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Pie, Spy - Part I
“PIE, SPY…” |
written by FrenchFeeder
It was Brad’s first day at Fillmore Inc. He was so excited, and so nervous, all at once… No matter how tired he was – or thought he was – he couldn’t get himself to sleep on his first night. It was a good thing that the fridge was full when he had moved in. Brad had enjoyed his Tomato & mozzarella pies so much that he had eaten them all in no time. Now, that’s what he called quality food ! Brad wasn’t used to leave leftovers anyway… That little guilty pleasure had really helped him feel better, and all the good beer was soothing him. Eventually, thinking about the case, Brad had tasted a second kind of pies – some sort of meat pie, like steak and kidney, that looked too appealing to resist. It was just so delicious as it looked, maybe less fattening than the cheesy ones. Brad had washed it down with two more beers. Then, as it was almost 2:00 and Brad wanted to look good on his first day at work, he went straight to bed. Not the hard mattress he was used to sleep on, by the way : that bed was so comfortable… Brad was even more thankful for it as he was feeling quite bloated. He belched one last time, then started snoring before he even knew he had closed his eyes.
After some boring papers signed for Human Resources, Brad met his new delivery partner, Mike – very sympathetic-looking fellow, not very tall, rather stout, with broad shoulders and a big gut rounding up his company T-shirt. Mike was supposed to be the most experienced driver in the company, and he was responsible for half the cars here, working right under Mr. Tony Fillmore. Brad was curious to meet “uncle Tony”, as he called him – but he followed Mike in the garage, then to the doctor’s office.
“There’s a health check-up every month, you’ll see. Company policy : Mr. Fillmore wants his personnel to be in top shape – especially us drivers. I’m proud to say we’ve never had even a car accident here.”
The doctor created a new file for Brad. Age : 27 – Height : 6'2" – Weight : 212lbs – waistline 33” – perfect eyes – good reflexes – nothing to say. Brad tried on the company clothes. Then he was good to go. Mike was most welcoming, asking questions about Brad, where he came from, and so on. It was not so easy to lie to him. Brad regretted it – but he had also questions of his own.
“I see you’ve been hired by Mr. Fillmore in person”, Mike hinted. “Nice !“
“Oh… Yes ! So… you know ?”
“Of course I do. Tony knows where to find his delivery men. Always good to see a new face among the boys. And you look real good. Just… Well, honestly… I’m a little surprised.”
“Because Tony… didn’t tell you ?”
“No, not that. Here’s our first stop.”
Their first stop was an elementary school. Brad did his best to deliver all the pies quick and clean. Mike was looking at him approvingly. It was only 7 in the morning, maybe Brad wouldn’t keep up with it all day long ? Brad swore to himself he was going to prove him wrong. But the rest of the day went just fine. Brad found it rather easy, actually. He was naturally strong, and a few boxes of pies weren’t going to scare him away. Mike was also glad, as they had finished their morning round early. It wasn’t even eleven o’clock. They had to go back to the factory for their afternoon round, that would take them out of town, but there were some boxes and pies left in the back of the car. Mike reached for a cold apple pie, parted it and handed one half to Brad.
“OK Brad, you’ve made your point : you’re strong. I hope you’re just as good with the rest.”
“The… OK, thanks.”
Brad didn’t quite understand, but he was not going to disappoint Mike in any way on his first day. If Mike wanted Brad to do push-ups, he would do push-ups. If Mike wanted Brad to dance and sing, he would do dance and sing ! So, Mike wanted him to eat ? he was going for it ! Brad ate his half of the pie really fast, realising just then how hungry he was ! This also seemed to please Mike, who had been almost staring at him the whole time.
“Good… Don’t you think it tastes just heavenly ?”
“Sure does, Mike. Fillmore Pies are the best ! That’s why I wanted this job so much…”
“I know. Say, Brad… How many pies have you eaten last night ?”
Now that caught Brad totally off-guard. He didn’t expect Mike to know about the company’s products so accurately. And how could you tell that he had been pigging out the night before ?
“Tell me, don’t be shy.”
“About… Four ? Five ?” Brad answered, blushing like a child about to be punished.
“Hmmm, only five ?” Mike insisted, with an impish but friendly smile. “Tell you what, Brad. They always give us more pies than we have to deliver to the clients, in the morning. So whatever’s left around noon, I like to think it’s for us… It goes completely unnoticed to management, supplies and all. Here, have another one.”
And he gave Brad a full honey-glazed pear pie, taking another apple pie himself.
“How often do these… mistakes happen ?”
“Pretty often, you’ll see !” Mike laughed. “Now… good to see you have an appetite too !”
Brad was eating through his second pie like it was just a cookie – on purpose. And just as he had hoped, Mike was laughing again at his embarrassment. Brad knew he had just made a friend. Good point for him.
“You must be thirsty too. There, have a beer !”
No matter how friendly Mike was with him, Brad noticed he was not offering him pies, cakes and beer so much as he was telling him to eat them all. As fast as he could. Mike wasn’t actually telling him to get rid of the food boxes left in their truck, but Brad could sense it would be bad for him if he turned him down. Now, what was the purpose of eating all those leftovers, if no one ever found out about it ? Why not take it home, instead ? Brad was starting to slow down, as he was thinking about it – also, he couldn’t help it but feel quite full, once again. He wasn’t used to eating so much…
“Okay, Brad ! Let’s join the boys for lunch, now. What do you say ?”
Lunch ? After everything they had already scarfed down ? Brad’s stomach was starting to growl from fulness – it was a bit painful… Mike put his hand on Brad’s belly and gave it a little pat, smiling.
“Yeah, you want to go with the boys… Right now !”
Brad was completely lost.
“The… boys ? You mean the other delivery guys ?”
“Well, duh ! We would never eat at the factory. Old Fillmore produces pies of the most fattening kind, but he’s more a lettuce kind of guy… Stupid, I should say ! What’s the point of making and baking all that food if you can’t enjoy it too ? You should see what they eat back there : all sugar-and-fat-free. Some people die of hunger at their cafeteria… Now, you know we’re not that kind of guys, don’t you ?”
“Huh… Of course.”
Sure enough, the boys Brad and Mike joined were big eaters. Scratch that : they were just big. Four of them were already there, and the waitress knew each one of them on a first name basis. Brad liked that place : it said “Royal Diner” outside, and looked like any other place you could find downtown –except it was pretty far in the suburbs… It was comfortable anyway, and the guys looked good. For a moment, Brad got the feeling that some of these guys had to be gay – but what pleased him the most was the situation of this bar : if Leigh had been captured by a member of the delivery staff, or with his help, this guy had to be around here at some point ! Things were going smoothly…
Mike introduced Brad to the others and said to the waitress “He’s eating with us. The usual. Or maybe just the Baby Menu for him !…” which made the guys around laugh – big belly laughs. Sitting among them, Brad was a little concerned about their “usual” and all : he had done every effort to show Mike he was a good-eater, too. But he didn’t say a thing. He wanted to know more… What would be better than a meal to make them talk ? And what a meal ! Brad couldn’t believe it at first – actually grateful to Mike that he only had “baby portions” in his plate : a more than generous slice of vegetable & cheese pie surrounded by lettuce, tomatoes, turkey and ham, hard-boiled eggs, black olives, and shredded mild cheddar, all in Ranch dressing – just as an entrée… True thing, the others had more to eat, but Brad was still in awe, and struggling to cram as much as he could into his mouth, fast enough to ask some of the questions he still had.
“So, you’ve… all been hired by Tony Fillmore ?”
“Of course ! Tony knows what’s best for him…”
“Hey, you’re a good eater, Brad ! I wouldn’t have thought, you know… at first.”
Now that hit a nerve : Brad had been eating and cleaning his plate like crazy. He was doing the best he could… Then it just hit him : he knew there was more to come, right ? He should have known, at least – because there was ! So, that was pure gluttony. That’s what the boys were thinking. They must have been wondering if Brad had the stomach for it. What the hell did they know ! He had the guts for it… Brad mumbled to himself – So you want a good eater ? Just wait and I’ll show you…
“Why do you say that ?”
“Because… No offence, Brad, but you’re so thin.”
“I… huh… Right, I… I’ve been sick for a few months…”
“Feeling better now…”
“Obviously ! You’re going to enjoy this…”
Main course was a whole meat pie, corned-beef pie, with onion rings and French fries on the side, a large portion of both… Brad ate mouthful after mouthful of pie, washing it down with more and more beer, when he thought he couldn’t gulp any more down. The others were watching – and they felt it : the new boy was still nervous.
“Now, don’t overdo it, Brad. It’s OK… Take your time.”
“Thanks… I feel rather full.”
“Well, sure ! You’re eating too fast. We’re not far from the factory here, we’ll get back there in not time. Don’t worry. Just undo your pants, relax and have some more. We have time…”
Brad used that time to ask some more questions. He told them he had big hopes about his new situation in the company. He had been unemployed for a while – which was true : Brad didn’t have to lie that much, after all… And he was wondering if there was a lot of turn-over in their jobs.
“It’s a family business, you know – no matter how big it is. If they like you and you join the family, they won’t fire you unless there’s some serious financial pressure above them… And there aren’t so many above Old Fillmore, financially !”
“Yeah, I’ve heard about it…”
“Besides, his nephew Tony is the most likely to take his succession. The good days are in front of us.”
“Tony’s the only heir to Mr. Fillmore’s fortune ?”
“No, Old Fillmore has a grandson. He has his two nephews working for him – Tony and Fred – just like any other employees. But you won’t see much of Fred Fillmore : he’s the supply manager, always in the Head Office… Sucker… Oh, here comes dessert !”
Brad let out a heavy sigh. Dessert was just as big as the rest of the meal : more pies – strawberry cream pie, apple pie, raspberry jam pie, blueberry pie, banana cream pie… there were so many ! And there was so much of each ! Brad had to eat eight more slices out of six different kinds of pies – or maybe “quarters” rather than just “slices”. He was breathing slowly, afraid somehow that he would just burst if he made a sudden move or got up too fast. As he was chewing, Brad could hear a distant voice inside him, crying out “Oh my God, stop ! This is too much… I can’t eat another bite ! I’m going to explode if you don’t stop filling me up right now !” – which got louder and more pearcing, leaving Brad shivering with fear… Still, he had to ignore it – overcome than uneasy feeling. Then, there was another voice in his head – a deeper voice, closer and whispering to him “Oh God, yes… This is so delicious ! Feed me more ! Stuff me full, round and bloated !” It was a voice that Brad had never heard before, but it was still his – no doubt about that… And in the present situation, not quite understanding what such insidious callings meant for him, Brad would cling to them as they helped him face the next piece of pie he’d have to put away…
Brad had been eating with much effort, his eyes half-closed. The two inner voices screaming at once – probably yelling at each other – woke him up suddenly. He was short of breath – his face red, almost feverish. More important, Brad was feeling a raging hard-on in his pants. Unable to say a word, he gulped down a full glass of beer – they were really oversized glasses – then let out a roaring belch.
The boys around him stopped stuffing themselves for a second.
But they were happy about him. Brad realized belching would be remembered as one of his good qualities among them. He tried to hide how hard he was under the table, and finished his dessert without a word, after two other slices of the pies he had not tasted yet were presented to him… Mike’s “boys” weren’t such a talkative bunch, anyway. They were too busy cleaning their plates. When lunch was finally over, Brad couldn’t help another light belch, which was supposed to be a sigh of relief but came out as pure, overfed contentment. The “boys” were going to the counter to pay. Mike paid for Brad and himself – Brad couldn’t believe how cheap it was ! He had eaten crappy meals in Burger joints for twice the price. He had to leave his belt opened as he got out of the Club, then tried to talk some more with Mike, as they were heading back to the factory.
“Why would Tony become the new CEO after his Uncle ? How about his Grandson…”
“Yeah, what about him ?”
“Well… Nobody really wants to talk about it, but…”
“Old Fillmore is dying. From… I don’t know exactly… Cancer ?”
“Oh… And Leigh is just too young to take the reins after him ?”
“He’s not a child anymore. He should turn 20 soon. But he doesn’t know the company that much.”
“I see… God, I hate that kind of rich sons !”
“No, Leigh is a good kid. He just… he had issues.”
Mike seemed to know an awful lot about the boss’ grandson – which was to be expected, with the experience he had in the company. Brad didn’t feel like pushing too much at first. Their next deliveries went smoothly. There was a long time between them. Mike was driving, Brad was feeling sleepy. And he was just stuffed from his “lunch” so that he wasn’t half as fast as in the morning. It was more than enough for Mike, and after they had finished their day, he invited him for a few more beers. Brad let Mike talk and didn’t bother him about Leigh.
He came home late, feeling awfully tired and more than a little drunk – but all in all, Brad felt good about himself : it had been a productive day for the case. He was also feeling full, but the feeling of next-to-immediate bursting had left. Brad was just a little too uncomfortable in his pants. He took them off, along with his shirt, and lied down on the couch in his briefs for a moment… His whole body felt heavy on such a soft couch. This apartment was really good – warm and quiet and all. Brad had never seen TV on such a big, wide screen. He dozed off and slept for a short while. The phone woke him up.
“Hey Brad ! What’s new ?”
“Hi Andy… Yawn… God, I’m tired !”
“Rough day ?”
“Not so much as… first day. Lots to cope with, you know ? But I would like you to gather some info about Tony Fillmore. There’s something about him I’d like to know.”
“Got it. Something like his middle name or the last deposit he made at the bank ?…”
“Much more like that, and further. I will try to meet the guy in person, but I could use some back-up.”
“I’ll do my best. How are you doing yourself ?”
“Pretty well, I must say. I didn’t waste my time. Didn’t want to rush things, but…”
Brad was trying to get up from the couch. He noticed only then how stuffed he still was : his belly was all round and hard from all the food being digested. Brad repressed a light belch and only mentionned his new collegues cautiously.
“Your collegues ?”
“Yeah, the guys are all nice and friendly, but I… BUUUUUURP ! Oh, shit…”
Brad couldn’t help that one.
“…Was that you, Brad ?”
“I’m afraid it was… I’ve been eating like a pig, today !”
“That’s weird… You almost never eat a thing.”
“This is one of the things I will have to do now. Those delivery guys are all incredible eaters, Andy !”
“Is your job so physical, really ?”
“Not even, at least based on what I’ve done and seen today. I get it, though : food is so cheap around here ! Of course, Mike had invited me, so I haven’t even paid for it yet…”
“You’ll have to pay for it one day or another, Brad. But as long as it’s cheap, you can eat all you want, I don’t care. Numbers here, OK ? I’ll call you by the end of the week, with Mr. Tony’s private own numbers. Just a little computer hacking, how hard can it be ?”
“Not so much as my stomach now…”
Brad felt a little disappointed during his first week as a delivery guy, however. It was all about work for him now – company work, no investigation of any kind… and Brad had his hands already full with it. He had been welcomed by the other delivery guys better than he thought he would be, and he was confident that he could pass as “one of them” now… Then, Brad realised it wasn’t only his hands that were full : the poor detective-wanabee had worked hard to follow the same eating routine pretty much every day since he had first met Mike and the “boys”. He had been eager to eat and drink even when he was afraid he would choke on the next bite or roll under the table with the next beer. It was only fair to say that Brad was doing an excellent job, for that matter. By Thursday, he could already put away more than on his first meal, so the “boys” were pleased – but he was still way behind them in terms of pigging out, and they still called him “Baby Brad”. It was unusual for him, as he considered himself big and strong – which he was.
He didn’t complain. He couldn’t afford to be antagonistic : he kept reminding himself that he had to become their friend first, so he would get to know them better and find out what was lying beneath all the cheerful dining and partying he was being treated every day and evening, almost every night – because the “boys” were hiding something. Brad could tell. He couldn’t just tell what. Of course, they wouldn’t spill it after only a few days ! Brad knew that. He had to be patient, and so he behaved. The nickname “Baby Brad” was still too annoying for him to ignore, but he swallowed his pride – along with increasing amounts of food he found too filling for his own good, but too delicious to resist…
After a long day of what should have been work laced with subtle investigation, but always turned out to be hanging out with the boys at the Club, between the dinner table and a few beer bongs, Brad came home exhausted, confused and frustrated. He let out his anger then, in private. It was definitely a good thing for him that his fridge was being supplied so often and so much by the company ! Brad had been startled on Wednesday : when he thought there would be enough food for three weeks, the shelves and fridge had been filled with just as much food after only three days ! The rest of it was waiting on the kitchen table. And it was a whole damn lot of food… Brad thought it was a whole damn lot of free food – and he was just happy that he didn’t have to pay for any of this – but there was just so much ! He started counting how many extra boxes were on the table. He would have to get rid of them before the next ones would magically re-fill his kitchen… It was the good life, really ! Brad wrote down the list of food boxes, miscalculated, started again, then thought he didn’t care about it so much and stopped. These had to go, somehow – from then on, Brad would start a “training” routine after his work-out exercices, to increase his eating capacities. He didn’t train that much, back home – only free weights, which he had forgotten to bring here. He did push-ups and sit-ups for one hour every morning and evening or so. Brad didn’t know that much about muscle anatomy and the right exercices. Of course it was easier to train when he had no job and not much to do all day… He didn’t feel like doing sit-ups anymore, and he would be ravenous after only a few push-ups now !
The days were flowing by. Brad had found his job to be pretty easy. He was not wrong about that. His collegues were easy with him too. He could be wrong about them, however. Brad was a good-natured, friendly guy, but he didn’t quite trust his collegues. Only Mike had made a good first impression. And Brad hoped it was going both ways. As his immediate boss, he was definitely cool. The alarm clock would never ring before 8 AM for Brad : Knowing where he lived, Mike had told him he would pick him up on his way, after the few early deliveries they had once in a while. Brad was self-conscious about letting his supervisor do all the work while he would still be sleeping, but Mike wouldn’t hear of it.
“Obviously, you’re not a morning person, Brad. Since you and I hang out late at night all the time with the boys, it’s better to have you on your feet… for all the partying.”
“It’s okay really, Mike… I…”
“No. You need your sleep. So you will stay in bed until 8 – is that okay ?”
“Okay, Mike. It’s awfully nice of you…”
“Tell you what, Brad… personal favor in exchange ?”
“Whatever you like.”
“In the morning, what if I joined you for a cup of coffee as you finish your breakfast ? It will be a good pause on the way for me.”
“Of course, Mike. Be my guest.”
“Perfect ! Now, Brad ?…” Mike had flashed him with a great smile, then patted his boy’s almost non-existent belly. “Don’t forget breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Make sure you are eating good, from the moment you wake up…”
Brad was not stupid. He had heard Mike loud and clear, and he wouldn’t disappoint. His meals at home had already gone supersize anyway, especially after he had found himself stucked in his kitchen with more pies than he would have eaten in a lifetime – had he not come to live here… He would cook and eat to the point where his meals at the Club wouldn’t feel so painful in comparison. It was his new purpose, for the time being : Brad’s plan was to practice gorging and beer bonging every evening, to eventually overcome the bloated, uneasy feeling which inevitably followed his meals when he ate with the “boys”. He was getting better already – and now the same rule applied for his breakfasts… By the end of the week, Brad’s breakfast usually consisted of two hot apple pies with a bucket of vanilla ice cream, a dozen English muffins, a large box of doughnuts with chocolate milk and corn flakes. It was some accomplishment for Brad, except he would feel full all morning – and lunch would still be much harder than work for him. He definitely had to do something about it, or the “boys” would lose respect for him. Brad had only forgotten that his stomach wasn’t already full when he practiced overeating by himself. Rookie mistake ! he thought. There was no reason to be ashamed but he wasn’t proud of his eating capacities… His collegues weren’t teasing just to tease him – they actually encouraged Brad to ask for second helpings of fries and onion rings… But it was too much ! And it looked like the menu would always be the same, from one week to the other : Monday would be this Ranch dressing salad, pork and cream cheese pie, followed by sweet pies – Tuesday would be…
After such days of semi-hard work and heavy overeating, Brad found himself worn out when he came home. He would sleep for a few hours, then wake up around ten to “grab a bite” in the fridge – where he would eat more pies, of course. Then Brad would stuff himself with pastries up to the point where he was sick of it – on purpose… He didn’t get to sleep before midnight, anyway, on a full stomach. He couldn’t get himself to do push-ups or any of his old physical exercices anymore : he could barely get up when he was this bloated – that’s when he would eventually stop eating, at night. The atmosphere around him was all too quiet, after he had spent the day among cheerful, noisy people. Brad couldn’t concentrate on his case either, and it bothered him. But he found the case boring, and impossible to solve. He was feeling weird – both comfortable and annoyed, kind of bored, kind of good – Brad didn’t realize how lazy he was slowly getting…
Mike’s presence in the morning was like a breathe of fresh air on his laziness. He would encourage it or fight it : He was obviously there to motivate Brad to eat more than the poor boy could handle – on the other hand, he would advise him to rest and nap a lot… From their first breakfast together, Mike had brought extra cakes like cheesecakes and chocolate mousse for his “favorite baby boy”. He had mentionned that Brad only used his microwave oven – which was true : Brad didn’t know a thing about cooking, and he was too lazy anyway. Mike had started cooking for him then. He would put plates and plates of thick pancakes dripping with butter and maple syrup in front of Brad – then he would fix him whole pans of scrambled eggs and bacon – then…
No matter how much he had to stuff his face to stay in the game, Brad found his breakfasts with Mike nice and cool – and they could be useful to him. Since he would always keep his mouth full, Mike had to do all the talking, and a simple question would lead to a lot of interesting information, even possible clues for the case. So it was worth the effort. And he didn’t have to struggle to eat so much anymore – of course, Brad was clever enough to stay in his pajama underwear at breakfast. He could hear the waistband of his briefs stretch and creak after he had finished his last doughnut… Then Mike put the plates in the dishwasher and Brad had to spend a few good minutes to put on his company T-shirt and pants. He always left the top buttons opened : after three days, he had found them impossible to close – after his third week there, Brad would also leave the lower buttons of his shirt opened so he would be comfortable sitting and taking his occasional naps in Mike’s delivery truck.
It was Sunday. Brad woke up at 8, and immediately felt depressed that he had nothing to do. He was kind of hoping that Mike would join him again. But then he would already be there. He tried to focus on his investigation once again. He had taken a few notes, and figured out where things were going. That didn’t lead him far. Or maybe he knew where things were going for him all too well… As he was going out of the shower, after skipping his morning exercises once again, Brad seriously looked at himself in the mirror for the first time. He had been too busy – or lazy – to give himself a thorough look since he had come to this place. Sure enough, Brad thought, everything was going to his waist. It was bound to happen, but Brad had definitely put on weight : it wasn’t that much, maybe, but it would still be noticed when he was fully dressed. He had not eaten breakfast yet, so his stomach was pretty much empty right now – and soft. Brad took the new flab in his hands. There was a beginning bulge around his bellybutton, as his chunky middle bowed out over the waistband of his wet towel.
Brad had always thought cut abs would look weird on him, and he had always kept a thin layer of fat on his body to look buff and smooth. It looked great on him. Now, this was a little too much for his own taste – so he spent the rest of the day running in the park near his flat, then exercising in his living room. Lunch time found Brad so exhausted and hungry when he came back that the comments about “Baby Brad” popped up in his head. They came rushing back to him again, as he was trying to focus on something else. Pissed off for good, Brad took four pies out of the fridge at once, put them in the oven and stuffed himself like crazy with a six-pack of beers. Then, as he hadn’t calmed down yet – and as he was still feeling a growling hole in his stomach – he took one box of doughnuts and ate his way through the dozen it contained, right to the very last crumb… Now, Brad was finally feeling better, somehow. He could feel the fat under his skin as he was rubbing his full belly, and that felt kind of nice – it was something new for Brad, who had always been starving as a child and teen. He didn’t mind that thickness in his gut, but he would be exercising much more from that point. No more “Baby Brad” – they will see !
Only he had to rest now. Then the phone rang : it was Andy.
“Hey Brad ! What’s new ?”
“Tired, Andy. I’m tired…”
“How’s that new ? You’re always tired.”
“You know what ? I’m tired of waiting… Got something about uncle Tony ?”
“OK. Tony Archibald Quentin Fillmore… If you wanted something embarrassing about him, I think this is more than enough… But seriously, what do you want ?”
“What do you have to offer ? Get to the point : did you notice anything ?”
“As much as I hate to say it, I’m afraid I haven’t. Guy’s clean…”
“It won’t be right in front of you, Andy. Nothing… suspicious about him ?”
“Not in the numbers I have… You sound like the guy is suspicions-a-licious. You met him ?”
“Well no, Mary Poppins ! Not yet, anyway. But all the boys are under his watch, and I can’t just think he doesn’t know a thing about his nephew being captured !”
“I can dig a little further, if you like…”
Another week went by : Brad had asked on several occasions to meet Mr. Tony Fillmore, but for some reason, there was never time for it, or the guy wasn’t just at work for the day. Brad smelled the rat : it didn’t sound like Uncle Tony, who knew his nephew was missing, was feeling so “desperate” about it. Brad knew better – he had made friends with all his colleagues, during meal time mostly. They were all eating as much as ever, and Brad was almost joining them for second helpings now. He had also met two delivery guys who were obviously working out, and now he would follow them at their gym every two days. Brad was feeling a lot better : he was stronger than ever, and bigger than ever. He was also growing a round and plump belly, of course. Brad was a little self-conscious about that, but he thought he could get away with it as he sucked it in. Besides, he had no other choice than to go with the flow.
Now, it was a month since Brad had taken on the job. He had not seen it coming, but it was time for his check-up, as Mike reminded him. Needless to say, Brad was a bit worried about the comments the quack would make, as he had grown such a “fat gut” – in his own opinion. He had no idea about his weight since he didn’t have a scale, but he knew the numbers would not be cutting him any slacks… The doctor was the friendly kind, though.
“On the scale, Brad… Mike told me you like your work among us ?”
“Yes, very much.”
“Glad to hear it. It mustn’t be easy for you. Now, let’s see… Weight : 240lbs. Waistline : 38”. All good ! You should really ask for a new pair of pants, you know…”
Brad was shocked at what he was hearing : so he had put on 28 pounds on his first month here – and it was showing : he was getting chubby ! Thinking fast, he couldn’t help but picture himself adding the same amount of weight each month for the next five months… At almost 380lbs, no matter how tall he was, he would be fatter than a prized hog ! There was no way Brad would let it happen ! He was about to tell the Doc, but the guy didn’t look that much concerned.
“Err… you must be wondering about my weight… huh… gain ?”
“Honestly, yes. I am surprised you’ve put on so little.”
“Say again ?”
“Most of the guys in your department put on a good 30lbs on their first month. Sometimes 40lbs – sometimes even more. Then you must be overactive, or something. No problem, really – although I’m warning you that you should expect a decrease in your weight gain, in the future.” Somehow, that sad fact sounded like good news for Brad. “But correct me if I’m wrong, I thought you had been hired by Tony Fillmore.”
“That’s strange. Oh, well… Now, can you read the letters on the last line ?”
Brad couldn’t believe any of this, except everything still revolved around Tony Fillmore. Andy would have to admit it : there was something. He also admitted to himself that he had outgrown his pants, so he asked for a new pair. He didn’t say a thing about it, working just the same with Mike, but as soon as he was back at his place, around midnight, Brad called Andy over the phone, and let it all out.
“Brad ? Is that you ?”
“Who else ?”
“Oh, thanks… Nice touch ! You better have a good reason to call me just now : I have the sword of Damocles hanging over my head, and…”
“Rocky Horror Picture Show, Andy ?… Again ?…”
“Give it a rest… I didn’t say I was watching it alone, did I ? – see where I’m going ?”
“As a matter of fact, I do : you’re going to listen to me and think, OK ?!”
“All right ! There’s… there’s a… thing.”
“A thing ?”
“Yes, I don’t know exactly… Not yet, but…”
“Okay Brad, honey… If your thing isn’t a thong – like golden leather one ? – I might be losing interest in your little game about right now.”
“I think there’s more to Tony Fillmore and his “boys” than meets the eye. For one thing, their activity is rather borderline to the production and delivery of the company’s pies. And when anything… strange, or questionable happens, Tony’s name sounds just like the answer to everything, and then no one talks about it, ever !”
“But what… strange things are you referring to exactly ? Seriously, I’ve found zilch so far, here !”
“Well… To start with, I’ve put on weight.”
“So what’s a little weight ?”
“More than a little.”
“I’ve never heard you being so self-conscious about it. I know you’re a guy who loves to eat.”
“I meant a bunch of weight ! I’m getting fat, all right ? And they’re all acting like it’s normal…”
“Are you the only one, or…”
“No. It’s just a thing “Tony’s boys” seem to share…”
“All of them ?”
“Yes, we’re all eating… pretty much the same. Actually, they’re eating a lot more than I do, and most of them are getting fatter by the day. Remember Mike ? I’ve told you about him. He must have put on 10 pounds at least, since I’ve started working here !”
“Well… It probably goes with the work you guys do. Some sort of lifestyle, you know ? Like overweight truckers ? or the Freshman 15 for sophomore students…”
“That’s what I thought too. At first… But it doesn’t quite fit in this case. I feel like I’m wasting my time and our client’s money with them.”
“I can ask Mr.Fillmore to assign you to some other job in the factory…”
“I don’t know. I could swear they are involved in some strange business…”
“As long as it suits our business – what do you want to do ?”
“Have you really found out nothing, whatever the thing about Tony Fillmore that may indicate he’s not involved in the Mob’s kind of things or Leigh’s disappearance ? His private relations ? extra-curricular activities…”
“Okay, Okay. I may know a guy who knows a guy who… knows a thing.”
“Good thing there are so many guys in your life, Andy !”
“Now, back to you. You’ve put on weight ?… Are we talking Raging Bull or Free Willy ?”
“Let’s just say you can add personal clothes in my “expenses” column of the bill. I had to buy another pair of jeans today.”
“You had bought new jeans only two weeks ago – how fast can you wear them out ?”
“Turns out : pretty quick ! I’ve been following these delivery guys a lot lately. I mean all day, every day. Working with them, hanging out in bars with them, eating with them… Andy, these guys eat like you wouldn’t believe ! So far, I’ve got nothing even remotely related to Leigh’s disappearance from them, and I must have put on 30 pounds. I’m up to size 38” pants. I’ve tried working out more, cut down on the food, but it’s too hard. I’m getting fucking fat !”
“What do you know, Brad ? You’re the party type of bud. Although, I didn’t think you would be growing buddies… that much.”
“Yeah… One more night out with them, and I’m pretty sure I’m going Ka-boom.”
“Size 38”, really ? Does this mean I can have your black leather pants with the…”
Brad wasn’t going to wait – Andy knew him well enough to get that : Things had to move faster. Still, there was no link between Tony Fillmore and the Mob… There wasn’t even talk about a ransom, no matter what that meant – and no mention about Leigh missing, of course. Andy felt depressed. It had been a week completely down the drain for him… On Saturday evening, he talked about his failure, which was soon to be announced to Brad, with the bartender of the Club. And then, out of the blue, they both came up with an explanation that was so right and so obvious that Andy couldn’t wait to tell his partner. Sunday morning finally came up, and he called.
“Hey Brad ! What’s new ?”
“Sorry Brad, but I asked for something new, not something blue – besides, I’m not getting married. I’m happily available as I am, and opened to threesome with those model twins you know… Now, how’s your weight ?”
“Bought a scale last week, I’m up 8 more pounds...”
“Eight pounds in a week ? What are they feeding you ?”
“Pies, Andy. By the truckload... with more pies on the side. First course, main course, dessert… Andy, I gave it a lot of thinking. I’m pretty sure about it, now. They have found out about me : they must know I’m only here to find the old Fillmore’s grandson, and now they are playing with me. They’re fucking messing with me, Andy ! They’re eating, and drinking, and fattening me up to…”
“Easy, Mulder. Just hear me… First, I don’t think they know about you.”
“So you have another explanation, maybe ?”
“Will you stop raining on my parade ? Of course, I have a better explanation ! After you asked me to dig further into Tony’s profile, I remembered something… Okay, it had nothing to do with the digging, but here’s the thing : I think Tony’s boys are hired via some underground circles and communities.”
“Like the mob ?”
“Oh my God ! will you forget about the mob for a second ? I was actually referring to web sites and Internet communities, Brad. I think they’re gainers.”
“Andy, they’re all pies and cakes, not dungeons and dragons…”
“No, not gay nerds, Brad : Gainers.”
“What’s that ?”
“Okay – Cliff notes : a gainer is a guy who overeats with the specific intention of getting fat… or fatter. Rings a bell ?”
“The whole Church, buddy… Care to be a little more specific ?”
“The way I see it, your “boys” are only taking advantage of the good food and some “special favours” of Uncle Tony’s to fatten themselves up and grow a paunch. They’ve developed a whole department just for them, unknown to Old Fillmore himself. Nothing illegal there, really, but it may be interesting nonetheless. As for the food, they’re not so much fattening you up as they must be worried that you’re not stuffing yourself, on your own. It’s about time we found it out…”
“Just hold on a second. You mean these guys think I’m a… gainer too ?”
“Yu-huh ! Doesn’t it make sense, then ?”
“Make sense ? It makes a whole lot of sense ! God, of course… But, why do they want to get fatter ?”
“Because they like it better that way, I guess. You know how a few good pounds of flesh can make a sexy stud look… sexier ? Makes you want to cuddle and all. Just take a look at how great it’s worked for some actors. And how plump would you be ready to feed Matt LeBlanc in Friends ? Hello !”
Brad wasn’t listening to Andy any more : he was looking at everything with a new eye, under a new light – everything was so simple now ! His position in the Company, among the “boys”, regarding Tony Fillmore… Everything was falling into place. Next thing he knew, Leigh Fillmore had been captured to serve those guys’ purpose… whatever it was.
Still wondering, Brad went to the bathroom. He had recorded his weight on a paper sheet, next to the scale, just as he would measure his waistline every Monday morning : He would track his progress himself now. Sure, he had been putting on weight, and his waist had expanded steadily – but maybe slowly, if he was to be considered a “gainer”. Brad stepped on the scale : 248lbs, all right ! And his waistline was no longer 38” for sure. He was pretty fat, but thought deeper about it...
“OK, I guess it was time things changed around here…” Brad said to himself in the mirror, his hands grabbing the rolls of fat around his beginning gut.
Then he entered the kitchen and went right to the fridge, still in his briefs. He put six pies in the oven, and considered what else was there. The food supply was every two days now : 4 gallons of milk, some beers, one gallon of coke, five kinds of ice-cream, and Brad counted thirty pies of different kinds. There were also five boxes of doughnuts next to the fridge.
“All right… Now, all these have to go !”
Brad started with doughnuts. He ate so fast and heartily – remembering all of a sudden how well his collegues had “trained” him, before – that he was already half-way through the box when the first pies were hot and ready. He finished his doughnuts, then ate one pie after the other, washing away the doughnuts with milk, and the pies with beer. He had already prepared his next six pies, and food went all in his mouth down his throat in an almost constant stream… Brad didn’t really stop before noon, making such a pig of himself it would have impressed even Mike and the “boys”. Now, five hours of total gorging ? Brad was proud to see that the fridge was almost half empty. Brad’s belly was full, however. He had to rest. Turning on the TV, and watching absent-mindedly, Brad almost slept for an hour. Then he got up, put more pies in the hot oven, more beer and ice cream out of the fridge, and more doughnuts on the table. Then he took a deep breath and got back to eating as much as he could. Ice cream was good : it was cold and relaxing. He didn’t want to eat it all and leave the hard stuff for the end. Pies were heavier. Then, they had to be eaten just as well : hard as it was for him to munch and swallow them, quarter after quarter, Brad had set himself a goal. And he knew he was going to reach it, no matter what ! They were of the best kind, by the way – Tony’s own favourite choice for his “boys”, of course : they were the most fattening things Brad had ever eaten, and now he was stuffing himself with all these like crazy ! – and he was grinning about it.
“Not a gainer”, guys ? Brad would show them. There would be like a whole new “Brad” among them. He wasn’t going to struggle on low calorie meals any longer. Brade enjoyed reading the back of the boxes : this was all flour, eggs, sugar, butter and so on – his new best friends, for all he could tell. The big boy had never pigged out that much – never had the chance to… and he was getting bloated to the point where he could feel every part of his digestive system full and almost ready to give. It was five o’clock, there was still much to go but Brad also knew when to stop, before he would get sick – so he lied down on the bedspread and slept for another two hours… Then, as he got up, his belly looked just as full and all, but he knew there was some new space to go on. No more beer. No more coke. Last box of doughnuts… Brad had also thinned the herd among the pies, which was most pleasant to him : they felt really heavy going down. Bracing himself once more, Brad put four more pies in the oven, grabbed and munched on doughnut after doughnut almost as fast as before. He was waiting for the ice cream – when he would need some cooling down in his stomach. The pies were ready to be eaten. Brad faced them like you would face an enemy on the field, then devoured them as fast as he could, faster than a puma on its prey… The last doughnuts met their gruesome end the same way. It was getting late. Brad had completely forgotten about his goal, almost forgotten about himself : Round and stuffed as he was, he had let go so much that he looked like a savage beast, hunting – that is, hunting for more pies, more ice cream… Brad wanted more ! Ice cream was gone, doughnuts were gone… Brad took his time, as he was eating his last two pies, with just enough milk left to wash it and gulp down. Then that was it : no food left in the kitchen. No food left in the house ! Brad looked around him – as a knight would have done on the battlefield, checking out for his companions or enemies, after the assault, over corpses and… empty boxes. Brad was the only one there – champion – hero !
“This is great ! I’m – BUUUUUUUUUUUUUUURRRRRRRRP !!!… Oh my…”
Brad got up, then he looked at himself. He was HUGE ! His belly was stretched out so much… It was unbelievable. Brad was somehow afraid to touch it – afraid it would hurt, maybe. But it was smooth and buttery. Getting soft too. Brad gave it a few good pats. He was standing up proudly, and when he looked at himself in the mirror again, he had a large grin on his face.
“No more “Baby Brad” now, I hope !…”
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