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fat kid go excerpt

I could smell them. Oh, god, I could smell them!


A baker’s dozen. All kinds: powdered, glazed, frosted, filled with cream—but not, I repeat, not Bavarian, the scourge of donut-dom, and as well the seven seas.

Beware, I told myself. Tread softly.

(They can hear you.)

The donuts were sizzling hot and straight out of the grease-pit, and that smell was downright potent, like dead fish or nursing homes, but good. My scent synapses were firing, BOOM, BAM, BANG, at a million patterns per minute. All two of them. My pink-spattered eyeballs were glazing over, pun intended, and a tiny, timid moan escaped from that pout I call my lips.

It was over for me then, before it started. I know that now.

There they were, those beautiful babies made of deep-fried dough, sitting on the kitchen counter, staring back at me through the half-open box they called home sweet home. Tempting me. Taunting me. Mocking me mercilessly. (It was gym class all over again.) The big one whispered, ‘Heeey there, Jimmy, you sweetheart, you! Come on over here and show me what a man you are. Show me how many of my sisters you can fit inside your mouth, and then inside your stomach, and then inside your toilet bowl. Two? Six? Thirteen? You can always order more, and money’s no object when it comes to things that taste good. Mmm, yeah. Don’t you want to feel me? And lick on me? And make me melt inside your big, bad mouth, you naughty fat boy, you? Go ahead, Jimmy Johnson—pretend we’re a bag of dry roasted peanuts if you have to. Pretend we’re healthy, or at least not fattening. We won’t get jealous if you scream, ‘Celery!’ in the middle of your meal, just so long as you keep on keeping on until you and me and we are one. Big. Happy family. (Emphasis on the big.)’

Seductive motherfuckers. They knew the power they had over me. It was insurmountable.

Immediately, I was overcome by my desire to eat every last one of them, every goddamn morsel, and then to suck the glaze and frosting and sprinkle remnants off the bottom of the box. Snout-first. Shamelessly. See, they were just the way I liked them: assorted. No, not like; love. No, not love; revere, exalt, praise, and worship.

All of the above.

As I floated toward food-heaven, knees abuckle, eyes ablur, the smell grew more powerful, and my resistance, more weak. Yards became feet. Feet became inches. Measurements, nonexistent. They were so close now I could taste them in the air all around me. On the tip of my tongue. Powdered sugar and cinnamon swirls like a physical fog of deliciousness.

‘Boom, bam, bang,’ indeed.

I threw the lid open. Ripped it clean off the box and tossed it aside. Fuck barriers. Fuck restraint. Why say NO to what your body yearns for, begs for, needs like water, love, and shelter, when saying YES is so much easier, so much more temporarily gratifying? I was sick of constantly moderating my food intake, sick of suppressing my most base instincts. No more of that nonsense. Never again. Embrace the fatty.

The first donut was a triple threat if ever there was one: dipped in glaze, caramel-frosted on top, and filled with the most ravishing white cream I’d ever seen—the same shit they put in cannolis. (My pants were getting tight.) I didn’t think twice about it—I just shoved the fucker down my throat. Crammed it all in. No time for chewing, barely enough for swallowing. It was like coming home again. Number two was glazed blueberry cake, but awesome nonetheless. Throw it on in, I’m not full yet! Heaven, may you feel so good. Number three was snicker-doodle-esque, what with the layers of cinnamon and sugar, and it went down like sandpaper if sandpaper made my taste-bud-nipples hard. Still not full, you rat bastards. Number four was gone before I even knew it. Seriously, where’d it go? And what the hell was it? Number five, six, seven, and eight went down all together, holding hands, saying prayers, and sucking thumbs, in that order. I was officially bloated at this point. Plenty of room for everyone! Number nine went down about as smooth as you can expect when you’ve already gone through eight just like it with the knowledge that you’ve still got four to go. So, not smooth. Number ten squeezed in, just barely, just at the back of the bowels. (‘You won’t even notice that I’m here,’ it whispered humbly.) Oh, but I did, number ten. I really, really did. Number eleven, twelve, and thirteen knew their job was difficult, but fuck it, they weren’t going to be the only ones not residing inside my large intestine for at least the next twenty-four hours. How embarrassing would that be?

(See, the trick to overeating is in swallowing food faster than your brain can realize how full you are. I picked it up at various end-of-year holidays and self-loathing binge-fests.)

I closed the empty box. Slowly. Regrettably.

Nothing sadder than an empty box of donuts.

My lips were numb; my mouth muscles, mutilated.

“Jesus goddamn hell…” That’s when the shooting pain started in earnest.

I groaned like I’d never groaned before. Something was churning inside me, something terrible and throb-inducing, and all I could think to do was beg for mercy: “Please, donuts, please be kind to my inside place!” For all the good it did.

They ignored my pleas, disregarded my desperation, and just kept on tearing me up inside. When the pain became too much, I dropped to the floor, straight down to my damn knees, and wept like a newborn baby. I could feel the bile inside my bulging belly moving upward toward my esophagus. There, on the kitchen floor, I dry-heaved like a son of a bitch all through the night, until I momentarily collapsed from exhaustion from dry-heaving like a son of a bitch. I couldn’t help but imagine that my stomach was on the verge of splitting open at its seams—spilling donuts and entrails all over the floor out in front of me—and frankly, I very much hoped that it would.

“I’m—I’m sorry,” I whispered to the tune of hush-little-baby. My gums felt unplugged. Spit dribbled down my chin like it had a mind of its own. “I’m so, so sorry.” I grabbed myself around the tummy in a cradle. Held on for dear life. Rock-a-bye-baby, don’t say a word. “I came so far. I came so goddamn far. I did better than I’d ever done before. I could’ve—would’ve gone the whole way, changed forever, for the better, been a different person. I know it.” I was zapped of all my energy. My breath was heavy, labored, comical. If I didn’t have diabetes before, I sure as shit did now. “I would’ve dug my way out of this—hole. This horrible shit-hole. But not anymore. No going back now. This is the me that I was meant to be. This is my destiny. I’m a waste of space, a piece of shit, forever. Might as well be, anyway.”

I paused a moment. Not even two.

“I’m so sorry!!!”

Quickly, I peeled my skin-tight t-shirt up off my gargantuan stomach. It was sallow. Cadaverous. Hideous beyond reproach. Fucking treacherous inside-organ. “Goddamn you!” I hit myself dead center in the solar plexus, which knocked the wind clean out of my gut and made me feel somewhat better in the process. “I want to cut you the hell out of me! Just fucking rip you out of me and throw you in the garbage, leave you there to ROT and turn black and get eaten by roaches and rats and whatever else would stoop to eat something so foul! So low! SO GODDAMN DISGUSTING! I despise you so much!!”

The walls were shaking, and I with them.

“I FUCKING HATE YOU!” I pounded my fists on the floor until I couldn’t feel them anymore. “I just…I can’t…I can’t do it anymore…I just can’t…”

I swallowed what was left of my saliva and curled up into a (butter) ball on the floor. Right where I belonged.

“…I don’t deserve to be thin.”


I woke up in a mess of my own sweat, gasping unsuccessfully for breath.

“Holy crap,” I whispered to nobody. “Oh, thankyouthankyouthankyouthankyou…”

My skin was on fire and I was riddled with goose bumps. In fifteen years of being alive, I’d had zombie dreams, serial killer dreams, accidentally going to school without my shirt on dreams, all of them terrifying, but none so much as this one. This one trumped them all in one fell swoop. It was the guilt, I think. The caustic guilt. It ate your insides worse than imaginary donuts.

“It’s okay,” I told myself. “Everything’s fine. You haven’t done anything wrong.”

But clearly I had wanted to.

Eventually, I laid my head back down, closed my eyes, and breathed sort of easy. The truth is, I’d never been more relieved in my life. I felt like Scrooge McDuck on Christmas morn. That’s the best thing about nightmares. When you wake up, they’re over. When they’re over, you haven’t eaten thirteen donuts. And when you haven’t eaten thirteen donuts, you’ve still got a chance to be thin. A very, very small chance, sure, but a chance nonetheless.

Three months to go. See you at the fucking finish line.

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