I love food. And everything I say afterwards does not matter.
Just admit you’re a fat fuck, - you’d think.
And music – I love Marley and Cash, tried the guitar, I add ‘trying’ to seem interesting and witty. And you don’t register.
Just admit you’re a lazy pathetic lonely lardass, - you’ll have running through your mind, with your face perfectly and pleasantly vacant, not a hint of disdain on your part. What you’ll hear as a line of thoughts will be the voices of hundreds of bullies: angry kids, prude gossipers, faceless celebrity magazine writers and the rest of the prejudiced and normal-oriented society. Saying, will you sort yourself out. Saying, Jesus, have you tried an apple yet? Adding, you can shove the guitar up your half-haemorrhoidal butthole like the loser you obviously are and I just don’t see you doing anything right.
Shall the self-indulger receive no remorse. Gluttony is a sin.
My life is not shined over by that warm and optimistic artificial sunlight of a sitcom. My life is not over-contrasted with strengthened black like a scene in a horror movie. It’s not even tinted by the cold green of doom from The Matrix. My life
People always assume you’re fat because you want to be and you like it that way. Everybody knows nobody actually wants to be big and greasy, but what keeps spinning in your mind – and the velocity of the rotation is directly proportional to the size of the person in matter – is
How do you get so fat?
I mean what do you have to eat?… to get this fat?
How do you even manage?...
All the shocked looks, the sustained glares. Watching every inch of your fleshy body with both covert disgust and an amateurish scientific interest.
It’s not like anyone’s force-feeding you all the juicy greasy sugary shit you stuff your plump mouth with, all day every day. I mean get a hold of yourself.
My life is the flickering blue of a television, it’s a stained, crumb-sprinkled stripy old sofa, creaking in misery under my fat stinking pathetic ass. The light flashes once, twice, for a moment in between leaving in oblivion the grey water seeping walls, the rusty old kettle on the dirty off-white stove and all the cans and packets, wrappings, boxes and bags around on the floor. Then the light lingers on, changes to a faint red and orange, tinting my big bulging belly, with a hairy belly button looming out my holey faded discount T-shirt, the light flickers, then lights up my wide whale arms and my bulging chest with the baggy skin up till the fat, bloated, oil-oozing face. Only the TV sees my turgid big nose, glazing itself with the oily fat-sweat seeping through each of the big black pores, only the light witnesses my greasy flattened strands of colorless hair and my sleepy glassy eyes underneath. They don’t see anything, they haven’t been looking for a while. The look is of a blind man looking out inside of his mind.
And on the screen there’s Diana, crying all pitiful and small and unfashionable about how her husband cheats on her because she’s ugly, fat and old. On the screen there’s a perky curly-haired goddess telling our poor crying Diana she’s ugly and fat and old, showing our stupid Diana herself in a mirror, pointing to the wrinkles and the spots and her withered hair. On the TV, standing right by our miserable Diana’s side, her best TV friend, she tells her she will lose weight and they will fix her teeth.
On the screen, it the flickering blue light Depressed Diana cries her pathetic little heart out to her TV goddess, she nods and thanks, follows and agrees.
The trend self-depriving.
The love of losing.
The cult of starving.
My white shirt, I ironed late at night on the ground, having wiped the trash and food droppings away with my ample hairy arm. My shoes, I polished black to conceal the white superglue excess from the tips, my pants, two sizes too small and moldy smelling, my tie, I bought in a local store on the way out. My shirt and shoes and all that, I sit on a chair of trial, a forum, a windowsill. I am not getting a job today. My pants and my tie and all that, I don’t fit in any of the chairs so the guy behind a desk gave me his. It’s not like it’s a prejudiced workplace or anything. We wouldn’t want to inconvenience you,
You fat fuck.
My hair already piling with grease, my face accumulating sweat, I talk in well-formed sentences, I put my statements in points and articulate clearly. For a second I see the flickering blue light shine through my mouth as I hear it speak, I see that light shine through my own eyes, for a minute I am the TV, casting that cold blue stuffy light onto the lean solemn faces behind the desk.
I’m not poor Philip looking for a job. I’m not Worried Wendy rubbing her trembling hands under the table. Timid Ted never saying what he thinks, Overweight Oscar ashamed of submitting to his urges, Creeper Carl watching people interacting from afar because let’s face it people like him shouldn’t be allowed interacting with any normal people anyway.
I’m definitely not a fat panting pile of sweat nobody would take onto their backs, the mouth and voice enunciating unbelievably soundly and eloquently, positively and enthusiastically as if this interview had not been rehearsed and heard before, each question known and answer prepared. It’s like, and you probably couldn’t tell how the static nowhere looking eyes were replaying hundreds of scenarios just like this, playing back all the right things, how they were off with everything beyond them on catatonic stand-by.
Of course, - my mouth says, - the two of my main shortages I pay special attention to are my inclination to lose track of time and my deep engrossing into a problem I’m solving, so I’m usually better at working quietly, without voicing my thoughts.
Behind the colorful stick on pads, the plastic files and the wire phone the face smiles blankly with a yeah, right, how about losing some weight first. I mean Jesus, how do you get to this state. At least buy a pair of pants that fit, - you’ll have like on a tape running in your head. - Alright, well thanks for coming in, we’ll look to, er, contacting you, - you’ll hear yourself say. Betraying the voice of betrayal of your perfect image of yourself.
People always know what’s best for you. You can always ask a random onlooker what you should do with your life, or inquire one of your relatives about what you actually shouldn’t have done with your personal life in the recent years. You’ll get all the answers.
People know that if you’re fat you should only find other fat people attractive. Just like it’s gross when someone old wants to go for someone half their age.
Half my size. That’s what they said. That’s the phrase they used.
That’s why I dream of living where people like each other and want to make others happy. All in the blue gleam, where Sad Simon gets consoled after weeping on national television about his crooked rotten teeth and gets a temporary demo of a fix that will destroy what’s left but will last just until his welcome back party with the extended family for the cameras. Where Lonely Larry not only receives private allowances for his two kids he was left with after their mother died, but is also fixed on a blind date just now for the viewers. Where the blind and the crippled are inspirational, the beautiful and the talented are geniuses, the hosts and presenters are unquestionable, and everyone’s a star.
And I used to, you know, be happy.
The lightwood door inside my room closes, the blinds fully shut, my plump finger presses onto the red button on the greasy remote. A tubby child-like hand lets go of a plastic bag, shiny packets and bags and boxes and packages crinkle and set on the ground.
Happy friendly people laugh and applaud this, the blue light getting brighter and shifting inside the walls of my room. They laugh and whoop, and my big thighs and my flat feet trudge towards the bathroom.
A bright white light turns on, and there’s a tall wide mirror.
The love of loss.
The culture of deprivation.
The cult of starvation.
And what’s scary is it’s not a cult. It’s an idea that spreads along the heads of the herd, all thinking they’ve discovered something secret and revolutionary. It’s the opposite of how infomercials work: you’re effortlessly and instantly seduced by something you both have always known and never would have thought of, and only because it seems to have stemmed from your own mind.
In my late teens I came to realize I’m only the creation of opinions. I am what your omniscient self shall make of me. I am the materialized public opinion about myself.
The reflection of a reflection of a mirror.
I close my eyes and things come back, a recap of why you’re here, a funny little “previously on”. I see me put on my fat guy baseball cap, I pull on my fat man sweatpants and fat guy running shoes. I brush the crumbs off of my fat guy shirt and leave the room.
I have to leave the room. I need to get me some food. You have food. It’s not the same. I need happiness, it’s happiness. I need to buy some. You should save money. I have to go. You should lose weight. I am unhappy. Sad fat guy needs food. Sad fat guy goes out to buy some more food.
A skinny teenager in sports pants and a black jumper, twitching and jerking, spitting down every few steps and wiping his nose, he comes closer and closer to me. A bag and a wallet clutched between my sweaty t-shirt and my hand, I stop. The teenager looks at me, eyes squinting, his spotty red nose nostrils flaring, and says hey lard-ass, he says, off to get some candy, you fat loser? What the fuck is thi, he says and whacks my cap off. What have you got there?- he says, then spits again and wheezes through his ugly little nose. He jumps about, saying why don’t you give me your wallet, shithead? What, you can’t speak?
I watch his thin little scowling mouth, his hollow-cheeked head on his straining lean neck. He says, what the fuck are you lookin’ at? You fat piece of shit, he shouts and from his back pocket a switchblade smiles and leaps at me. My elbow jerks up and hits the teenager up his chin, he falls back for a second, then leans forward and with a scream he sticks the knife into my stomach.
His white shoe soles flash alternately, my fat man baseball cap flipped over nearby, my wallet by my foot. I notice two dark dots on my shoe. Then three. A numb pain below my left breast.
The white plastic doors open and a bell above rings. The store clerk walks out, he checks the clock on the cash-register screen then looks up.
He hold his cell phone to his shoulder with his cheek and shoves off the lid door of a freezer. Numb heat in my stomach. My eyes look down and the knife’s in my body, my t-shirt’s soaking in blood. I look up and the clerk is thrusting a bag of ice onto my belly, he says, hold this and keep breathing. He says, 24th Green street, a man stabbed in his stomach. I don’t know, he says, I think he’s in shock.
I look down again and my hand’s clutching a white plastic bag. The shiny crinkly packets and boxes and bottles and baggies. I look around and there’s so much color.
I’m not Hungry Harold who’ll eat anything he can find inside his home. I’m not Irresponsible Ingrid who spends all her money on silly useless stuff. And I’m definitely not Worthless Wilson who just got stabbed on his way to a 24 hour food & booze & snack store and who’s so fat he can’t even properly feel the pain from a wound of a blade torn into his pudgy fatty flesh.
And I look around, and there’s that blue light again. And there’s a crowd again cheering and laughing, a choir of children, so little, they mingle and say, toffiffee marmalade caramel syrup, chocolaty marshmallow, fat salty chips, and my head’s spinning, I feel a flat and cold something pressing into my left cheek, and the children go, creamy and milky, ice-creamy vanilla, and I puke out blood, and it’s hot and tastes of metal, I puke and puke and the knife slashes through skin, I hear, sugary savory sour and sweet.
I look in the mirror. There’s a guy. I know it’s me. Logically, if this is what I am seeing in a mirror, it must be me. Inside a different bathroom, another me. With my thumb and my middle finger I make a ring around my other wrist, I press and make the fingers overlap a little, proving it fits. Then I do the same on the middle between my wrist and my elbow. Then at the middle between my shoulder and my elbow, there it’s a little tight, but I press a little more and again feel the two fingers touch.
Seven orbs of brightness flash and keep intensifying until it’s blinding. It’s not the blue light. It’s the truth light. There’s only something going on in the middle, then some voices, metal clattering. Colors, something white, then something green.
What is your name, they say. Sir? Can you tell me your name?
I’m not Stabbed Samuel right now. I’m not Almost Alive Alan. Leave me alone.
My fat legs, tangled in starched white sheets, my face, stuffed with tubes plaster-taped onto the skin. My food, I now eat translucent plastic bags of mysterious liquids via an intravenous drip.
The ward, there’s no blue light anymore, no Lucky Larry telling us how he survived and how he’s lucky to be alive. The ward, there are no colorful crackly bags and packages or an old stained sofa. The ward, there’s a doctor facing me, saying, you have endured a stabbing in the stomach and while we managed to close the wound and stop the bleeding, you’ve lost quite a lot of blood. He then explains how weak I am and how I’ll stay in bed for a while. We’ve inserted what is called a J-tube into your small intestine due to a total gastric dysfunction. If you have any questions talk to the nurses, they’ll take care of you.
The ward is now me wondering what kinds of tubes in total have been shoved up my body. Hands trembling I touched down my back, then the front and slumped back with a panting sigh.
The ward is my next four months where my body lies, watching the light come in through the window, changing from orange to yellow to orange and sliding through walls. The ward is nurses and doctors, saying I’m getting better, saying I might be able to eat once more, saying the knife cut open and tore most of my stomach and all that unhealthy diet didn’t help, they say, so it’s a slow heal.
The ward is nurses bringing in plastic bags of transparent liquids and plastic bags of shrimp-pink paste, and it’s an IV feast of tubes four times a day. My dry mouth starts opening and closing like that of a suffocating carp in a shop, I start blowing bubbles out my mouth like a toddler, and with a sharp ache at my heart I feel tears, hot salty drips roll down the sides of my face into the ears, and they drip inside the ears and I let out a howl, followed by a sharp pain in the wound. The nurse rushes out for a minute, comes back with a syringe to me now bellowing and pouring tears, my nose hot and eyes stinging, I sob and I scream, I can’t do this! I can’t take this! And she leans into my arm with the syringe and in seconds it’s like I’d taken a vacation from life, my dry mouth is okay, my red eyes are okay and my fat stabbed stomach is just fine.
The love of losing.
Five months and nineteen days later I look in the mirror.
It’s a skeleton. I move back a little and the sad grayish face looks at me, it’s eyes dark purple hollows, cheeks deflated under pointy cheekbones. The mouth played by tightened dried skin staring long off-white teeth.
It’s a dead man, he’s dead. I look down and lift up folds and folds of a sheet of an old t-shirt, it would fall down off me if I didn’t throw it all onto the front so it hangs on my neck. I lift it up and there’s a vast pink patch of skin on the bottom left of my chest, a long curved stitched red line with a white plastic tube sticking out at its end. With my boney skeletal fingers and yellow barky nails I touch around the tube and press at the wound. I press into the thin skin, rippling on my ribcage. A live image of a concentration camp victim brought to you by bare collarbones and ribs featuring protruding pelvic bones.
A cadaver. I try smiling and immediately stop, because the man’s face had started stretching into a gruesome grimace, like death itself had just chosen you.
The doctor, he said, upon your discharging you will have to conduct feeding procedures through the tube, he said, this must be done regularly at least six times a day. All I hear is a choir of children, singing toffiffee marmalade caramel syrup. Until further notice, you must not consume anything through your mouth, do you understand? Chocolaty marshmallow, fat salty chips. He says, what remains of your gastric system is not suitable for food. Creamy and milky, ice-creamy vanilla. He pauses and adds, there’s a large possibility you will never be able to normally eat food again. Sugary savory sour and sweet.
The cult of starving.
Because indulgence corrupts.
I puke and puke blood, then I just gag, tears in my eyes I’m gasping for air and clutching my stomach, a golden wrinkly crackly wrapper in my fist, I’m vomiting off the taste of milk chocolate off my lips and I swear not to try again and I still know I will.
God knows how strong those stitches are. God knows what I have instead of a stomach inside there now. The audience quiet in discontent, they watch me get up and let go of the half eaten wafer bar, they watch it bump on the ground. I wipe my mouth and sit back down in front of the blue light.
The trend of self-depriving.
Basically, food is for all the losers, the weak-willed conformists who don’t know and never will know the truth.
A blind mindless herd.
Basically, you’re there to know better to not be like everyone else. You’re either with them or you’re segregated, alone, isolated, disjunct, sequestered.
Basically, now you’re the lonesome bovine embarking on trusting your mind to go further, to refine yourself, to self-perfect. To go beyond what you’ve been told about your needs. Just reach that little bit higher and really stand out. I’m now not Fat Franky made into Bulimic Betty.
I’m now the idiosyncratic digression from your statistics about stereotypical food lovers. I’m Special Susan. Crazy Cody. Hopeless Henry.
Right now if you look at me, I’m a bow-backed pale skeleton with some flappy skin here and there.
I’m Skinny Simon who needs plastic surgery. I’m Old Omar who’s locked up in his room. I’m Indifferent Irene, Depressed Douglas, Suicidal Simon.
I’m Delusional Derren who’s convinced he’s obese.
I’m Angry Andy who had done nothing to have everything that he had left be taken away from him.
I’m all the people in the blue TV light. I’m flickering on and off shifting through surfaces, I’m a reflection of a reflection showing and disappearing and never really existent, I’m the accumulated result of all previous occurrences of my supposed existence.
And I’m disappearing in the last sense left.
It used to, you know, matter.
And everything I’ll say afterwards doesn’t.