“Cindy! Come on! We’re going to miss the announcement.”
A giant woman with blond curls yanked on Cindy’s arm. Cindy feverishly looked through her desk again — it had to be there somewhere.
“I can’t find my ticket, Dez!” she gasped.
“Here, let me look.” Dezdemona pulled Cindy out of the cubicle; both women simply couldn’t occupy the same cube at the same time. Cindy backed out and let her co-worker check her desk.
The two women had been working at C.O.F.E. for several years now, and playing the “tits” lottery announcements had become a ritual for them. They always bought tickets — after all, one never knew.
“Your desk is so impossibly messy,” Dezdemona chided Cindy. But after just a few seconds of moving piles of documents around, she managed to produce the mislaid lotto ticket. “Here it is!” She held it up for Cindy to see.
Cindy eyed the rearranged paperwork. “Now it will take me hours to get back to where I was,” she complained, but she was glad the ticket had been found. “Come on, we only have fifteen minutes to get outside. Who knows how long the elevator line is!”
The women hurried to the exit.
By the time they reached the street, both were breathing hard. Now they just had to find a good place to watch the Jumbotron.
Over the years, the tits lottery announcements had become more and more of a circus. The people-movers were stopped until the end of the event, people poured out of office buildings to watch the announcements together, and overall the streets possessed the atmosphere of a block party — a giant, city-wide block party.
The C.O.F.E. workers were easy to spot; their ugly gray blouses, which they were required to wear, showed off each and every fold of fat. When Cindy had first started working there, she’d tried to use colorful scarves to liven up the gray, but then she got the memo reminding her of the official government policy. And besides, it was just too damn hot to wear scarves. So Cindy stopped trying, and at some point she simply stopped noticing. After all, everyone on her office floor was more or less the same rotund size. Aside from high-ranking supervisors and guards, few people had full a government-supported weight reduction account with Transdimensional Industries, and even fewer had the personal funds to afford one on their own.
“It’s starting, it’s starting!”
Dezdemona was practically giddy. She really believed that she had the winning ticket each and every time. It was kind of charming, Cindy thought. Dumb, but charming. Cindy just liked to get out and watch. There was so much hope on the city streets the days that the tits lottery winners were announced publicly. And the only thin people were the ones on TV.
A beautiful announcer from G.O.W.A.M., the Government Office of Weight Assistance Management, smiled broadly from the huge screen, her smile as wide as a bus. She was ready to reveal the winning numbers. Cindy squeezed her fingers around the little paper stub of her lotto ticket. Her hands were wet with perspiration. They won’t even be able to read my ticket, she thought. It’s all mush now.
“And the winning numbers…”
There was a roar from the crowd, thousands of fat hopefuls screaming and cheering. They drowned out the announcement, but it didn’t matter; the winning numbers were displayed in giant text on every Jumbotron.
“Oh well, maybe next time,” Dezdemona shouted into Cindy’s ear.
The beautiful lotto announcer said a few more words—they were completely inaudible under the roar of the crowd — and then her image dissolved, replaced by a view of a giant toad of a woman. This woman looked positively psychotic, from the smile plastered on her face to the sweat running down her forehead and the eyes that shined insanely.
The lotto announcer’s voice-over cut through the crowd noise. “Presenting… last week’s tits winner!”
And the crowd changed pitch again.
Cindy just nodded and watched the Jumbotron. This was her favorite part—the transformation. Each week’s tits winner was taken to a Transdimensional Industries lab, placed on a pedestal, and direct-wired into the Transdimensional Industries Tanks—the “tits.”
The camera zoomed out so that everyone got a good look at the woman’s giant stalactites of fat. Her face was still radiating insanity. Then the lights in the lab flashed and the transformation began. Slowly at first, then faster, the rolls of fat started to recede. The extra skin was sucked back into the body. It always seemed to Cindy as if there was a beautiful woman hiding underneath the cellulite and flab, a woman who was slowly revealed as the fat was siphoned away.
At some point the woman’s too-big clothes fell to the floor, and she stood there, completely naked. The whole world watched her body firm up and take shape. Her muscles toned and her nipples perked up. The droopy cheeks and chin pulled back to reveal the lovely outline of her jaw and cheekbones. Her eyes, which had been hidden in a weal of flesh, now looked bright and interesting.
The crowd gasped when the beautiful naked woman stepped off the pedestal. The lovely lotto announcer appeared from off-screen, bringing a white silk robe that she draped over the woman. But the silk couldn’t hide the attractive curves of her new body.
The lotto winner, as usual, was crying, and the announcer was delivering her usual breathless spiel, but Cindy stopped listening. This was what she should have looked like, she thought. Beautiful. She should have been beautiful.
Cindy wiped her eyes and turned to go back to work. Might as well try to beat the elevator queue.
“It’s about time,” read a little yellow sticky note on the side of the bulky amber console monitor that dominated Cindy’s cramped desk. Cindy wiggled herself into the tiny C.O.F.E. cubicle and, using her enormous butt to block any curious eyes, crumpled the sticky note and pulled out a thick manila packet that had been hidden under a large stack of papers. The delivery must have been made while everyone was out on the street watching the tits lottery.
People usually waited years to get their hands on the application for Federal Assistance with Transdimensional Offloading of Fat and Flab — the F.A.T.O.F.F. papers. A nice woman from the Government Office of Weight Assistance Management, G.O.W.A.M., had managed to get Cindy an official set. It had only taken five hundred and sixty-four days and three hours, not to mention a few “presents” that had cost almost six months’ worth of Cindy’s salary. But then again, clerks at the Civil Office of Fat Excision didn’t make much, and Cindy didn’t mind paying, as long as the papers were genuine. After all, most people in her position waited half their lives for these. And now, with the economy tanking, she could probably retire on the fortune she could charge for these on the gray market.
But Cindy didn’t plan to sell the papers; she planned to use the application for herself. She was tired of being fat, of being a second—no, a third-class citizen, a bottom-dweller. From now on, her life would be very different.
Looking around furtively, Cindy slipped the packet under her shirt; it was almost invisible in the shadow of her ample bosoms. Cindy then shut down her workstation and prepared to leave the office early. She heard that after the application was filled out and scanned, it took only days to be put into the System. If she could finish the F.A.T.O.F.F. papers tonight, she might be able to finally walk the streets during the International Obesity Freedom Day Parade. She could be thin, and beautiful, and accepted. She could become one of the world’s elite in time for In.O.F. Day, just two weeks from now.
Most of C.O.F.E.’s workers weren’t in the F.A.T.O.F.F. program, although all those who weren’t were certainly trying to get in. And most were unable to pay the fee per pound to store their extra weight in the tits — the Transdimensional Industries Tanks. As a benefit to government employees, C.O.F.E. did allow them to buy tits for a small discount, and almost everyone paid a portion of their salary to store away as much fat as they could. But even with the discount, that never amounted to anything even close to a return to a healthy weight.
Cindy ambled over to the elevators, trying not to appear too hurried. The elevators were barely able to support the weight and volume of the average office worker, so there was a limit of one person per ride — which meant there was always a queue. Cindy almost considered taking the stairs, but decided that she didn’t want to chance an accident, so she waited patiently for her turn.
As she stood there with the precious application tucked in her shirt, Cindy pondered the system that had brought her and her fellow employees to this point. With what Transdimensional Industries charged to store excess personal fat, and the powerful food manufacturers lobbying the government to pass regulations to get more fat and sugar into people’s diets, the game was stacked against people like Cindy. No one could stay thin on their own anymore. Babies were born and then gained weight steadily their entire lives. By the time average citizens entered their teens, they were already morbidly obese. Before the discovery of the transdimensional excisement of fat, life expectancy had dropped into the early thirties.
But tits had changed all that… at least for some people. If you were rich, you could eat as much junk as you liked and siphon off the unwanted pounds into another dimension. If you were rich, you could stay thin, healthy, and beautiful forever. “You can never be too thin or too rich,” as the saying goes.
Of course the government quickly got involved. It wouldn’t do for politicians to be seen as grossly corpulent — fat equates with incompetence, right? In all societies, the beautiful people ruled. And everywhere, the powerful managed to get regulations in place to benefit themselves and their families. So the Government Office of Weight Assistance Management was created to run the Federal Assistance with Transdimensional Offloading of Fat and Flab program. Now all the congressmen and senators looked thin and fit — perfect visions of health and prosperity. And all for an amazing sum of zero dollars per pound — the politicians’ special discount rate, courtesy of the taxpayers.
And with all the health benefits associated with a healthy body mass index, the politicians lived to be very old while continuing to look very young. And after that, who could challenge them? The voting bloc of regular citizens turned over so frequently. And the rich? Well, the rich could afford to pay the tits fees. They probably owned stock in Transdimensional Industries anyway.
Cindy had grown up poor, but her parents had been enrolled in the F.A.T.O.F.F. program from birth –some sort of birthright dispensation — and Cindy had been enrolled automatically. So for the first eight years of her life, Cindy had boasted the confidence and overachievement of any skinny kid. But then her mom died due to a tits storage malfunction, and everything changed. Cindy’s dad ended up with a large insurance settlement, enough to pay the tits charges himself. And since they could pay, they were no longer eligible for the F.A.T.O.F.F. program.
That would have been fine, except that Cindy’s dad remarried—and that was the beginning of the end of Cindy’s happy, chocolate-filled, carefree life. The money from the Transdimensional Industries settlement went to Cindy’s new mom and her daughter — Cindy’s stepmother and stepsister. “They need it, honey,” Cindy’s dad told her. And they did — but so did Cindy. Within weeks of being severed from tits, Cindy’s body exploded. And it just continued to get bigger with each passing week.
For years, Cindy’s stepmother hid her from visitors to their home. Cindy did go to school — that was the law — but afterward she went straight to her room. She was fed dinner in her room as well. She couldn’t go out and see friends, or have them visit her — and who would want to be her friend now anyway?
Finally, at the age of sixteen, Cindy was shipped off to a special vocational school. At twenty, she was assigned to work as a clerk for C.O.F.E. — the Civil Office of Fat Excision. She was twenty-two now, and the last International Obesity Freedom Day Parade she’d attended was fifteen years earlier. Cindy had been seven years old, and it was one of the happiest years of her life.
Now, finally, she was going to be able to go back to those happy times. All the fat was about to be squeezed out of her life.
Cindy held her arms tightly to her body and felt the F.A.T.O.F.F. papers pressing into her flesh. Sweat trickled down her armpits. Hopefully, the envelope would protect the contents from moisture.
The elevator ride took forever. When the doors opened on the ground floor, Cindy heard screaming from the reception area all the way down the corridor.
She knew that voice.
Cindy desperately wanted to just slink away, but she needed to scan her badge before exiting the government building. So after a moment’s hesitation, she braced herself and walked in the direction of the angry screams.
“I’ve been waiting here for twenty minutes!” The beautiful woman pounded the desk, her gold bracelets jingling. The poor receptionist cowered behind the counter.
The thin, beautiful woman’s voice made Cindy’s skin itch. Cindy tried to look small and kept walking. There was a chance that her stepmother wouldn’t notice her. Fat chance…
“Cindy! I knew you worked somewhere around here.” Cindy’s stepmother reached out to pull on Cindy’s shirt, but at the last minute dropped her arm.
It’s not like it rubs off, Cindy thought, but she didn’t say it out loud. Her plan of simply walking out of the building had come to an end.
Cindy couldn’t help but notice the extreme contrast between her stepmother and the receptionist. The receptionist was purple from exasperation. Cindy thought she could detect steam coming off the folds of fat from her upper arms. C.O.F.E. custodians kept the building at a steady sixty-five degrees to keep all of the fat people from overheating, but for this woman, that apparently was still too warm. Cindy’s stepmother, meanwhile, was wearing a bright red fur coat — and yet there wasn’t a bead of perspiration on her.
Cindy felt a trickle of sweat slide down her own back and into her underwear. Her skin felt flush.
The receptionist took advantage of Cindy’s arrival to inch away from Cindy’s stepmother and motion for the next person in line to come up to the desk. Cindy felt bad for the woman and for the others patiently waiting in the cavernous C.O.F.E. foyer. She recognized some of the faces in line; they’d been coming here day after day for years, waiting to get their F.A.T.O.F.F. application papers.
“You do recognize me, child? Right? Your mother?” Cindy’s stepmother made a face and rolled her eyes to show her total contempt for Cindy’s intellectual abilities. “She’s a bit slow sometimes,” she explained in a loud voice to the room. “You know how fat can affect the brain. Just smothers everything in there.” She pointed to Cindy’s head.
“Yes, Mother. We’re all fatheads here. Is there something I can help you with?”
Cindy took a step back, just in case her stepmother decided that a show of public physical affection toward her relation would be more advantageous to her than her reluctance to touch Cindy’s fat body. Not likely, but still…
“Oh, you do recognize me. Good. I was worried for a moment.” The woman made an exquisite twirl in her four-inch stilettos, showing off her perfect figure.
Personally, Cindy thought that her stepmother’s choice of size DD breasts was a bit much, especially when paired with a nineteen-inch waist. But to each her own… for a price. When it was Cindy’s time to choose, she would opt for simple, fiscally prudent proportions. Nothing ostentatious, nothing flamboyant. Just a plain old thin and healthy body, like she used to have.
Cindy pressed her arms even tighter to her chest and the F.A.T.O.F.F. papers hidden there.
“Give me a kiss, child,” the woman demanded.
Cindy leaned her head left and then right in a pretend air kiss.
“That’s better. Now tell this dimwit at the counter to give me three sets of the F.A.T.O.F.F. papers.”
Cindy broke into a cold sweat and felt her body start to shake. The receptionist gave her a sympathetic look, but she also looked relieved to no longer be dealing with this woman directly.
Cindy backed away. “It doesn’t work like that, Mother,” she tried to explain.
Big, blue, arrogant eyes stared back her. “Like what, dear?”
“There’s a line.” Cindy motioned to the room full of fat people without taking her arms off the packet hidden under her shirt.
“Line? A line is for people like them. For people like you. You see, dear, people like me are different.” She spoke to Cindy like one would to a slow child. “People like me, we just come in and get what we want.”
Cindy could feel the eyes of the crowd drilling holes into her body. The people in line hated what her stepmother was saying, but they couldn’t hate the beautiful woman making the sounds. So they turned on Cindy.
Cindy felt herself backing away into the corridor.
“That’s right, dear. Take me to your superiors. We’ll get this straightened out in a few minutes.” Cindy’s stepmother moved past her and started walking toward the sliding security door that led to the main C.O.F.E. offices on the first floor.
Cindy followed. She should have turned and run out of the building. With luck, she would have caught the people-mover to her apartment building. But instead she followed like a robot behind her stepmother, trying to keep up with the woman’s staccato footfalls.
The guard at the door didn’t stop them. Cindy hoped it was pity that she glimpsed on the giant man’s face as the doors whooshed closed behind them, separating them from the angry fat hordes in the foyer.
Cindy’s stepmother marched right into the supervisor’s office. How do beautiful people know where authority sits? Cindy wondered. Perhaps power recognizes power, like a compass sensing north. Red fur streaked by the curious faces of the office staff and settled into a nice, leather chair. Cindy rushed to join her.
Cindy’s hair was wet and plastered to her face, just as the once-loose gray blouse of her government uniform clung to her sweat-drenched body. The skin underneath the hidden F.A.T.O.F.F. paper was starting to itch and hurt. Rash, thought Cindy. She had always been very sensitive to chemical inks. She needed to get home, but she found a chair and sat down.
The supervisor’s office was a mixture of modern slick and bohemian chic. Glass and fine leather, steel and wood, all intermixed into a strangely comforting decor. Cindy had never actually set foot into the supervisor’s office before — it was just not done. But she had sneaked peeks through an open door from time to time, when she found herself going to the first-floor offices.
The supervisor was a man of undetermined age, lean and muscular, in an impeccable three-piece suit. He had slightly graying hair that Cindy suspected he colored to give himself a bit of gravitas. His tits anchor — the device that maintained his connection to the Transdimensional Industries fat storage tanks, thus keeping all his unwanted weight carefully offloaded into a parallel but hidden dimension — was crafted into a gold case in the shape of an octopus with jeweled, blinking eyes; he wore it on his left wrist. It was definitely a status symbol: “Yes, as a high-ranking government official, I get free tits, but I’m also rich enough for all the special upgrades.”
Cindy wondered how much he’d paid for the sculpted abs and the perfect arms. She could see his muscles rolling playfully under the wool of his suit. He must practice that, Cindy decided, but she still couldn’t take her eyes off his body.
The man clearly enjoyed Cindy’s discomfort — and the admiring look from her stepmother, whom he checked out very carefully prior to settling down behind his desk. Unsurprisingly, the desk was clear glass — no point in hiding all that beauty.
“What wonderful workmanship, Madam Rella.” The supervisor nodded at the necklace around Cindy’s stepmother’s neck. He had clearly been notified in advance of their arrival.
“I like my tits designed by Massenet,” Cindy’s stepmother replied. Her anchor was ensconced in a large art-nouveau-style piece in the shape of a black widow spider; the red hourglass was made out of rubies and pulsated to the rhythms of her heart.
“Great artist. Was the piece made especially for you, Madam?”
“Of course. And please call me Marian.” She smiled coyly and pulled her red fur tighter around her, while at the same time managing to make her breasts almost fall out.
How does she do that? Cindy wondered.
“Are you chilled, Marian?” The supervisor stood up and walked to adjust the temperature in the room. Cindy groaned — she was already too hot, and the rash was starting to spread down to her stomach. Her stepmother and the supervisor pretended not to notice her discomfort.
“Much better, thank you. What should I call you?” Marian asked in a silky voice.
“Oh, just Charles.”
“Well, just Charles.” Marian smiled, revealing a perfect set of white teeth. “As I was trying to explain to your receptionist out there” — she motioned toward the foyer with her perfectly manicured hand, the red nail polish matching the color of her fur, which in turn matched the rubies in her necklace, of course — “and to my stepdaughter — no blood relation, of course.”
“Of course,” Charles echoed.
“I need three applications.”
“Which applications would those be, Marian?”
“The F.A.T.O.F.F. papers, of course.” She smiled.
“Of course,” Charles echoed again, but this time there was a touch of venom in his voice. Cindy’s hair stood on end, but her stepmother pretended not to notice.
“My husband seems to have lost a bit of money in the stock market,” Marian continued.
“And we need a bit of help with maintaining our Transdimensional Industries accounts. It’s all temporary, of course,” Marian explained.
“Of course.” Charles’s voice was now dripping with venom. Cindy fidgeted in her chair. It was one of those double-wide models on wheels. Someone must have rolled it into the office especially for her. The chair squeaked. Marian and Charles ignored her.
“It’s for me and my daughter and my husband,” Marian clarified. “And as I said, it’s just temporary. My husband is very good at what he does. I’m sure we’ll be able to resume our payments in no time. It’s just a little bridge. A bit of an assistance. That’s what the Civil Office of Fat Excision does, doesn’t it? It provides help with the Federal Assistance with Transdimensional Offloading of Fat and Flab applications, smoothing the interaction with the Government Office of Weight Assistance Management, right?”
Marian batted her big blue eyes at Charles. But his gaze was cold.
“It has been our experience that people who apply for the F.A.T.O.F.F. program require a lifetime of assistance,” he said.
“But surely you can see that we are in a very different–”
“We’re in a depression, Madam,” Charles interrupted.
“Please call me Marian.” She gave him a warm, fake smile.
“As I was saying, Madam Rella, we are in the middle of a worldwide depression. The government simply doesn’t have the money to help all those who might need our assistance. If Mr. Rella is as good as you believe him to be, he will provide for you.”
“But–” For the first time, a hint of desperation leached into Marian Rella’s voice. Cindy saw that her stepmother was truly terrified. Things must be very bad.
“There really is not much I can do for you, Madam Rella.” Charles stood up and spread his arms wide, ushering his visitors toward the door. “Really, I would love to help, but I’m just a government servant.” He offered them the same sweet fake smile that Marian had sported just a few moments ago.
“But we’ll–” She choked and started coughing. Panic was now written all over her face. “We’ll be fat!”
“So sorry. I wish there were something I could do. Security!” Charles leaned out and called for the guards.
“As I said, there’s nothing I can do.” Charles now loomed over Marian. She cowered in her chair, looking small and ugly. Cindy almost felt sorry for her. Almost.
The guards came. These were not the doughy security officers that sat in chairs and monitored the entryways around the C.O.F.E. building. These were well-muscled, scary-looking men in military fatigues. They didn’t have to say they would do violence if they were disobeyed; their bodies screamed it.
Marian got up out of her chair and shuffled toward the door.
Cindy tried to follow, but found that she was stuck. Her butt was glued to the fake leather of the double-wide office chair. Panicking, she grabbed the wrist supports and tried to rip herself away from the offending furniture. She pushed with all her might.
The eight sets of wheels spun from under her, the chair went flying into the wall, and Cindy’s body let out a horrible noise — a cross between a juicy fart and a wet squeegee on a dirty window. Her arms swung up, her blouse billowed–
And the manila packet containing the F.A.T.O.F.F. papers exploded into the air.
With a loud splash, Cindy’s body prostrated itself on the floor of the supervisor’s office. But all eyes were on the F.A.T.O.F.F. papers.
Without missing a beat, Cindy’s stepmother swooped in, grabbed the papers, and ran from the office.
The security door smashed closed behind Ms. Rella, and it was as if the entire office let out a breath at the same time. Cindy just lay there; the horror of the situation was too unbearable. And there was probably no way for her to get back up on her own anyway.
“Clean that up,” the supervisor ordered his security team. There was the sound of rubber gloves snapping, and then she felt rough hands grabbing her and dragging her to her feet.
Cindy kept her eyes closed. It was easier that way. She swayed and somehow felt herself back in the offending double-wide chair.
She felt someone pull down her blouse. She couldn’t force herself to open her eyes. Tears were streaming down her cheeks. It took all she had not to come completely undone. She had lost her F.A.T.O.F.F. application.
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