Originally posted September 20, 2018.
Contains: accelerated weight gain, bloating.
There’s an ice cream place near where I live that’s also a sort of year-round county fair, with other food stands, a petting zoo, batting cages, bumper cars, a gift shop, etc. It’s a popular destination for outings for both kids and adults, and was the site of a recent work outing at my job. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to go, and having been there before with friends, I knew what I was missing out on.
It was thinking about that location, and the work event there that I had to miss, that inspired this story.
Synopsis: James doesn’t like work outings, but goes to one at Keeland’s Farms anyways to keep up appearances. After getting a bit too full on free seafood and ice cream, he discovers his company has also provided him five free tokens for the Fun Zone. Wanting to milk the experience for all it’s worth before he goes home, he goes looking for the Fun Zone and finds one on the other side of a path through some bushes. There, all the men are fat and wearing clothing that doesn’t fit, and all the games will fatten you up as you play them. But he decides to stay, and get the most out of those free tokens.
James never liked these kind of work events. The forced bonding and socialization never made him feel any closer to his coworkers the way mutually complaining about upper management at the office did. But he knew it would be a bad look if he didn’t go. So he found himself driving to Keeland’s Farms at 10:45 PM when he would have rather been on his way home. But if he was going to go to this kind of event, then he was going to milk it for all it was worth. He planned to take advantage of the free lunch, then the free ice cream, and leave once he’d made an appearance, to enjoy a nice, long afternoon off.
It didn’t help matters that management always scheduled these outings in the summer, so the interns could participate. After parking his car in the Keeland’s lot and stepping out, James felt like he’d walked into a wall of heat and humidity. He immediately regretted wearing the light blue button-down shirt and khakis from the office to the event and not bringing something more casual for him to change into. Even for a guy like him who didn’t have much in the way of body fat or facial hair as insulation, it still left him far too hot for comfort.
But at the very least, he was going to try to make the best of it. Now that he was out of the office, he unbuttoned his sleeve cuffs and rolled his sleeves up, providing a little bit of relief from the afternoon heat. As he walked toward the ice cream stand that served as the farm’s front, he hoped the lunch would be in a shady spot.
Thankfully, with all the trees and stands behind the ice cream stand, nearly the entirety of Keeland’s was in shade. It also meant there wasn’t much of a breeze to be found, but James was okay with that trade. Following the signs, he made his way to the event area, where he found a large tent marked with a sign bearing the name of his company.
Under the tent, James saw about two dozen of his coworkers, the other early birds who could get away from the office before lunch. The buffet seemed to have already been set up, featuring foods from the various stands around Keeland’s, most of it of the fried variety.
“James! Good to see you!” his boss, Erin, called out, before walking toward him with a plate stacked with onion rings, fried shrimp, and fish sticks.
“Erin, hey,” James replied. Erin was fine as a boss, but he knew she wasn’t the kind of person he would willingly spent time with outside of work. “Yeah, I just got here.”
“Well hey, get at the buffet before a line forms,” she told him. “And don’t forget to take your free ice cream voucher at the end.”
“Will do,” James replied, before getting in line with the plan to fill his plate with as much seafood as possible. Of course he stacked it with shrimp and fish sticks, but when he saw the lobster rolls and fried clams, he got a smile on his face. Maybe coming to this event was worth it after all.
James sat with Erin and the rest of his team, most of whom he got along with just fine, who slowly filtered in as he ate his first plate. Once he realized there was no one stopping him from taking a second plate, he got up for a second round of food, followed by a third. He didn’t usually have such a big appetite, but as long as he was eating on the company dime, he intended to milk them for all they were worth.
By the time he finished his third plate, though, he found himself wondering if he’d taken it too far. As satisfying as it was to have eaten so much, the mound of greasy food in his gut stretched his stomach enough that he felt the slightest twinge of pain. As he rose from his chair, he could feel that his center of gravity had shifted enough to require him to adjust his motions. Once he stood up, he could feel his bloated stomach pushing against the inside of his tucked in shirt.
But he still intended to take advantage of as much free stuff on the company dollar as he could. Once he was up, he picked up his empty plate and free ice cream voucher. “Alright,” he told his coworkers, “I’m going to go take care of this.”
“Enjoy,” Erin replied as James walked away, throwing his plate in the trash as he did, with no intention to return.
James returned to the ice cream stand and got in line, grateful that it wasn’t too long. As he looked over the list of flavors and toppings, he considered what he’d get, before realizing he should have asked what he could get for free with the voucher before getting in line. No matter, he thought. Once he reached the front, he put his voucher on the counter and said, “Hi, I’m here with my company, and I got one of these. What can I get for this?”
“For that, you can any size cup or cone for free, with an additional topping. Only things you can’t get are sundaes, milkshakes, and cartons.”
“Oh sweet,” James exclaimed. “Then I’ll take a large chocolate peanut butter swirl, which peanut butter sauce, please.”
“Are you sure, sir?” the girl asked slowly. “A large is a lot.”
“I’m not paying for it, so yes, I’m sure.”
With a smile and a nod, the girl headed out back to prepare James’s ice cream. When she came back, he could see what she meant: in a large paper cup, the girl carried what looked like two base-ball-size scoops of the ice cream, with peanut butter sauce smothering the ice cream and nearly dripping over the rim. But it stayed inside, even as she put it down, along with five golden tokens next to it.
“What are these for?”
“Oh, your employer didn’t mention? In addition to the free food and ice cream, you get some complimentary tokens to spend in our fun zone.”
“Hmm,” James ruminated, caught between the desire to milk his employer for every cent he could, and the desire to go home. For the moment, he pocketed the tokens, took his ice cream, and said, “Thank you.”
“Of course. Have a good day!”
James went around the other side of the ice cream stand, hoping to keep some distance between him and his coworkers. In the heat of the summer, the ice cream started melting as soon as he rounded the corner, even though he was in the shade. Though he was still full from lunch, he didn’t want to get any of the sauce or ice cream on his hands, having forgotten to take a napkin. At the rate the ice cream was melting, he wouldn’t be able to get one before it flowed out of the cup. So he did was he had to do: he started eating, quickly.
With the two scoops of ice cream sticking out twice as tall as the cup itself, James had a lot of melting ice cream to keep up with. Spooning all around the cup, he gulped down spoonful after spoonful of ice cream and sauce, occasionally sipping from the rim to stem the rising tide of chocolate and peanut butter. If it weren’t for how delicious the ice cream was, it would have stressed him out just how quickly he had to eat it. But if he weren’t full already, he’d probably be eating an ice cream that delicious as quickly as he was. So he figured he ought to cut himself some slack. But not so much that the ice cream caught up with him.
So James kept eating, rushing to get through the ice cream even after he ate down past the rim of the cup. Even after the ice cream was all contained within the cup and at no risk of spilling over. Even after what little remained had melted entirely, clearly at no risk of spilling, he still drank down what remained. Only when he’d finished the ice cream did he finally slow down, and was able to realize just how full he was.
It seemed to be true what they said about ice cream: no matter how full one is, there’s always room for ice cream, because it’ll melt around everything else. James’s present state seemed to confirm that, as he didn’t feel any more painfully full than he did after lunch. But he did feel fuller, as if the mound of food in his stomach had expanded to fill out every bit of available space inside of him. At the very least, he felt heavier, and found himself waddling to the nearest trash bin thanks to his shifted center of gravity.
With so much food inside of him, James felt what seemed to be the onset of food coma. Absentmindedly, he felt at the front of his stomach, discovering that his belly had bloated out big enough to stretch the sides of his button-down. He then realized that he probably shouldn’t be rubbing his belly so obviously, lest others think there was something off about him.
James felt ready to lie down a take a nap, and he knew he’d have to head home to do that. But he didn’t want to waste the tokens that his employer’s money had paid for. Jingling them in his pocket, he looked around to see if he could find this “fun zone” the ice cream scooper had mentioned. Eventually, he spotted a sign labeled “Fun Zone” pointing deeper into the property, but also saw a thick crowd of people in the same direction. Wading through crowds of people sounded like the opposite of fun to him.
Disappointed, James turned around and was ready to leave the farm, before he saw another sign to his right. It was a wooden sign with most of the paint faded or chipped off, but the carving of the word “Fun Zone” was unmistakable. It pointed toward what seemed to be a path through the garden that was blocked by some tree branches. Though it looked a bit sketchy and not like part of the park proper, the well trod path on the dirt indicated James wouldn’t be the first to try it. So he stepped through, pushing the branches out of the way, and emerged on the other side.
The path through the garden extended longer than James expected, to the point that he was worried he’d leave the Keeland’s Farm grounds and end up wandering in the woods. But before his worries could get the best of him, he emerged at what seemed to be another fairground not unlike Keeland’s. Two rows of stands and tents, one on either side, marked the boundaries of this particular fun zone. And rather than a thick crowd of people, James saw a crowd of thick people. Men, specifically, as there didn’t seem to be any women or kids in this section. And they ran the gamut from dad bods to men who looked like they could eat the men with dad bods
Not only were all the men fat, but most seemed to be showing off their bellies in some capacity. There were men with their button-down shirts unbuttoned, some buttoned only over their chest, but most open entirely. Some other men walked around with tee shirts that were too tight to cover their guts entirely, letting them hang out anywhere from an inch or two to their entire length, with the shirt bunched up around their chest. Yet more men were walking around without any shirts on. They tended to be among the fattest in the crowd, walking around like weather balloons come to life, with their massive bellies on display for all to see, bouncing with each step as they waddled along.
It was a strange sight to see in comparison with the fairground James had just traveled from. But aside from the heft of the attendants, the biggest change between the previous crowd and this crowd was the level of noise. Gone were the screaming kids, arguing couples, and generally loud folks with no volume control. Instead, the most prominent noises that came out of this area were the noises of the games. There was some conversation as the men pushed themselves around the fairground, but there seemed to be just as many contented groans, with quite a few burps punctuating the din. No one seemed to be in a rush either, as all the men shuffled around from station to station, letting their guts take the lead. It was a strange environment, yet it seemed much more pleasant to be a part of than the main fair. So James stepped ahead, eager to see if he could find a way to spend his tokens.
Almost immediately, James saw on his right a game he hadn’t played in ages: milk bottle knock down. He knew that common wisdom held that this game was rigged, but now that he wasn’t a kid anymore, he wanted to try for himself and see if he could win it. He approached the stand, which was manned by another portly fellow, this one seemingly more in possession of his wits than the carnival goers. He sat on a stool with his arms crossed over his beach ball sized beer gut, a well-groomed beard framing a neutral expression that grew into a smile when he saw James approach. “Hello, stranger!” the man greeted before he hopped off his stool, causing his belly to bounce once he hit the ground. “Is this your first time in the Fun Zone?”
“Uh, yeah,” James answered, wondering if his comparatively thin frame–minus the lunch bloat–was that much of a giveaway. Although upon further thought, James realized he didn’t feel so full from lunch and ice cream as he had before. In fact, he felt ready for another meal. Which was ludicrous given how much he’d just eaten, and even more so give that his shirt still felt tight around his midsection, as if he were still bloated.
“Well, the bottle knockdown is a good way to get your feet wet, and will only cost you one of your tokens.”
“Alright,” James said with a bit more certainty. “Where are the bottles?”
“They go up once I have your token,” the man said before extending his hand outward.
“Alright,” James agreed, reaching into the pocket of his still-tight pants to pull out a single token.
After the man took the token, he started pulling out the plastic bottles to set up in a pyramid. To James’s surprise, the bottles seemed to be filled with milk, and the man had set up a base of four, implying a pyramid of ten of them, rather than the usual three. It was then that James noticed the stand they were set up on was slanted downward outside of the center where the bottles stood, and what seemed to be a splash guard in the back lead to some kind of basin below the stand, as if to catch the milk. A pipe from the basin extended toward the front of the stand, before disappearing from James’s sight.
“So… the bottles are actually filled with milk?”
“Cream,” the man corrected. “We want players to know at a glance that the game isn’t rigged against them, and this way, they can be sure the bottles aren’t bottom heavy. Also,” he said as he picked up an empty milk bottle, this one looking to be made of actual glass, and thick glass at that, “we give you this to throw instead some lightweight ball.”
“Oh wow,” James said. “So can I throw it now?”
“Hold on, there’s one more step,” the man said before he reached up around the top of his stand and pulled down a long rubber tube, which seemed to be connected on the other end to the stand itself. “Put this in your mouth.”
“I beg your pardon?”
Looking up at James with an exacerbated look, the man said, “Do you want to play or… oh, right, right, you said this is your first time, didn’t you?” he asked, his voice taking on a friendlier, less frustrated demeanor. “Well, friend, all of the games here have a… twist to them, you might say. And this one involves putting the end of this tube in your mouth. Now come on, we don’t have all day.”
James looked at the man with his eyebrows furrowed, but he figured, “What the hell?” and stepped up to the counter. Once he took the rubber tub in his mouth, the man said, “Now bite down on that and don’t let it out of your mouth until I say so. Otherwise you won’t get your prize.”
“Those are some weird rules,” James mumbled as best he could with his teeth biting down on the firm end of the tube.
“I don’t make the rules, I just make you aware of them. Now…” he said, before passing James the empty milk bottle, allowing James to confirm it was indeed glass. “Show me what you got, champ.”
With a smile spreading across his face, James looked at the ten full bottles in front of him and waved the glass bottle up and down, getting a feeling for its weight so he could throw it better. Once he was confident, he turned it over in his hands to hold it by the neck. Winding his arm behind him, he tossed it with a spin at the bottom of the pyramid.
To James’s pleasant surprise, his first toss managed to knock over the entire pyramid, the collapse as he took out the bottom row sending all the bottles toppling into the basin below. Some of the cream had spilled onto the platform, but most had fallen into the basin underneath, spilling out of the bottles as they fell.
“Ooh, you’re in for a big prize,” the man assured James, before he heard a whirring underneath the front of the stand, before a pumping sound brought the cream that James had spilled to the top of the stand, before it came down the tube and into his mouth.
James was too surprised to fight the flow of cream as it cascaded into his mouth. Once he swallowed his first gulp, he was surprised to discover how sweet it was, like a vanilla milkshake, but watery enough for him to gulp down as fast as milk. Without thinking, he guzzled down the rest as it came, giving no thought to how many bottles he’s knocked over and how much of the cream he could probably expect. He just enjoyed the strange but delicious experience for as long as it lasted.
And it lasted a while, seemingly until James had swallowed every bit of the cream that the bottles contained. He wasn’t sure how long he spent gulping down the sweet mixture, until the constant flow was reduced to a trickle. At that, James finally became aware of just how much he’d drunk, how full he was, and strangely, that his shirt didn’t feel as tight as he expected it to.
Looking down, James soon discovered why. The buttons on his button-down shirt had blown open from his chest down to reveal a round, protruding gut bloated off of all the cream he’d drunk. Given how big it was, bigger around than even a basketball, James was amazed he hadn’t exploded. For someone who’d never really been fat, he wasn’t sure how to process or handle this development. Tentatively, he moved his hands down to feel at the new belly, expecting them to pass right through like some kind of hallucination. And yet, they landed right on its surface, proving that this lump was all him.
“There you go,” then man behind the counter enthused, taking James out of his fascinated stupor. “Now you look like someone who’s been here before! I gotta say, that was a good shot, stranger. There are guys who come around here all the time who can’t knock over all ten bottles at once.”
“Wha… what the hell was that all about?”
“All that… cream… being fed to me like some kind of animal… what was that for?”
“Well, I told you to keep the tube in if you wanted your prize.”
Rolling his eyes, the man raised his hands like what he was about to explain should have been obvious. “That cream was your prize.”
Staring blankly at the man behind the counter, James eventually remarked, “Oh… and I suppose… this,” he finally said, grabbing his bloated belly as he did, “was part of the prize too?”
“Now you’re getting it. You really thought all the guys here came here in shirts that fit that poorly?
Looking back out into the crowd of fat guys in too-small shirts, a crowd that James now blended right in with, he supposed the man behind the counter had a point. “Do all the games here have the same… prize?”
“They sure do,” the man said proudly.
“I see…” James concluded, before turning around and slowly walking away from the stand.
“Have a good one!” the man called out. “Enjoy the rest of your time at the Fun Zone.”
Giving him a meek wave back, James looked out over the crowd and considered his options. If all of the games in that part of the fair were going to make him fat, then it seemed like he shouldn’t spend any more time there. At the same time, he couldn’t imagine going back to his coworkers with a beer gut like he had now, busting out of his shirt while it hung on either side like curtains framing his new addition. But what business did he have at a fairground like that? He didn’t want to get fatter… did he?
It was a doubt that James was surprised even popped up in his head. Yet as he looked down as his new mound of flab, he found himself bringing a hand to bear on it before rubbing his thumb back and forth across it. He expected the addition of a gut to feel wrong, but somehow it didn’t. Instead the feeling he had toward his new flab was more impressed, perhaps a bit amused, but overall, positive. Was it really possible to feel this way about a fat belly?
The sound of a stranger approaching forced James out of his rumination. When he looked up, he realized he felt dazed, not unlike how he did after he finished the ice cream. But this was a more pleasant haze, softening the impact of his environment and making everything a bit more pleasant. Perhaps that was why he was okay with his belly’s now size. He quickly concluded he didn’t care what the reason was.
Once he was able to focus, he realized one of the largest men at the fairground was approaching him. He had no shirt on, allowing his ample, bulging gut to stick out on full display. His gut jutted out in front of him and to the side like it was demanding attention, and he walked with his back arched, like it was dragging him along. Yet his gut was firm enough that it didn’t droop, allowing James to see that the man’s fly was undone, very much out of necessity.
“Me?” James asked. “What’s up?”
“I couldn’t help but notice that new addition of yours, and I wanted to let you know, you’d probably be more comfortable if you unbuttoned your shirt all the way.
“Yout think?” James asked, not sure how else to respond to the last kind of comment he was expecting.
“Here, let me take care of it for you.” Soon the man had walked right up to James, allowing their guts to touch and James to take in all of the warmth emanating from the man’s belly. There was something soothing about it, something that kept James from giving it a second thought as the man leaned in and undid the last few buttons of his shirt. “There you go. Looks better, and more room to grow,” the man assured him before patting the side of his belly.
Just as soon as the man had come into James’s life, he left, waddling back into the crowd where he disappeared with surprising ease. As James stared where the man had gone, he felt the wind push the sides of his shirt apart, revealing his belly entirely as it protruded in front of him. Staring into that crowd, he felt a dreamy sense of place, a sense that he was right where he was supposed to be. Striding ahead with his belly leading the way, he went off to where fate would take him next. After all, he still had four tokens to spend.
James hobbled through the crowd a bit before he stumbled upon where he knew he’d be spending his tokens next: the water gun boat race game. From afar, he watched a group of eight people playing the game, surprised to see what looked like actual water coming out of the guns, rather than cream. However, when he saw the rubber nozzles coming out of the water guns, he understood where this game’s prize would come into play.
“And that is it! This round is over, with number three as the winner. Thank you all for playing, and have a good day.” The announcer was a surprisingly svelte man for the kind of fair he was working. He wore a showy outfit like some kind of broadway character, decked out in reds and golds, with a long jacket that nearly went down to his knees. All James could think was that he looked like a showman, and concluded this must have been one of the most popular attractions at the fair.
With the announcer calling the end of the round, the eight men stepped away from their mounted water guns and walked away from the stand, some waddling more than others. A few with sour expressions seemed to be in control of their movements, while those with the satisfied expression of someone who’s just drunk down a lot of cream hobbled away as their sloshing guts lead the way to their next destination. Number 3 himself, wearing a tee shirt that could barely go halfway down his truck-tire sized gut, seemed especially weighed down by his prize, as it dribbled down the side of his mouth while it curled into a smile.
“Now, who will our next eight contestants be?”
Looking around, James didn’t see anything resembling a line. Rather, a half dozen big guys seemed to be moving toward the booth, making James inclined to do the same. Stepping toward the booth, he ended up in spot number one, while the rest filled up with guys mostly bigger than him. But he couldn’t let himself be distracted by them, not if he wanted to win.
Before too long, all eight spots filled up. As one worker went across the rows raising or lowering the water guns to the right height for each guy, wiping off the mouth pieces with antiseptic wipes, and taking two tokens from each player, the announcer said, “Looks like we have our next group!
“Now, most of you probably know how this game is played. But in case you don’t: each of our contestants will try to shoot the little orange dot in front of them with their water gun. If they hit it, their boat travels closer to the finish line, and they get a bit of their prize. Whose boat will win the race, and how much fuller will the winner get? Only one way to find out!” Turning toward the contestants, the man continued, “Remember, contestants, the gun will only shoot out a water jet as long as you’re biting down on your nozzle.”
At that, all the men, James included, bit on the firm black tube coming out of the tops of their respective guns. With a smile and a nod, the host continued, “Now, on your mark… get set…” and then, while flipping a lever behind the counter, he said, “Go!”
James pulled the trigger and could not believe his luck: he’d managed to aim his gun right at his target. As soon as he pulled the lever, his boat started rising, and he could feel a stream of cream like the one from the bottle toss stand flooding his mouth. He did his best to swallow it all down without moving his hands, ensuring his aim remained on the target. As long as it did, his boat kept traveling upward, and his mouth filled with more cream.
After the bottle toss game, James had become a pro at swallowing the cream, allowing him to keep going without messing up his aim. More importantly, he didn’t spit any out, like one contestant he watched out of the corner of his eye who was promptly disqualified. Before long, James was surprised to hear a dinging sound, and a flashing light in front of him that indicated his boat had reached its destination first.
“And we have a winner!” the man working the stand announced. With his lips still wrapped around the nozzle, James’s mouth curled into a smile before he let go of the trigger. And yet, the flow of cream didn’t stop. Even as the other contestants put down their guns and walked away, disappointed they hadn’t won, James’s kept pouring forth more of the cream.
Soon James’s eyes took on a panicked look, one that seemed to beckon the announcer over with a chuckle. “Oh, don’t you worry, my guy. This is your prize for winning.” With a smirk, the man walked away from the mounted gun, leaving James by himself to contend with the stream of cream on his own. He did his best to keep up with the flow as he had while shooting the gun, even though he expected the flow of cream to end at any time.
James wasn’t sure how long he stood there, scared more of letting the hose out of his mouth and spilling the cream all over the ground, and all the ridicule that would come from that, than whatever might happen if he drank too much of it. Eventually, the flow slowed down, leaving James sucking on the nozzle to get the last of the cream out, before he finally let go. With a big sigh, followed by heavy breathing, James stood for a few moments in front of the water gun, before turning to walk away.
Once James started moving, he could feel that it was harder for him than it had been before. Even just turning to face away from the water gun was more effort than James expected, never mind walking away. As he felt himself leaning back to account for his forward-shifted center of gravity, he looked down and saw the problem: his belly had gotten even bigger.
He supposed he shouldn’t have been surprised that swallowing so much cream would cause him to swell up like a water balloon. What he found so unbelievable was just how much bigger he’d gotten. His modest beer gut had expanded into an outright belly the size of a truck tire. The fact that he’d managed to expand so much without exploding was at least a little unbelievable, and yet here he was, walking around with a belly bigger than a beach ball as the cream inside him sloshed around.
James wasn’t sure where he’d spend his two remaining fun tokens next, but he knew he had to give some time for all the cream to settle before he did. If this cream was anything like the cream from the bottle toss game, it wouldn’t take too long. He just had to wait for it to digest and for his body to finish turning all the cream into fat. It felt like a strange thing to look forward to, but James was enjoying himself too much to give that fact much thought.
As he walked around the Fun Zone, James’s sight was getting blurry. His awareness of the continuity of one moment to the next was waning. It seemed the cream had left him so full that he was starting get delirious, like he’d drunk too much beer instead. But as he walked through the crowd of other fat guys, it only enhanced the experience for him. His wavering resulting in him bumping bellies with quite a few of the guys there, always saying, “Excuse me,” afterward, and always being assured it wasn’t a problem. He enjoyed being among like-minded and similarly built men, a sea of blubber for him to traverse, like a wave building up power as it traveled.
It turned out a good walk was exactly what James needed, for he soon felt the cream settle into the rest of his body. It was like his entire body felt heavier, not just his stomach. He marveled at the cream’s ability to affect how his entire frame felt, at how it weighed down his limbs and chest as well as his belly. But soon the sensation felt different, less dense and more massive. He didn’t feel like a weight had been distributed throughout his body; he felt like his body weighed more. And when he looked down, he realized that was exactly the case.
James’s once flat chest had now been replaced by two lobes that jutted out above his hefty gut, now softer and a bit saggier than it had been before. His arms and legs also felt tight within his sleeves and pants, respectively. He was glad he’d already had his shirt unbuttoned for him, or else his chest would have been constrained too. As he walked, his burly legs started to rip at the seams of his pants, releasing the pressure around them. Though he didn’t have much arm muscle, flexing his arms accomplished the same thing, ripping his sleeves so his arms could find some relief. He was thankful he’d worn boxers underneath his pants, from which the button had already popped as the zipper had come down entirely.
And of course, that meant James was ready to spend his remaining two tokens. And once he was able to break free of the crowd of corpulent men, he spotted exactly where he wanted to do it: an attraction bearing a sign labeling it the Drunk Tank. Of course, James misread it as “dunk tank” at first, and was excited to see what kind of take a fare like this would have on a dunk tank. But when he reread the sign, he wondered if the attraction had anything in common with a dunk tank at all. Supposing there was only one way to find out, he pushed ahead.
There was indeed a tank, made of glass to show the familiar cream inside, although James didn’t see anyone sitting on top to be dunked. In fact, the tank seemed to have a closed top, preventing anyone from being dunked in it. Next to the tank, rather than the single small target of most dunk tanks, was a series of concentric metal rings surrounding the central target, like a bullseye. Luckily for James, there was no line for the attraction, although this also meant he wouldn’t get any demonstration of how it worked to help him decide whether he wanted to try it. He’d just have to go for it.
As James stepped up to the attraction, the man managing it looked at James with lit-up eyes. He had a belly similar in side to James’s, although he was clearly more used to moving that weight around. He pushed himself off the tank, which he’d been leaning against with arms crossed, and approached James with his arms hanging at his side as he sauntered over, his gut in the lead. “How’d you do?” he asked.
“Excellent,” the man chuckled. “Would you like to be even more swell by trying the Drunk Tank.”
“Uh, yeah, about that. Are you sure this isn’t supposed to be a “dunk tank”.”
“Oh no. We do our own take on that kind of game. Think of it like a… reverse dunk tank. Instead of you going into the cream, the cream goes into you.”
“That… makes sense for a place like this.”
“Doesn’t it?” the man asked with another chuckled.
“So what’s with all the rings?”
“Oh that’s to give you a better chance at winning. The closer to the center you hit, the better your prize.”
“Ah. And how do I receive the prize?”
“That would be with this,” the man told him before taking a tube off an attachment on the tank. The other end of the tube was connected to the bottom of the tank, which was itself connected by wires to the concentric bullseye target. “It’s one token per throw if you want to try it.”
“I’m game,” James said before reaching into his pocket for a token.
After James passed the man the token, the man passed back the end of the tube, as well as a ball. James put the end of the tube in his mouth and turned toward the taget. Winding up for the the throw, he let loose the ball, but it curved off to the side of where he’d been aiming. Instead it hit one of the rings closer to the edge, which flung back at the impact.
Soon a whirring sound came out of the tank, by where the tube connected at the bottom. James wondered how the cream would be able to defy gravity and travel up the tube and into his mouth. But when it came shooting out like the water from his gun at the last game, he supposed the pressure in the tank was high enough to more than make up for it. With how fast the cream was traveling, he was ready to have his stomach bloated yet again, and hunkered down to be filled.
But just when the surprise had worn off and James was ready to chug down the cream like a pro, the flow stopped. What remained in the tube was drawn back into the tank, assumedly so it wouldn’t be wasted being spilled on the ground. And James looked at the man running the booth with an indignant look. “What the hell?”
“‘What the hell’ what?”
“That’s all the cream I get?”
“You hit an outer ring. You want more, you gotta hit a ring closer to the center.”
With an angry determination, James pulled the final token out of his pocket and handed it to the man, taking the tube back in his mouth and the ball in his hand. He then took a few deep breaths through his nose, calming himself down so his aim wouldn’t be hindered by his anger. Staring down the center of the ring, he wound up slowly, before letting the ball fly.
Not a single one of the metal rings budged. Rather, the metal circle in the very center of the target shot out behind the rings.
“Woo hoo, you hit the bullseye, boy! I hope you can handle all that cream you were getting worked up over, because you are about to get a lot of it.”
If James’s mouth weren’t occupied by the tube, he would have said, “Good,” right before the blast of cream from the tank flowed out of the tube. Holding his breath, the cream was diverted right into his stomach, without him even needing to swallow it. Soon he developed a rhythm where he could breathe through his nose without the cream going down the wrong way, allowing him to keep gulping down the fattening mixture as long as it kept flowing.
And flow it did, swelling up James’s belly like a water balloon the size of a weather balloon. No matter how much of the cream flowed out, James managed to keep swallowing it all. Even as it filled up his massive gut to the point that it started to vaguely hurt, he kept gulping it down as it kept blowing him up. He’d earned all that cream, and he wasn’t going to waste a drop.
“Uh… buddy, you doing okay over there? I’ve never seen someone hit the bullseye before, so I, uh… don’t know how much is going to come out.”
James didn’t even spare the time to consider the man’s words. No matter how how tight his belly felt as it stretched, no matter how front-heavy he started to feel, no matter how much the cream gurgled and churned in his belly, he intended take his entire prize home. Even when the machine sputtered out, indicating that the flow of cream was coming to and end, James knelt down before lying on his back, so gravity could get the cream that remained in the tube in his mouth, instead of back in the tank. He sucked that tube dry, and was proud of having done so.
“Oh you really shouldn’t have done that.”
James pulled the tube out of his mouth with a sigh, letting his arm fall on the ground next to him with it still in his hand. As he breathed heavily, he could feel an intense weight pushing down on his midsection, before looking up to see his belly towering over him like an unscalable mountain. It was so bloated and firm that gravity could only gently squash it, with most of its volume remaining stubbornly above him. It was like being weighed down by a water bed.
“Hey, can I get some help over here to get this guy up?!”
Before long, James felt several hands on his outstretched arms, and a few under his sides as well.
“Alright, work with us, bub.”
As he felt all the hands of the people around him pushing him up, James couldn’t do much to help them as they pushed him into a sitting position. At least then he was able to breath more easily, though his turgid stomach still had him panting pretty heavily. But before he could relax, all the guys around him were pulling up on his arms yet again. While he would have appreciated a moment to catch his breath, he did as requested and brought his legs underneath him, so he could finally stand up.
Once he was standing, James took some time to regain his balance, trying to center his center of gravity above his legs now that it had moved so far forward. As he did, most of the men seemed to disperse, save for the man working the drunk tank. “You good, bub.”
Once he’d finally regained his balance, James took a few tentative steps forward, all very short, as he didn’t want to risk falling over again. When he felt like he’d adjusted to walking at his new size, he turned back to the man and gave him a thumbs up and a sloppy smile.
“Well alright. Enjoy the rest of your time here.”
Slowly James wandered back toward the crowd, but didn’t find himself brushing bellies with the guys in it like he had before. Rather, the guys at the fair seemed to be moving around him, with the crowd parting as he passed through. It was a strange change, and for a brief while, James wasn’t sure what was casing it. Until he remembered just how much cream he’d drunk at the previous stand, and how much trouble he and the guys around him had getting him up.
Looking down, James confirmed that his belly had grown to huge proportions, wider than even a yoga ball as it lead him around like the a base drummer in a marching band. James even patted his exposed gut in rhythm, giving him the same feeling, while he marveled at how far out his hands were when they landed on his belly. He was gargantuan now, and feeling the cream slosh around inside of him only drove home just how big he was.
With his stomach that full, James could feel the food coma coming on stronger than before. Losing his self-awareness, he swayed through the crowd, his side-to-side motion mercifully limited by the speed at which he could waddle, or else he would have been knocking over fellow carnival goers with every step. As he wandered toward the entrance to the Fun Zone to make his way back, he moved in more of a zig zag than a straight line, a movement that only seemed to gradually bring him closer to his destination.
All this meant the other carnival goers had plenty of time to admire James’s handiwork. As he walked, he could feel dozens of appreciative hands rubbing his swollen gut, a sensation at once tense and intoxicating. The pressure on his already pressurized stomach made their touch hurt just a little, but the joy he felt in their recognition was too addicting for him to turn them away. As out-of-it as James was, he couldn’t have declined the attention even if he wanted too. In his gorged daze, the appreciative belly rubs came in a fog of touches, one after the other that kept him in a cloud of euphoria.
A few men took a more direct approach, stopping James so they could give his belly longer rubs and compliment him. “Boy, you’re showing up all of us today.” “This guy knows how to play these games to win.” “We could all learn a thing or two from you.” Always accompanying their praise was two-handed belly rubs that felt so good they stopped James in his tracks. It didn’t help that his mountainous belly made walking more difficult in the first place, but when their attention felt so good, he felt powerless to move. And standing still only drew the attention of even more passers-by, compounding the “problem”. Deep down, James wasn’t sure he would call the excess of attention a problem.
Eventually, James managed to waddle his way over the garden path that he’d taken to enter the Fun Zone. By then, his awareness of his surroundings was fading in and out, and he wasn’t sure he’d even be able to make it back to his car, let alone drive. It seemed this last cream bloat was one he wasn’t going to be able to walk off. When he emerged from the garden path, he stumbled his way toward the parking lot, thankful that he didn’t see any of his coworkers on the way out. Not that they would have recognized him. Knowing he was in no shape to drive, he pulled out his phone and pulled up an app to summon someone who could drive him home. That was the last thing he remembered, before his evening went fuzzy.
James groggily rubbed his eyes as the sun crept into his room after a restless sleep. Once he opened his eyes, he saw that he was sleeping on his couch. The clock on the wall said it was 5:30, hours before he usually woke up. It seemed he’d gone to bed early the night before.
As James struggled to remember the day before, he couldn’t remember much after the work outing. There was something about a carnival whose attractions made him fat, but that was ridiculous. Had to be a weird dream he’d had. But he could recall it in remarkable detail for a dream. Himself swelling up like a water balloon as he played game after game. But that was ridiculous; he’d explode if he drank that much. Still, he remembered waddling around the fairground, and he was glad he wasn’t so big that he wouldn’t be able to fit in any of his work clothes. Not that that offered any explanation to why he woke up with his work shirt unbuttoned all the way, and his pants unbuttoned and his fly down.
It was only when he tried to remember what happened after the third fair attraction that things got truly hazy. But he remembered thinking he was in no shape to drive and getting a ride home, which explained why his car wasn’t in its usual spot when he looked out the window. It seemed he’d need to get another ride back to Keeland’s to pick up his car. Once he was ready for work, he pulled out his phone to do just that.
Pulling into Keeland’s Farms in the early morning, when only parents with young children who were clearly on summer break occupied the grounds, James was relieved to find his car still in the parking lot. He knew he should just get inside and go to work. But something inside of him wanted to see the fun zone again, to know for sure whether he was making up that story. So he walked past the still-closed ice cream stand to the spot where he remembered the path to the Fun Zone being.
What James found was a fully planted garden with no paths in sight. Looking through the plants, he saw what seemed to be the dilapidated remains of an abandoned Fun Zone, the old attractions covered in fading and chipped paint. Not a single person walked the grounds between the roles of old attractions, nor was anyone manning them.
“Excuse me, sir? Can I ask you to step out of the garden, please?”
“Oh, sorry,” James said sheepishly, before he tiptoed off the dirt. With his eyes on the ground beneath him, he managed to spot the wooden “Fun Zone” that had lead him in the wrong direction the day before. “Um, excuse me, miss? This sign here seems to indicate there’s a Fun Zone through the garden here. Is that still… there?
“Oh my, not for decades,” the older employer answered, like she’d been there when it was still open. “That was the location of the original Fun Zone, but when the owners wanted to expand it, they built a new one in its current location. The didn’t want to spare the expense to tear it down, so they just planted these gardens over the path to it.”
Walking up to the sign, she continued, “We thought we’d gotten rid of all traces of it, but…” she stalled as she bent down and grabbed the sign from the bottom, before pulling it out of the ground with a grunt. “It seems there’s always more that we missed. Thanks for pointing this one out,” she said with a smile, before walking off, likely to dispose of the sign.
“You’re welcome,” James said quietly, not sure how to process everything he’d just heard. But he knew he couldn’t stay there all morning and ponder; he had a job to be at. With a pensive expression, he ambled his way back to the parking lot to get in his car and drive to work.