Contains: instant weight gain.
This story has been a long time coming.
When I was in high school, I worked at my hometown’s public library. While I was putting away books in the kids’ section one day, I found a book about how candy is made. Flipping through it, I found a photo of a hefty man drawing cream filling out of a vat, and pouring it into something that looked like a wide metal drinking mug. And being me, I imagined him drinking the filling straight from that mug. That moment has stayed with me to the point that now, over a decade later, I’m writing a story inspired by it.
Synopsis: Cory works as a quality assurance tech in a factory that makes candies, pastries, and other sweet treats. Though he’s sampled many of the factory’s wares, he’s never been able to try their cream filling, which expands greatly when exposed to heat. Until one day when he’s the last out of the factory, and gets a chance to try it. He soon learns why sampling the cream filling in its pre-expanded form is strictly forbidden.
“Now this is the real pride of our company,” Troy boasted as he led the tour of about 50 guests around the factory. “In this vat is the cream filling that goes into most of our pastries. You can see it being injected on the line to your right.”
The guests peered beyond the posts and belts that hemed them in to see various doughnuts, cupcakes, and other treats whizzing by. As the treats passed under a machine connected to the vat, lines of thin needles pierced them, moving with them to fill them with cream as they passed by. The needles then withdrew, going back into the machine as the treats went on their way.
“Now, if you’ve had any of our treats, you know we don’t skimp on the filling,” the tour guide continued. “So you might be wondering how such thin needles can fill those treats in such a short amount of time. If you will turn your attention my way, I shall show you.”
As the crowd congregated around Troy again, he took a blue index card from a pile they kept on a small table specifically for those tours. Pointing to a spigot at about chest height, he said, “With this right here, I can take a little of the cream out of the vat.” After tilting the handle barely off center, a small drop of the cream appeared on the end of the spout. Sliding the card on the bottom of the spout, he smeared the cream onto the card, making for a thin layer that was barely visible.
“As you can see, this is a very small amount of cream,” he said as he held the card above his head, allowing all the guests to see it. “But this is only the initial form of the cream. Our secret recipe creates a filling that starts out extremely concentrated, but reacts to heat by expanding greatly. Now, our pastries are filled when they’re piping hot, fresh out of the oven. As such, we only need to fill them with a little bit of this cream, but within time, it will expand to the amount you know and love in your pastries.
“Sounds far fetched, I know,” the tour guide admitted, to some smug reactions from the group. “But watch this.” After placing the card down, he rubbed his hands together, until he could feel that his fingers were plenty warm. He then held the card above his head again, holding it with his pointer finger over the smear of cream. With such a thin layer of cream on the card, the process took only a few seconds to start. As the tour guide felt the cream seeping out from between his finger and the card, he saw the group light up as the process happened before their eyes. This was his favorite part of the tour by far, and he never tired of seeing people’s reactions.
Once the crowd had calmed down, he lowered his hand. The cream had squeezed out around his finger in a U-shape that was nearly as thick as his finger itself. He tossed the index card into a nearby trash bin, before licking his finger clean. “And that’s how we’re able to get so much cream in our treats.” Walking away from the spigot, he continued, “Now I’ll show you where our chocolates are made.”
Cory was the last quality assurance tech to leave that night. He’d come in late due to a dentist’s appointment, and was making up time. Once 7:30 rolled around and he’d put in a full eight hours, he shut off his computer and put on his coat. It was quitting time.
Cory rarely left the factory that late. He was used to coming in early and working through lunch so he could leave at 4:00, and have more of the afternoon to himself. The factory was usually still buzzing when he left, with other workers doing their part to keep everything running smoothly. Sometimes he even passed a tour group on his way out.
But that night was different. Cory didn’t think 7:30 was that late, yet the factory was completely empty. He knew the factory would be more sparsely populated, but he didn’t expect the haunting sort of silence that greeted him as he left the QA lab. Looking around the factory, he couldn’t see another soul. The assembly lines, usually bustling with activity as they made sweets, now lay quiet and still. It felt like the factory was frozen in time. Like he was trespassing on ruins better left alone. In his four years of working at the factory, he’d never seen it that empty and still.
Nor had he heard it that quiet before. As his shoes landed on the ground, his footsteps echoed around him, a sound he was hearing for the first time. He looked around and listened intently for any sort of movement or sound, anything that might indicate that someone else was in the factory with him. But neither his eyes nor ears found anything. He was forced to conclude that he was alone.
With a deep inhalation, Cory strode toward the vat of cream filling.
In the four years he’d worked there, Cory had tested that filling many times, among many other fillings and ingredients. All those others, he’d been able to sample and occasionally enjoy as a treat, in limited amounts. But for four years, he’d never been able to satisfy his curiosity about what that cream filling tasted like. He knew that ingesting the cream filling in its concentrated state was strictly prohibited, and had never wanted to taste it more than he wanted to keep his job.
But he also knew precisely how much the filling expanded in the pastries. He knew the exact ratios of how heat affected it. He knew that if a person were to ingest a small amount of the stuff, it would not grow to a dangerous size inside of them. So why was it prohibited, when every other component was free for them to taste? It made no sense. And that night, he could finally break that nonsensical rule.
After approaching the spigot attached to the vat of cream, Cory looked around one more time to ensure he was alone. He listened intently for any signs that there was anyone else in the factory with him. Once he was sure no one would catch him, he reached for a card next to the spigot and placed it under the spout. Slowly, he pulled on the handle until just a bit of cream dripped onto the card.
After closing the spigot, Cory took a close look at what had fallen on the card. The dollop of filling was about the size of a pea. It was uniformly white, and smelled strongly of vanilla. It was a familiar smell for him, one he smelled any time he took the cream back to the lab for testing. It teased his curiosity, daring him to try it, to taste the cream in a form the customers would never get to experience. It was just as tempting four years in as it had been on his first day.
With an eager smile, Cory brought the card close to his mouth and licked off the drop of filling.
Cory was immediately transfixed on the intense taste dotted on his tongue. It was like he’d opened a tub of vanilla frosting, dunked in a spoon, and plopped a dollop of it in his mouth, before pressing his tongue into the mound of decadence. All this from but a small drop. As he pressed his tongue against the roof of his mouth, the filling spread out, allowing even more of his taste buds to bask in the incredible decadence of it all.
Of course, such a small drop didn’t take long to dissolve in his mouth. The aftertaste was as heavenly as the frosting itself, though the sensation was not nearly as potent. As delicious as it was, he couldn’t just walk away from the spout with a mere spectre of its delicacy haunting his taste buds. He wanted more.
Cory dropped the card on the floor and walked up to the spigot, placing his mouth over the opening. At the height where it stuck out, he only had to lean back a little to get his head underneath. Once his lips were around the spout, he gently pressed the handle, having just enough presence of mind to not want to pour too much out at once.
As the filling flowed out the spout, Cory’s eyelids fell nearly all the way closed. He let out a quiet moan as the rich mixture filled his mouth. To go from but a drop of the cream to it pouring forth over his taste buds was like nothing he’d experienced before. It was ecstasy in consumable form. A deluge of rich decadence begging to be gulped down.
And that was exactly what Cory did. With his mind fixated only on how exquisite the filling tasted, he reached out toward the handle on the spout. After a brief moment of hesitation, he pushed it all the way open.
The filling came out fast enough that Cory could gulp it down like he drank from a beer bong in college. The flavor was like staring directly into a projector showing the most beautiful painting he had ever seen. Like listening to his favorite song at a deafening volume. Like marveling at the moon if it were as bright as the sun. Yet the intensity only drew him more, daring him to swallow as much of the filling as he could handle.
Cory wasn’t sure how long he drank from the spout. Nor was he sure how much of the filling he’d consumed once he turned the handle back to a closed position. But as he wiped his mouth with the back of his hand, he didn’t much care. As the saccharine vanilla aftertaste reverberated in his mouth, he knew he’d ended his day on the best possible note. He felt satisfied, like after going out to a good meal was good friends and eating just a little bit more than he thought he could.
In fact, it was exactly that kind of satisfaction. As he strolled toward the exit, Cory realized he must’ve eaten quite a lot of the filling. He became aware of just how full and warm his stomach felt, like after eating a big pot of macaroni and cheese. It felt cozy, like napping after Thanksgiving dinner, knowing there was more to come and he’d end up even fuller.
Cory froze in place when he realized what a grave mistake he made.
The pressure in Cory’s stomach became a lot less cozy and a lot more troubling once he realized how much of the filling he’d swallowed in such a short amount of time. Given the pace of his gulping, he knew he’d swallowed a lot, and it was only going to get bigger. Though he knew all the information to calculate how big it would get, he forced the thought out of his mind, not wanting to think about the inevitable. For all the time he’d spent studying that filling, he had no idea how his stomach would react to it. As much as he’d wanted to taste the filling, he didn’t want to be the human guinea pig that would uncover that knowledge.
But it was too late. Already Cory could feel his stomach swelling out, the tension inside growing more pronounced. Looking down, his eyes opened wide and his eyelids shot straight up when he saw that his modest paunch had grown into a full-on gut. He wouldn’t have called himself skinny before, but he figured his belly was pretty typical for a guy starting middle age. Now it was big enough that he wasn’t just pudgy. He was fat, and growing fatter.
The buttons of Cory’s shirt were straining to hold in his swelling belly. Between the buttons, his expanding gut pushed the sides of the shirt apart, revealing the growing ball of flab inside. His belly kept bulging out until he heard a ripping sound, followed by something plastic bouncing on the ground. Before he could fully comprehend what had happened, the sound repeated a few more times, until his shirt had blown open. The flaps on either side framed his gut like curtains, drawn to the side to show his growing belly. And it wasn’t showing any signs of stopping.
With the filling having expanded so much inside Cory’s stomach, he felt a feeling similar to the food coma he got after any Thanksgiving or Christmas feast. His belly was stretched painfully tight, feeling like it could burst. He found himself forced to lean back to account for how far forward his center of gravity had shifted. And he was struggling to keep his eyes open, his body growing fatigued from digesting so much food.
Cory struggled to stay standing, wavering around as the effort required to remain upright increased. Yet in spite of his circumstances, he found the panic inside him receding, as if being pushed aside by his expanding stomach. As dire as his predicament was, the satisfying feeling of fullness had a greater pull on his mind. It felt similar to the euphoria that kept him gulping down more of the filling than he should have. Given how much of the filling he’d consumed, he knew the filling had plenty more expanding to do. Which meant the euphoria was going to grow even stronger.
As his surroundings became hazy, Cory no longer regarded the stretching in his stomach as an unpleasant sensation. It reminded him more of the ways he’d heard people described as being filled with happiness. Bursting with delight. Teeming with joy. It wasn’t some kind of excess to be scorned; it was a bounty to be enjoyed, much like those holiday feasts. And like those holiday feasts, he was going to enjoy it without shame or remorse.
As Cory sank into his new euphoria, the pleasure fogged not just his vision, but also his awareness of just how much his gut was growing. His continued struggle to remain upright made it clear that his center of gravity was still shifting. But the size of his belly was harder to grasp, much like his belly itself. With his hands on either side, he held onto his gut like doing so could help him keep his balance. Yet in spite of his best efforts, he couldn’t reach around it to hold onto the bottom. It was simply too wide.
Cory could barely keep his eyes open as the cream kept expanding inside of him. His awareness of his surroundings grew hazy, and he could barely tell the walls from the ceiling. Just standing in place required all his focus, his legs now spread farther apart as he leaned on one of the posts that kept the tour goers to the approved route. But even using it like a cane couldn’t keep him upright forever.
As Cory dipped in and out of consciousness, he became aware that he wasn’t having to expend quite so much effort to stand. He could see enough to realize he was no longer looking at vats and machinery, but rather, the comparatively featureless ceiling. It seemed he’d fallen down.
The little voice of worry in the back of Cory’s mind was soon silenced as that euphoric feeling swept over him. With no strain or effort being expended to stand up, he could relax completely, letting his muscles go limp. All except his arms, which reached up to feel the sides of his expanding gut. Cory was far too gone to fathom just how big his belly had grown, or how much its weight pushed down on him. All he knew was that he was huge, and he enjoyed it.
Any doubts or cares cleared out of Cory’s mind as it became like the filling itself: a fluffy, monochromatic, saccharine cloud of joy. With his eyes barely open and his mouth agape, he stared up at nothing in particular, letting the waves of ecstasy roll over him one after another. His belly weighed on him like a pile of blankets on a cold winter night, rendering all attempts at rolling over, let alone getting up, futile. Those attempts were short-lived, as he soon found the relief of lying back preferable to the discomfort of trying to move.
Lying on his back, Cory found staying awake to be more effort than it was worth. Though he had a nagging feeling that he shouldn’t fall asleep, the hazy cloud over his mind suppressed that feeling with ease. He let out a final contented sigh as his eyelids closed one last time, and he drifted off to a deep slumber.
Troy didn’t understand why the company offered such early tours of the factory. The 8:00 AM tours never garnered many guests, but they still required him to come to the factory at 7:00 AM to check the tour route. It was company policy to check the route an hour early, to give them time to address any problems found. In his two years as a tour guide, Troy had only once found a problem on the route that needed to be addressed. And yet, that was enough for management to keep him checking the route every morning. So he did so dutifully, before going back to his car to take a nap before the first tour started.
Troy walked past the receptionist working at the front desk and bid her good morning. After walking past the cafeteria and bathrooms, he swiped his badge to get into the factory floor. With a sigh, he prepared for yet another uneventful morning of walking around the tour route.
The dough crew was already there, making the dough that would make up most of the treats. One of them gave Troy a thumbs up, letting him know everything was good to go on their end. From there, Troy strolled past the conveyors that brought that dough to the other parts of the factory, as well as the machines that would mold them into their various treats. It was so routine for him that he could barely keep his eye out for anything out of the ordinary.
Fortunately, the out of the ordinary that day was easy to notice. After he rounded the corner to the cream filling vat, he stopped in his sights and took in a sight he wasn’t sure how to process.
Lying on the ground in front of him was a man fatter than anyone Troy had seen in the factory before, with a belly like a bean bag chair, rising and falling with his snoring. It was nearly spherical, losing some height to gravity as it spread out over the floor, but otherwise maintaining an impressive globular shape. The pale mass of flab stuck above him like a hill, a tranquil protrusion in the landscape as he slept peacefully on the hard factory floor, as if there were nothing embarrassing about his circumstances.
The man’s belly and chest were completely bare, as the remnants of his clothes lay underneath him. The sleeves of the shirt and legs of the pants were torn at the seams, split about half-way down his burly arms and meaty thighs. The clothes looked like they were made for someone half his weight; what they were doing on him was as much a mystery as what he was doing on there on the floor. Only his underwear and shoes were intact, and his underwear looked ready to snap.
“What the hell,” Troy muttered.
That noise seemed to stir the slumbering giant, causing him to snort. With his sharp inhalation, his stomach was briefly pulled in, before he loosed it again and it jiggled vigorously. Troy stepped back, as if he’d woken a wild beast. But the man was not so bothered, his head falling back slowly as he continued his snoring. His vast stomach soon calmed down too, expanding and receding like waves on a beach.
Pulling out his company phone, Troy called the factory supervisor, Brenda, his point of contact if he found anything out of the ordinary during his morning check. “Hey, I’ve run into a, uh, problem that I think falls under your jurisdiction…” he whispered into the receiver. “I think it’s better if you just come see it. I’m at the cream filling tank.”
Brenda arrived soon after. As she rounded the corner like Troy had, Troy saw her stop in her tracks when she saw the problem he was talking about. But soon her shocked expression turned into one of frustration, and she let out an exasperated sigh. “For fuck’s sake,” she muttered, less surprised by what she saw than Troy had been. Pulling out her own phone, she dialed a number and said, “Yeah it’s me. Listen, bring the forklift to the cream filling tank.”