Originally posted July 13, 2019.
Contains: stuffing, direct encouraging.
To be clear, today is not the 10-year anniversary of when I started writing gaining stories. We’re about six years away from that.
I used to play World of Warcraft. In fact, I played the game for about five-and-a-half years, from 2005 to 2011. I loved the game, but I might have loved the WoW blogosphere even more. I wanted to partake in that scene, so ten years ago today, in 2009, I started my own World of Warcraft blog.
Now, as I’ve mentioned in this journal entry, for most of my life, writing was decidedly not my strong suit. But because I was writing essay-length and essay-quality posts for my blog three times a week, I was unwittingly practicing writing. And through that, I went from struggling with writing, to my College Writing II instructor asking me to email her my last essay for the class, so she could show it to other students as an example of how to write a good essay. Without that blog, writing very well might have never become a hobby of mine.
After that, I spent about four years writing spoken-word poetry, then I dabbled in fanfic and original fiction for a while, before I eventually settled on writing gaining fiction. And that brings us to where we are today.
Naturally, I think the 10th anniversary of when I started writing for fun deserves something to mark the occasion. But I couldn’t come up with any ideas of my own that I felt were really appropriate for that significant of an anniversary. So I put out a question to you folks asking for suggestions. justgiveme1username suggested this one, while spirasider suggested the other one I’ll be posting today. ZBot316 suggested the idea of a retrospective on what happened to my characters after their stories, which I used in both stories.
I liked both ideas, but I couldn’t figure out a satisfying way to fit all my characters into one of them. So I decided to write both: the characters who got happy endings would appear in the reunion story, and the characters who got not-so-happy endings would appear in the support-group story. And thanks to a lot of time spent on my laptop in a coffeeshop and a lot of iced tea, I managed to finish both of them in time to post today, on the 10th anniversary itself.
It’s been a wild ride to get here. I wish I could thank everyone who supported me along the way, including the subscribers and readers of my WoW blog, and the people who supported me and cheered me on when I did spoken-word poetry. But what I can do is thank you folks. So thank you. Whether you’ve been here since the beginning or since today, thank you.
Synopsis: Many characters from my previous stories, specifically the ones who were happy with the endings they got, are invited to a party under mysterious circumstances. There they recount what happened to them that made them so fat, reunite with people they haven’t seen in a while, and make connections with people who had similar circumstances. Eventually, the all-you-can-eat-style food is brought out, and a few characters even get a bit competitive…
The true-blue gainers arrived first. The invitations said that doors opened at 7:00 PM, with the food coming out at 8:00 PM. Yet at 7:00 PM sharp, in walked the gigantic men in their tightest attire, hoping to pop some buttons or push the bottoms of their shirts up from the inside just by eating. Though the tables on the other side of the room were empty, covered by tablecloths that extended to the floor, they waddled over to take their place right next to them, ready to be first in line for the feast.
“I wonder if there’ll be enough food to feed everyone,” Ronald said with a smirk, elbowing Bart in his side.
“Maybe enough for our little crowd,” Bart said as he looked at the tables, enough to line the entire back wall of the function hall.
“Who you callin’ little?” Ronald chuckled.
“Not you, big guy, that’s for sure,” Bart replied as he patted the exposed top of Ronald’s gargantuan gut, showing between the sides of his unbuttoned jumpsuit.
“You talking about me?” Fred called out from behind him, causing Art and Troy to both roll their eyes as they walked beside him.
“Give it a rest, Fred,” Art said. “You know he’s not talking about you.”
“I’m not sure he does know,” Troy said as he patted the side of Fred’s impressively-sized belly, bigger than Art’s but smaller than Troy’s. “With how he’s always trying to puff himself up, figuratively and literally at your barbecues, you’d think he doesn’t realize he’s a fatty like the rest of us.”
“I’m competitive, not stupid, Troy.”
“Then why did you get so defensive when you’re solidly middle-of-the-pack in this group?” Art asked.
“I’m not middle of the pack!” Fred shouted. “I could out-eat any of you!”
“We’ll see about that,” Troy chuckled as he patted his own belly, similar in size to Ronald’s. They were the most rotund of the group for sure. Bart had an impressive belly of his own, but with his weight distributed more evenly over his body, he couldn’t quite compete in terms of gut size.
“Are they always like this?” Dale asked Clark as he and the other solo guests trailed behind the group.
“Regrettably. It’s fun watching them go at it and try to out-eat each other, but I wish they’d spend more time stuffing their mouths than running them.”
“You sure about that?” Troy asked. “Fred wouldn’t eat half as much if I didn’t tease him.”
“And maybe you’d be able to prove that if you laid off once in a while.”
“Aww, come on, you know you love it,” Troy said before rubbing Fred’s exposed belly, sticking out from between the sides of his unbuttoned flannel shirt.
“I mean, if he doesn’t appreciate it, I’ll take his place,” Orlando shyly offered. He was easily the smallest of the group, but no less dedicated to getting bigger. And yet, he’d never been around so many guys who could make him feel small. It had him feeling a little befuddled, although also eager to see how the rest of the night would go.
“Yeah?” Troy replied softly with a smile. “I’ll remember that, little guy.”
“So what’s your deal, circus tent?” Art said to the man in the back of the group, who was wearing a tee shirt that extended over the front of his belly like a reverse cape, sticking out in front of his belly while the bottom hem extended downward around his sides. Most of the men in the group snickered, considering it wasn’t an inaccurate metaphor.
“Well that was uncalled for,” Paul replied half-jokingly.
“What’s your deal? You’ve been pretty quiet since you arrived, but I doubt you’d be here this early if you weren’t as excited about the food as the rest of us are.”
“No, I am,” he said quickly. “I just… put on a lot of this weight very quickly because of a medication side effect.”
“Oh… so, you’re not a gainer?” Dale asked.
“Oh I am. I didn’t get this big by accident, believe me,” Dale said more enthusiastically, patting the sides of his gargantuan gut as he did. His clothing was more loose than what Troy and Ronald wore, obscuring whether he was just as big as them. “I just… don’t think I’ll be eating as much as you folks.”
“You still on the medication?”
“Thankfully, no, so the weight comes on at a more manageable pace these days. But it still takes some getting used to.”
Though the group were the only ones who arrived early, it didn’t take long for the rest of the guests to arrive after the doors were opened. Soon the hall was filled with nearly a hundred guests, the vast majority of them men, and the vast majority of them quite vast too. Their sizes ran the gamut, but there weren’t a whole lot of folks in the room who were thin enough to easily slip between the other guests.
Not too far away from the intentional gainers was a group made up of couples, with each member happily talking about either their growth or their partner’s.
“So how did you all meet?” Henry asked.
“We met at work,” Troy said as he kept an arm over Johnny’s shoulder. “Turns out our boss was trying to set us up.”
“We met at a party in college,” Donny said, smiling as Markus casually rubbed the bottom of Donny’s belly.
“I saw him at the food table, and well,” Markus said with a grin, “I knew I had to get to know him. On our first date, we went to three parties, going straight for the food table every time.”
“You would have never done that when we started dating, huh?” Don said as he nudged Hal in the side.
“Oh stop it, you,” Hal said as he pushed his boyfriend’s hand away. “Yeah, when we met, I was a lot more insecure about my body. We’ve both always liked eating, but… it took me a while longer than him to admit it. But, that certainly isn’t true anymore,” he said as he turned to the side, causing his gargantuan belly to bump into Don’s and causing Don to chuckle. Don might have been the taller of the two, but he was no longer the fatter.
“We also met in college,” said Claudia as she happily rubbed Roy’s impressive belly. “I just couldn’t resist his charm.”
“And I couldn’t resist her cooking,” Roy chuckled. “If you can believe it, I was skinny when we met.”
“I think everyone here is perfectly capable of believing that,” Don said with a smirk.
“We met on Growr, actually,” Kevin said as he held David’s pudgy hand. “I’m a cake decorator, and I was complaining that my work generates so many cake scraps that my crew can’t eat them all, and they go to waste.”
“That’s where I came in,” David said proudly. “I offered to eat those cake scraps, before we moved on to him feeding me eggless cake batter through a piping bag. And now?” he said as he patted his mammoth gut, which spilled out over his belt to make his button-down shirt look like an industrial-sized sack of flour. “Let’s just say I’ve risen like a cake in the oven.”
“You’ve risen a bit more like bread dough, dear. Soft, yet bouncy, and growing much bigger than you originally were.”
“And you two?” Don asked?
“Well,” Henry said as he put his hands in the pockets of his suit. “Not to brag, but I like to spend my father’s money to throw parties for the gay community in my area, and that’s where I met Zander here,” he said as he put his arm around his leather-clad boyfriend. “He was one of the few people confident enough to approach me and ask for a dance,” he said, conveniently leaving out the massive search he’d had to undertake to find Zander after the dance. Or how much gourmet food it had taken to bring him back to the size he was that night.
“Usually I dress up to match him for events like these,” Zander was quick to add. “But for this party, I wanted to wear the outfit I wore the night we met.” And in his black boots, jeans, and open leather vest that framed his uncovered, mountainous gut, he was quite the sight to behold.
“Makes sense,” Don said.
“So you two,” Donny asked as he pointed to Don and Hall. “For most of us, it’s pretty clear who shows whom off. Do you just show each other off?”
The two laughed before Hall answered, “I think we can both show ourselves off, thank you very much.”
“You ever hear of mutual gainers, boy?” Don asked before the two laughed again, causing Donny to blush.
Next to that group, and closer to the wall, was another group of couples who were more mixed in size. Some of the guys could rival those in the bigger group, but even some of the bigger guys would have blended in slightly better in a standard crowd. Among the other partygoers, they nearly felt small.
“Well it seemed like a curse, at first, I’m ashamed to say,” Luis said, squeezing Hudson’s pudgy hand a bit. “He was pretty thin when we met, and I was a shallow little shit who didn’t think I could love a fat guy.”
“Babe,” Hudson said as he held Luis’s cheek in his hand. “Come on, you’ve been hard enough on yourself since it happened. You’ve proven you’ve changed your tune since then. Just look at the rave feedback on your column.”
“I know, but, you deserved better.”
“And you’ve given me that better.”
“Should we… give you two a chance to work this out?” Ryan asked, as he felt Val squeezing his hand. Ryan didn’t exactly like awkward situations like this, but Val handled them even worse than he did.
“No, no, I’m fine,” Luis insisted. “So, how about you two? What got you invited here?”
“Not sure,” Ryan said. “I’ve always been a big guy who liked food, but it seems a lot of the guys here take it way more seriously than I do.”
“It’s probably that night at the barbecue, babe,” Val said.
“Oh yeah,” Ryan said, letting his words drawl out. “Sorry, I was passed out most of that night.”
“I know,” Val said with a smirk.
“Then I guess for us,” Jorge said before turning to face Rob, “it was the fact that you kept showing up to our reunion dinners bigger and bigger.”
“I definitely took the freshman 15 very seriously,” Rob said with a chuckle. “Really more like the freshman 50.”
“Then for us, it must be that Halloween,” Genji said as he looked down at Sean’s gut. It wasn’t quite as impressive as that of the rest of the big guys in their group, but he loved the man it was attached to too much to care.
“That and the fact that you haven’t let me lose it,” Sean teased.
“Hey, you said yes to me cooking more so you could maintain it,” Genji said before poking Sean’s gut, causing him to let out a grunt that nonetheless didn’t break his smile.
Though Colin and Dave weren’t quite a couple, and didn’t fit in with those two groups, they did arrive together like the paired men. Colin had made sure to buy Dave a shirt that actually fit over his massive belly before taking him out to where they’d see other people, and where he’d have plenty to eat. He liked it when his personal live-in handyman wore shirts around the house that showed off the bottom of the belly Colin’s cooking had put on him. But he figured for a party, he’d be better off erring on the side of modesty.
That was, until they walked in. “Well I’ll be. Looks like that’s man’s wearing an open leather vest with no shirt underneath.”
“Guess I could have gotten away with wearing one of your favorite shirts after all, huh?”
“You know… I gathered from the invitation that the common theme of this party might allow that, but I didn’t think that could possibly be true. But gosh, look at all these hefty fellows!”
“It is a very impressive bunch.”
“Of course, not as impressive as you,” Collin said with a wide smile.
“Aw, come on now. Look at some of these guys. Real mammoths here.”
“Yeah, and it looks like I just walked in with another,” Colin said with a smile. “Anyway, you ate a lot today. Think you’ll have any room for food when it comes out?”
“Always,” Dave said with a confident smile.
Of course, not all acquaintances showed up at the event together, even if they did know someone else on the guest list. Unlike Dave or Collin, Kevin didn’t live with the person he eventually recognized at the party. Thus he arrived alone, wandering around and looking for a group to break into, or someone he could chat up. That was, until he ran into an unexpected surprise. “Hank?”
Looking down, Hank’s eyebrows rose as he recognized his coworker. “Kevin! You should have told me you were coming. I would have given you a ride.”
“You should have told me you were coming! I would have asked for one!”
“Ha! Get over here, kid,” Hank said as he and Kevin hugged, slapping each other’s backs before squeezing each other in a tight embrace. “You know, I think this might be the first time I’ve seen you outside of work.”
“Well, why would we meet outside of work, where one of us would have to pay for my food? When we have all the food you could possibly want me to eat at work?”
“Ha, good thinking,” Hank said as he patted Kevin on the bottom of his belly. “Shame we had to duck out early to make this party. I trust you’ll make up for it when the food comes out.”
“You know it,” Kevin said as he patted the top of his belly.
Dan had also arrived at the party on his own, but he soon saw a familiar face standing by the wall. Still dressed in his formal attire from his hosting job, including a button-down shirt that wrapped snuggly around his bulging belly, was… “Bobby?”
Bobby looked up from his phone and smiled. “Dan!”
“Dude, what are you doing just standing here?”
“I thought I didn’t know anyone here! When did you get here.”
“Just now. Had to wait for another closer to come take over for me at Dolly’s Doughnuts first.”
“Oh man, do you think we could head back there after this party? You know I’d love to wolf down some doughnuts after this.”
“We’ll see, bud,” Dan said, making sure he kept it platonic, even though he wanted to call Bobby a naughty fatty. But he’d gotten used to keeping such comments in by now. “Come on, I’m sure we can find some folks to talk to,” he said, nearly offering Bobby his hand before instead motioning for him to follow.
Similarly, Eli had no idea why he’d been invited to a party where fatness seemed to be the theme, as he looked around and was overwhelmed by all the gorgeous wide men he was surrounded by. That was, until Steven came in behind him and said, “Well look what the cat dragged in.”
“You never did give me a call after I fixed your sink. I was starting to think you didn’t like me,” the portly plumber said coyly.
“What? No, th–that night was great! I just, you know, didn’t have anymore problems with my plumbing. And you said to call you back if I did.”
At that, Steven chuckled, making his rotund belly bounce inside his tight, white shirt. “Oh man, I should have guessed you’re the type who’d be oblivious to innuendo.”
“What do you mea–oh!!!” Steven exclaimed, finally understanding what Steven had actually meant when he’d sent Eli all those shirtless photos after Eli had gone to bed. With his cheeks turning red, he stammered, “Er, mm… sorry.”
“Ha, it’s all good. At least we met again. Come on, let’s make up for lost time,” he said as the two sat at one of the more secluded tables.
Omar, however, was less surprised by whom he ran into. As a genie, his intuition was usually accurate, and he had a good feeling about that night. But it wasn’t just any good feeling; it was the same good feeling he’d felt before the night he met Ken, and their fooling around had put quite the belly on him. If Omar met another big guy he could make even bigger, then it would be a good night.
What he wasn’t expecting was to run into his old roommate, looking exactly how he looked that night Omar had transformed him for the Queer Bash dance. Approaching the group of mostly big guys the two had joined, he tapped his old roommate on the shoulder. “Zander?”
Zander turned around fast enough to indicate that he recognized the voice. “Omar!” Wrapping the comparatively slender man up in a hug, Omar felt his back curve over Zander’s expansive gut. He didn’t expect to run into someone who was already big enough to look like he and Omar had shared a night, but he wasn’t disappointed either.
“I haven’t seen you in ages! How’ve you been, man!”
“Honestly, amazing,” Zander replied, a smile appearing below his opaque sunglasses. “And I really have you to thank for that.”
“Aw, man, I was just trying to give you what you deserved.”
“And you gave me a lot more. Oh!, here,” he said as he pulled Henry around. “This is my partner, Henry.”
“How do you do?” Henry said with a smile, shaking Omar’s hand.
“Oh I know. I’m not too good to read the tabloids,” Omar said with a smirk.
“Excuse me,” Omar heard a familiar voice say. “I hate to interrupt, but you look very familiar.”
Looking behind himself, Omar did indeed see a face he already knew, and one he’d helped make a whole lot rounder. “Well I’ll be. Ken. Not a pound lighter than the day we last saw each other.”
Ken let out a rumbling laugh as he smacked his broad belly. “How could it be? It’d be pretty ungrateful of me to lose the gift you gave me.”
Omar broke his smile just long enough to turn to Zander and say, “I’ll catch you later,” before both Zander and Henry waved goodbye to him. Omar and Ken found a quieter spot where they could actually hear each other.
“I should have expected I’d find you here,” Ken said with lowered eyelids.
“As should have I,” Omar replied, holding Ken’s gut by the sides and pulling him in close. “It’s been a while. And I’d like to be even bigger.”
“Oh yeah?” Omar asked, before he grabbed Ken’s shirt and pulled him closer. “How badly do you want to be bigger?”
Leaning back, Ken pushed his hips against Omar, causing both of them to breath in a little harder. “Really, really badly.”
“You and I are definitely leaving together after this is over,” Omar said with a wide grin.
“Yeah. Somehow I don’t think we can get away with… that here.”
“Yeah,” Omar admitted, extending the word a bit longer. “Until then, let’s go wait for the food to come out. You do like eating, right?”
Ken chuckled before he answered, “I didn’t stay this big through your magic alone. But, uh…” he said hesitantly as he looked toward the table. “Let’s not stand too close to that mermaid thing. I don’t know what that’s about, but I don’t trust it.”
But Ken’s distrust of the merman wasn’t universal. He was part of a small group that had formed near one end of the food table. Though he stuck out the most out of anyone in the group, the large statures of two of the other men in the group gave them something in common. And the three remaining men, all of whom looked “normal”, were their boyfriends.
“So merfolk don’t actually need to stay in the water to survive?”
“Correct,” Hurlee answered. “Of course, a fin isn’t much good for navigating land, which is why we had to get one of these,” he said as he patted the side of his wheelchair. “On the bright side, I think my beard looks fantastic in this light.”
“Oh it does, babe,” Neil beamed as he grabbed a handful of the lush, red hair that rested above Hurlee’s soft midsection. Above the water, his flab seemed more inclined to sag than it did normally. Neil, of course, thought his boyfriend was handsome either way, but he did look forward to returning with him to the water. “What about you two?” he said as he pointed to the other two “normal” men, both of whom were much fatter, and shorter, than their partners. “Did you have any trouble convincing them to come out for this party?”
“Some,” Sam said as he looked up at Tom, who stood nervously as he looked around at the others, all shorter than him. At eight feet tall, he might have been the only one there who could see over the chunky crowd.
“Yeah, uh… we’ve both lived in the woods together for a while now, but me for… a lot longer. Sam here was the first person I’d seen for a very long time, after he wandered to my cabin while lost in the woods. And to come here now, where there’s way more people? Well… it’s all pretty overwhelming.”
“Hey, you’re among friends, pal,” WIllie said as he groped at the air before putting his hand on Tom’s arm. “I spent a lot of time living in the woods in a cabin I built too. Harold here was one of only two people I’ve seen since I moved out on my own. The other? Well… he didn’t stick around long. Thought I wanted to kill him or something.”
“Yikes,” Sam said.
“Not that it was easy to convince Willie to come out either,” Harold chimed in.
“Yeah. You’ve probably noticed, I don’t have the best eyesight. So Harold had to guide me here.”
“Wasn’t easy considering how much weight I’ve put on since we met. And how little I’ve moved since then.”
“You’re not complaining, are you?” Willie said with a joking tone.
“Not at all,” Willie said as he smiled.
“Thankfully, living in the woods gives me plenty of sticks to choose from when picking a cane.”
“So how did you guys get your invitations?” Tom asked. “Doesn’t sound like any of us have regular mailing addresses.”
“Ours just slipped under the door one day,” Harold said. “By the time I’d waddled over to see who’d slipped them under, they were gone.”
“Same here,” Sam said. “Although we were both out working in the fields, and they were there when we got in. And yet, we never saw anyone else that day, so I have no idea how they got there.”
“How about you two?” Tom asked Hurlee and Neil.
“Message in a bottle,” they both said in unison.
Most of the guests had found groups they could chat with, as it seemed they all had something in common with at least a few other folks there. Tito hadn’t been confident he’d find that kind of raport when he arrived. After all, he was very new to knowing that gaining was something he was into. And though he’d managed to surmise from the invitation that that was why he was invited, he wasn’t sure he’d meld with the rest of the group who seemed more sure in their size.
Thankfully for him, he was able to find some other folks who had similar trepidations when they arrived. Starting with a young man of a similar skin tone who wore a shirt that said “Rub my belly for good luck.”
“Hey man,” Tito said as he approached the young fellow, “that’s a great shirt.”
“Oh thanks!” Carlos said. “It was a graduation gift from my older brother. Little did I realize it would give people more to rub,” he said with an embarrassed laugh.
“Hey, there’s no need to be embarrassed about it. I mean, I know I’m one to talk. It took me a long time to come around on this,” he said, pointing to his comparatively small but respectable gut. In fact, walking into the party had been a nice change of pace for Tito. Usually, he felt like one of the bigger guys in any room. Now, he was in the bottom half for sure. “But that’s why we’re here, ain’t it?”
“I… guess so? To be honest, I have no idea what the theme of this party is, or who put it together.”
“Well, I would think the theme is obvious from looking around,” Tito chuckled. “As for who, though…”
“Hey, that’s a funny shirt, my guy,” Hank said as he walked over. “Man, you guys know when the food’s coming out?”
After looking at his phone, Hank looked down and said, “I guess I can wait. You know, the last time I was around this many guys outside of work, I was the only big guy there. This is a nice change of pace.”
“Oh yeah? Where was that?” Tito asked.
“Bar I went to on a business trip, named Chunky’s. Surprisingly, no chunky guys in there until I walked in. And that certainly didn’t end up being the most surprising thing about the place.”
“What did?” Carlos asked.
“Well, let’s just say that either it being a bar was a front for something more risqué, or they probably should have been closed down a long time ago. Not that I’m complaining,” Hank chuckled as he patted the side of his spherical gut with one hand.
“Aw, you don’t have to be coy,” Tito said. “We’re all adults here. I mean, this guy looks like he’s still in college, but you know college kids are crazy these days. He could probably teach us a thing or two.”
“Well, I am a tutor,” Carlos said before flashing a dorky smile.
“Never mind,” Tito said more quietly.
“You gentlemen on your best behavior?” Ben said as he approached the group.
“Yes, officer,” Hank said jokingly, though the other two seemed a bit less amused.
“Nah, I’m just playing with you. I’m off duty, anyways.”
“They why wear the uniform?” Tito asked.
“Just felt appropriate. It was work that made me the size where I could fit in at a party like this.”
“How so?” Hank asked.
“A lot of free doughnuts. And I mean a lot of free doughnuts. More than I’ve ever seen in my time as an officer. And I certainly wasn’t immune to them. At least until my wife got jealous.”
“Jealous?” Hank and Tito asked in unison.
“Yeah, she said she wished it had been her who put this on me,” he said as he patted his gut, which filled out his police uniform tightly enough that once he started eating, the buttons would certainly be strained. “Then she promised that if I stopped eating the doughnuts at work, she’d cook more for me to make up for it. I tell ya, best decision I ever made. Her cooking is muy bueno,” he concluded with a very caucasion accent.
Carlos looked at Ben with an unamused expression, causing his face to go even whiter in embarrassment. “M-m-my wife’s latina, y-you see, and–”
“Well, well, well,” Peter said as he walked up to the group, approaching Ben specifically. “One of us is going to have to go home and pick a different outfit.”
“Well I’ll be, what are the odds they’d invite two officers here? How ya doin’, sir?” Ben said as he shook the man’s hand.
“Fantastic. I stopped at my favorite bakery on the way here. Didn’t think they’d have any pastries left, what with it being late in the day. Boy was I wrong!” he said as he patted his giant belly, which was already stretching the buttons of his uniform. “They loaded me up with free goodies like they do every time I go. I’m used to it in the morning, but man, going twice in one day… I just might start doing that more often.”
“Sounds like a good plan to me.”
“Hey man, that’s a great shirt,” a voice outside the group said. “Can I get a rub?”
“Oh, uh, yeah, sure,” Carlos said, as Jake approached and rubbed his gut.
“Thanks man, where’d you get it? I need to get one for myself,” the man said with a smile as he patted the sides of his own belly.
“Wish I could tell you, but it was a graduation present from my brother.”
“Ah well, I’ll just have to look online. I’m sure I can find it there. Although who knows if they’ll have it in my size, am I right?” he said before laughing again, this time shaking his belly for emphasis.
“I have to say, I admire your confidence,” Tito said to Jake. “I hope I can get there someday. How’d you do it?”
“It wasn’t that hard, really,” Jake said, still smiling. “I thought it was neat to get this big, and explore a whole new way of living.”
The rest of the group all looked surprised at Jake’s statement, causing Tito to say, “I guess that makes one of us.”
“Yeah,” the others all said, echoing his sentiment.
Bill, Tom, and Joe would have gotten along with Tito’s group. But being that they all worked together, they all knew the others had been invited to the party, and agreed to go together. They’d decided to wear the same costumes they wore that Halloween night they’d gone out trick-or-treating together. Bill dressed in full pirate attire, though he’d left the plastic sword at home. Tom dressed in an old fashioned suit with a powdered wig to look like one of the founding fathers. Joe dressed as a mad scientist, by simply draping a long, white jacket over his work clothes. It would have looked like a lazy costume if it weren’t for the goggles and wig. The one benefit was that he was the only one of the three whose costume still fit him.
“I told you guys this would be better than going to the bar after work,” Bill said as the three looked around the room.
“You didn’t have to tell me,” Joe said. “Free food? Sign me up.”
“Of course the food convinced you,” Tom chuckled, before gently nudging Joe in his belly. Though he seemed much bigger after that one night, at that party, they all felt surprisingly small.
“Don’t try to tell me the free food didn’t appeal to you too,” Bill said to Tom, looking at him with a smile and his eyebrows raised.
“I saw how much of your candy you brought to work the next day. You kept plenty for yourself.”
“Alright, and what about you?” Tom asked?
“I’m bulking,” Bill replied as he flexed an arm, causing all three to laugh as they walked into the room. As they did, they walked past two hefty guys with friendly smiles on their faces, chatting in one of the quieter parts of the room.
“You know,” Derek said, “people look at me like I’m crazy when I tell them I used to be this really unlikable, skinny guy.”
“Me too!” Pete exclaimed. “Gosh, I never thought I’d find anyone else who understood that.”
“Oh believe me, I do. I swear I have these memories of being miserable because I was hungry all the time from dieting to stay skinny. And everyone tells me, ‘That’s ridiculous, Derek. You’ve always been big.’”
“And then you look down your Facebook photos and it confirms what everyone says.”
“But you know they’re not right! Like me, I swear I used to be this insufferable jerkwad who was concentrated in a skinny frame. Now I can command a room if I want,” Pete said, as he took a break from doing just that to connect with this stranger he had so much in common with. “No one believes I could have ever been anything but likeable.”
“I know that feeling.”
“But you know what’s weird? I don’t have any old friends to confirm whether or not I’ve always been big. As if I alienated the people I did know by being such a jerk.”
“Right?! I thought I had friends, but I swear they were just people who tolerated me. Now they say they’ve always liked me, but… I don’t know.”
“Do you think maybe we have low self-esteem? And that’s why we don’t believe people can actually like us?”
“Buddy, stop it,” Derek said before putting one of his pudgy hands on Pete’s shoulders. “You radiate confidence. Even the fellow with the cane over there could see that.”
“Oh stop it, you,” Pete said before the two men embraced each other, having to lean over their heavy bellies to give each other a hug. “I’m so glad I met you.”
“Me too, my friend. Me too.”
Near Pete and Derek was another group, composed entirely of big guys all standing with their backs straight and beaming smiles on their faces, all with big bellies and clothes on that accentuated their size, from button-down shirts to argyle sweaters to a tank top. “I tell ya,” Bill said with his hand still on the side of his belly, which was wrapped in a lavender button-down shirt and accentuated with a purple tie. “When I came back to work after my three fattening months at Camp Utanidi, no one but my boss really knew what to make of me. And I think the fact that I came back confident, rather than ashamed of my weight, threw them off even more.”
“Why do you think your boss wasn’t thrown off? Steve asked.
“Well, turns out Utanidi is a weight gain camp, and though I can’t be sure, I think she knew that all along when she sent me there for my long-term disability leave.”
“You don’t think… she tried to fatten you up?”
“I’m not sure. It wouldn’t be appropriate work conversation anyway. But it all worked out, so I can’t be mad.”
“I like that attitude,” Steve said. “You know, that’s how I feel about the night I transformed into my current size and hit on that guy with the ‘Yes fats, yes femmes’ shirt.”
“Yeah. I mean, I can’t find any evidence that I was ever a lot thinner than this, but I know those memories didn’t come out of nowhere. I think the guy next to me was a leprechaun or something.”
“Yeah, I know, but hey, there’s a merman over there. Is it really that weird in comparison?”
“I… I guess not.”
“Hey, I was transformed too!” Caleb blurted out. “And no one believes me when I tell them. I used to be this skinny guy that people would brush aside without a second thought. Now I’m big enough that they step aside for me. And no one believes it was ever the other way around!”
“How did you transform?” Steve asked.
“There was this scale in the mall that said it would give you your weight and a wish. I wished for a bigger frame so people wouldn’t push me aside, and well, I got it.”
“The scale…” Cody whispered. Speaking up, he asked Caleb, “Was this scale at the Circle Way Mall?”
“Yes! Right be the entrance!”
“That… I weighed myself on that scale before I was transformed too!”
“You did?” Caleb exclaimed.
“Yeah! I went to buy some new clothes, and while I was in the dressing room, I just got a lot bigger. The attendant acted like it happens all the time, and had to coordinate some clothes to be brought over from the big and tall store so I could go over there to keep shopping.”
“Wait,” Steve said. “He said people get fatter all the time there?”
“Oh, no, it seemed it usually goes in the opposite direction. He was glad that he wasn’t the one bringing clothes to the other store that time. I guess more people just want to be skinny.”
“Can’t imagine why,” Bill said with a smirk, before smacking his belly.
“Here here!” the other guys cheered in agreement.
“So… you guys also just… got a lot fatter in one day?” Rick asked.
“Seems most of us did, yeah,” Steve confirmed
“Huh. You know, I’ve never told the story of how I gained weight… mostly because everyone else in my life also seemed to think I’ve always been this big. But… maybe you guys will actually believe me.”
The other four guys looked at Rick with curiosity, as he looked around to gauge the room.
“Well… there was this flyer left on a telephone poll, you see. It advertised a ‘program’ that would supposedly make gaining weight easy. I went, and there was this building that wasn’t displayed on Google maps. And inside was this giant banquet hall, way bigger than the outside, with a table covered with food. It was empty at first, until I started eating and more people appeared. And then it turns out the flier was just for me and–”
Rick stopped talking when he realized all the other guys were staring at him like he had three heads.
“I know, it sounds too weird to believe.”
“Yeah, but keep going,” Caleb insisted. “I’m intrigued.”
As Rick continued his story, another group of guys had gathered at one of the tables. All of them were hefty men dressed in their work attire, although that wasn’t slacks and button-downs for all of them. For one particularly hefty fellow, his outfit included a coach’s jacket. “Yeah, after I took over as coach for the Bandits, the team just utterly flailed. I thought it was my fault at first, and that I was being a bad coach. But it turns out only the first one was true.”
“But how could it be your fault if you weren’t a bad coach?” Andre asked, his lab coat the other odd outfit at the table.
“Well, the Bandits were always at their most successful when their coaches were… let’s call it what it is, really really fat. At first, the weight I put on was stress weight, but when the team started doing better, I added on to that intentionally. And now? We’re the best in the league!”
“You really think that could have made a difference?” Andre asked.
“There’s an old myth around the school that the team’s success is linked to the coach’s waistline. And the row of championship team photos in my office certainly doesn’t disprove that.”
“I would be curious about examining that data to see if there is a correlation, though I doubt it’s causation. Must be a lurking variable somewhere.”
“When you finish your investigation, maybe you could tell us how you got this big?”
“Oh! Yes, well, it was also related to work. I work in pharmaceutical research, and was working on a medication that can treat malnutrition by increasing the body’s innate ability to absorb nutrients. We had great results in animal trials, but our committee wouldn’t let us test on malnourished patients without testing on a healthy patient first. I couldn’t in good conscious ask someone to test a medication that would absolutely make them fat, so I did it myself.”
“You… you took untested medication on yourself?” Clark asked. “Jesus, I’m a taste tester for candy, for goodness’ sake, and I still get nervous when the company wants me to try new things. And you were testing stuff that messes with your body?”
“Sometimes, if you want something done right, you have to do it yourself.”
“I don’t think that’s how that–”
“Anyway,” Andre interjected, interrupting George. “The point is, the trial went fine, and we got the approval to test the medication on malnourished patients. It should be going into mass production soon,” he said excitedly.
“And how much weight did you gain?” Clark asked.
“104.2 pounds in four weeks.”
“Four weeks! It took years of working at Candy Connectors for me to get this big. You call that ‘fine’?”
“I knew I’d gain weight. Any other effects would have been unexpected.”
“Well, that’s a nobler cause than I gained weight for,” Ben said. His Best Tech polo shirt wrapped rather tightly around his gargantuan belly. Even though he wasn’t gaining weight anywhere near as quickly as he used to, all the free food at work wasn’t helping him stay at a consistent weight. “I work at a tech store, and nobody took me seriously when I was skinny. Then I blew up, and now everyone wants my advice. But hey, it sure beats doing inventory.”
“You think inventory is worse than a customer-facing job?” Ross asked.
“Have you ever done inventory?”
“No, but I have had customer-facing jobs, and I could never go back to that. My desk job is a dream come true in comparison. Minus how obsessed everyone in the office is with being skinny.”
“Don’t tell me you gained weight to spite them,” Ben said.
“Oh it’s even better than that,” Ross said as he leaned in to take his place as leader of the conversation. “You see, they were doing this dumb, ‘New Year, New You,’ weight loss competition. But my employer sponsored a company to send us free supplements and meal replacement shakes to help us lose weight. Unbeknownst to them, I entered my goal weight as significantly higher than what I weighed at the time–which was not a small amount, mind you. So they sent me weight gain supplements. My goal was that when the time came for them to calculate the total amount of weight everyone in the company had lost that year, I’d fuck up the total by bringing it down.
“Damn,” Ben said, letting the “mn” sound draw out. “That’s an admirable level of petty.”
“Heh, now I don’t feel so bad for the reason why I gained weight,” Dave chuckled.
“Oh yeah? Why’d you gain?” Ross asked.
“I have this… former friend, CEO of a rival tech company, who was trying to take one of my best employees from me by offering double the salary.”
“Oof,” George exclaimed.
“And there was no way I could offer a competitive salary. But, through a bit of sleuthing, I found out that this employee is an encourager, and likes seeing big guys get bigger. So I started gaining weight.”
“And…” Ross said.
“It worked! He turned the offer down, and he’s still with us to this day! He and I have plenty of lunch meetings, which might or might not be professional, but I don’t think he minds.”
“So, what else did you try to do to keep him?” Ross asked.
“What else did you try before gaining weight? I mean, that definitely sounds like a last-ditch method.”
“I… didn’t try anything else before I started gaining weight.”
“Wait, really?” Ben asked.
“Nothing?” George added.
“Well, I didn’t hear you guys saying you tried anything else before you started gaining.”
“I didn’t think it had to be said that gaining weight wasn’t the first thing I tried,” Ben said, looking around the group for confirmation that he wasn’t crazy. But he wasn’t… everyone else was looking at Dave with eyebrows raised.
“Well… what’s done is done. And it worked out in the end. All’s well that ends well.”
“If you say so,” Trent chimed in.
“What about you, big guy?” Dave asked. “What’s your story?”
“What do you mean?”
“Well, all of us here have a story about how we got fat. And judging by the crowd, I doubt we’re the only ones. What’s yours.”
“Eh, a lot of late nights at work snacking on unhealthy food because I didn’t have time to work, so that I could climb the corporate ladder. It was worth it, though.”
“That’s it?” Ben asked.
“Well… have you guys ever heard of the Munchies?”
Across the room, at a table sitting only three people, Mike had just asked the two other guys at the table the same question. Neither of the three had put much effort into their outfits for the party, although Mike was easily the best dressed of the bunch. Not that that meant much as his baggy tee-shirt hung over his mountainous gut like a tarp. “So, the Munchies are these blobby-looking grey things that supposedly come to find you when you’re feeling bored or sad. And they bring you a ton of food and help you eat it! And they’re quite persuasive about it.”
“Man,” Earl said, before scratching the top of his belly, which was showing through the holes of his shirt. “You’d think they would have visited me at least once by now, then.”
“Oh yeah? You spend a lot of time bored at home?”
“You could say that. I call it early retirement.”
“Yep. Maybe you’ve heard of a little app called Boofr?”
“You invented Boofr?” Mike shouted out. “No wonder you were able to retire.”
“Yep. Worked from home while I and my company built that app into what it is today. Spent a lot of time sitting at the computer and eating delivery and fast food to get that successful. And now? Well, I mostly do the same thing, minus the working.”
“Man, I used to use that app all the time, before all my free time went to letting the Munchies feed me.”
“That’s your hobby now?” Earl asked with a chuckle.
“Why would I do anything else after I get out of work?”
“I mean, doesn’t sound all that different from what I do after work,” Al chimed in.
“I just go home, sit on my couch, grab a ton of snacks, and watch TV. You know, it’s weird: when I got my new couch, my apartment was really well-maintained. Like someone who cares more about cleaning than me was living there. It wasn’t until I bought the couch that things started getting messier all around.”
“Weird. You think the couch made you lazier?” Mike asked.
“I mean, how could it not. It’s so comfy. Amazing that I was able to get it for free.”
“Yeah. Something about it being marked “Not eligible for sale.’”
“Sounds like they weren’t supposed to give it to you at all.”
“Their loss!” Al exclaimed, causing all three to laugh.
Though Mike, Earl, and Al were easily the least dressed-up group at the event, the collection of truckers that had camped at a table close to the food tables wasn’t dressed much more formally. Like many others, they’d dressed to tribute what had made them fat, and that was the field of work that they had chosen. Some wore leather vests to frame their gargantuan guts, while others simply wore tight shirts tucked into whichever pair of jeans was the cleanest.
“I mean, I’m used to riding around Hernando’s truck naked,” Robert said. “It’s so high up that even when he parks at a depot, I really don’t have to worry about other people seeing anything below the beltline.”
“Pretty sure that’s because your belly covers your dick, tubby,” Hernando said with a smirk as he rubbed Robert’s gut, bringing a big smile to the big man’s face. “But yeah, when we go somewhere together, we have to riffle through the back of the truck to find clothes that still fit him. Usually that’s to go to a buffet. It’s not often we go to social events like this.”
“So you’re not a trucker?” Cory asked with eyebrows furrowed.
“Nah, I just accompany him on his trips,” Robert said as he pointed to Hernando, “and eat even more than he does.”
“Way more than I do,” Hernando corrected, as he patted his own modestly-sized gut.
“Well that’s just not fair,” Cory said. “He’s not even a tucker and he’s bigger than most of us.”
“Not all of us got into trucking to gain weight,” Pablo chimed in.
“Are you going to deny that that’s a benefit of the job?” Cory asked.
“Yes. Yes I am. Look, we both might have gotten bigger when we stopped at that weird ghost truck stop, but unlike you, I spent more of that time fucking than eating.”
“I mean, those both sound fun to me,” Mark said with a smile, leaning back in his chair with his fingers interlocked over his mountainous gut.
“You’re a trucker, right?” Cory asked.
“Yep. Started after my wife and I divorced. I decided it was as good a time as any to try something new. And, well, I admired truckers’ confidence. I admired how they carried and commanded so much weight. And I admired all the food they get to eat. So I started out, and well, it sounds like you and I have had a similar time of things, Pablo.”
“Do you see your wife at all these days?” Pablo asked.
“Oh yeah. Our relationship is better than it’s ever been. Ditto for my kids. And my eldest’s college is right on one of my routes, so I get to see her all the time.”
“Well I’ll be. A trucker with a family, huh?” Hernando asked.
“Well… I did start it before I started trucking. And their mom takes care of them most of the time. Most weeks, I just Facetime with them.”
“Mmm,” Hernando muttered contemplatively.
“You looking to start a family Hernando?” Mark asked.
“I don’t know. I think me and tubbers here have it pretty good right now.” With a smile, Hernando and Robert looked at each other, before Hernando rubbed Robert’s belly.
“See? Why can’t we be like that?” Cory asked Pablo wistfully.
“Shut up, rookie.”
Across the room, a chance meeting was happening between two individuals whose invitations stemmed from the same holiday. “Hi, I’m Todd,” Todd said as he extended his hand to the very handsome chubby guy in front of him.
“I’m Tom,” he replied as he took Todd’s comparatively slender hand in his own. “You here with someone?”
“Nope. Why do you ask?” Todd inquired with a smile as he lowered his eyes.
“Well, it’s pretty clear to see that most of the guests here are quite large in size. And those who aren’t seem to be paired with someone. So, what brings you here?”
“Well…” Todd stalled as he looked around the room filled with confident big guys. “It’s probably that one Christmas Eve,” he whispered.
“You know what? Never mind. You probably wouldn’t believe me if I told you.”
“Well, there’s a whole merman over there,” Tom said as he pointed to Hurlee, “so I’m willing to believe a lot more than usual.”
“Ah. Well… let me ask a random question. Do you believe in Santa Claus?”
Tom’s eyes shot open at the question, before they slowly relaxed as his mouth curved into a smile. “More than you might think.”
Surprised by Tom’s answer, Todd’s own eyebrows rose. “Go on.”
“It was Christmas Eve, and I nearly told my daughter that Santa doesn’t exist. I then spent that night eating the cookies my husband and I had left out for him, and by the end, well…” After holding his impressive belly by the sides and shaking it a bit, Tom concluded, “let’s just say this wasn’t here before that night. And I think ol’ Nick might be to blame.”
“Uh, yeah. Like, Saint Nich–”
“That’s how he introduced himself to me.”
After blinking rapidly a few times, Tom asked, “Come again?
“I, uh… I ran into Nick… Saint Nick, one Christmas Eve when I had to be at work the next day. I caught him drinking milk straight from the jug in my refrigerator.”
“Well, he didn’t really look like himself. Said it was because people’s Christmas spirit isn’t as strong as it used to be. So I baked him some cookies and as he ate them, he went back to being his usually big, bearded, white-haired, jolly self.”
“And I thought my Christmas Eve was weird,” Tom whispered to himself.
Tom and Todd weren’t the only pair at the party who bonded over shared experiences. Although another guy did have one thing in common with the other two: Christmas.
“Yeah, it all started on my first Christmas with my daughter and without my dad. I didn’t think I could be as good a dad as he was, but… well, his ghost showed up to tell me I would be.”
“You saw the ghost of your dad too?” Ash asked Eric.
“Yeah! And every year, I tried on his old sweater, and grew a little bigger each time, until I was the size of him.”
“Sounds like he was a really good dad.”
“Yeah. Shame he couldn’t live to meet his granddaughter. So… you saw your dad’s ghost too?”
“Yeah. I inherited his house, a rundown one-floor dump in a pretty remote part of the state, and he left a ton of empty cans and bottles there. Then I ran into his ghost, and he grilled me some burgers that made me bigger too. Said he was… proud of the man I had become. When I came back a week later, all the cans and bottles were in bags.”
“He cleaned up after himself for you.”
“Yep. I wish I got the chance to thank him. I never saw him after that either.”
Standing with the group were two more men, one named Ben and one also named Eric, wearing matching button-down shirts with sewn on logos for a company called “B&E Paranormal Investigators”. Ben was the slimmer of the two by far, with Eric being one of the biggest guys there. “So your dads’ ghosts just… went away on their own?” Ben asked.
“Yeah. Say, you’re paranormal investigators. Is there any way you could bring them back so we could talk again?” Eric asked.
“Uh, we usually deal with ghosts who refuse to leave, not ghosts who refuse to come back,” Eric the paranormal investigator replied. “Sounds like you need a medium.”
“I don’t know. I don’t really believe in them.”
“So why do you believe in us?” Ben asked.
“Oh, I’ve heard of you guys,” Eric answered. “You managed to clear the ghost of that hotel guest who kept ordering room service.”
“‘Clear’ is one word for it,” Eric replied as he patted his impressive shirt-clad belly.
“What do you mean?” Ash asked.
“The ghost possessed my partner,” Ben said, “So that he could actually enjoy all that food again.”
“It took a visit to a buffet outside of the hotel before he finally left me alone,” Eric added.
“But, he left Eric with a heightened sensitivity to the paranormal, which has made our job a whole lot easier.”
“In a sense,” Eric clarified. “When it comes to spirits who don’t leave much of a presence, it can be a godsend. But for the ones with strong presences, sometimes it feels like there’s a person there, and I’m the only one who can see them.”
“Wow,” Ash said.
“Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t give it up if I could. It has helped our business really take off, and I’m not going to act like it doesn’t pay way better than our old jobs now. But I can’t turn it off when we’re off the job, and it can get distracting.”
“Are there that many ghosts in our world?” Eric asked.
“Ha!, you have no idea. Think of how many people have ever lived. Billions and billions and billions! Not all of them become ghosts, but there sure are a lot who do.”
“Boy, you guys would be so invaluable on our research expeditions,” Diego said, as his research assistant Jamal nodded in agreement. “I wish we could take you back with us.”
“Do you work with ghosts?” Ben asked.
“In a sense. I’m an anthropological researcher, focusing on the ancient peoples who lived in the ruins local to us. And boy howdy, there’s a lot of old magic still active in those ruins. It’s how my assistant here and I both got to our current size.”
“Not that I mind,” Jamal added. “And I got to take a nice mud bath in the process.”
“Do you mind your size, Diego,” Eric the paranormal investigator asked.
“It’s the price I paid for knowledge. Now, I’ve never seen a ghost there myself, but the magic there is definitely strong, and I wonder if your sensitivity to paranormal phenomena might be helpful.”
“Maybe. But most of the ghosts we deal with died in the last few hundred years. I don’t have much experience with ancient ghosts.”
“Fair, fair. But gosh, it would be so helpful to have someone with that sensitivity as we explore the new ruins I’m planning to explore in the next few months. They seem to belong to a different tribe than the one I’ve been studying, so even my limited experience with the paranormal probably wouldn’t help me.”
“Can’t you hire someone local?” Ben asked.
“Eh, too complicated to work out paying them with university payroll. Plus, a ton of the local ‘ghost tour guides’ are just con artists trying to make a buck off of the local tourists, and goodness knows I have no idea how to tell them apart from the real deal.”
“Well, good luck,” Eric finally said, not knowing what else to say.
Across the room, two more men were bonding over the similar experiences that had brought them to the party, although they didn’t seem like the types who would be drawn to each other. Although they were both quite rotund, one wore white suit and a hat that made him look like a navy captain, while the other wore blue, oil-stained overalls that barely fit him. And yet, conversation between the two was incredibly animated.
“You’re saying you got to travel through space with intelligent extraterrestrial lifeforms?!” Captain Phillips exclaimed.
“Y-yeah. Sorry, it’s been awhile since I’ve gotten speak to anyone. The aliens I travel with seem to communicate visually. I’m surprised you haven’t heard of them. They land on earth pretty frequently, and it’s not uncommon for humans to go off with them. Not unlike us taking in stray cats.”
“Well I’ll be. We’ve been struggling to make meaningful contact with any sort of extraterrestrial lifeform, and this whole time, people have been taking joyrides on alien ships.”
“Do you work for SETI?” the man asked.
“SETI? They still have SETI in your universe? Oh, my boy, where I come from, humankind has been exploring the stars themselves for ages. I’m the captain of a spaceship for goodness sakes.”
“Spaceship?! Humans are exploring the universe where you come from?”
“That we are. Though I must say, the prospect of getting to travel peaceably with another intelligent lifeform, being taught their technology… gosh, I envy you.”
“I mean, it can be interesting working on the ship. But really, the best part is how they pamper me. The stray cat analogy really is a good one, because feed me treats, put sweaters on me, and I see them watching videos of humans the way we watch cat videos. I think they think we’re cute.”
“Cute? Sounds condescending to me. Gosh, I wish I could bring you back with me and have you on our ship. Your experience with alien technology would make you invaluable, and the stories you could regale the crew with! If for no other reason, you’d be great for morale.”
“Yeah, well… I don’t know. I’ve gotten to eat a ton of doughnuts since I started traveling with these two. It’s why I’ve got this,” the man chuckled as he patted his ample stomach. “I mean, I was already pretty big when they took me in, but boy do they spoil me.”
“Ah… well, I will admit, that does sound pretty nice. Speaking of which, how are you going to rendezvous with them after this party? It sounds like communication between humans and them is far from perfect.”
“You know, it’s funny. We got the invitation to this party via a message to their ship, which included a version for them to read and a version for me to read. It seems whoever, or… whatever invited us here can communicate in their language and ours.”
“Huh.” Captain Phillips himself had received his invitation via the Interstellar Travel Bureau interlink. It seemed a bit suspicious at first, but ITB had assured him that the source of the invitation checked out. Strangely, they had refused to reveal what that source was. But he was glad he’d come, if only to have the chance to talk to… “Say, I don’t think I ever got your name.”
“Oh, I’m Doug. I think the aliens nicknamed me Doughnut. Which, hey, they’re half right.”
“Yeah, I’m still not getting the appeal of you wanting to go back with them. But, that’s your decision. I will admit, the idea of being doted on does sound appealing.”
Doug chuckled a bit before he asked, “So how about you? Is there a story behind that?” he asked as he pointed to the Captain’s impressive midsection.
Phillips looked down for a moment at his abdomen before looking back up at Doug. “Well… in all your travels across the cosmos, have you ever encountered an organism that could best be described as sentient slime?”
“Can’t say I have. Mostly I just encounter other creatures that seem to be the same species as the aliens I travel with.”
“Well, I traveled to a planet that seemed to be human habitable, and made the mistake of taking my helmet off while exploring, because I wanted to be the first to breathe its air. And that creature decided my stomach would make a great home.”
“Oh… is it… is it still in there?”
“No, no, the doctors say I was able to digest it about as easily as any human cuisine. But it is, apparently, very highly caloric. So,” he concluded as he patted the side of his belly, “I got this as a souvenir for my visit.”
“So… how do you feel about your weight? If you don’t mind me asking.”
“It’s a lesson learned, like a burn on a child’s hand after they touch a hot stove. The doctors say that as long as I don’t start eating significantly more than I usually do–and with the way food is rationed for interstellar trips, there’s no way I could–it’ll go away on its own like any fat. But, in the meantime, I’ve not let it stop be from being the best captain I can be.”
“Good!” Doug exclaimed. His enthusiasm brought a small smile to the Captain’s face.
As the party drew on, there was some commotion about when the food would be coming out, with the many hungry men becoming impatient. Seperate from the hubbub, however, was a table of four, two couples sitting together, away from the crowd. Jake and Bryce sat together with Bryce’s burly left arm over Jake’s shoulders, while Jake held Bryce’s pudgy right hand in his slender left hand. Jason and Marko, meanwhile, held hands under the table, with Marko rubbing his thumb along Jason’s palm. It was a subtler display, but it suited them well.
“I’m glad we found you guys here,” Jake told Jason and Marko. “We were starting to feel like we didn’t really fit in.”
“Don’t get me wrong, it’s nice to be around a bunch of other big guys for a change,” Bryce added. “But they all seem to be talking about weight gain. To each their own, but… honestly, I’m not sure why we were invited.”
“Us neither,” Marko affirmed. “And yeah, it is nice to not be the biggest guy in the room by far, for once. But it’s like, all they want to talk about is how they got so big. I’m just a big guy. Always been, probably always will be,” he said, before he looked over and Jason and found him smiling as he looked up into his boyfriend’s eyes. “Doesn’t really make for an interesting story.”
“Mmhm,” Bryce concurred. “So how did you two meet?”
Jake’s cheeks turned red as Marko let out a quiet chuckle. “You want to tell this story, babe?”
With a sigh, Jake answered, “Sure,” before he sat upright in his chair. “So, I was at work. I work in a coffeeshop, see. Marko came in to get a coffee, and when I put it out, before I could call out his name, I looked up and…” Looking at Marko with just as much amazement as the day they first met, Jake concluded, “there he was.”
“He was like a deer in headlights when he looked at me. I was expecting some kind of blubbering apology, but…” he said with a pause, looked at Jake with anticipation.
“But… all I could blurt out was… ‘big’.”
Both Jake and Bryce keeled over with laughter, drawing a few stares from those closest to them. Jake’s cheeks grew even more red, not helped by Marko snickering himself. When he looked at Jason and saw how embarrassed he was, he added, “I thought it was cute! No judgement or negativity, just an objective statement: big!” Once Jake and Bryce collected themselves, Marko continued the story, “So all I could do was smirk back and say, ‘Yeah.’ And I took my coffee and left.” After lifting his arm up from under the table to stick it over Jason’s shoulders, he pulled him in close and concluded, “And look how it ended up.”
“Yeah! Looks like it all worked out,” Jake added.
“How about you two?” Jason asked, seeming desperate to get the conversation off of him and his blunder. “How did you two meet?”
“We vacationed at the same beach house, each renting different bedrooms in the building,” Bryce answered. “Although Jake here didn’t end up using his much,” he said with a smirk, pulling Jake into his imposing belly and making him smile.
“I won the trip in a raffle at college,” Jake added, still beaming from Bryce’s attention. “Admittedly, I didn’t want to go at first.”
“What?” Jason and Marko both exclaimed in unison.
“Yeah, yeah, I know. But, if I hadn’t gone, I wouldn’t have met this guy, so I’m glad I did.”
Most of the guests at the party had arrived early or close to on time. Captain Phillips had been a bit delayed due to some trouble in finding a place where he could park his spaceship. But by 7:10, most of the guests had filed in. With the exception of a group of five who stumbled in around 7:45, looking confused and dressed strangely even for that party. There was Bhaal, a warrior with a huge belly, wearing a leather harness on his chest and animal furs around his waist, with a giant axe on his back. There were two mages, Caid and Mart, the former rather thin and the latter remarkably chubby, both wearing robes that were fitting for their magical background. And there were the two nobles, King Gordon and the ambassador Victor, both wearing intricate outfits that showed off their wealth and their impressively wide guts, with robes that framed their midsections rather than covering them. They all looked out of place and out of time. And they felt it too.
“Thank god, we finally made it,” Bhaal sighed.
“Are you sure this is the right place?” Victor asked.
“Look at all the other fat guys here,” Mart said. “Where else could we be.”
“A royal gathering, perhaps?” Gordon offered.
“I’m fairly certain this realm doesn’t have kings,” Victor said. “At least, not where we are.”
“Then how are they governed?” Gordon asked.
“Badly, from what I’ve seen,” Caid grumbled.
“I told you we should have brought the horses and carriages,” Gordon insisted. “We would have been here in no time.”
“I told you, we weren’t allowed to bring them along,” Victor said. “And that constable was no help. Telling us, ‘Just get an oober.’ Like I’m just supposed to know what that means.”
“The hell is an ‘oober’?” Mart asked.
“It sounded like some sort of carriage for rent,” Gordon said. “Which is preposterous, when I have my own carriage that I could use.”
“I think they have something to do with those giant metal beasts that traveled to stone roads we walked next to,” Caid conjectured.
“Ha! As if I’d get in one of those fiends,” Bhaal exclaimed. “Did you see how they swallowed people whole, and then displayed their meals for all to see? I should have cleaved every one I saw. But they moved too fast.”
“I mean, did you see how the people got inside?” Caid asked. “I think it was intentional.”
“No way. I saw how one of them gestured out the creature’s eyes as it nearly collided with another. He was in clear distress.”
“So why didn’t you rescue him?” Mart asked with a smirk.
“You saw how many there were out there! If I attacked one, who knows how many more would have come to its defense? We would have been swarmed!”
“That’s… remarkably level-headed,” Mart commented.
“I know my fighting style can generally be described as swing first, ask questions later. But even I know that sometimes it’s better to fight smarter, not harder.”
With that, the group went in to join the crowd of nearly a hundred people who had arrived at the party. It was nearing 8:00, and the anticipation for the food was palpable. Most of the room had gravitated closer to the tables that lined the back wall, all of which were covered in white tablecloths. They were unusually formal for an event where people were dressed in overalls, leather vests with no shirts underneath, tank tops, and renaissance-era fashion. But no one cared about the table cloths. They cared about what was going on the table at 8:00.
And as the clock on the wall struck 8:00, they all got their wish. A mechanism behind the tables pulled the table cloths off, revealing a piece of plexiglass that had created a false tabletop. Underneath the plexiglass were dozens of buffet-style serving trays. Rather than standing on legs with a heating mechanism underneath, they seemed embedded in the tables, such that their bottoms were hidden. And as the steam on the plexiglass indicated, they were already filled.
“You mean to tell me there was food here this whole time?!” Troy shouted out, causing most of the conversation in the room to stop. A few of the guys near the table approached it and pushed the plexiglass off, revealing a grand buffet with a variety of foods available. In between two-by-three groups of trays were stacks of plates and silverware bundles, with more of the former than the latter, also in metal containers embedded in the table.
“Well I’ll be,” Dale said in wonder.
“It’s like our royal dinners,” King Gordon commented.
“So what are we waiting for?” Ronald asked Bert with a smile.
Soon the table was overrun by most of the men in the room, trying to get the dinner they’d waited so long for. Plates were stacked high with food, with some men taking two plates back to a table. Bart, Ronald, Fred, and Troy, not to be outdone, each took four plates back to their table, stacking one plate on top of another. The groups who were deep in discussion decided to wait out the rush before they tried to take anything, though some expressed worry about whether there would be any left for them.
“I suppose we better get some food,” Captain Phillips said to Doug, “Lest there be none left for us.”
“I think you’ve got the right idea.” Fortunately, the table was long enough that the two men didn’t have to fight for a spot. Given the length of the table, that didn’t surprise Captain Phillips. What did surprise him was just how much food was left when he and Doug reached the table. Though the surfaces of the food were all uneven, indicating that food had been taken from them, they all looked nearly full. Looking around at how much food was on everyone’s plate, that didn’t seem to make sense.
“Something wrong with the food, Cap’n?” Mark asked as he ambled up next to the Captain for seconds.
“No, no, not at all, it looks delicious. I just… didn’t think there would be so much left after everyone rushed the table like that.”
After a pause, Mark concurred, “Hmm, does seem kinda weird.” But rather than continue pondering the abundance of food, he took another plate and started filling it.
Phillips continued looking around, trying to make some sense of the disparity. But soon he found his answer, as he looked at the pizza trays. A group of eight trays, arranged in two rows, held several varieties of thick, cheesy, steaming pizzas, with various toppings adorning most of them. There was only one slice of cheese pizza left, which was quickly claimed by one of the men going down the line. Once the tray was empty, Phillips watched as it sunk beneath the table and slipped out to the side. In its place, a tray with a fresh new pizza rose up, two slices of which were quickly claimed.
Looking down, Phillips saw a tray of fried chicken and grabbed the tongs. After taking a few pieces from the center, he dug around to try to reach the bottom. But upon reaching nearly a foot deep in the container, he’d encountered no signs of there being an end to the chicken. After dropping the tongs and stepping back from the table, he was forced to conclude that their hosts, whoever they may have been, had found a way to provide seemingly limitless food by refilling the buffet table from beneath.
Phillips smiled as he marveled at how such a thing could be accomplished. But as curious as he was to look under the second layer of tablecloths that seemed to hide the mechanisms, he decided that he’d rather eat. So he continued down the line, filling his plate as most of the guests did.
Dinner continued well into the night, with many of the guests going up for seconds, thirds, fourths, and so on. Fewer and fewer people went up to the table as the night went on, as people took longer to finish each successive plate, and more and more people decided to call it quits once they couldn’t eat another bite. By 9:00, most people had taken to conversing at their table, while either complaining or bragging about how full they were.
By then, there were a dozen stacks of plates on the true-blue gainers’ table, most of them the responsibility of Bart, Ronald, Fred, and Troy. They’d managed to match each other plate for plate, having gone up for two rounds of four plates each, before they’d downsized to two plates at a time for three more rounds. By then, all four of them were leaning back in their chairs, rubbing their gargantuan, distended bellies as they stuck out onto the table. Bart, Ronald, and Fred’s shirts were all unbuttoned, leaving their guts free to stick out and take all the space they needed. Troy’s shirt, meanwhile, was a lost cause. Already tight enough to show off a few inches of belly when he walked in, it had now ridden up so high that it bunched up around his chest, showing off the food-stuffed orb beneath.
“God… I couldn’t eat another bite,” Fred gasped.
“Hah… knew you’d say that,” Troy said in between labored breaths.
“As if you could eat anymore either,” Fred jabbed.
“I’m just taking a breather,” Troy insisted.
“I’m up for going back at it if you two are,” Bart said in between heavy breaths.
“Me too,” agreed Ronand.
“You all in, then?” Dale chimed in to ask.
“Yes,” Fred blurted out, making the other three look at him with raised eyebrows before they nodded in agreement.
With a grin growing on his face, Dale replied, “Alright,” before getting up with a grunt from his chair.
“Dale, what are you doing?” Art asked. “Don’t encourage them.”
“That’s exactly what I’m going to do,” Dale bragged before he stood on top of his chair. “Excuse me, everyone!” he bellowed, causing the whole room to go silent. “These four proud gluttons would like to go against each other in a competition to see who can eat the most. I propose we let them at the buffet without restriction. No plates, no tongs, just unbridled chowing down. If anyone objects to that, because they would like to eat some more before these chowhounds go at it, speak now, or forever hold your peace.”
A profound silence fell over the room, as some folks looked around to see if anyone would speak up, while others couldn’t take their eyes off of the enormous men with their planetary bellies out on proud display. After a lengthy pause, Markus shouted out, “Get on with it!”
Dale chuckled before turning to the four men. “You heard him. Eat.”
All four men seemed to gain a second wind, one that quickly lost power once they were forced to push themselves up out of their chairs. But in time, and with some cheering from the crowd, they finally took a standing position once again, before waddling over to the table.
All four men lined up next to the middle of the table and started wolfing down everything they could get their hands on. This only goaded the crowd, who hooted and hollered as Bart, Ronald, Fred, and Troy stuffed their faces once again. In spite of each man having already eaten enough to feed a small extended family, they ate like it was their first meal in days, the enthusiasm of the rest of the guests fueling their hunger.
But reaching the food was no trivial task for the rotund men. With their bellies in the way as they faced the table, they were forced to turn to the side to reach their food. This gave all the onlookers a captivating view as the men forced more and more food into their stuffed guts, making them expand in front of the onlookers’ very eyes. With all four bellies freed from their clothes, they could show off their globular masses of fat for everyone as they ate.
A crowd of enthusiastic onlookers gathered around the four men, not content with the view they got from their tables. Some cheered them on, some told them how fat they were to encourage them to get even fatter, and some simply watched in dumbfounded amazement. But no matter their reactions, they all motivated the four men to keep eating, to fight through the feelings of painful fullness, and eat themselves as big as possible.
Art was not part of the crowd. As he stared on wearily at the dozens of men egging his friends on, he looked back at Dale and asked, “Now why did you have to go and do that?”
“For the spectacle, of course,” Dale answered as he turned around to go watch. “Don’t act like you don’t want to watch too.
Art let out a “hmph,” as Dale walked off. But it only took a few seconds before a smirk spread across his face and he stood up too, admitting to himself that he wanted to watch.
It didn’t take long for signs of extreme fullness to show. Having already eaten to a point of fullness that would cause most people to fall asleep immediately, Bart, Ronald, Fred, and Troy were fighting an uphill battle to shove more food into their mountainous guts. Their bellies were stretched so tight that they were almost perfectly spherical, bulging out in front of them as if their bellies were leading them up and down the table and demanding they keep eating. And all four men obeyed, their bellies bouncing with each step as they shuffled past the trays, stuffing themselves with everything they could.
As they filled themselves, each of the four was forced to lean back farther and farther, lest all the food they’d eaten pull them down to the floor. Their centers of gravity seemed to have shifted so much that they had to arch their backs to account for it. This only made them push their bellies out even more, causing their bulbous guts to look planetary. But they were more like black holes, swallowing everything in their vicinity.
But it couldn’t last forever. All four men seemed to be slowing down, breathing so heavily that they had to chew with their mouths open. They leaned against the tables as they did, exhausted by the effort of carrying around such grand piles off food inside of them. As full as they were, they were forced to eat slowly once again, trying to cram every last morsel in that they could.
Fred was the first to go. His hand slipped off the table, causing him to fall to the floor with a crash that could be heard across the room. He tried to reach up above him and take more food from the trays, knowing that he wasn’t getting up now. But his arm grew limp before he could, and it fell by his side before he seemed to nod off to sleep, his head hanging down over a belly that stuck out to his knees.
Troy was still managing to maintain a consistent pace as he ate–consistently slow, but still consistent–but Bart and Ronald were reaching their limits. They stuffed in more bites of food here and there, but the way they wavered made it clear they wouldn’t last much longer. With their mammoth guts swaying with them, it was clear they were in for their own crash landings soon. Bart threw in the towel early to avoid that fate, shuffling back to his table as the crowd parted. After pulling out a chair, he groaned loudly from the compression of his swollen stomach, until his butt was finally in the seat. With a sigh, he leaned back and let his bottom slide forward, letting his enormous gut stick out above him. It stuck out so far than he couldn’t see over or around it.
Ronald wasn’t far behind, but he refused to quit. After swallowing his last of a slice of pizza–meat lover’s–he found himself unable to resist the pull of the food coma he’d been fighting for so long. He tried to retreat back to his table, stumbling all the way as he tried to maneuver his swollen orb of a belly. The crowd parted for him, lest he knock them over like extra wide bowling pins, but it was too late for him to make a graceful arrival. Staggering toward the table, he fell on top of it, before crashing right through, splitting the table in half like it had been folded. The tablecloth spared him from getting any splinters in his back, but the crack of the wood silenced the whole room. As he lay in the remains of his table, his gargantuan belly sticking out like a giant dollop of sour cream in a taco shell, he resigned himself to his fate and drifted off to sleep.
“What happened?” Bart groggily asked, unable to see the carnage over his gut, but he didn’t stay awake long enough to hear an answer.
Troy remained in place in front of the buffet table, his eyebrows raised upon seeing his competitors go down. His eyes, however, didn’t look quite so surprised, as food coma had caused his eyelids to droop considerable. With slow movements, he reached over for a piece of fried chicken, and took a single bite. How chewed even more slowly, before forcing it down into his beyond-capacity stomach. His throat opened as if to let out a burp, but there was no room for air left in the man’s belly. With the final bite of his feast down, he tossed the rest of the chicken at Ronald, where it bounced off of his tight gut and beyond the table.
Cheers erupted from the crowd, loudly enough to stir Bart, Ronald, and Fred from their slumbers. Troy stood in front of the buffet table triumphantly, leaning back against it with both hands on top to support his tremendous belly. It was bigger than any belly anyone in the room had seen before, wider than a yoga ball by a solid two foot, but still as tall. It looked so stretched that it might explode at any minute, with the hairs standing up from how tight the skin was. But Troy wouldn’t get that kind of relief, as he was forced to contend with the feast of food he’d consumed on his own. A mixture of pain, pressure, tightness, tiredness, and pride all washed over him as the cheers of the crowd grew muffled. He could barely keep his eyes open, struggling to pull his lids up as much as he struggled to stay upright.
Todd emerged from the crowd and slowly approached the engorged gainer. Extending his hands slowly, he gently let them rest upon Troy’s belly, which jolted him back to awareness. Gently rubbing the rock-hard top of Troy’s gut, Todd let his hands glide gently over the imposing belly, which seemed to give the engorged victor some measure of relief. Todd could barely reach around Troy’s bulbous gut, but his hands still navigated as much of the flabby globe as they could. And Troy seemed thankful for the relief.
“Yeah…” Troy whispered as a smile slowly grew across his face. “Keep doing that.”
Here are the stories that these characters come from, in order of when they appear in this story:
Bart and Ronald – Rivals
Art, Fred, and Troy – The Big Belly BBQ: Daytime and After Dark
Dale – How the Dinner Tables Have Turned
Orlando – The Wishlist
Paul – Intended Side Effects
Johnny and Troy – Growth of the Business
Donny and Markus – The Human Candy Pail
Don and Hal – The Baker’s Bashful Boyfriend
Roy and Claudia – A Swell Time at Camp
Kevin and David – Icing on the Cake
Henry and Zander – Fattened Fairy Tales: Zander Ella
Luis and Hudson – The Fashion Writer’s Husband
Val and Ryan – The Big Belly BBQ: Daytime and After Dark
Jorge and Rob – A Rotund Reunion
Genji and Sean – The Candy Tax
Colin and Dave – Home Expansion
Hank and Kevin – Waste Not, Want Not
Dan and Bobby – Leftover Doughnuts
Eli and Steven – Plumber’s Snack
Omar and Ken – A Genie’s Wish
Neil and Hurlee – Kiss of a Merman
Sam and Tom – Gigantic Hospitality
Harold and Willie – Fattened Fairy Tales – Harold and Greg
Tito – The Fantasy Palace
Carlos – ”Rub My Belly for Good Luck”
Hank – Overwhelming Hospitality
Ben – The Not-So-Thin Blue Line
Peter – The Best Customer
Jake – Instant Dad Bod
Tom, Bill, and Joe – Like Halloween When We Were Kids
Derek – The Swell Shake
Pete – The Bottomless Brew
Bill – A Swell Time at Camp
Steve – The Bottomless Brew: Stout Steve
Caleb – The Wishing Scale: Pushed Aside
Cody – The Wishing Scale: Larger Than Life
Rick – What This Place Can Provide
George – First-Year Slump
Andre – A Healthy Test Subject
Clark – Sweet Dreams
Ben – Employee of the Month
Ross – ”New Year, New You”
Dave – Employee Retention
Trent – The Munchies at the Office
Mike – Mike Meets the Munchies
Earl – A Hard-Earned Laziness
Al – Couch Potato
Hernando and Robert – The Trucker’s Passenger
Cory and Pablo – An Unexpected Stop
Mark – 18 Wheelers and Spare Tires
Todd – Christmas Ain’t Like it Used to Be
Tom – The Cookies for Santa
Eric – Dad’s Christmas Sweater
Ash – The Man You’re Meant to Be
Ben and Eric – The Curious Case of Wallace Grace
Diego – An Engorged Explorer
Jamal – The Sunken Student
Captain Phillips – Close Encounters of the Swell Kind
Doug / Dough Ring – A Human on Board
Jake and Bryce – One Night at the Beach House
Jason and Marko – ”Big”
Bhaal – A Potion Fit for a Champion
Caid and Mart – Getting Fat on Conjured Food
Victor and King Gordon – Ambassador to the Grand King