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Showing posts from April, 2019

The Fat Lady Sings: Gargantua Goes on a Diet (Nicole Anne Dunkel, Copyright 1982)

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ONCE UPON A TIME there was a little girl who ate SO many Twin Bing Candy Bars she grew & grew SO tall that she looked DOWN on the Empire State Building. Her body was so stretched out that it couldnt stretch any more, but Gargantua, the not-so-little girl’s name, kept on eating Bings anyway & so all that blubber had to go somewhere, so it began spreading out, out, out. Gargantua grew into a blob of mountainous fat. She grew SO fat she couldnt move at all so the New York City Police decided to leave her next to the Empire State Building & build a fence around her. There she sat, Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer, while all the city folks gawked & stared & fed her all kinds of sweets. Once, some tourists from Sioux City, Iowa, even gave her Bings. One day, some people from the Modern Museum of Art decided to buy Gargantua & made plans to build an art gallery around her. “Thank you,” Gargantua said. “It’s getting cold out here.” But the museum people said building a gallery…

Three Stevedores and Never-ending Funerals

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WHEN I WAS 10, Mo, my grandmother, started dragging me to viewings and funerals. I dreaded going, especially when I couldn’t figure out why I was there. Like knowing the corpse would have been helpful, but I rarely did. I was too young to care about elderly dead people I didn’t know. Did she flip through the obits every day to troll for juicy prospects, ones that would most likely serve a major spread afterwards? The truth is, she attended every funeral at St. Boniface, whether or not she knew the deceased – I suppose she regarded every parishioner as family, no matter personal connection. And then there was that peripheral connection – the cousin of an acquaintance was a good enough excuse to mourn, even if the person was (gasp!) a Protestant. She once dragged me to a viewing of a grossly overweight man, dead at 40-something from Diabetes complications. “If you don’t stop eating like three stevedores, that could be you,” Mo whispered, nodding to the casket, twice the size of a normal one. Th…

On Samantha Meeting Her Sister for the First Time in Thirty Years (From The Fat Lady Sings: a Big, Fat Novel)

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SHELDON PARKS THE CAR in front of the small rock house, just outside Timber City. There are no other houses in sight. The sun has just set, and the peepers and katydids try out-chirping each other. A tension – maybe static – seems to crackle around us. Sheet lightning in the distance. A hot night, the humidity hanging in the air like a damp towel. I had heard about the humidity here, how it clings to you like a whiny kid, but I never realized how it could sit on you and make you beg for relief. Half moons of sweat drip under my armpits, and my skin feels hot and scratchy and raw. Later, I’ll find out about the chiggers, how they get on your skin and stick to you until they get what they need. My sister’s thin silhouette poses in the doorway, long cigarette in hand. My stomach suddenly aches; I don’t want her to see me like this, fat and bloated. I want to be thin like her, thin like the rest of the world. Why, for our first meeting, does she have to see me like this? Why couldn’t I lose thi…