly, but he felt like he was doing a good job of not being obvious about it. At least until he heard Leo say, “Ali?”
Realizing he was staring at Leo’s belly, Ali looked up and said, “Huh?”
“I was asking you how much supervision you had at your last job.”
“Oh,” Ali blurted out before shaking his head. “Sorry, I-I guess I spaced out a bit.”
“That’s alright,” Leo said with a smirk, which didn’t quell Ali’s worries about whether Leo had caught him looking. Still, he did his best to answer the question, knowing that was all he could do if Leo had caught him.
It didn’t take much longer for Leo to say, “Well, looks like our time is up. Usually someone from HR comes in after us, so hang tight.” With a grunt, Leo pushed himself up out of his chair, leaning forward and rising slowly. Once he was upright, he put his hands on his lower back and stretched, pushing his belly out even farther. It was a good thing he’d told Ali to hang tight, because Ali had lost all presence of mind to even think of standing up to shake Leo’s hand. But he did manage to blurt out, “Nice to meet you!” before Leo left the room.
Once the door was closed, Ali slumped over in his chair and put his face in his hands. Whether he’d done any good didn’t seem to matter, when he was sure he’d failed the not-getting-caught-ogling-his-potential-coworker test. Maybe Leo wouldn’t tell anyone, he told himself. Maybe he’d think it was funny and just tell his friends after work. But Ali couldn’t help feeling like he was being too optimistic expecting that.
His worries seemed confirmed when Brian walked in instead of an HR person. Ali braced himself for being told that they wouldn’t have to continue the interview.
“So, Leo told me–” Fuck “–that he told you someone from HR would come and see you, right?”
“Well, there’s been a change of plans.” I knew it, Leo thought to himself. “Turns out I need to take you to Donny’s office.”
Ali tried to collect himself to ask, “Is Donny the HR person I’ll be meeting with?”
“Yep. Come on, I’ll take you to him.”
After the surprise wore off, Ali hopped out of his seat and followed Brian. “If I can ask, is there a reason he’s not coming up here? Leo made it sound like that’s what usually happens.”
“It usually is, yes. But… well, it might not be the most politically correct thing to say, but we can’t be sure Donny will be able to fit in those chairs.”
“You’ll see,” Brian promised him. After that, he didn’t say anything until they reached Human Resources. After navigating the halls of the cubicles, they came upon Donny’s office. Brian looked at his watch and said, “10:33. Not too late, thankfully.” After knocking on the door, Brian entered and said, “Donny, this is Ali. He’s the latest candidate for the position on my team.” Ali stepped in behind Brian, before he immediately froze in place.
Donny slowly pushed himself upright, leaving behind an extra-wide rolling chair that looked like it could seat two people Brian’s size. Once he was upright, Donny waddled toward Ali with a short stride and arms swinging widely as they jutted away from his body. His closely shaven beard revealed that his thick double chin and pudgy cheeks had combined into a single fat border of his face. He walked with his head tilted back and his mouth open, breathing heavily from the effort. In between his gasping breaths, he managed to get out, “Ali, nice to meet you.”
But that was just the beginning. Though Donny wore a boxy suit that concealed some of his true size, what it couldn’t conceal was just how much his gut stuck out in front of him. It stuck out almost as much as his arm as he extended a hand to shake Ali’s. Ali shook Donny’s hand and said “likewise” almost on reflex, as he was too captivated to do much else. For shaking Donny’s hand required looking down at it, allowing him to see his belly and become entranced all over again.
“Well, I’ll leave you two to it,” Brian said, stirring Ali from his stupor so he could look Donny in the eyes again.
“Well,” Donny gasped, “take a seat,” he said as he motioned toward the chair in front of his desk, a pudgy hand sticking out of his wide sleeve. “Oof, I think I might take this off,” Donny continued as he took off his suit jacket. “I don’t know why they keep it so hot in here,” he said as he hung it over the back of his seat.
Ali couldn’t help but think that the temperatures weren’t at all hot in the building. In fact, the air conditioning was strong enough that he found himself wishing he’d worn a blazer. But that train of thought was soon interrupted as he saw Donny’s button-down shirt, struggling to contain all of his heft. His torso looked like an overfilled sack of grain, his fat jutting out to the side before sticking out extra far from his front. At the thickest part of his belly, his torso looked nearly three times as thick as it would have been if he were of average weight. Taking off his jacket had also revealed the true vastness of his thighs, which filled out his suit pants like they were sausage casings. His pants looked big enough that Ali would’ve been able to fit both of his legs in one of Donny’s pants legs, and wear the other leg like some sort of avant-garde fashion top.
Things didn’t get much better when Donny sat down. After slowly lowering himself into his chair, he reclined back with his hands on the armrests, revealing just how tight his shirt was. On the front of his belly, the buttons were so strained that the shirt gapped, allowing Ali to see what was underneath it. He saw that Donny’s undershirt couldn’t cover his belly, not even making it all the way down to his bellybutton. Thus Ali was able to see the soft, hairy, bulbous gut that begged to be released from its restrictive cloth prison.
“So, let’s go over your previous experiences.”
“Let’s,” Ali blurted out.
Perhaps it was because Ali had already concluded that the interview was a lost cause. But Ali felt that he had an easier time maintaining eye contact with Donny than Leo. Or maybe it was just that he had lowered his standards for success. For he managed to maintain eye contact with Donny as they talked, before looking down and admiring his massive midsection. Previously, he would have been embarrassed about being so obvious. But with Donny, he considered it a win if he managed to look back up at Donny’s eyes before Donny looked back at him.
That was how the interview went, before it mercifully ended only 20 minutes later. “Well, I think we’ve kept you long enough,” Donnie said. “Do you think you can find your way back to the entrance on your own? I don’t think I can spare the, uh…” He stalled as he looked down at his massive belly. “Time. I have a lot of work to do.”
“Oh. Yeah, sure thing,” Ali replied before he got up from his chair. “Nice to meet you,” he said as he extended his hand, not bothering to look up as he shook Donny’s. Instead, he took what would probably be his last look at that wondrously wide belly, filling out the seat like a jumbo-sized bean-bag chair, and walked out.
Ali tried to keep his composure as he left the building, but he couldn’t help but feel that his chances of getting the job were completely shot. He drove home listening to some quiet acoustic music, feeling too glum to listen to anything happy, but not wanting to encourage his sad feelings. When he got home, he saw that he had a voicemail, having forgotten that he put his phone on silent before the interviews. After pulling it out, he gave the message a listen.
“Hi, Ali, this is Donny from Aerial,” he heard the familiar voice huff. “I wanted to let you know that I talked it over with the other guys, and we’d like to extend to you an offer of employment starting as soon as you can. Give us a call and let’s chat.”
Ali let his arm go slack and his phone hit his thigh. After a moment of silence, he chuckled quietly, and then called them back.