Originally published July 21, 2018,
Contains: instant weight gain, physical intimacy.
Ventrego has a series of stories that center around a scale, with text written on it that promises, “Your weight, and a wish”, with a second, “and a wish” written under it. In these stories, the protagonist weighs himself, then makes some remark about how he wishes his body were different, and often how he wishes he were perceived differently. Later, at a narratively appropriate time, the scale grants the guy’s wishes.
I wanted to pay tribute to this series, because of how much I enjoy it myself. And as such, this story was born.
Synopsis: Cody isn’t very lucky in love. He feels stuck between worlds, too fat for twinks to notice him, but too thin for chasers and bears. After going to the mall to look for some new clothes, hoping a new look might help him out, he finds a scale that promises his weight and a wish. After getting his weight, he wishes his body would commit to being bigger or smaller, so that more people would notice him. Later, in the fitting room at a clothing store and at a bar that hasn’t been very friendly to Cody before, he gets his wishes.
Cody’s head hung low as he walked into the mall to buy some new clothes. He knew he had to do something about his look, and clothes seemed like the easiest place to start. As a baby-faced 25-year-old who still got carded when he bought booze, and whose beard was still coming in patchy, he felt like his juvenile looks were part of why guys didn’t notice him. Perhaps if he dressed a bit older, he might look the part of an eligible bachelor, not a high schooler looking to make out under the bleachers by the football field.
But Cody’s baby-young looks weren’t his only insecurity. In fact, they weren’t even his biggest one. No, he was sure that the reason he was unlucky in love was because of his size. He walked into the mall that day wearing an XL tee shirt that felt baggy on him, because size-large shirts were too tight. It wasn’t a case of thinking he was too fat for anyone to be into him. Rather, he felt like he lived in a no-man’s-land where he was too fat for twinks to be into him, but not fat enough for chasers and chub4chubs to take notice. His attempts to lose weight at the gym had been unsuccessful, and he didn’t like the kind of overeating required to gain weight. He felt stuck.
As such, Cody didn’t make much eye contact with the other mall-goers, all of whom he felt were staring at him, if they noticed him at all. In his attempts to avoid eye contact, he looked to the side and saw a hallway that didn’t seem to have any store fronts, but did have what looked like an old fashioned scale. It was the kind of scale he would have expected to see near fortune telling arcade machines and other kitschy fare, not in an empty mall hallway. Cody had never noticed it before, so he ducked down the hallway to take a closer look.
The scale was a bronze mechanism with “Your Weight and a Wish” painted on top. A second “and a wish” was faintly visible below the first, indicating the words had been repainted. Who was maintaining such an old contraption, Cody didn’t know. It seemed it hadn’t been touched in a while, as there was a pile of paper slips next to the right side that, clearly, no one had cleaned up in months, if not years. The scale had a hand, like an analog clock, which was stuck at zero on a circle that only went up to 250. From that maximum, Cody knew it must have been an old scale, especially given that the text next to the coin slot said “5¢”. Just a nickel? Well why not?, Cody reasoned.
Reaching into his wallet, Cody pulled out the coin and stuck it in, before stepping on the scale. The hand swung around, before wavering back and forth until it settled on 205.
“Yeah, figures,” Cody sighed. “I wish this body would just commit to being bigger or smaller. Maybe then guys would notice me.”
The hand swung back to zero loudly enough to make a clunking noise, at which Cody said, “Alright, alright, alright,” and stepped off the scale. With another sigh, he walked out of the hallway and toward the clothing store.
Cody stepped into the clothing outlet and realized he had no idea what he’d gotten himself into. He told himself he should have brought one of his more stylish friends. Or his mom. Anyone who knew more about fashion than him. Here he was, trying to step up his look, and he had no idea where to start. He wandered around the store, trying to find something he could see himself wearing as a starting point. But all that stood out to him as “stepped” up were the formal clothes, the polo shirts and button-downs and blazers, which he wanted nothing to do with.
It took about 15 minutes of Cody walking around the store before an employee approached him. He looked to be in his thirties, wearing an impeccably tailored suit, and had one of the most approachable faces Cody had ever seen. And yet, he had to be the one to approach Cody. “Can I help you find something today, sir?” His voice was deep like his skin color, and Cody almost felt flustered at such a handsome man talking to him.
“I, uh… you know, maybe… The truth is, I’m not sure what I’m looking for,” Cody admitted, speaking just over a whisper.
With a chuckle, the man said, “You’re not the only one, I assure you,” the man said with a smile. “Do you have a general idea of what kind of clothes you’re looking for?”
“I know want to… step up my look, you know? Start dressing more spiffy. But I can’t stand formal clothes. So…” with a sigh, Cody concluded, “I”m not sure what to do.”
“Okay, well, we can definitely try some different styles, see which ones you feel most confident and comfortable in, and go from there. How does that sound?”
“Oh, that sounds great,” Cody said with a sigh of relief. “Thank you.”
“Of course! Now, what sizes do you wear?”
“XL shirts, 36-30 pants.m”
“Mmm, okay, we can definitely still get you some nice options at those sizes. Come, take a walk with me.” Before the man started to walk around, he turned back to Cody and said, “Oh, I’m Kweli.”
“Cody. Nice to meet you.”
“Now, let’s get you some clothes to try on.”
Kweli spent a good 20 minutes helping Cody pick out clothes he was interested in trying. All the while, Cody thanked him profusely for taking the time to help him, to which Kweli constantly assured him, “You came in during a lull. Your timing could not have been more perfect.” Once they had a few outfits for Cody to try on, they went to a dressing room together. Kweli sent him in with one outfit to try, and said, “I’ll be right out here if you need a different size or anything.”
“Great, thank you!” Cody said, before he closed the dressing room door.
In its old age, the scale didn’t work quite as efficiently as it used to. Though the hand would snap back to zero extra fast, the inner mechanisms took their sweet time doing their job. But finally, a bell rang inside the scale, albeit more slowly that it did in the scale’s glory days. The gears rotated gradually, causing the slip of paper inside to fall out rather than shoot out. Eventually, it settled next to the scale, bearing the text, “BEING BIGGER”.
Inside the changing room, Cody slipped out of his tee-shirt and pants, as well as his shoes, to make trying on his various looks easier. His first outfit included a leather jacket and ripped jeans, something he didn’t think he could pull off, but he supposed there was only one way to find out. At least it wasn’t something formal.
Before he tried on the outfit, Cody took a break to look in the mirror. He looked at the modest amount of pudge around his midsection unhappily, before looking up at his face. He’d been trying to grow his beard in for years, but he supposed it just wasn’t going to happen. If he was going to go for a new style, he figured he might as well shave the beard too. A haircut couldn’t hurt either, he reasoned. His flat, medium-length hair, which made him look like a high schooler, wasn’t doing him any favors.
As Cody kept looking in the mirror, he wondered if his planning was starting to affect the reflection he saw. If he didn’t know better he’d swear his hair was getting shorter, like it was retracting into his scalp. It was a strange sight to see, and Cody was sure he must have been seeing things. Until he looked down and saw his beard filling out more. The space between the patches was now filled with hair that was unmistakably growing right in front of Cody’s eyes. The hair in the patches, meanwhile, seemed to be straightening out to match the newly grown in hair, while also becoming more dense. He was finally getting the beard he’s always wanted.
Those changes alone made Cody smile. “Took you long enough,” he whispered while looking at his new beard. There was a rumbling in his stomach, not unlike the feeling he got when he was nervous, though he wasn’t sure why these changes would make him feel nervous when he was so excited about them. They weren’t exactly happening at a rate typical of the human body, but to Cody, that was only a good thing.
Soon Cody went from looking at his facial hair to checking out his new clothes, and wondering if he could pull them off with this new look of his. He picked up the leather jacket, gave it some consideration, and thought that maybe it would suit him now. Of course, he first had to the put the shirt on that would go underneath the jacket. Putting the jacket down, he bent over to pick up the tee shirt.
But as he bent down and looked at the shirt, Cody saw something even stranger: his belly seemed to be growing too. Not just getting bigger, but reshaping, so the top had just as much mass as the bottom, and the whole thing was less saggy and more firm than it had been before. Its progress was slow as he watched it, and yet unmistakable, as his belly swelled before him like someone had stuck a bicycle pump down to his stomach.
Except it wasn’t a painful growth, like Cody was sure getting inflated by a bike pump would be. As the initial surprise wore off and he grabbed his stomach, he felt that it was firm, but not taut. Resistant to his touch, but not lashing out as if he were painfully full. It seemed that, though his body looked like it was inflating, he was doing nothing of the sort: he was just getting fatter.
Turning to look in the mirror, Cody was met by the sight of a man unlike the one who had walked into that changing booth. His face already looked completely different, with the change in hairstyle and beard making him look much more rugged and, in his mind, handsome. That face was also expanding, rounding out in a way emphasized by his newly closely-trimmed beard, as his belly grew to even bigger proportions. Already, the saggy flab had rounded out, firmed up, and grown to the size of a basketball, the kind of belly that make Cody feel even more handsome.
And it didn’t seem like it was done growing. Though the rate of growth wasn’t as noticable now that his belly had already taken on a certain amount of size, the rumbling sensation in his stomach let him know there was still more growing left to do. So he stood back and watched his gut grow bigger. Soon he reached a size where he had to lean back in order to counteract just how much weight was accumulating in his gut. A bit more growth, and he had to spread his legs to better balance his added heft.
It took a while longer before the rumbling sensation in Cody’s stomach went away, and it seemed like the growth had stopped. By then, Cody looked like a completely different man. His new hairstyle and fuller beard framing a rounder face had him looking like the men he often admirer from afar, but felt too nervous to approach. His once pudgy chest now bore two firm lobes of a muscular frame, which went well with the spherical belly he now carried beneath him. It was over twice as wide as the basketball-sized paunch he bore before, and nearly that much bigger in all other directions. It was firm and heavy, imposing in its own way, and exciting as well. Cody had always wished he could be either skinny enough for the twinks or fat enough for the bears. And with a gut like that, he’d more than gotten his wish.
“How you doing in there, Cody?”
Kweli’s voice snapped Cody out of his musings on his new size and made him realize what a pickle he’d gotten himself into. He was now standing in a changing room with a bunch of clothes that couldn’t possibly fit him, including the clothes that he’d worn when stepping inside. His socks still fit, and his boxers had stretched out to accommodate his newly grown frame. But he knew nothing else in the room with him would. He doubted anything in the store would fit him at that point.
“You okay, Cody?”
“Um… I think I’m going to need a bigger size, Kweli,” Cody said, taken aback by the realization that his voice had become deeper.
“Really? You barely looked like an XL to me, let alone a 2XL. Are the clothes that tight?”
“I, uh…” Cody sighed, before he finally threw all hesitation to the wind and said, “Look, I think you better come in here and see what the problem is,” before unlocking the door handle.
“Alright. Are you clothed?”
“Well… you won’t see my junk, I can promise you that.”
“Well, why don’t you at least change back into your old clothes then?” Kweli asked, sounding like maintaining a professional tone was becoming a struggle.
“Those… will definitely not fit either.”
“Well how can that be?”
At that, Cody sighed in frustration, knowing he wasn’t going to be able to convince Kweli of what had really happened. As a last ditch effort, he grabbed the door handle and swung it open, making sure he did so fast enough that Kweli couldn’t look away.
Indeed, once Kweli’s eyes landed on Cody’s body, his eyes immediately opened wide, and his eyelids shot up toward the ceiling. “Oh,” he said, not quite caught off guard enough to be taken out of his professional demeanour, but seeming like he’d certainly been brought close. “You know what, can I join you in there so we can close the door and–”
“Yeah, yeah,” Cody said, stepping aside so Kweli could enter the changing room with him before closing the door behind them. The changing room was already a claustrophobic fit for a guy as big as Cody was now, but with two people in there, it felt even more tightly packed. The fact that Kweli was still dressed in his full suit, while Cody was standing there in just his underwear, made Cody even more uncomfortable.
“Now,” Kweli said, regaining his professional tone. “I’m going to hazard a guess that you made a wish at the Wishing Scale, and you wished to get… bigger?”
“The Wi–you mean the old fashioned scale in the empty hallway by the entrance?”
“That’s the one.”
“Well… I did take my weight on it… and I might have said something about wishing my body would commit to being smaller or… bigger…”
“Mmhm, sounds like you got your wish.”
“How did you know?”
“It’s the only thing I know of in this mall that can change someone’s body that drastically that quickly. You’re lucky you were in here when it happened; some folks end up transforming out in the main area, where everyone can see them. And when that change involves clothes not fitting as well as they used to? It’s not a pretty sight.”
“You mean I’m not the only one?”
“No, far from it. But, most people who make weight-related wishes to be changed in, shall we say, the opposite direction.”
“Oh… yeah, I guess that makes sense.”
“Let me tell you something,” Kweli said, with just a bit of a devious grin. “We’re the closest mainstream outlet to both the women’s and men’s plus-size stores. In my time working here, I’ve been called to those stores at least a half-dozen times to bring clothes in sizes they didn’t carry so someone who’d just gotten their wish while in the dressing room didn’t have to walk over here in baggy clothes.”
“So, people have been transformed in dressing rooms before?”
“And it’s so asinine. Those clothes still fit them enough for them to be decent on their walk over here. But you, you don’t have a choice. So I’m going to make one them bring over some clothes that you can wear, so you can go over to the men’s big and tall store and get yourself some new styles over there.”
“You’d do all that for me?”
“Who else is going to?” Kweli asked rhetorically as he pulled up the contact on his phone, before putting it against his cheek. “Hi, Ron? Yes, it’s Kweli. Listen: remember all those times you had someone make a wish on the Wishing Scale and end up shrinking in your changing room, and you needed me to bring over clothes that fit them so they could come over here to buy more without embarrassing themselves? Well guess what day it is?… That’s right, my friend. Someone made the opposite wish, and now I need you to bring over some clothes for him to wear as he goes to your store… Bob, literally nothing we have in our store will fit him. Do you expect him to walk over in his underwear?… Thank you. I’d say bring over a 4XL shirt, just to be safe, and sweatpants to match, so we don’t have to worry about getting his waist size exact… Excellent. Thank you. Come meet us in the changing rooms.”
After hanging up his phone, Kweli looked at the ceiling with a happy expression on his face and said to himself, “I’ve been waiting to do that to him for so long.” He then turned back to Cody and, with a more professional tone, continued, “He should be over here soon with some clothes for you to put on so you can go shopping there instead. You’ll definitely find some new looks there!”
Indeed, once Cody had been extracted to the big-and-tall store and passed over to Ron, he got exactly the advice he was looking for. Nearly an hour and a half later, Cody walked out of the men’s big-and-tall store having spent more money on clothes than he ever had before, but he at least had the excuse of needing to replace his entire wardrobe. At the very least, opening up a frequent shopper’s account with the store had allowed him to earn a ludicrous number of points that day, points he’d spend when he inevitably came back for more clothes. But for now, he left the store to return to his car with eight bags of clothes, feeling like the protagonist of a chick flick after her makeover scene. Considering how much better he felt in his new outfit, it wasn’t an entirely unwarranted comparison.
As he walked back to his car, Cody wore one of the new outfits he’d bought that day, and one he felt especially spiffy in. Over top of a grey shirt with black trim, he wore a faded denim jacket, with black jeans to complete the look. Capping off the whole look was a massive smile. Cody couldn’t remember the last time he felt that happy.
All of the bags took up most of the back seat in Cody’s car. When he got in the driver’s seat, he was relieved to find there were still a good few inches between his belly and the steering wheel. It looked like he wouldn’t have to upgrade his vehicle because of his new size. After all the money he’d spend on clothing, that was a relief. It did take him a bit more effort to fish his keys out of his pocket, but once he did, he turned on the ignition and started driving home.
On the way home, Cody passed by Ursa Major, a bar that he’d been to quite a few times to try to meet some bearish fellow he might get along with. Usually the bar was full of middle-aged guys who had exactly the kind of body middle-aged men are supposed to have, not particularly fat guys. Even when those guys did go into the bar, they never seemed to have any interest in Cody. Now he had more in common with those guys than he did with his old self, but he still wasn’t expecting anything different if he went inside.
But something told him he should give it a try anyway. Maybe it was the boost of confidence he was feeling thanks to a spiffy new outfit. Maybe it was the thought that the Saturday crowd might have different folks than the one who had blown him off before. Maybe he was just really craving their chicken fingers, which were better than they had any right to be as a bar appetizer. Either way, as he approached the nearest highway exit, he surprised himself but turning on his right turn signal and driving off the highway, before driving to the bar.
It was about 4:00 PM when Cody turned into the parking lot, not the time of day when he expected the bar to be full of people. And yet, the parking lot had enough cars in it to indicate the bar had attracted a decent crowd that afternoon. Not enough that it would be crowded, to Cody’s relief, but enough that he might find someone inside who tickled his fancy. He just hoped the feeling would be mutual.
Once inside, Cody was surprised to see a completely different crowd in Ursa Major than what he usually got when he walked in. Rather than an overwhelmingly middle-aged crowd full of men, he found a crowd full of men of various ages, spanning from just old enough to drink to middle age, and with a healthy balance of men across the age spectrum. And most of them were quite far of the hefty side, from modest beer bellies to massive guts that could part crowds without a word.
But as he walked in, not even the guys near the door seemed to pay him any mind. They all kept to their respective conversations, their friend-groups and their cliques. Even the loners kept to themselves rather than look at Cody. With a sigh, Cody admonished himself for thinking his time at the bar would go any differently than it had in the past, and turned around to leave.
Those days, the scale took its sweet time processing the wishes of those who used it. It was all that could be expected of such an ancient machine, and considering the paltry five-cent fee, those who used the scale were definitely getting their money’s worth in efficiency. But the scale was nothing if not reliable. After quite some time had passed, a bell rang slowly inside, before a slip of paper emerged from the device. It read, “NOTICE ME”, and popped out before falling down lazily to join the rest on the floor.
Cody looked up to see one of the guys near the door standing with his back against the wall and a beer in his hand. A plaid button-up shirt covered a respectable beer gut that rested atop his faded jeans.
“You’re not going to just walk out like that, are ya?”
“I… I mean, I was planning on it.”
“Nah, come on, man. Stay a while. Just ‘cause this bar is named after a bear doesn’t mean we bite.”
Cody turned around to a different sight than the one that had greeted him when he walked in. Though everyone was still engaged in their own conversations, he spotted a number of guys looking of their friends’ shoulders, or their own, to catch a glimpse of him. Quite few would raise their eyebrows, nod upwards, and smile when they made eye contact with him. Cody wasn’t sure what had changed, but he supposed sticking around wouldn’t be the worst decision he could make.
“Alright,” Cody said to the man by the door.
“There you go,” the man said as he patted Cody on the shoulder.
Conversation at the tables around Cody grew hushed as he approached the bar. He chose an empty seat that was next to a fellow who looked like exactly the kind of person Cody was interested in. He wore a black sleeveless shirt, showing off the mosaics of tattoos that adorned arms, volumes of stories Cody would love hear one day. His belly was wide enough to expand well over the limits of the barstool. But rather than spilling over, his body maintained a firm, steadfast corpulence that took Cody’s breath away, indicating a rock solid gut hiding behind that back. Slicked back black hair finished of the look of a man that Cody couldn’t wait to get to know.
As soon as Cody sat down, the bartender was quick to tend to him. “What can I get ya?” he asked with a charming smile.
“I would actually like an order of chicken fingers, please,” Cody said with a smile.
“Easy enough. Anything to drink.”
“One order of fingers coming up!” the bartender said before walking off to get Cody’s drink.
“Coming into the bar just for a glass of water, stranger?” a comforting, somewhat boyish voice asked.
It was not the kind of voice Cody expect from the tattooed stranger, but he could roll with it. “You know, sometimes you just have a craving for chicken strips. Although, maybe I could buy you a drink?” Cody asked as he turned to face the man.
Cody was immediately thankful he’d gotten the full question out before he saw the man’s face, or else he would have been too flustered to finish his sentence. The man had a closely trimmed beard not unlike Cody’s, which connected to a mustache that made a goatee that framed his disarming smile. With his chubby cheeks and big brown eyes, he had an adorable and approachable look that Cody was not prepared. All in all, he was left speechless as he beheld just how handsome this man was.
“I’m all set, thanks. But I could go for some potato skins, if you’re offering.”
Coming back to his senses, Cody put on a smile again and said, “A man with his priorities in the right place,” before turning back to the bartender as he brought Cody’s water and said, “And an order of potato skins for my friend here.”
“Pedro,” the man said to Cody. Extending his hand, he repeated, “My name’s Pedro.”
“Cody. Nice to meet you, man.”
“Likewise. Anyone who buys me food is automatically on my good side.”
“Well, I hope I stay there,” Cody said, prompting both men to smile.
Conversation between the two remained just as smooth and pleasant as the afternoon turned to the evening. Of course, several other men tried to get Cody’s attention, and Pedro’s as well, and they’d entertain it for a while, but they always ended up back at the same seats next to each other. A few more appetizers got the two through the night, but when the bar started to get too crowded, they agreed it was time to leave.
In the cool air outside, the two left Ursa Major both laughing. “God, I’m so glad I met you tonight,” Pedro said.
“Me too,” Cody agreed with a wide grin.
“I mean, God,” Pedro giggled, before asking half-jokingly, “Where have you been all my life?”
“Just under your nose, I guess,” Cody answered. It wasn’t exactly an inaccurate answer.
“Well, I’m glad you came out of hiding,” Pedro teased.
“Me too,” Cody answered more sincerely.
“So where’s your car?”
“Uh, that way,” Cody said, pointing a few rows away.
“I see. Because mine is right here,” Pedro said as he slowed down next to a parked sedan.
“Ah,” Cody signed. “Well, I had a great time tonight.”
“Me too,” Pedro said. “Maybe we can see each other again after this?”
With a smile on his face, Cody softly answered, “I’d like that.” In response to Pedro’s wide smile, Cody brought his hand up to the side of Pedro’s face to feel his soft beard. “I’d like that a lot.”
Pedro looked into Cody’s eyes and smiled even wider. Cody rubbed his thumb along Pedro’s cheek, while Pedro lifted his arms to hold Cody around the sides of his chest. Raising his free arm to hang over Pedro’s shoulder, the two pulled each other close, until their lips locked.
There they stayed, wrapped in each other’s arms, lips saying with their touch what they couldn’t say with speech. With eyes closed, they could still read the other like flirty messages and good morning texts. They didn’t need words to communicate what needed to be said: Cody wanted Pedro, and for once, Pedro wanted him back.
As Cody pulled away, the two remained in each other’s embrace, slowly opening their eyes so they could see each other again. With smiles on their faces, they looking into each other’s gaze. Finally, Pedro broke the silence by saying, “We should meet like this again.”
“I’d love that.”