A Boundless Future, or: It’s a Wonderful Gut

Contains: long-term weight gain and sexual themes.

Like my previous two stories, this one was inspired by a conversation with BiggerIsBest7. Unlike those two stories, it was not based on a piece of his artwork. It started with him suggesting an idea for a story involving someone waking up much fatter than they were the day before. As we brainstormed ideas for that story, we laid the groundwork for what would eventually become this story. Ironically, I ended up not making the story about someone waking up fatter. But BiggerIsBest7 still deserves credit for most of this idea, and for the title “A Boundless Future”. (I still loved my own title idea, though, so I appended it to his title, Dr. Strangelove style.)

Synopsis: Darnel doesn’t mind the weight he’s gained recently, but his friends, family, and boyfriend all seem to. He joins a gym to try to lose the weight, but after one day, feels ready to quit. That is until he meets a personal trainer, Sunny, who can show him what his future will be like if he doesn’t lose the weight. But neither Darnel nor Sunny expect the future that that fatter Darnel is living.

Darnel panted as he hobbled away from the treadmill. He felt like a sweat-soaked mess, and looked like one too, his brand new workout tank top soaked all the way down to the top of his ample paunch. He could feel that his underwear was soaked too, which didn’t bode well for the state of his shorts. If he wanted to stick to his workout regimen without doing laundry every day, he’d have to buy more tops and shorts. He wasn’t thrilled about the idea, as the gym membership alone left him feeling like he was paying for the “privilege” of torturing himself.

As he made his way to the locker room, Darnel passed by a scale on the floor. It was one of those fancy digital ones, with the LCD display blank, waiting to be stepped on so it could dispense judgement. With a sigh, Darnel stepped onto the scale. Looking down, he realized he’d have to bend forward to see the reading, as his belly was blocking his view. He didn’t have to lean forward much, but the fact of having to lean forward at all was new to him.

284.7. He’d officially gained over 50 pounds since he started working his new job six months before.

To Darnel, this wasn’t a bad thing. He hated his first job, where he’d worked moving boxes in a warehouse. It left him sore at the end of the day, badly enough that when he got home, he just wanted to collapse onto his bed. As such, he picked up a lot of fast food meals on the way home, the greasy taste and questionable quality a necessary trade-off for not having to make the food himself.

All that heavy lifting left Darnel quite muscular. He didn’t quite look like a bodybuilder, as he was built for strength, not to show off. But he still had some well-defined arms and a fairly chiseled midsection to show for all that work. He knew a lot of guys would have killed to get that physique, and plenty more would have killed to get with him because of it. But any attention he got for his muscles just reminded him of how much he hated his job. It was the one silver lining, and the dark cloud had dulled its lustre.

So when Darnel’s years of teaching himself database management had landed him a nice desk job, with better pay, better hours, and a better work environment, he was happy as could be. With all his free time, he taught himself to cook, and was eating a lot healthier than he could before. Sure, he was still eating a lot, but with his new salary, he didn’t have to be stingy on the basics, like food.

But now, six months later, that eating was catching up to him. It seemed he’d developed a larger-than-normal appetite working such a physically demanding job, and that appetite hadn’t abated now that he was sitting down all day. He wasn’t just gay fat or dad bod fat. He was fat fat.

And it seemed everyone in his life was letting him know. His friends, his boyfriend, his parents and siblings had all expressed concern over how hefty he was getting. Even his coworkers were making passing remarks, telling him he was “fitting in” with the new environment a little too well. He didn’t dare tell them that he was tucking his shirts into his pants because if he didn’t, they wouldn’t cover his stomach. Or that he wasn’t buttoning his pants or shorts anymore, because they couldn’t button, and hiding that with a belt.

Which was why he found himself in that torture chamber more often called a “gym.” After all the remarks, he’d decided he was finally going to do something about his growing waistline. Even though he didn’t particularly mind it, if so many people in his life were concerned, maybe he should listen.

But as he shuffled into the locker room, he was already thinking of cancelling his membership on the way out. It was a thought that permeated his mind as he removed his smelly clothes and put them in the plastic garbage bag he’d brought to keep them from ruining his good clothes. It stayed on his mind as he ambled naked into the showers, to wash off the unpleasant film of sweat.

Only one other person occupied the communal showers, another man about Darnel’s age, showering in the first shower on the left. He had the sort of muscular look that Darnel had when he moved boxes, but seemed a lot happier. With a silent nod, the two acknowledged each other’s presence, before Darnel took the first shower on the right.

“Not a lot of privacy in here,” Darnel commented.

“No,” the man chuckled. “I’ve been trying to convince them to install some curtain rods, but they just don’t listen.”

“You work here?”

“That I do. Sunny, personal trainer.”

“Darnel, uh, first-timer.”

“Hey, good for you!” Sunny lauded. “Welcome to the first day of a new part of your life.”

“Might be the last too,” Darnel muttered as he pushed in the level on the soap dispenser.

“Thinking of giving up already?” Sunny asked sympathetically.

“Good guess. I’m surprised you’re so chill with it.”

“You’re far from the first person to feel discouraged on their first day,” Sunny assured him.

“It’s not just discouraged. I hated it. I’m sweaty, I’m sore, and I never want to see a treadmill again as long as I live.”

“Hey, I get that. I really do. That’s the trouble with working out: the benefits are all long-term. You gotta stick with it and trust it’ll be worth it.”

“I don’t even want to lose the weight,” Darnell blurted out. “So I got comfortable and packed on a few pounds. So what?”

“If you need some convincing,” Sunny said more seriously, stepping out of his shower and closer to Darnel, “I just might be able to help.”

“How’s that?”

In a quieter voice, Sunny continued, “I can show you what the future will be like if you don’t lose weight.”

“Yeah, yeah, I know. High blood pressure, joint pain, heart attack, dying alone. Everyone’s told me that.”

“Oh I don’t mean generic scare tactics,” Sunny assured him, smiling as he lowered his eyelids. “Come on, I’ll show you what I mean.”

“And where are we going?” Darnel asked.

But before he could get his answer, he saw the steam from his shower growing more dense, as if the room had cooled and thickened it. The steam grew so thick that the walls around them faded out of sight, until Darnel could only see Sunny and himself, surrounded by nothing but white. “How are you doing that?”

“That’s the less important question,” Sunny said, his voice now echoing within the nothingness. “And I already answered your first question: we’re going to your future.”

“What the hell?” Darnel muttered. As he looked around, he found no more clarity, only fog surrounding them. Even the walls that had just been right next to him were gone. As he reached out into the fog, he felt only its cool moisture on his arms.

But before long, the fog above him cleared, letting sunlight in to illuminate the both of them. Darnel felt the air around them warming, and the walls of fog clearing. Ambiguous shapes became clearer, as Darnel could make out houses and people around them.

Once the fog had faded completely, Darnel found himself and Sunny on the street in some kind of coastal town. There were crowds of people walking past them, as if some kind of event was going on. Judging by all the rainbow flags, it seemed they’d found themselves in the middle of Pride. Darnel smiled a comfortable smile, as there were certainly worse places he could have been brought.

He felt much less comfortable as he realized both he and Sunny were still naked. He shoved his hands in front of his crotch, feeling his arms press against his flabby midsection. “Why are we still naked?”

“Oh, don’t you worry,” Sunny assured him. “These are but visions of the future your current path leads to. No one here can see you, nor hear you. Technically, they’re not even real. Besides,” Sunny said as he pointed to a shirtless and especially large man in the crowd. “He doesn’t seem uncomfortable.”

“Yeah, but he at least has shorts on,” Darnel objected, before taking a second look at the man in question. He walked toward the two with a stride of utter confidence, showing no shame about letting his impressively rotund and hefty belly hang out for all to see. His face was just as round as his gut, while his chest stuck out enough to rest on top of his gut like pillows. His wide arms swung back and forth as he maneuvered his imposing weight.

Yet in spite of looking about 200 pounds heavier than Darnel, the man seemed eerily familiar. He stared at the man’s face intensely, trying to figure out what about him was so recognizable. He stared with narrowed eyelids, until his eyes opened much wider. “Is… is that me?”

“Oh, he’s getting the picture,” Sunny quipped with a smile.

“Is that really how fat I’m going to get if I don’t lose weight?”

“It is indeed,” Sunny assured him, before placing a hand on his shoulder. “That’s your future if you continue down this path.”

Darnel was transfixed by the swollen visage of his future that approached them. He moved at a slow speed, all his motions deliberate, as one had to do while maneuvering that much heft. He stood up straight, likely forced to lean backward to account for how much weight he carried in front of himself. Yet his posture gave him a stately air, an impression reinforced by how proudly he showed off his belly.

And what a belly it was. It stuck out several feet in front of him, and was just as tall, jutting out with a presence all its own. Though most of his girth came from his gut, he had love handles that stuck out just enough that his midsection was wider than his shoulders. Though he moved slowly, his belly and chest bounced with every step, as if shocked that he was still moving.

That was certainly how Darnel felt, wondering how he could still be moving at such a size. But his future self kept walking anyways, smiling a smile that left Darnel wondering if his own smile was that charming, or if that had come with his new size. “Wow,” he marvelled.

“Wow is right,” Sunny said. As Darnel moved to the side to let his future self pass by, Sunny walked toward the plump premonition and continued, “A small choice you make today can have…” Sunny reached out and patted the side of future Darnel’s belly quite heartily, causing it to vibrate even more. “…big, big consequences.” Darnel’s future self walked on unfazed. It seemed Sunny was right that no one would notice them.

What future Darnel did notice was someone calling out “Woof!” as he passed by.

Darnel looked toward the person who’d said it, a muscular fellow who looked like he spent a lot of time in the sun. He was wearing sunglasses and cargo shorts, with no shirt to obscure the view of his impressive figure.

“Hey, thanks!” Darnel’s future self called back. “What’s up?”

The man turned around to casually amble toward Darnel. “Oh you know, just looking for some trouble.”

“Oh yeah?” Darnel asked as he approached the man as well, before his gigantic belly bumped into the man’s abs. “What kind of trouble?”

With a chuckle, the man started rubbing the sides of Darnel’s belly. His hands glided slowly around the expansive orb of flab, as if they could barely get a grasp on it. “The same kind it looks like you’re looking for, big guy.” The two shared some deep chuckles, while Darnel leaned in closer, his imposing heft pushing the man back. The stranger didn’t falter at all, still rubbing Darnel’s gut appreciatively. “Where are you staying?” he asked.

“Just down the road,” Darnel said as he pointed to a hotel down the street.

“That’s closer than my spot. What say we go to yours and…” Inching closer to Darnel, the man leaned over his gut and placed his hands over Darnel’s shoulders, before interlocking in fingers behind Darnel’s neck. “…get to know each other better.”

“Sounds good to me,” Darnel replied. By then, the stranger was nearly perched on Darnel’s belly, in spite of his arms stretching straight out to give him as much reach as possible. And yet, Darnel didn’t seem at all uncomfortable with the attention. “I’m Darnel.”

“Max,” the man replied. “Good to meet you, Darnel.”

“It’ll be even better once we’re away from all these prying eyes.”

“Ooh!” Max exclaimed, batting his fingers coquettishly at Darnel’s chest. “You’re a feisty one.”

“I’ve been told as much,” Darnel said with a smirk.

With an amorous laugh, Max concluded, “Why don’t you show me?” Sharing mutual smiles, the two walked off toward Darnel’s hotel, Max’s hand still on Darnel’s belly.

After watching his future self walk off with the randy stranger, Darnel looked back to Sunny, who looked even more dumbfounded than he was. “So, uh… is that what you meant to show me?”

“I must admit, I did not see that coming.”

“What do you mean you didn’t see that coming? Can’t you see the future?”

“I can show the future,” Sunny corrected. “It’s a different skill.”

“A different skill?” Darnel repeated mockingly.

“It’s like how if you work out your arms exclusively, your legs won’t get any stronger. And let’s just say I’ve been skipping leg day a lot,” Sunny confessed as he looked toward the ground beside him. “So, no, I can’t see the future until I’ve taken you there. You’re just as clairvoyant here as I am.”

“Okay, well… if that was meant to encourage me to lose weight, it didn’t really work,” Darnel said, still confused by what he’d seen, but knowing that nothing about it seemed negative. “Got anything else or can I go home now?”

“Oh, I’ve got plenty,” Sunny assured him. “After all, this is just one weekend of your future, which happened to feature a beach-side vacation.”

“Well, I must be doing pretty well if I can afford to vacation here.”

“Not necessarily,” Sunny said, raising his pointer finger. “After all, a one-time fling is no substitute for a loving, supportive relationship. Let’s see how that’s going for you.”

With a sigh, Darnel said, “I guess,” as the world around them disappeared once again in a white fog.

When the fog cleared, Darnel and Sunny were inside an expansive open-floor house. He could see a living area with couches and a widescreen TV, a kitchen with an island and several stools, a dining area with a table and chairs, and the foyer they stood in. The decor was impeccable, and the windows ahead of them looked out over a scenic mountain view. “Where are we?” Darnel asked.

“Your house.”

“So far it looks like I’m living the good life,” Darnel chuckled. “Guess that desk job worked out pretty well for me.”

“A life full of material possessions, perhaps. But how much is it worth if you spend it alone?”


Looking at his smart watch, Sunny said, “You should be arriving home soon.”

Indeed, a mere moment later, Darnel heard the door behind them open. Standing in the doorway was his corpulent future self, carrying a duffle bag over his shoulders and pulling a rolling suitcase behind him.

“You see–”

“I’m home!” Darnel’s future self called out, interrupting Sunny’s little speech, leaving him with eyes open wide and a blank expression.

“Oh, my darling,” they heard someone shout out from upstairs, followed by the sound of hurried footsteps. Looking up the stairs, Darnel saw another man coming down excitedly. He was thinner than all of them by far, as his fitted clothes made clear. He had some amount of muscle tone, like he spent some time in the gym, but not quite as much as Sunny. The man raced past Sunny and Darnel, as future Darnel dropped his suitcase, let his duffle bag fall to the ground, and opened his arms.

The man jumped up for a hug, wrapping his arms around Darnel’s chest, while Darnel enveloped the man’s shoulders in his giant, burly arms. Both men let out affectionate “Mmm”s as they nuzzled the side of each other’s cheeks. Darnel’s gut stuck out so far that the man’s feet hung at least a foot above the floor as he leaned over it. And yet, without missing a beat, he leaned his head back before he and Darnel gave each other a kiss.

“Who’s he?” Darnel asked, looking at Sunny confusedly as he pointed to the man with his thumb. “I don’t know this guy.”

“I… that’s your husband,” Sunny admitted slowly, seeming even more shocked by the discovery than Darnel.

“Come on,” Darnel’s future husband said. “Let me help you take these upstairs while you tell me all about your trip.”

“Gladly,” Darnel sighed, as he slowly bent down to pick up the handle of his rolling suitcase. Before he could bend down too far, his husband reached down and picked it up for him, before placing it in his hand. “Thank you,” he said, smiling before the two exchanged another quick peck.

Once his husband picked up the duffle bag, the two made their way to the second floor. In spite of future Darnel’s size, he seemed to have no issue walking up the stairs, even while carrying a suitcase with him. He moved a bit slower than Darnel would have, but he made it up without issue, and kept walking once they got to the top.

Darnel ran after them, rushing up the stairs as Sunny rushed after him yelling, “Hey, wait!” But Darnel paid him no mind, making it to the top before following the two through the only open door in the upstairs hallway. The luggage was on the bed, and the two were embracing once again. Rather than hugging, Darnel’s hands were on his husband’s shoulders, while Darnel’s husband had his hands on the side of Darnel’s mountainous gut. The two swayed side to side as if they were slow dancing, though their smirks suggested a motivation less purely romantic.

“Did you have fun at Bear Week?” his husband asked.

“Oh yeah,” Darnel replied, nodding confidently.

“How many guys did you hook up with?”


“Five? That’s a lot less than your ten last year.”

Darnel and Sunny both looked at each other with wide eyes. “And I’m in an open relationship too?” Darnel asked.

“I guess so,” Sunny blurted out.

“It’s a lot easier to get a higher number when you’re hopping from a threesome to a foursome,” Darnel’s future self chuckled. “I wanted some more intimate encounters this time.”

“Aww, don’t tell me you’re losing your fire,” his husband said, tilting his head down as he looked up at Darnel.

“Far from it,” Darnel assured him in a quiet, deep voice.

After placing both his arms on the side of his husband’s chest, Darnel threw him onto the bed, where he landed with a giggle. After kicking off his shoes, Darnel soon joined his husband on the covers, straddling his hips as he kneeled on the bed. With a wide, toothy grin, his husband reached out to play with his belly, pushing at it as he rubbed the soft bottom. “I will never get tired of playing with this thing.”

“How can you when there’s so much to play with?” Darnel asked sultrily, before leaning over to bring his mammoth gut closer to his husband. He didn’t have to lean far forward before their stomachs touched, partly because of how giant his belly was, and partly because his legs sunk so deeply into the bed.

Before the two got into it, however, a white fog quickly enveloped them, along with the rest of the room. “Hey!” Darnel called out. “What was that about?”

“I can’t abide voyeurism,” Sunny said sternly. “Not when it’s nonconsensual, anyway.”

“But you said they aren’t even real!” Darnel objected. But it was no use. Any sight or sound of the future couple was gone. With a sigh, he continued, “Anyway, wasn’t the whole point of that trip to show me that I’m alone?”

“I will admit, I did not expect a husband to enter the picture,” Sunny said as he looked down. “Especially one who… likes you for your size.”

“I guess this trip is just full of surprises, then,” Darnel said snarkily. “I guess I won’t be lonely after all.”

“Not necessarily,” Sunny objected, his confidence returning to his voice. “What of your friends? The ones who are so worried about your weight and insisting you lose it?”

“You’re suggesting they’re shallow enough to ditch me because of that?”

“People move. They grow apart. They’re busy. If you don’t maintain your friendships, you’ll end up with no friendship to maintain,” Sunny said forebodingly, as the fog around them cleared to reveal a new location.

The two were now inside a bar that Darnel didn’t recognize. He covered his crotch, before remembering that he and Sunny were effectively invisible. Through the windows, he could see there was some daylight left. That, he reasoned, explained why only about half of the tables and stools were occupied, and the level of noise was limited to a nice, genial hubbub.

Darnel still didn’t understand why Sunny had brought him there, until he looked behind himself and saw his future self sitting at one of the tables. He wore a dark purple shirt and cargo shorts held up by checkerboard suspenders. His chair was pushed out far from the table to make room for his protuberant gut, and he had some sort of clear, carbonated drink in front of him. Leaning back in his chair, his hands rested on the top of his belly as he fiddled with his phone.

“Looks like someone is wanting for company,” Sunny said.

“Then why am I at such a big table?”

“Darnel!” a voice called out from the door. Darnel covered his bits again, only to realize the person wasn’t calling out for him.

“Hey!” Darnel’s future self called back to the group of four people walking in. Darnel didn’t recognize any of them, but they all smiled at his future self as if they’d known him for years. They were a varied sort, with tattoos and piercings and colored hair aplenty, not precisely characteristics of the company Darnel kept. But he couldn’t help but feel like they looked way more interesting than his current friends.

“Sorry we’re late,” the woman in front said. “Took us forever to find parking.”

“Ah, it’s cool,” Darnel assured her. “Travis was texting me the whole time and keeping me updated.”

“Good, good,” she said as she sat down, along with the four other members of the group.

With his curiosity peaked, Darnel walked closer to the group, standing behind his future self cautiously. Though he had no reason to believe he could alert anyone there to his presence, he still treaded carefully, as if stepping too close would expose him.

Once drinks had arrived, the conversation turned to Darnel. “So, what have you been up to, Darnel?” one of the friends asked him.

“Oh, you know, working, working out, the usual.”

“The usual?” another asked. “You and Charlie haven’t tried cooking anything new?”

“You gotta spice things up from time to time, my dude.”

“You’re gonna tell me about spice?” Darnel laughed. “You’re the most vanilla dude I know. You make ketchup look spicy.”

As the other friends laughed, the man Darnel was talking to lifted up his hands in a shrug. “Nothing wrong with the classics,” he said with a smile.

“Anyway, there’s only so many ways you can combine food that’ll taste good,” Darnel laughed. “But it’s never boring in our kitchen. I can assure you we’re both eating well.”

“Oh you look like you’ve been eating plenty well,” one of his friends commented, causing all Darnel’s friends to laugh, before he reached over to give Darnel’s gut a few hearty pats. His belly was like a bass drum, thumping out deep and reverberating notes, and sticking out in front of Darnel just as much.

Darnel’s heart sank. He thought this new group of friends wouldn’t be as judgemental about his weight as his current friends were. Maybe Sunny was right after all.

“You’re more right than you know,” Darnel said to his friends.

“Oh yeah? Why’s that?”

“Someone,” Darnel said coyly, looking side to side as if he were sharing a secret. “Might or might not have just passed 500 pounds.”

“Holy shit, dude, really?”

“Cross my heart and let it fry.”

“Well cheers to that,” another one of the friends said, before all five clinked their glasses together.

“That’s impressive, man,” the first friend said.

“Eh, you keep on eating and the pounds will come. And I just so happen to be of the opinion that most things taste better than being skinny feels. No offense, Cora.”

“None taken,” the thin woman at the other side of the table replied.

“Hey, there’s no need to be humble,” another one of his friends chimed in. “It’s obvious you put a lot of work in at the gym so you can carry that weight around. And you make it look amazing. Be proud of it.”

“Oh I am,” Darnel chuckled. “You know, it’s funny: because I’ve acclimated to my new size as it’s come, sometimes I don’t feel as huge as people tell me I am. But now I can just remind myself that I’m a quarter-ton,” he boasted, patting his massive belly.

“Absolutely,” one of his friends said, raising his glass to Darnel.

Darnel turned back to Sunny with a dumbfounded face.

“I know,” Sunny. “I’m surprised too.”

“I work out?”

Sunny stared at Darnel blankly, apparently not expecting that to be the detail that he couldn’t believe. He blinked silently, having no answer to Darnel’s question.

“Can I see me in the gym? After today, I gotta know how I managed to enjoy it.”

“Oh, yes, absolutely,” Sunny said, seeming to snap back to his usual confidence. “If we can find a workout regimen that works for you, that would be a wonderful discovery.”

“Yeah, yeah, can we…?” Darnel asked, the circular motion of his hand urging Sunny along.

The two were soon surrounded by fog again, before they found themselves in the same gym they’d departed from. Sunny smiled upon returning to his familiar stomping grounds. Darnel was more focused, looking around to find his future self and see what he was doing.

It didn’t take him long; his future self was hard to miss. Darnel saw him across the room, squatting with a ludicrous number of weights on his barbell. Mouth agape, he walked across the room, treading slowly, intimidated by his future self’s strength.

Sunny soon caught up, running past Darnel before stopping suddenly. “Holy shit, he’s benching 900 pounds!”

With two trainers on either side of him, spotting him in case of the worst, Darnel slowly lowered himself, before pushing up as his limbs shook. But he returned to a standing position, before slowly walking forward and racking the barbell once again. The two trainers let out whoops in celebration, before patting him on the back from either side. “How you feeling, big guy?”

“Never better,” Darnel panted, catching his breath before stepping out of the metal frame.

“Oh,” Sunny said. “You’re powerlifting. Suits a big guy like you.”

“Powerlifting,” Darnel repeated. “I’ll look into that.”

“I mean, it’s not really good for weight loss–”

“Thanks for always spotting me, guys,” Darnel’s future self said to the trainers.

“Hey, it’s a pleasure,” one replied.

“I’d go so far as to say it’s an honor,” the other added.

“Oh stop it,” Darnel said playfully. “It’s an honor to spot little ol’ me?”

At that, all three laughed, before Darnel bade them goodbye and they went their separate ways. Looking back at Sunny, Darnel asked, “An honor?”

“I’ve never seen anyone squat 900 pounds before,” Sunny said. “That would be a record for our gym if it were done today. And it’s probably not our only powerlifting record you broke.”

With raised eyebrows, Darnel watched as his future self made his way around the gym. He walked toward the locker rooms, but not before stopping at the scale. It was a new one unlike the one he’d stepped on earlier that day. Rather than a simple platform on the ground, there was now a metal plate at least four times larger, attached to a metal neck that led up to an LCD display, which rested at waist level.

Darnel’s future self still had to stand sideways to fit on the scale, or else his belly would bump into the display. Looking over his shoulder, he waited patiently for the number to appear. Darnel walked over to the scale, curious to see what it would read. He arrived just in time to see it read 503.7, and hear his future self chuckle deeply.

“Hoo hoo,” a gym goer commented as he passed by. “That’s quite the number.”

“Sure is,” Darnel said proudly.

“Hopefully that changes soon, huh?” the man said condescendingly.

“I don’t know about ‘soon’, but I wouldn’t be opposed to 600,” Darnel said, before strutting off for the locker room, while the man stood dumbfounded, mouth agape and eyes stuck in a vacant stare.

Turning back to Sunny, Darnel asked, “Since when did you guys get a scale with such a high capacity?”

“Since you outgrew the first one.”

“That was rhetori–wait, how do you know that?”

“What do you mean?”

“You said you can’t see the future.”

“I can’t see the future, but now that we’re here, you outgrowing that scale is the past, and I can access the past,” Sunny clarified. “The old scale had a maximum capacity of 400 pounds. Once you passed that, you politely put in a request for a scale with a higher capacity, and we got one.”

“All for me?” Darnel asked cheekily. “Well, with service like that, no wonder I came back.”

Sunny put on his best customer service smile. The artificiality of it wasn’t lost on Darnel.

“I’m amazed I could find workout clothes that fit me at that size. Will I really be able to find clothes that fit when I get that big?”

If you get that big,” Sunny replied, “I suppose so.”

“Can I see what clothing shopping is like for me?”

With a sigh and a shrug, Sunny raised the fog around them once again. When it faded, they were inside a clothing store, with thick mannequins and clothes bigger than any Darnel had seen on the racks where he normally shopped. “Big and tall. Makes sense,” Darnel said to himself.

“Oh, darling, you look wonderful!” he heard a familiar voice say. Making his way to the changing rooms, Darnel saw his future self modelling a light blue button-down shirt, with suspenders holding up light grey slacks. Though the solid blue color didn’t do much to emphasize Darnel’s girth, the line of buttons certainly did, hugging the curve of his gut as it winded down the front.

“And they fit so well,” Darnel’s future self commented.

“Well, you were a bit overdue for going up a size,” Charlie said quietly, an amused smile on his face.

“And you didn’t tell me earlier because…?” Darnel teased.

“I was too busy enjoying the view,” Charlie beamed. “But I know well enough that we’re better off having you go to Thanksgiving at your folks’ place in clothes that fit.”

“Yeah,” Darnel conceded, losing some of the enthusiasm in his voice.

“You nervous?”

With a long exhalation, Darnel looked to the side in thought. “It’s been over a year since they’ve seen me. Last time we saw each other was the wedding. I don’t remember how much I weighed back then, but it was less than 500.” Darnel stared at the ground and pondered for a moment, before looking back at Charlie and saying, “No, I’m not. Nothing they could say can change the fact that I’m happier now than I ever was when I was trying to make them happy.”

With a smile, Charlie walked up to Darnel and wrapped his arms around Darnel’s chest, standing on his toes to do so. After wrapping his own brawny arms around Charlie, Darnel continued, “And if worse comes to worse, we can leave early and make a dinner that’ll probably be better than anything they make.”

“Oh stop,” Charlie laughed, letting his head sink deeper in Darnel’s chest. “I mean, I don’t disagree,” he conceded, at which a wide smile spread across Darnel’s face. “Alright, come on. Let’s get some more day-to-day clothes for you.”

As future Darnel walked back into the changing room, Darnel turned back to Sunny and asked, “I haven’t seen my family in over a year?”

“You spent last Thanksgiving with Charlie’s family, and Christmas with each other. Not as dire as it sounds.”

With a slow nod, Darnel looked back toward the changing room, before turning to face Sunny again. “Show me that Thanksgiving.”

“The last one with your folks? Or with his?”

“The one they’re getting ready for now.”

“You might not like it,” Sunny warned him.

“I’ll take my chances.”

“As you wish.” Raising his hand, Sunny summoned the white fog around them yet again, and the big and tall store faded out of view.

When the fog cleared again, they were in Darnel’s childhood home. His parents, visibly aged but still recognizably their vibrant selves, were working in the kitchen to make dinner. What he didn’t see were either of his siblings. Usually they arrived before he did to help out, a fact he felt they often held above his head.

Looking at the clock in the kitchen, Darnel saw that it was 8:17. “What are we doing here so early?” he asked Sunny.

“Making sure we arrive just before you and Charlie do.”

Before Darnel could ask any follow-up questions, he heard a knock on the door. He watched as his mom walked over, unlocked the door, and opened it to see him and Charlie on the other side.

“Darnel, Charles! So good to see you two! Come here and give mama a hug,” she said. With Darnel standing on a step that led up to their front door, he was just low enough for her to get her arms around him, rather than being forced to face-plant into his giant belly. “Charles, you too, baby. You’re family too,” she continued, before giving Charles a hug with much less effort.

“What a warm welcome,” he said. “You can call me Charlie, though.”

“Of course, Charlie. Come in, come in! It’s cold out there,” she told them. Though with their light sweaters and stylish scarves, they didn’t seem to mind.

Closing the door behind them, mom turned around to face Darnel. “Darnel, honey. It’s been so long. You look so…” she stalled.

“Spiffy!” his dad called out as he came out of the kitchen. “How ya doin’, kid?” he asked, before wrapping his arms energetically around Darnel. The two swayed side to side as they hugged, with dad giving one final tight squeeze before letting go. “I hope you’re both here to help, because there’s a lot to do!” he said as he hobbled back into the kitchen. It seemed his knees weren’t much better than before, but Darnel was happy to see that still wasn’t stopping him.

“Oh, of course,” Charlie called back as he took off his scarf and hung it up on the coat rack by the door.

After Darnel and mom watched Charlie rush to the kitchen, she looked up to him and said. “You’re gonna go help your father too, right?”

“I’m going to help both of you, I hope.”

“Damn right,” mom said with a chuckle, nudging her elbow gently into Darnel’s side. After her elbow touched the side of his belly, her smile slowly faded, and she looked up and asked, “Have you… tried losing some weight, honey?”

“Nope,” Darnel answered, his proud smile steadfast on his face.

Mom looked into his eyes a while longer before asking, “Are you happy?”

“I am,” Darnel replied, confident and assured.

With a slow nod, mom replied. “Alright,” before the both of them slowly made their way back to the kitchen.

Darnel felt the knot in his stomach slowly untie upon seeing his mom’s acceptance of his future self’s weight. Out of all of his family, she’d been the one who’d pushed him hardest to try to lose the weight. To see her come around was the greatest relief he’d gotten from their trip so far. Smiling and teary-eyed, he looked at Sunny and said, “Let’s see how that dinner they’re working on goes.”

With a snap, Sunny skipped ahead to the whole family sitting down for dinner. There was mom and dad, his brother Benny and his wife, and his sister Keisha and her husband, all sitting around the dining room table, which was covered with food. Only two chairs were empty, one conspicuously larger and more solidly built than the other, with no armrests on the side.

Darnel and Charlie brought the last two dishes out of the kitchen and placed them on the table, before taking their seats. By then, Darnel had taken off his sweater, and was left wearing the button down shirt he’d bought before. Thanks to the suspenders, though, he still looked snazzy.

“Are you sure that chair can hold up Darnel?” Benny asked.

“Boy, I built that chair with my own two hands,” dad said, “And I can assure you, it’ll outlast you, your children, and their children.”

“What about their grandchildren?” Keisha asked.

“Let’s not get ridiculous, now” dad said, at which everyone at the table laughed.

“Such a beautiful dinner,” Keisha’s husband lauded.

“Why thank you,” mom said. “It wouldn’t have been possible without everyone’s help. Especially Darnel and Charlie. Thank you both for arriving so early.”

“Our pleasure,” Charlie said.

“Well, what are we waiting for?” dad asked. Soon everyone was passing around platters and filling their plates. All of the plates, Darnel’s included, were stacked high once the first round of passing was over. It seemed everyone was excited to dig into the meal.

“Say, Darnel,” dad continued. “Remember how last time you were here, you stayed at the table and ate all the food that was left?”

Darnel felt the knot return to his stomach as he waited to see where this was going.

“Could you do that again? It was really nice to not have to put away any leftovers.”

Darnel let out an exhalation of relief as he watched his future self laugh and reply, “There’s a lot more food this year.”

“And there were only five of us two years ago.”

“I’ll see what I can do,” Darnel promised, before he continued digging into his dinner.

Looking back at Sunny with a smirk, Darnel asked, “Can we see what I can do?”

Sunny seemed less-than-pleased by the request, but he snapped again, this time skipping to the end of dinner. His siblings and their spouses were washing dishes in the kitchen, while his mom and dad were in the living room, watching some old Christmas movie. Only Darnel and Charlie were left at the table, and true to his word, Darnel was still eating.

Only half of the dishes remained, the others having seemingly been cleared. With all the remaining items within his reach, Charlie was able to load up Darnel’s plate for him once he’d emptied it. Though Darnel wouldn’t have precisely been able to reach for the food before, he certainly couldn’t now, if the tightness of his shirt was any indication. Marks of strain were appearing in the cloth around the buttons, and it seemed that strain was only going to intensify.

For in spite of how much Darnel was filling out his shirt, he was still going strong and eating at a steady pace. With his plate resting on top of his belly, he scooped bite after bite of the Thanksgiving dinner into his mouth. He used his fork more like a spoon, carrying large scoops of the food rather than piercing smaller pieces.

As Darnel watched his future self eat, he expected Charlie to be put off by such gourmandizing. But Charlie seemed quite fond of how Darnel ate. Not only did he pile more food on Darnel’s plate when he was done, but he also gave Darnel frequent pats on his belly. Perhaps to compliment him on how much he’d eaten? Or to encourage him to keep going?

Darnel wasn’t sure, but his future self sure seemed to enjoy the attention. He’d smile at Charlie after every pat, sometimes chuckling playfully, sometimes grunting deeply, and sometimes letting out a groan indicating he was extremely full. But by his eating alone, one would not have been able to tell. He ate like nothing would stop him from finishing every bite, and leaving his parents no leftovers to put away.

And nothing did. After Darnel drearily put his plate down on the table, Charlie leaned in close and whispered, “That’s it, babe. You did it.”

Darnel leaned back in his chair with another groan, before slowly lifting his arms to massage the top of his enormous belly. The buttons on his shirt were strained enough that the sides had parted, and his undershirt could be seen. As he watched, Darnel couldn’t help but feel like he’d be self conscious if he were in that situation. But his future self seemed too deep in a glutted stupor to care.

“Come on,” Charlie said as he gave Darnel’s belly a few gentle pats. “Let’s get you to the living room so you can nap this off.”

Charlie stood up first, with Darnel not bothering to stir until Charlie extended his hand to help him up. He first pushed himself back from the table, ensuring he’d have ample room to stand. Once he took Charlie’s hand in his own, he grunted and leaned forward. Both men’s arms shook from the strain, but with Charlie leaning back and holding on tight, they got Darnel up.

Darnel looked like even more of a blimp than usual. The strain of his shirt buttons accentuated how utterly engorged he was, as did the short steps he took as he followed Charlie to the living room, his mouth hanging open. He moved so slowly that his belly didn’t bounce, rather gliding along like it was leading him to get some shut-eye.

As Darnel watched his future self walk off for a well-deserved nap, Sunny seemed to be growing impatient. “We should really be heading back,” he said.

“What’s the rush? Does time pass in the present while we’re out here?”

“Technically yes, but you will have experienced these visions so quickly that to anyone who would observe us, the amount of time between when we left and when we return will be negligibly short.”

“So what’s the rush?”

“Hey, you think this showing-you-the-future stuff is easy? I’m getting tired.”

“Maybe you should take this opportunity to train more, then,” Darnel teased.

“No, I think it’s time for a break,” Sunny said as the white fog engulfed the two yet again, and Darnel’s childhood home faded out of view. Soon the artificial light of the showers shone on the two again, the fog dissipated, and they found themselves back in the shower room, right in the same stalls they’d occupied initially.

“Well, that was certainly an… illuminating trip,” Darnel said as he turned the water off.

“Yeah,” Sunny said, turning off his own water with his head bowed down. “I guess I can’t exactly tell you that you should keep trying to lose weight after that,” Sunny admitted. “Most people that I take on a trip like that, they’re miserable in the future, and it speaks for itself. Not you, it seems,” he conceded.

But soon Sunny perked back up, and looked at Darnel with a smile. “You should look into our powerlifting classes. I mean, you won’t be able to squat 900 pounds when you start, but I think you’ll like them a lot more than the treadmill.”

With a chuckle, Darnel swiped the water off of his body. “I’ll check those out. Who am I to deny fate?”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s