The Years of Feast and Famine

Contributor: Stephen V. Ramey

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February 17, 2007 began the Year of the Pig according to the Lunar New Year calendar. It was on that date that I started my quest to become Earth's fattest man. A side of bacon for breakfast, three Big Macs and triple fries for early lunch, then a plate of ribs at Zibo's an hour after that. Dinner was the immobile meal. I would routinely stuff myself so full of potatoes and pasta, with occasional salad (heavily dressed, of course) that I could not move from the sofa for hours. I began relieving myself into buckets. My wife complained, but kept cooking. I loved her more than life itself, but not more than a good steak rubbed with pepper and cooked over a low, blue flame.

February 7, 2008 brought in the Year of the Rat. I was at 390 pounds, and growing fast. I had been given permission to telecommute, and routinely did my job as a traffic analyst while chomping down bags of Doritos, Cheetos, and pork rinds. Coke was my morning drink. At noon I switched to sweetened tea, with so much sugar you could watch it precipitate out when you put the pitcher in the fridge. This was the year I began my affair with Meghan Chives. Almost every night after my wife was sleeping, blindfolded and tooth-guarded in her bed, I would squeeze through the doorway and make the laborious trek three row houses down to Meghan's. We would eat greasy chicken or meat skewered on metal. I think it was the adrenalin fear of discovery that drove me that year, though it could also have been that Meghan's cupboards were well stocked.

2009 initiated the Year of the Ox. I was over 500 pounds now, and every movement became a labor. I was dragging the world around. No surprise when the company laid me off. Times were tough, and my work had degraded. It's difficult to click when your finger is larger than the mouse button. I stopped my affair with Meghan. Lugging my heart monitor and O2 tank was not worth the reward.

2010, the Year of the Tiger. I took charge of my weight gain with a vengeance. My wife, with Meghan's encouragement, it turns out, had been working toward staging an intervention. They even arranged for a famous weight clinic to hoist me out of the apartment and put me under house arrest. There were whispers of stomach staples and liposuction. I put a stop to it. I was not about to waste three years.

2011 was the Year of the Rabbit. And it's true that I now had to forage for myself, nibbling through our pantry one shelf at a time. A difficult year, best left unrecalled. My wife was gone, and so was Meghan. I lost nearly a hundred pounds.

2012, the Year of the Dragon. I have refocused on weight gain, even as it consumes my hoard. I will soon be forced to return to my women for nurture, and I will do so without regret. It may take a week to make it down into the basement where the freezer is, but I will make it one way or another. And they will be there.

Next year begins the year of the Snake.

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Stephen V. Ramey lives in beautiful New Castle, Pennsylvania, with his novelist wife and three obstructionist cats. His work has appeared in various places, including Linguistic Erosion, Smashed Cat, A Capella Zoo, and is upcoming at Weird Tales. He edits the annual Triangulation anthology from Parsec Ink, and the speculative twitterzine, trapeze.
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