The Best Customer

Originally published May 11, 2018.
Contains: stuffing.

This story was inspired by this wonderful piece of art by VetroWolf When I first saw that piece, it inspired me to try to write a much longer story that would lead to that scene, but I found myself unable to commit to finishing that story. So I dialed it back to a shorter story and wrote the scene I cared about most, where a chubby cop is offered oodles complimentary doughnuts and pastries as soon as he steps into a bakery, before eating it all before his shift.

It was 7:00 AM in the morning as Officer Peter Jacobson pulled his cruiser into one of the street-side parking spots in front of Epitome Bakery, as he did every morning before his shift. True to their name, Peter thought Epitome was the perfect example of what a bakery in a quiet little town like Plainsville should have been: full-bodied coffee, large and filling pastries, never too busy, and most importantly, friendly and generous toward police officers. At least, they were friendly and generous toward Peter. He never compared notes with his fellow officers.

Then again, perhaps his colleague’s svelte frames indicated less willingness to be receptive toward the flavor of hospitality that Epitome showed Peter when he walked in. In contrast with his more slender fellow officers, Peter had a frame that tested the limits of his uniform’s stretchiness. Below broad shoulders, the sleeves pulled tight around his flabby arms. It was a miracle they didn’t rip through their sleeves as he lifted them up to adjust his cap. Below a prominent chest sat a gut that put the modest bellies of heftier coworkers to shame, a globular ball of fat that was constantly bouncing as he moved, swaying as he walked, straining the buttons of his uniform. Thanks to his belly, his tie had a rounded surface to lie on, accentuating just how bulbous his belly was. And on top of it all, a jolly face as round as a doughnut, to match the rotund belly beneath it, with cheeks red like jelly filling and bright blue eyes like the color of his button-down shirt.

Peter was quite the imposing sight as he stood by the side of his cruiser. With his back straight, his belly to jutted out impressively in front of him. His thumbs looped into his belt loops, the ones slightly behind his sides, so he didn’t have to extend his arms over his belly to reach them. Topping off the look was a confident smile, making creases in his cheeks. With each step, his belly bounced a little, emphasizing just how much heft he commanded.

But in spite of Peter’s size and stance, he didn’t have an imposing personality. As he walked into Epitome that morning, he tipped his cap and said “Good morning” to the folks sitting outside, all of whom returned his greeting. He exchanged the same pleasantries with the folks sitting at the tables inside, before he approached the counter. “Good morning,” he greeted.

“Ah, Peter! I’m glad you’re here,” Carol greeted from behind the counter. For as long as often as Peter visited Epitome, he knew the names of all of the regular staff by heart. “We have a brand new flavor that we’re thinking of debuting soon, and who better to test it than our most consistent customer?”

“Well, I’d be happy to,” Peter replied humbly. “I’m honored that you value my tastes so much.”

“Of course! If you’ll come over here, we have the first batch.” Following the woman to the side of the counter, Peter beheld what looked like a tray of six ordinary chocolate doughnuts with fudge glaze. But the pink, creamy filling spilling out from the holes where it had been inserted gave a hint as to what made them different. “Here, try one,” she said as she lifted the same tray.

Taking one in hand, Peter took a bite and found that the creamy pink filling was in fact strawberry-flavored. “Mmm… Mm, mm, mm, mm, mm, that is delicious! Did you use actual strawberries when making this filling?”

“That we did!”

“Well, this is wonderful. I think these are going to sell like crazy when you put them out.”

“Wonderful! Now, unfortunately, we can’t sell this particular batch, as it’s a prototype batch. However, I’d love to give you the rest to take with you for the road, as thanks for the glowing feedback.”

“Oh, well, my, Carol, that’s awfully kind of you. Are you sure you don’t want to keep them here as free samples for the customers, to get their mouths watering for the official debut?”

“And discourage them from buying a doughnut by allowing them to take one for free?” Carol asked sarcastically before she started putting the remaining doughnuts in a small bag. “No, I think they’ll be in much better hands if you take them.”

“Well, hard to turn down hospitality like that. That you kindly.”

“Peter,” he heard a familiar voice call from the entrance to the kitchen. It was Mark, with a tray of about a dozen eclairs. “I’m so glad I caught you while you were here. Would you care for some eclairs? They’ve just been filled; you won’t get them much fresher than this. Why, the icing on top hasn’t even hardened yet.”

“Oh my. Well, that might just be a bit too kind of you, Mark, but I definitely won’t turn down the opportunity to try an eclair fresh out of the kitchen. Why, that must be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for everyone except you folks.”

As Mark and Carol giggled, Peter made his way over, lugging his massive belly Mark’s way until he was close enough to reach the tray. After Mark extended his arm, Peter took an eclair in hand, finding the chocolate icing to indeed be soft and warm in his fingertips. With an anticipatory, “Mmm,” Peter took a bite of the eclair, replacing his utterance with one of genuine enjoyment. It didn’t take many more bites for the whole thing to disappear down Peter’s greedy mouth, followed by him licking the chocolate icing off of his fingers. “Mmmm, I must say, Mark, you were right. There’s nothing quite like an eclair fresh out of the kitchen.”

“Didn’t I tell ya? Have another!”

“Oh, I don’t know–”

“Come on, how many opportunities like this are you ever going to have? To taste something when it’s this fresh!”

“Mmmm, alright, if you’re going to twist my arm,” Peter relented, taking another and shoving that one down almost as quickly. “Mmm, just as good as the first one,” Peter said while patting the side of his rounded belly.

“Wonderful! Here,” Mark said as he put the rest of the eclairs in a bag. “Why don’t you take the rest with you?”

“Oh, I don’t know about–”

“Ooh, that reminds me!” Mark exclaimed, before he darted back into the kitchen. Peter and Carol both exchanged surprised looks, but Carol was the first to take on a smiling expression instead. Peter’s surprised expression remained until he heard Mark call out from the kitchen. “I know you once told us you don’t like raisins, Peter.”

“This is true,” Peter confirmed, trying to speak loudly enough that Mark would hear him without shouting so loudly that he bothered the other customers.

“Well, I’ll tell ya, something in me told me to make today’s batch of cinnamon rolls without raisins. And now, wouldn’t you know it, you’re here!” After shoving the door open, Mark came out with a tray full of the baseball-sized confections. They were nearly drenched with both icing and the cinnamon sugar paste that went between their layers. “Just as they’re finishing cooling. It’s serendipity, I say, maybe even fate.”

“Oh, Peter, you have to try one of these. They are to die for I assure you,” Carol insisted.

“Well, I dunno. I’ve already had quite a few delicious treats.”

“Then what’s a few more?”

Peter didn’t think much about the implications of Mark’s question, instead nodding with an expression that said, “Good point,” before he took one off the tray. They were still warm, although the icing was just starting to form a shell. The roll was also heavier in Peter’s hand than he was expecting, but that only made him more curious. Finding the end of the rolled up pastry, he took a bite before unraveling the flaky treat nearly all the way around.

“Hot dang,” Peter said. “Those are amazing!” Before he knew what he was doing, he was chomping down on the roll, unraveling it more and more and enjoying the sweet icing and cinnamon flavor, without any god-forsaken raisins to drag the experience down. The deeper in he got, the softer the pastry became, until he got to to the chewy middle and savored the end inside one. That was absolutely delectable… in fact, if you don’t mind, I think I’ll have another one.”

“Please!” Mark enthused. “I’ll go ahead and pack the remaining rolls into a bag so you can take them with you.” But Peter wasn’t much interested in what Mark had to say. Taking another cinnamon roll, he took a bite from the outside end and unraveled yet another roll of icing and cinnamon sugar. He paid no attention to any of the goings-on around him, which were thankfully limited to Mark packing the cinnamon rolls and Carol looking at him and smiling.

By the time Peter finished his second roll, Mark had finished bagging up the remaining ones, putting them next to the bags of chocolate-strawberry doughnuts and eclairs. “Boy, that’s, uh…” Peter started, licking his fingers as he stalled. “That’s a lot of pastries you’ve got there for me.”

“Oh, honey, were you thinking of eating them all yourself?” Carol asked.

“Well, I, uh–”

“That would certainly be the sight to see. But if you can’t do that, honey, just take them to the station for all the officers to enjoy!”

“I don’t know if they’ll make it that far,” Peter said under his breath, with his voice taking on something of a grunting tone as he mindlessly gave his giant belly a few pats.

“Well, as long as they go into an appreciative stomach,” Carol beamed. Her use of the word “stomach” rather than “mouth” caused Peter to raise an eyebrow, but he didn’t have much time to ponder it before a timer went off in the kitchen. With an excited bounce, Carol said, “Oooh! I wonder what those could be!”

“Probably the croissants,” Mark called out, before addressing Peter in a quieter voice. “Peter. Have you ever had a fresh-made croissant right out of the oven?”

“Yes, you’ve… fed me quite a few, thank you,” Peter giggled a little uncomfortably as he patted his hefty belly again. He’d had Epitome’s croissants enough times to know they put a lot of butter in their croissants, and that fresh out of the oven, they were irresistible.

So there was a little part of Peter that thought, “Oh no,” when Carol came out from the back with a tray full of croissants. The rest of him was licking his lips and hoping she’d offer him one. “Would you like to try one, Peter?”

“Yes please,” Peter answered instinctively, reaching out and taking one of the decadent treats before taking a huge bite. As always, it was inexplicably soft to the touch, his teeth going right through the pastry like it barely existed, although the taste proved just how real it was. “Oh, Carol. This is divine!”

“I’m so glad you think so! Now, because these take so long to prepare, I’m afraid I can only give you a few in a bag, rather than the whole tray.”

As he chewed the last of the croissant, Peter waved his hand in a “that’s fine” motion. “The fact that you’re giving me any at all is far more than I can ask for.”

“Well, I still want to make it up to you. Let me find something else I can send you out with.”

“You mean aside from everything else you’ve already bagged up for me?” Peter asked sarcastically.

“Oh hush. Now, hmmm… how does a box of doughnuts sound?”

“Well, delightful, of course, but promise me you’ll make it a small box?”

Before Peter could finish making his request, Carol had already pulled out a box big enough for a dozen doughnuts and filled it with four, making it too late for her to switch it out for a smaller box without wasting the bigger one. With a sigh, Peter shrugged his shoulder and accepted his gift.

“There,” Carol said as she put the box next the collection of bags that had already accumulated for Peter. “Now, I don’t think we’ve yet gotten to the matter what you came in here for.”

“That’ll be a small black coffee, please.”

“The usual. To-go?”

“Yes please.”

Carol filled a paper cup with Peter’s drink and took his money. As she gave him back his change, she looked at the pile of goodies for Peter, before turning to Mark and asking, “Oh Mark, could you help Peter carry all this to his car.”

“Of course,” Mark replied chipperly, stacking the bags on top of the box of doughnuts before picking up the entire bounty. “As long as you can carry your coffee and get the door for me.”

“Certainly. It‍‍‍’s the least I could do,” Peter replied, walking ahead of Mark to hold
door for him. With Peter’s cruiser parked right in front of the bakery, Mark didn’t have far to go before he could put down all of Peter’s treats. “Just on the passenger side should do it.”

Putting the treats down, Mark let out a sigh once his heads were finally free. “So, how much of this do you think you can eat on your way to work?”

“I guess we’ll see,” Peter said as he closed the passenger-side door.

“Godspeed, and thanks for coming in,” Mark said, talking on a more professional tone as he said the second part of his farewell, before he walked back into the shop.

Of course, Peter knew exactly how much of his haul he intended to eat, even though he was already feeling rather full with a chocolate-strawberry doughnut, two eclairs, two cinnamon rolls, and a croissant in his bulbous gut. But that fullness merely made him chuckle, as he patted the side of his round belly. Looking down, he said, “You should know better than to feel full already,” before he started the car, put it in drive, and leaned over to reach into a bag and pull out whatever he put his hands on. It turned out to be a cinnamon roll, which he ate gleefully.

But Peter knew he wouldn’t finish eating his fill of the pastries before he reached the police station. So he took a detour to a part of town with some unpaved roads, where he could park his car and enjoy some privacy as he ate his way through the five chocolate-strawberry doughnuts, ten eclairs, ten (make that nine) cinnamon rolls, a few croissants, and a dozen doughnuts.

And Peter did exactly that. With the radio turned to an oldies station playing soft rock that he could relax to, Peter lost himself in the gluttonous ritual that started out his mornings those days. He had a bit more to eat than usual, but as soon as he tasted one of the eclairs, he knew he wouldn’t have any issue finishing all the pastries on his passenger seat. In anything, he might have to slow down a bit as he neared the end, but he didn’t anticipate any more trouble than that.

And indeed, as Peter was down to his last few of the assorted doughnuts, he found himself breathing more heavily in between bites. Sweat was beading on his forehead in spite of the car’s AC’s best attempts to keep him cool. Those days, fullness was barely a feeling his stomach registered unless he stuffed himself nearly to his limits. And yet, he could still feel the mass of all the food built up in his stomach pushing him back against the driver’s seat. His belly was in control now. Or at least until he finished the last few doughnuts.

Once Peter had swallowed the last of his final doughnut, he leaned back in his seat and let out a lengthy sigh of contentment. Lifting both hands on top of his belly, he could feel just how much it had firmed up on top. Of course, the globular mass was always firm, but a few dozen pastries inside certainly didn’t hurt. With that much added mass and weight, Peter felt pinned down by his massive belly, as if all he could do was wriggle his limbs and watch his mountain of blubber jiggle in front of him.

But Peter’s musings were cut short as he heard the sound of fabric ripping, followed by something plastic bouncing off of his steering wheel. Looking down, he didn’t see anything wrong at first. But when he reached out to tug at the front of his shirt, he discovered that two buttons had popped off, exposing the tightly-stretched undershirt beneath. The surprise pulled him out of his contented daze enough to realize that he was indeed extremely full, so much so that he belly pushed ahead without him. With a chuckle, he put the car into drive and told himself, “It’s going to be an interesting day.”

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