Tombfyre appears as himself, with grateful acknowledgements. All other characters © me.
It was stifling in the changing rooms of the Wedgewood Arena, home to the Amateur Sumo League, ironically sponsored by most of the, ahem, big corporate sports backers, who usually relied more on muscle. Blubber was a booming business opportunity, sumo swelling into a prime second season. Even here, away from all the bright lights, the cameras and the crowds, you could feel the buzz, although that might just have been the floor shaking from the hoots of the fans.
Then there was an added, asynchronous thumping on the floorboards. Two very heavy treads converged on the wide archway leading to the long, comfy space for the wrestlers to change and clean up. It was like two earthquakes approaching. The footsteps met at the door, visible from inside only as a bloated belly-curve either side, the smaller grey, the other white and green. There was a deep laugh.
“No, after you. I insist!” The laughter continued, and the big grey bulge turned out to be that of a rhino, 8 feet tall if he was an inch. But whereas you expected a certain… rotundity from specimens of that species, this guy was stretching the limits of expectation, along with a pair of fiery red shorts. They were designed to be elastic, and accommodate anything from XXXL to XXXXXL, but they were beginning to sweat with the effort, especially with the unwanted load of trying to fight off the domineering belly above them. They were practically see-through as the result of an afternoon’s heavy (and boy did they know it!) bout. The rhino grinned and, grabbing a towel, began to dry himself off, making several savanna’s worth of nutrition ripple beneath his tough hide. Bountiful rolls bunched and stretched with doughlike softness.
The equally sweat-drenched victor, on the other hand, made straight for the snack-bar that the organisers had installed in fear of their third dimensions: big bodies and hunger were not a happy combination. And this boy’s body was pretty much the biggest. Even though the rhino was so fat to be practically round, well, rhinos were naturally big, and you could see the muscle on him… just about. The dragon who had beaten him (and defending champion of last season) topped his height by 4 inches and was astonishingly overweight. Clapping eyes on him for the first time, people had to do a double-take to fit him all in. Near the base, his tail was as thick as some people’s hips (some fat people’s hips), straining the collar of those eye-watering green shorts (up to XXXXX-X-L) almost as much as that rear of his did, so generous as to deserve sainthood. His thighs were like small-ish balloons that stretched the leg-holes, whatever muscle within them buried beneath deep deposits of adipose. The colour of the shorts clashed with the darker green of his back, limbs, head and neck (defined by two chubby tyres of flab). His front was milk-white, encompassing his throat, chest, and belly. Oh good god, his belly. It was monstrous, even for his blubbersome proportions. It added more than three feet to his width on each side, the base rubbing tantalisingly against his knees, almost constantly in motion. It was currently jammed tight against the side of the bar in an effort to let him get at the grub, so large as to get in the way otherwise. The pressure eventually separated the glutton from the food and he took a waddling step backwards, his nosh-crammed cheeks looking almost normal on the moonlike roundness of his face, whilst his snout looked strangely stubby in consequence.
Through the thickening, acrid fug in the room the huge rhino playfully punched the enormous reptile’s gut, as fascinated by this heroic example of excess as everyone else in the biz. His fist briefly sank into that bottomless pit, but it was then bounced back out by tension of the dragon’s hide. The contact set of ocean swells around his surface.
“Damn, FD, I can’t believe you got like this just by eating! And I’ve seen how you pack it away.”
The behemoth star of amateur sumo wrestling, now universally known simply as Fat Dragon, ‘oofed’ slightly at the exuberance but remained grinning, plainly pleased at the attention and praise from a fellow sportsanimal. He put his hands to his bulk and squeezed slightly, rewarding the rhino with the sight of that vast mass distorting fatly. The weigh-in before the bout had placed him at 1,420lbs. He tried his best to get his plump hands to touch around his middle, but there was no way without cheating. His body was just too fat for that nowadays. So heavy, in fact, that the newly introduced weight class system- instigated to prevent bouts between competitors being too one-sided- insisted that he compete in the Pachyderm superweight class, normally the only creatures naturally large enough or capable of obtaining such a weight. He was currently towards the lower limits of the band, but it was the top bracket and none of the pachyderms he was up against (despite some quite desperate measures) could top his weight quite yet.
The rhino was still looking at him in a kind of awe, unwilling to take his hand off the bloated body that dwarfed him. FD knew that all his fellow wrestlers considered his belly to be lucky, which put him in the way of a lot of boisterous body-contact. That was ok- he had plenty of shock-absorbing capacity. The myth of his body always made him laugh, but was fast becoming a part and parcel of the whole sport, his friends equating his phenomenal bloat of the last season and a bit with the jaw-dropping success of amateur (practically professional now) sumo as a whole.
Whilst one mitt scooped up a large milkshake-like sealed cup of orangey sports drink (that much sweat needed replacing!), FD lightly returned the punch to the rhino’s own respectable girth. He sucked down the drink through the straw in long, greedy slurps.
“Saw you’d gone up a few dozen pounds, too!” His erstwhile competitor seemed to swell under the praise, beaming across his own uber-chubby countenance.
“Yeah! Been stuffing this thing as hard as I can go.” He patted the wrecking-ball that occupied his frontage. “Hopefully I’m entering another ‘growth spurt’.” He winked. “But I’m never going to match a lard-barge like you, really, and we all know it. You’ve got real talent, FD.”
FD nearly squirted Lycaz-ade out of his nostrils, but managed to hold back the laughter enough.
“Not talent, just lucky, Des: I’ve got a body built for gaining!” They both quaked with mirth. “Keep it up and you’ll be a vast slob like me in no time!” Des roared with laughter, play-punching again.
“If I was as big as you I’d be immobile! But it’s nice to dream, I guess.” With a cheery grin, the buoyed-up dirigible of a pachyderm handed over the towel and sauntered away, beginning to gather together some slightly more ordinary clothes that he could stretch around his rotund frame. FD tended not to bother with that kind of thing anymore- hell, they pretty much saw him in his full unadorned glory on the telly anyway- but now that he seemed to be slowing down on the gaining it might be an idea to get some things that would at least have the time to wear out. He just towelled himself down, luxuriating in the way the fabric ruckled and pulled at his mammoth bulk, which quivered with each pass. Then, still clutching his drink, he began a slow trek upstairs to one of the private meeting rooms of the ASL, the stairs creaking plaintively. Someone had contacted him a few days ago, and had wanted to talk about some kind of sponsorship/endorsement deal. And his food bills (though subsidised by the ASL) still ate (haha) a lot into his funds. This could be profitable…
* * *
The sunny meeting room contained a table, two occupied chairs and a two-seater sofa (they knew he was coming). The room seemed to get a lot less spacious when he squeezed through the door, but that was something that more affected other people. One of the occupants stood: a gecko in a business suit. He looked so small as to be diminutive, with the slight bulging-eyed look of lizards everywhere. The contrast between him and FD as they faced each other across the informal table was almost laughable, but was balanced by the animal next to him who hadn’t got up- a bull whose hide was of such stygian blackness that the sunglasses he was wearing indoors barely noticed. Beneath a loose soft shirt and a pair of trousers he was so blatantly bulked up with muscle it was a wonder he’d managed to spare time from lifting weights to be here. He gave FD a stern glare to start with, but was otherwise disinterested in proceedings.
A second look at the gecko made FD realise who was wearing the trousers, here- those eyes were currently friendly, but carried the kind of vibes of someone used to being important. That was ok: FD was wearing shorts, after all. With a cheery nod to the gecko and letting the bovine glower bounce off him, he sank onto the sofa, which gave him elbow-room but now couldn’t take anyone else. It creaked beneath him. ASL were really going to have to do something about reinforcing the furniture…
The gecko sat opposite him, and smiled impersonally.
“Mr… Dragon. Thank you for coming. I’m Oi Takama, and this is my associate for the day. Say hello, Hogarth.” The bull grunted and continued to eyeball FD. But the dragon didn’t really notice. He plonked his empty drinks cup on the table, trying to not look surprised.
Normally more interested in promoting the body beautiful, Scaletech UnLtd. was nevertheless probably the fifth biggest sponsor of the ASL. It sure as hell tried to make its presence known- a lot of his bout-mates sported their (stretched) logo across at least one buttock. And here he was, talking to its founding CEO. He just hadn’t expected anyone with such a monolithic business reputation to be so… small. Mr. Takama smiled.
“Ah, I see you’ve heard of me. Good: then I’ll waive the normal boring introductions and get straight down to business.” He lounged in the boneless way of lizards everywhere that dragons (especially ones as roly-poly as FD) just couldn’t match. “Scaletech is an organisation very much focussed on the idea of business, Mr. Dragon. Apart from the whole profit-mill, it always gives me a great feeling of satisfaction when I see a business we’re interested in go well. Growth markets, you might say.”
FD frowned a little. Was that a joke aimed at him?
“We try to help, too. We’re very interested in investment.” The way Oi rolled the word made it clear that this was the important part coming up. He suddenly sat forward, elbows on the table. “The success of your… unusual sport-” another snort from the bull “-took everyone rather by surprise at first, but naturally we’re delighted to see a new business take off in such a way.” He smiled wryly, “And we’ve seen enough reassuring solidity around here to make us feel that this isn’t just a flash in the pan. We both know that the ASL is very much committed to the idea of expansion, and naturally Scaletech is keen, too.”
Oh, the comedy was just piling up. Did all businesscreatures have such an awful sense of humour? Trying not to grin too much, FD sat back, flinging his arms over the rear of the sofa. A certain leaning-back of the two creatures opposite reminded him that he’d forgotten about post-bout deoderant. Oh well.
“I’m very glad to hear it, Mr. Takama.” He patted his huge gut, currently swamping his lap, and grinned as he finally drained the last of his drink. “I guess we need all the… nourishment… we can get.”
“Quite. You’re a success story, Mr. Dragon. Some might even hold you up as the main ambassador of the ASL to the masses. A very big success story.”
Oh, please stop. My aching sides.
“Before we get down to the nitty gritty-” a smile flicked across his face and then vanished just as quickly. “- as we both have an interest in this business’s… growth… at heart, may I make a personal observation? Have you ever considered a situation where success causes… wider problems? Excess success, as it were.” That smile again. “You’re a safe bet, Mr. Dragon. Did you know that? Sumo wrestling is a competition. The excitement of competition lies in the uncertainty, be it in business or sport, I can assure you. But you’re a prize-fighter. Unbeatable, they say. People already assume that you’ll be the next champion.” He held up a slim hand to forestall FD’s protest, “That may be premature, but appearances are important in sport. Have you ever noticed that when something is thought of as a foregone conclusion, it loses a certain… appeal?” He fixed FD with a mild gaze that the dragon had a niggling feeling was significant. “More than ever, Mr. Dragon, sumo as a business needs excitement to make it successful. If it is to continue to grow, to attract investment from companies such as ours.”
The silence lengthened. When it became clear that Oi wasn’t going to elaborate, FD’s lips moved with the effort of trying to see the point. When it finally clicked, it wasn’t a joke anymore.
“You mean,” he rumbled, affront building its way up from somewhere around his knees, “that maybe things should be a little more interesting, push the ratings up? Fix things, is that it? For the good of the business?!” Or maybe you’ve put money on somebody else becoming champion, this year? he added in the privacy of his head. It might be made not private very soon. Very loudly not-private.
Oi Takama was an iceberg to FD’s smouldering volcano.
“It was merely an observation, Mr. Dragon, nothing more. I’m sorry if you thought I meant something more.” He gave the dragon a pointed look. “And I personally never gamble.”
FD goggled a little, feeling all the wind leak out from the sails of his ire. Was that it? FD’s mouth stayed open for a moment, for once with no semi-witty reply. Hang on, how had this slimy little lizard just wriggled out of incriminating himself? He re-ran the conversation in his head, but all the twisty little sub-meanings tangled themselves up in his recollection. Takama had suggested… but then again, somehow it turned out that he hadn’t.
Shutting his jaw (and grinding his teeth) FD subsided disconsolately and smouldered on the sofa. The muscle-bound bull was giving him very unfriendly looks now. He returned them.
“As I was saying,” the lizard continued as if the last few minutes hadn’t existed, “you are a big success story, Mr. Dragon. I asked to meet with you because I have a suggestion that would allow us both to take advantage of this fact.” FD opened his mouth to tell Takama where he could stuff his suggestion, but this guy’s complete sang froid unnerved him. In the pause, the gecko reached down adroitly and lifted a small cold-pack from by his feet. FD was surprised to see the Lycaz-ade logo all over it.
“Are you still thirsty, Mr. Dragon? I see that you’re already a fan of our product.” It then dawned on FD that Scaletech probably owned Lycaz-ade. He looked suspiciously at the proffered drink- he was pretty sure that this guy did nothing that wasn’t good for business- but in the end nodded slowly. A second was passed to the bull, who had perked up since the pack had appeared. He’d probably worked up a powerful thirst on the bench press. FD peered into it, and was surprised to see that it was red, not orange. He looked up to find Takama smiling.
“We’re road-testing a new product, Mr. Dragon, deciding whether it should be brought to market. We’re looking for professional feedback on it at the moment, from… different consumer groups.”
So they wanted the fat lads’ vote too, eh? Typical business stuff. FD took a sip of the new drink, and was pleasantly surprised. It wasn’t anything that he could pin down, but it was definitely fruity. Refreshing, too. He smiled and nodded, temporarily putting aside his animosity.
“Not bad.” The bull was trying it as well.
“I can have a free crate of it delivered to your house, if you agree to be a consultant on how well it goes down with you. Three month’s supply- enough for a whole season. Beyond that, I’m hoping for a slightly… original marketing campaign. In short, we’d like you to be the new body of the new Lycaz-ade.”
FD spluttered a little, then couldn’t decide whether to choke or just let the laughter come. Him? He suddenly had a mental image of every lithe, honed athlete, every single biceps-obsessed bodybuilder, and every narcissistic little fitness-freak having fatal apoplexy all at once, and it tickled him pink. He took another sip as he thought about it.
“Are you serious?”
“We certainly are, Mr. Dragon. Attitudes are changing- you might be surprised how widespread your popularity is already. Scaletech wants to play a big part in making sumo a future success, and we can’t thing of anyone more representative. If you don’t mind me saying so, Mr. Dragon, we think you’ve got a long way to go. We want to invest in you. And you may have noticed that we’ve increased the volume of drink in this product, to accommodate… greater thirsts.”
There were at least three puns hidden in there, FD decided. But, to make a gag of his own, it was a big deal. Wow, was it big! He didn’t like Takama, he’d decided, but that wasn’t a reason to pass up something like this. The guy wasn’t the entire business. Besides, he could still see each and every sports celebrity’s face when the news broke. That sweet mental picture decided it. He grinned and lifted his cup in a toast.
“Ok, I’ll do it. To greater thirsts!” He then realised that Takama hadn’t tried the drink in front of him. The gecko smiled ironically.
“I’m afraid that I find such sweet drinks completely intolerable, Mr. Dragon, but I’m very happy that you like them.” He raised his cup. “To a profitable arrangement, for both of us.”
FD shrugged and slurped heavily on his drink. He was liking it more and more. Still thirsty from all his recent exertions, he sucked the whole thing down in long swallows. He finished it and plonked the crushed cup down next to the other. A belch surprised him, welling up from deep in his stomach.
“Pardon.” Takama waved a hand airily.
“Granted. If you’ll excuse me, Mr. Dragon, now that we have so happily got off on the right foot, I regrettably have another meeting to attend. Mere business-creatures like myself aren’t given any spare time, you understand. Thank you very much for some of yours, and we’ll be in touch to negotiate a contract. We just wanted to hook you today, if you’ll pardon the business jargon.”
“Consider me happily hooked. But-.” FD leaned forwards in his seat, belly spreading against the table. To his silent delight, the table, not used to having its personal space so invaded, shot forwards, cramming both gecko and bull temporarily back into their chairs. He fixed Takama with a significant look. “-I go out there and bout to win, fair and square. I won’t ever cheat. I win at sumo because I’m the biggest and the best.”
Oi gave him a slightly strained smile, whilst the bull was visibly fuming behind his half-empty cup.
“You make yourself abundantly clear, Mr. Dragon.” Oh gods, please no more jokes! “We want to help you stay that way. That’s why we’re backing you.”
* * *
By the time FD got home, a large crate was already waiting for him on the doorstep. It looked about enough for a dehydrated rugby team for a year. Takama really didn’t believe in wasting time, did he? Or had he arranged for it to be delivered earlier? With a shrug he got past it and squeezed his way into his home, then dragged the crate in too. It just fit through the door. Hot and thirsty again from all his exertions, he managed to crack the crate open and extract one of the sealed cups. He slurped on it thoughtfully, trying to decide if he preferred it to the tartrazine-orange flavour of the original. Not sure. And he still couldn’t pin down the flavour. Berry-like was the closest he could assign it. But it was good. He crumpled the empty cup and dropped it in the kitchen bin. The post-bout munchies were setting in well and truly, now. He ripped open the door of his extra-large fridge and stuck his snout in, grabbing whatever was available that second. His body wanted food! The shelves were arranged a little higher than was typical, but anyone seeing the way that mammoth scaly stomach tried to muscle in on the fridge-action would understand why.
That bout had worked up a monster appetite- FD pigged out. His head still in the fridge, he tore into a pack of sliced meat and a loaf, making huge, handful-sized ham sandwiches that barely lasted the construction time. They were followed by enough packs of cold Chinese takeaway (bought specially so that they could be eaten cold as a snack: FD didn’t normally generate leftovers) to feed three. With no-one else around he just stuck his massive meaty mitt into one of the tins and scooped out the contents, devouring the king-sized portion in three practised, cheek-bulging bites. Noodles splattered over his cheeks, he licked up the remaining sauce from the packaging before temporarily wiping himself down. He could feel the solid ball of congealed, greasy takeaway, sliding satisfyingly down his food-pipe and towards his cavernous stomach. It was followed by a deluge of milk, and then by a pack of ready-to-eat custard: the dragon simply tore the corner off the pack and drained it.
The volume of food was beginning to have some kind of impact against his appetite, but he was comfortably into his eating rhythm here, so he carried on for a bit, clearing at least one shelf in the fridge- no sense in missing an opportunity to keep his weight up. Now that his mind wasn’t totally fixated on getting food, one of his hands strayed to his enormous, tyrelike side. As he stuffed a wrap containing over half a chicken down his throat, he couldn’t help but smile. Boy, was he fat! No-one could deny him that (especially at that moment, when his belly bulged out to either side of the fridge)- it’d be like saying that gravity didn’t work (and he was probably amassing plenty of that, too). It was quite an achievement in such a short space of time. Bigger was so much better! FD rolled the final mouthful of the fiendishly-full wrap around his mouth, savouring the taste. How anyone could deny themselves the sheer, gluttonous pleasure of eating until you wanted to burst…
He felt more sated, now, thanks to his little snack. Some pedants might have queried how enough food for five could be admitted under the definition of ‘snack’, but then they probably wouldn’t have seen how much FD ate for ‘meals’. The just plain annoying might have made clichés about spoiling appetites for dinner, but then again FD always ate like a horse at every meal, regardless of the gut-busting size of some of the snacks he’d consumed just previously.
A completely unexpected hand smacked against his backside, with about as much effect as a pea bouncing off a waterballoon. It gave FD quite a jolt. Ever see a tonne-and-a-bit-dragon jump in surprise? It was enough to put the future of the fridge in jeopardy, but his weight meant that sudden explosive movements were near impossible unless he’d really worked up to it, so it manifested more as an oceanic quiver and a certain roundness about the eye. Plus, as previously mentioned he was now quite used to being handled by the fascinated, though it didn’t normally happen in his own home. He managed to extricate himself from the fridge.
“Hey, Fat-Stuff!” There followed an equine snigger.
Speaking of eating like a horse…
A chestnut stallion grinned up at him as he turned. FD’s mild annoyance evaporated.
“Chaz!” The dragon flung his arms wide in welcome, making his body seem to swell. He grinned to himself as the horse was forced to take a step back- that or be knocked off his feet by the dragon’s bouncing bulk. “Nice surprise! Saw your weigh in today,” he added, “not too shabby!” His fellow sumo beamed under the praise, and slapped each side of his brown-haired bulk in modest emphasis.
“Yep,” he agreed, “up another stone. Clothes getting tight again. Growing a fourth chin. Irresistible to all women. Should be growing faster than this, though.”
A shadow of frustration marred the horse’s meaty features for a moment, and FD tried to radiate sympathy as well as body-heat. Whilst his twin was away on a charity-cum-publicity sumo tour, Chaz had been straining with all his might to be the bigger brother by the time he returned. And anyone seeing before and after shots would have called it pretty much a runaway success. The searing red shirt that Chaz was wearing was straining at each and every button, revealing super-fatted horse-flesh beneath it every time a step stretched it, and unable to cover a chubby roll of belly-flab that spilled out from beneath it. But then this horse dreamed mega-big.
“You’re doing all you can,” FD soothed, “it’ll come, it’ll come.”
“Yeah, yeah,” Chaz sighed, “we’re not all weight-gaining-gold like you, I suppose.” He poked FD in the stomach, and the doughball dragon shrugged modestly. Some things you just couldn’t deny.
“Speaking of coming,” Chaz continued, brightening up, “what’s the industrial-freight out front?” He used a finger to wobble FD’s pliable tonnage. “Sent out for pizza again, Scale-ball?”
“Jealous!” The rotund reptile snickered, going on to explain about his new deal. The horse’s eyes grew larger and larger.
“What?!” Chaz almost exploded. “You lucky… you realise that you’re going to end up on the cover of every magazine because of this?”
“What, apart from Sumo Studs, you mean?” They’d both graced the cover of that little publication. “They want me to do another shoot, by the way-” FD felt his grin grow wider: when a fat guy smiles, you really know about it- “centrefold”.
“Hah! ‘Cos they can’t fit you on one page any more, blubber-bucket!”
The ball-bellied horse gave him a more critical examination.
“Have you started maxing-out at all, yet?” There was the slightest of grass-green overtones in his voice. With slower returns on his gains, Chaz was already beginning to worry what his natural size limit was. The ‘bulk-boundary’ as it was referred to in the locker-room. Certain species couldn’t seem to get above a certain weight, at least not without one hell of an effort. Nobody had been able to work out what FD’s was, yet.
“Dunno,” he replied, “but it’s going to be fun to find out, eh?” He gave another laugh as Chaz’s playful punch bounced off his blubber, leaned against the side of the fridge (which groaned) and wiped the top of his snout. “Want a sneak preview of one of these drinks? I’m still thirsty!”
They fished a few more cartons from the crate. Some went into the fridge, and a couple more apiece were sluiced down the porky pair’s gullets. Chaz smacked his lips appreciatively, his approval emphasised with a satisfied belch.
“’Gor, that’s good stuff!” He squinted at the labelling- some people will insist on reading it- “what’s this funny little squiggle, here? It’s a new logo on me.” FD took a look as well, but shrugged, the company unfamiliar to him too.
“So, why’d you come over?”
“To congratulate you on yet another win! Sure you’re not going to get too big for us small timers? Still going to turn up at the stable after this weekend for training, rather than being out and having a whale of a time with your new celebrity buddies?”
“Oh, please stop!” FD theatrically put his hands to his head, “I’ve had enough bad puns today to last me for life! And don’t worry, I’ll be there on Monday with the rest of you.” He slapped his belly and winked teasingly at the horse, “gotta give you skinny-ribs something to aspire too.”
“I take it back, I think it’s your head that’s gaining most, not the rest of you!”
FD gave Chaz a clutch of the drinks to take home with him, he liked them so much. Share and share alike.
* * *
That weekend, FD had one of the weirdest dreams he’d ever had. It was on Saturday night, so the big late night blow-out might explain it. He’d fallen fast asleep in his own bed. It was king-size, but there was only room for him to bed down on it. His pear-shaped body spread out almost to the sides when he was laying on his back, and the covers didn’t really cover him all that much any more. It was a good job he was such a heavy sleeper.
But that night, although he was lying in bed, he found himself staring up at the night sky rather than his bedroom ceiling. And then, lit by the glow of a full moon, he was staring up at something else as well. It was the biggest, most humungous dragon he’d ever imagined. Vaguely anthropoid, it was continental in size, looming off towards the horizons. The scales on its back were a dull, light-pollution red in the shadow, whilst its front gleamed moonlight, diamond-dazzling compared to the organic white of his own belly-scales.
But more than just big, it was fat. No, fat was a term used to describe normal-sized creatures. This thing almost defied description- rolls of fat along it sides acquired a geological scale, whilst it’s belly filled a third of the sky like an eclipsing apocalypse. It wore the milky-way as its loincloth, and it looked pretty tight around the hips. Its face was huge and flabby, each horn spearing the heavens whilst a bit of beard sprouted on his second chin.
FD decided that he was seeing a god. And he wanted to be like that! He suddenly knew what his ambition in life truly was. Sure, he was fat by pedestrian standards, but at that second he would have given anything to be as supernaturally obese. To hell with rationality, health problems, even mobility! He wanted BIG! He couldn’t do anything but lie there, transfixed.
The Dragon was looking down at him. It was smiling.
“So, you little runt, yer want to be the biggest, do you?” The voice rumbled with good humour and- bizarrely- a Canadian accent. “Yer’ve got quite a long way to go, huh?”
In the back of his head FD kind of knew this just had to be a dream, but he didn’t want something that big to not be real. It would be too disappointing. Giants that got giantly fat! His eyes widened as the dragon reached down with one mighty hand, blotting out the stars. FD grunted in shock as a single scaly red thumb was pressed down onto his girthful belly, pinning him to the bed. The thumbprint just about covered it, whilst flab bulged out to the sides from the pressure. He somehow knew that the giant dragon was smiling.
“I’d say yer going to enjoy the next little while, then.”
A monumental belch welled out of his snout as the weight of the thumb seemed to force into him, but somehow it became his weight too. He moaned in rapture as his body didn’t physically grow, but he felt a tingling expectation of getting fatter, and fatter, and fatter…
His eyes slammed open to reveal his bedroom ceiling. FD felt a visceral disappointment as the dream escaped his clutches, and reality put such size beyond his reach forever. It had felt so real! He even sat up (getting to be quite a feat in itself) and gave himself the once-over. Nope. He was a massive fat-boy, a big-bellied, scaly blubberbulk, but only by the conventions of mundane reality. The feeling soon passed, however, and a yawn made his jaw creak. Within the minute he had fallen asleep again, and barely remembered the dream in the morning.
* * *
The stable was pretty packed on Monday morning- it was the session that almost every aspiring sumo attended, all with the silent hope that the weekend’s binging had made some difference. As usual, heads turned when FD jogged into the room. Apparently seeing all that chub bouncing towards you was hard to ignore. Unsurprisingly, Chaz was late. He claimed to have learned the strategy from FD- he referred to it as the ‘slob about on your arse all day’ gambit.
The habitual brightness of his day clothes caught FD’s attention out of the corner of his eye when the horse strolled in a few minutes later. But when the dragon turned to greet him with some good-natured ribbing, the words fizzled out, and his jaw simply hung slack. Chaz stood nonchalantly in his shadow.
“What’s up!?” FD spluttered, “For a start, your weight!”
Wearing the same shirt as two days ago, the gap between every button was now torturously strained. He had to keep tugging down to prevent the pressure from his gut making it ride up. There was nothing left to the imagination as to how fat this stallion suddenly was.
FD’s eyes grew rounder and rounder.
“Wow! That pep-talk I gave you must really have done the trick, huh? What did you do, not stop eating from the second you left to the second you arrived? You must be stuffed!” The horse’s grin (accentuated by cheeks more swollen than ever) grew wider, and he feigned casualness as he started to strip down to his bouting shorts. His gut fell out, even bigger than ever now it was free of its conventional prison.
“Nope, just been eating normally, my friend.” A gleam of prayers-answered delight lit up his eyes. “But I’ve started growing properly again! Mmm-mmm!” He clutched his spare tyre and shook it, “lasagne never tasted so good!”
“By the bucketful, I’ll bet.”
“Nah, just three or four.” Now that his bit of probably-well-rehearsed-gloating was over, Chaz began to register the world around him. When he properly looked at FD, he registered surprise, and then, inexplicably, amusement.
“And look who’s talking! Mr-ooh-deary-me-I’m-beginning-to-slow-down! Hah! C’mon, you’ve got to give some buffet owners a chance, you can’t clean them out all at once like that!”
“Wha?” The dragon gawped dopily at the bulging equine.
“Ahh, don’t be modest! Your acting’s terrible!”
“What are you talking about, Chaz!”
“This!” The horse grabbed one of the rolls on FD’s spherical side and hefted it upwards. It jiggled massively, then rolled back into place. “If you keep on blowing up like this, FD, you’ll explode!”
“I haven’t grown any.” FD’s complete puzzlement finally convinced the excitable stallion, who blinked at him incredulously.
“Yes you have! You sure as hell didn’t swell out this far on Friday!”
“Really?” The sumostar dragon tried to examine himself, twisting and pawing at his bulk. Unlike some, he didn’t have clothes to measure himself with by trying to fit inside. Chaz rolled his eyes in pure exasperation.
“So fat he doesn’t even notice an extra little 5 stone! Still-” a twinkle of humour shone through- “if I was such a disgustingly fat slob as you I probably wouldn’t notice either.” He clapped both hand’s to the underside of FD’s belly and shook it. “Now get your snout out of the trough and get bouting!” He strode into the ring, a slightly maniacal look of glee on his face. “I want to show off my weight advantage!”
* * *
Despite FD’s bemusement at Chaz’s blowing-up-bod, his attention was soon drawn into the fun of brawling with fellow fatties. Not that it was much contest- equine weight advantage or not, this dragon was still top hog. A couple of plump newbies fell for the ole’ tail-twizzler routine, and at one memorable moment he just had to stand there fatly and let the other fellow haul to his utmost and fail to budge him. That earned him an appreciative round of applause. But that was part of the secret. You just had to think heavy...
At the end of the session (usually decided when beasts were too tired to stand and/or it was lunchtime) Chaz met up with FD again. It turned out it was to pinch FD’s Lycaz-ade: he’d finished the ones he’d taken over the weekend. The dragon let him have one, having brought in four for himself. The pair steamed as they slurped.
“You haven’t forgotten, have you?” Chaz asked suddenly.
“I don’t know- I’ve forgotten.”
“About our planned trip to you-know where, you goon!” The dragon broke into a pumpkin-cheeked grin.
“It involves food: of course I haven’t forgotten!”
“No, but you might sneak there early without me.”
“Chaz!” FD was genuinely offended. The horse shrugged in apology, and the dragon smiled. “Don’t worry, chubby-chops- no sneaky solo binges, I promise. Just hold your horses until Wednesday night.”
“Good,” Chaz replied, all determined sunshine again, “I don’t know how long I’m going to grow this easily for, but I want to make the most of it.”
Impulsively, FD hugged him. It was like a beach-ball squashing a rabbit.
“Sorry,” he said happily as the horse wheezed and squirmed, buried beneath sweaty scale, “but it’s just so good when I hear other people talking like I think. Bigger and better, eh?”
* * *
‘You-Know-Where’ was a small establishment in the middle of town, with a converted garage door as its entrance. That was the only thing that distinguished it from any other all-you-can-eat-Chinese-place lining the streets. In fact, looking at it, you might say that everything else about it was designed to look conventional. Strip-lights with the gaudy fake-Chinese shades, the counter, the tables, the slightly grease-filmed walls, the lot. The kind of thing that would probably get the owner of a restaurant in China arrested for overacting. One far-fetched explanation for such a tacky exterior might be that it’s because the owner wanted to look the same as everyone else- what he did for some valued customers would have had every other chow-house owner after his gizzards.
Oh, and he had a little advertising logo in one of the cheap brochures available at the Wedgewood Arena.
Wednesday’s bout ended early (with a resounding victory), so FD was only a few minutes behind Chaz when they met up outside the eatery’s door, which was open to the night air. The greasy fumes wafting out were mouth-watering, and helped to disguise the lingering aroma of exertion on FD’s part (deodorant was on his shopping list, he just never seemed to make it past the frozen-goods aisle). In the spilled light, Chaz’s red shirt was snugger than ever. For some reason the horse grinned slyly as FD arrived, and elbowed the dragon’s belly in a supposedly significant way. Then they sauntered inside without any small-talk. Conversation flat-lined and jaws dropped as they passed over the threshold, but eventually the allure of cheap but filling takeaway drew all of the attention back to the business at hand. Chaz was already making determinedly for the counter. FD took a moment to glance around, attempting to hoik his shorts up against his gigalithic gut- they were having a little more trouble staying up than usual, it seemed. Then he waded in, the owner nodding significantly even before he’d reached the bar.
* * *
FD only knew how to say three things in Chinese- “Hello”, “All of it” and “More”. They’d served him very well so far. He groaned a little in the dim, very private room out back, which was more just one gigantic padded, circular seat that you sat in. It was gone one in the morning- a taxi had arrived for Chaz about midnight, to which he had more or less managed to stagger under his own steam. The sound of the suspension under strain had reached even here. The debris of his part of the meal still lay scattered about, any implausible remnants licked clean by the only remaining occupant. FD had carried on without him, even though the rest of the place was long since shut.
The very special service that Mr. Hong offered to those who were privileged enough to know about it was to offer them literally all they could eat. Whereas a taxi had coped with Chaz, FD suspected that he was going to need some kind of truck, tonight. The kitchen had just run out of rice. But that was ok, because he was just full. He moaned again and tried to flex himself, but he was pinned firmly by his middle, which was firm to the touch and about half as big again as usual. He was about two metres wide and about the same deep. He was a ball. Sprawled out as he was, he smiled fondly down (and up, and out) at the body that was filling a majority of the room, and gave himself an approving slap. The ripples lasted for minutes. He managed to shift a little, to stop his tail going to sleep. His sides creased slightly, and there was a faint wobble, but not much else. He wallowed in his own flab, padded on every conceivable surface by whole feet of subcutaneous blubber.
He wondered if the kitchen was out entirely…?
He grunted in surprise as Mr. Hong slipped behind the curtain. He’d served them personally all night. He was carrying a small stack of duck pancakes, as well as a tray of complementary chocolate mints. Oh well…
FD could hardly restrain a grin as the rodent, in his long, faded robe and patched coolie hat, meticulously placed one foot on the dragon’s stomach and walked up it towards him. It was the only reliable way of reaching his mouth at the moment. The scrawny rat’s claws felt ticklish and slightly prickly on his gut-scales, barely making any dent in his hide against the internal pressure.
“Last orders, pliss…” he said in his soft accent, leaning down.
“Thanks.” FD sluggishly took the proffered tray and began munching automatically. There was sauce smeared across most of his face, and he was hot from the effort of consuming so much. The room was a bit like a sauna. Spilled grains of rice had stuck to him, and his body heaved slowly as he breathed around the mass- and that was the only way to describe it- of food clogging his digestive system.
Still standing, Mr. Hong rode the slow swell with familiar ease in the gloom, watching his client do what he did best.
“You lucky business was so slow tonight.” The dragon grinned at him, cheeks dimpling from their size. He didn’t stop eating when he spoke, just got the words out between mouthfuls. He knew his priorities.
“Still managed to clear you out again-” he paused in his consumption as air forced its way back up, “-best customer, huh?”
“Biggest customer, yes.” Mr. Hong smiled inscrutably. “But no charge- does one good to see such hearty eating.” FD saluted him graciously with the remains of a pancake, only just avoiding spilling the contents everywhere, before stuffing it into his maw.
Mr. Hong continued to watch him eat, twirling one long, waxed whisker with a finger.
“Very, very big customer tonight.” He paused. “Sun Tzu say,” he glanced significantly at the extra-large, bigger-than-ever blob beneath him, “the bigger your enemy is, much easier for you to aim at.”
FD chewed thoughtfully. It was apparent that some kind of participation was expected.
“Who is this Sun Zoo character you keep quoting at me? Some kind of Zen master?”
“New evening chef.” Mr. Hong shrugged. “His dim sum is terrible, but makes the best fortune cookies I’ve even seen.”
“Makes bloody good sticky rice, too” grunted the bloated dragon, grinning around a snoutful. One buttock slipped inside its highly elasticated covering and began to spread over another sitting-space. He started on the chocolates, and smiled up happily at Mr. Hong, gripped in the slobbish euphoria of being a whopping great fatso. At the chest, he was about as wide as a two-seater sofa, and his swollen arms pressed in against hefty rolls of dragon-dough. “Got some guys standing by to help, or am I just going to have to wait until opening time to be rolled out?”
* * *
FD had another dream. It was a good one. Somehow he was lying face down in a completely featureless space. No, tied down, because although he could struggle just a little, he couldn’t move, his hands, feet and tail all held down. And he was being made to eat. He couldn’t see what he was eating, he couldn’t taste it, and he wasn’t even having to open and shut his jaws, but he knew that he was eating a lot, and had been for a long time now during this dream. He was getting fatter at every phantom swallow, rising and spreading whilst his limbs tugged at the restraints. His belly and chest were pressed against the ground like a built-in air-bed. He could feel his face and neck growing rounder and rounder, cheeks beginning to press against the edges of his snout. The feeding was comfortably paced but utterly relentless, and he had no idea of how long it was going to carry on for. He didn’t care. The obese beast lunged for the next mouthful that he just knew was there, and felt himself fatten out another notch. He groaned in delight.
A deep, Canadian chuckle sounded all around him like rolling thunder.
“ Better, Squirt. NOW yer starting the get the idea. But lets move things up a gear…”
A solid, invisible wall of pressure smooshed against FD’s snout, which filled with a pile of ephemeral food. The next snoutful was larger. And the next, and the next. It was like a tide steadily rising to his lips. The rotund reptile grunted in stuffed rapture as he actually felt his belly starting to stretch to accommodate the impossible load. He opened wide for the next helping…
* * *
He had a second bout that week, which was over almost disappointingly fast. But then there was pretty much no contest- he hadn’t so much loomed over his competitor as dwarfed him. But the crowd didn’t seem to care, from the noise particularly enjoying the way he’d dispatched his opponent- sucking his belly in and then out, bouncing them out of the ring.
The surprise came from someone that he noticed in the audience during the rough-and-tumble. They were waiting for him in the corridor leading to the changing rooms after the show. He was wearing a brighter, more casual shirt this time, and an expression of horrified disdain, but FD still recognised the hired muscle Takama had brought with him previously. The bull scowled at him, leaning across the hallway to halt his progress. Unfortunately, he’d misjudged the dragon’s momentum, so instead of FD being brought up short his step had to continue, squishing his chest up against the out-thrust arm like a warm rubber glacier hitting the buffers. The bull’s girder-like arm quivered with the effort of not being shoved back.
FD tried not to scowl back, and just folded his arms patiently, also blocking the corridor. Anyone wanting to squeeze past him would have to ask the bull to mind shifting.
“Mr. Takama sent me over.” The contemptuous snort with which this statement was issued made it plain the bull considered it necessary to point out that he wouldn’t be seen dead here otherwise.
“I hope you enjoyed the show. I saw you gawping.” The bull’s face flushed beneath the black hair. He glowered at the bulking behemoth.
“He said to give you this, with his compliments.” That tone of voice was usually only employed for sentences like ‘Fall over and die! Horribly.”. An envelope was thrust against FD’s quivering chest. “Your contract.”
“Thank you. Mind if I get past you now- Hogarth, wasn’t it?” FD smiled maliciously. “I might have to squeeze through, otherwise.”
The bull stepped back smartly, practically flattening himself against the wall. It drew FD’s attention to the bull’s profile, and he pulled up short in surprise. Hogarth’s shirt was open, with a casual snug T-shirt underneath- the uniform fashionable day-off clothes for people who thought that they were being individual. But whereas he’d assumed the rock hard ridges of a pumped six-pack-
“Looks like I misjudged you. You’re obviously not quite the exercise freak that I thought. Maybe thinking of joining us, are you?”
He very successfully struck a raw nerve. Hogarth took a deep, quivering breath, nostrils flaring and blood rushing to his face. He turned and stomped off, looking for the nearest exit. FD watched him go, grinning mischievously. Ok, maybe he shouldn’t have pushed quite so many buttons, but even at this distance the guy was radiating an aura of obnoxiousness. It’d do him good to have his attitude tweaked more frequently.
The bull turned the corner and vanished in a hurry. FD set off again, absently tugging at his shorts. They were beginning to get quite painfully tight…
* * *
It was another dream, although FD himself wasn’t really sure if it was or if it wasn’t. This time he was lying flat on his back, surrounded by the same bland, glowing background of nothingness. There was a hose stuck into his belly, right at the highest point. Something was pumping through it, and he was swelling. He’d already blown out a foot or so since he’d noticed the hose. It didn’t feel like he was filling with water though- his chest and arms were slowly but surely getting fatter as the hose continued to flow. It looked like there was a nozzle on the end of the hose with a valve, but it was laughably far out of the now-gargantuan fatboy’s reach. With a huff of effort, FD gave his ballooning gut a tentative shove at the side. The hose wobbled, but stayed put. FD was content just to wait a while and see what happened. He continued to gain, his body rapidly becoming unmovable as the rolls of fat built and swelled under his scales. The dragon finally realised that he might be in trouble.
“Uhh… hello?” he grunted, trying to raise his head. “’Nyone there? Umm… help?”
His head was slowly getting pressed back as his chins expanded and his chest began to sag against them. The feeling was pretty darn nice, but there was no way that he could stop. It didn’t look like that hose was going to run out any time soon, and unless it did he was just going to go on getting fatter and fatter…
In his sleep, the bulky, boxer-clad scale-blob groaned quietly and shifted his weight. Sweating, the covers lay rumpled into a tunnel at his feet as bodyheat radiated off his extreme weight. His right arm was flung out, his cheek resting against it and his snout nuzzling its flabby flesh. He gave another little moan and pressed against it. Anyone looking closely in the faintly illuminated darkness might have noticed how it pressed back a little thicker; how, ever so ever so slowly, his entire body was getting a little plumper as he lay there. With each laboured breath his sides were spreading, infinitesimally but inexorably, outwards. The boxers creaked like sheets under gale-force pressure, slowly being buried by the landmark of a belly bloating on top of them…
* * *
FD first began to have a few nagging doubts when it came to the next regular check-up and weigh-in, which took place after a casual training session. The ASL took a close interest in the stats of its charges, in much the same way a farm might keep an eye on the weight of his prize-winning cattle. On this occasion, though, the special scales used to measure those few competitors in the Pachyderm class went wrong.
“What?” FD spluttered. The female medical officer adjusted her fashionable glasses and peered at her notes again.
“One thousand, five hundred and seventy eight point three.” She repeated in that precise diction of scientists everywhere quoting data. The fact that this value was attributed to somebody’s weight didn’t seem to phase her- she’d been with the ASL for a couple of months now. She calmly checked back at the previous records.
“A hundred and fifty-eight pounds in three weeks?” FD supplied weakly. There was a special mirror big enough in the medical room for him to get a full view of himself. Ok, he was looking particularly massive, but then he always looked massive. Surely he couldn’t have grown that much and not noticed it?
The technician calmly finished her own calculations. Then she glanced at the scale.
“No, there must have been something hinky with the scales. It happens. Hop off and we’ll try again.” She scribbled something out on her clipboard, and stood poised to take the next reading.
FD did indeed hop off, but took great care to step carefully back onto the scales, partly because that might be causing the problem, and partly because his shorts had just given a fairly serious warning creak and had threatened to cut off his circulation if he tried that again. The elastic was really shrinking in this pair, good job he had another set on order…
“Ah.” The technician peered down at the reinforced digital readout. “Yes, there was something wrong.”
“New reading: one thousand, five hundred and seventy eight point five.”
“That… that’s crazy!” He erupted, genuinely shocked. The tech just gave him a deadpan look that, in a rare flash of personality beneath the scientific glaze, expressed more plainly than words that, from her perspective, this entire situation was crazy. I could be culturing bacteria or sticking little aerials onto migrating butterflies, but instead I’m weighing a creature that’s paid to become even more overweight for a living. How was a near-one-six-hundred dragon much crazier than a one-four-hundred one?
For the first time since FD had begun his meteoric career as a sumo star, he felt slightly embarrassed about his size. But she agreed to check it again. This time the reading was one-five-seventy-eight-point six.
“That’s normal-” she said with a completely straight face “-you never get exactly the same reading twice with these scales”. After all, that made far more sense than the theory that the dragon on the scales was gaining weight by roughly a pound every thirty minutes. Besides, 158 in three weeks didn’t back that up at all. He’d have to have really accelerated in the last little while for that to be happening.
Then came the physical measurements. The tape-measure was too small. She had to make do with a ball of string and then measure that. Whilst she was mucking about with all that (with rather unnecessary bad grace, FD thought), the dragon sat and waited to be signed off, slurping a fresh cup of red lycaz-ade. Bored, he resorted to reading the information on the back- well, looking at the pretty logos, anyway. There was the funny new one that Chaz had pointed out. What was it meant to be, some kind of red serpent surrounded by firecrackers? At less than two centimetres long, it was all pretty academic anyway.
FD rubbed some of the sweat off his chubby features and continued to slurp the stuff down regardless, like a good consumer guinea pig…
* * *
FD only actually started to get worried when, a few weeks later, he became as wide as he was tall. Elated, but worried. The dragon was officially Spherical. The other sumos regarded him with awe. With some of his competitors in the pachyderm class, it was downright fear. He topped his nearest rival’s height by two inches and about one and a half times his bodyweight. He was a scaly prize hog.
“Damn, FD.” Chaz almost exploded at him. “What have you been eating? There are starving children in Africa who have you to thank for it. Save some food for everyone else!”
FD joked and posed and had his photo taken to commemorate the achievement, but that was what was worrying him in the privacy of his own head. He didn’t dare tell anyone, but he wasn’t eating. Well, not much. Not his usual freightloads, anyway. To his utter embarrassment and mortification, for the past week he’d actually been surreptitiously cutting back. Hell, that was almost as loopy as a sumo-wrestler dieting! It was wonderful how he was blowing up but, well, over two hundred pounds in a month? It was getting ridiculous. He was already beginning to soar towards the upper half of the Pachyderm class weight category. As one of the official coaches had quietly pointed out to him, it was of course stupid to imagine that anyone could get above the maximum weight allowance for that group- not even dinosaurs had grown that big- but at the rate FD had been going recently if he wasn’t just the tiniest bit careful then maybe…
By the next bout FD had cracked 2,240lbs. He was gigantic. The crowd actually fell silent for a moment in awe as the readout flashed up. Then it went wild. His elephantine opponent looked terrified. He was facing a monster. FD took up about a third of the ring by volume, with a stomach that loomed over the landscape like some Dark Cathedral and arse the size of the Titanic’s stern. You couldn’t fight something that big. You probably couldn’t even lift all that gut in one go. There almost literally wasn’t room in the ring for the both of them.
Not to mention the fact that FD was short-tempered due to unaccustomed hunger. He compensated by drinking more lycaz-ade- the company seemed to have overestimated just how much he could drink over three months, but he was glad of it now.
The funky dreams he kept on having really didn’t help, either…
* * *
FD reached 2,400lbs. He shouldn’t have. No matter what he did, he just seemed to keep growing. In the end FD stopped trying to cut back because it wasn’t making the blindest bit of difference and he’d rather be gaining on a full stomach than ravenous all the time.
He had ballooned. He had to waddle even more ponderously now because his belly was so immense, with his legs swinging heavily out to the sides. Back when he was a tiddler of 1,000lbs or so his build hadn’t given him any trouble, but in the last few hundred pounds he’d slowed up a lot, although that didn’t matter at all in the ring, where his sheer size more than made up for it. It even helped improve his stance for the starting crouch, because his legs were pretty much practising at that angle all the time. They couldn’t actually find any shorts in his size any more, so he was having to make do with the pair he had- they were getting pretty uncomfortable. Not to mention that it was getting harder and harder to walk anyway- he hadn’t realised that getting so heavy would mean it was so much work to move around. Even keeping his tail off the ground for more than about five minutes at a time was becoming tough. Now he could pretty much be sweating like crazy after walking across the room. And then be in need of a snack…
He knew that everyone else was seriously starting to panic when even Chaz suggested far-too-casually that maybe he should ease up just a little. After all, no sense in rushing through the fun eh, big guy? They were getting nervous. He said he’d think about it. He didn’t say that he’d been thinking quite strenuously about it for quite some time, but that his body wasn’t taking orders from him anymore. It was like his weight-gain had been hijacked, and he wasn’t sure that he liked it. Much more of this, and he’d be too big to bout.
But, on the other hand… maybe it was natural. After all, for some reason FD was the only dragon who’d ‘gone sumo’, and no other dragon that he’d heard of had purposefully tried to get so fat before. Maybe he was just putting all this weight on because he was going to become a giant or something. Besides, for all that it was starting to scare him just a little he couldn’t help but feel goooood at the same time. How could anything that felt so good be wrong? He was getting such a kick from being so outrageously fat. He was the biggest living thing for miles around. He couldn’t help but love what was happening to him when he couldn’t get his arms down past about forty-five degrees, or when he could fill a double doorway with inches to spare on either side, or the way he just sloshed. And the feeling he got when the front of his bare gut pressed up against the cold, slick shower wall when he was still standing five feet away from it… mrrrr…
He did reluctantly accept, however, that the whole mobility thing was beginning to become a bit of an issue. So, for the first time since he’d become a sumo, FD very reluctantly went to the ASL gym that was a part of the complex. The silence when he squeezed through the doors was deafening. He scowled, daring anyone, anyone to make a wisecrack about his getting into shape. The clank of weights hurriedly started up again, though a few of the explosive coughs and grunts sounded very suspiciously like suppressed sniggers. It was embarrassing, a sumo like him being in the gym!
He’d decided to build up some more leg strength, as if hauling his whopping great bulk about wasn’t a workout in itself. Which, he concluded, meant the leg-press. Which in turn meant a fuggy little room off to the side, rank with concentrated sweat. A rather muscular looking fox with a beer-gut was making humorous straining noises whilst using it, but when he saw what was bearing down on him he squeezed out of the way pretty sharply, having a very close encounter of the dragon-kind in the doorway that left FD’s new and much improved gut wobbling. There wasn’t much space in the room beyond that taken up by FD and the leg press. He loomed over the machine, warily. The setting was pretty high- lots of weights were piled up on the bars- but FD was damned if he couldn’t lift what that skinny little runt had been doing, so he plonked himself down in the driver’s seat.
Or tried to. What in fact happened was that he did manage to sit on the seat, but he rather over-sat on it, as it were. It felt as though he were sitting on some kind of pebble. The rest of his rear promptly overflowed the confines of the pathetic little cockpit, the supporting struts of the frame cold on his polyester-clad buttocks. He felt like he was trying to use some kind of toy for kids aged 2-3. Nevertheless, he persevered and got himself as comfy as circumstances allowed, particularly as it was quite an effort to get both of his legs pressed together with his big scaly feet on the push-panel thingy. He was more of a spreading kind of gut- err, guy.
He cursed his own mental slip. Even he was doing it now…
Even at rest settled in the machine, he felt strained. It was like looking at a whale in a bathtub. He could only see the top of the machine, because his stomach got in the way of the rest. There were ominous creaks coming from the ironmongery that made up the leg press, probably the first time in its history that it had made those sounds just because of someone sitting on it. FD had a growing sense of foreboding about all this. But seeing as he’d got this far…
The dragon took a deep breath (obscuring his vision of the machine he was about to use completely), pushed the two hand-brakes away and pushed up with his legs at the same time. The machine quivered as muscles that he hadn’t known he had moved in his arsecheeks like hippopotami mating. He felt his thunder-thighs being squeezed against painted steel girders as he tried to force both of them down into the tight confines of the press.
To the astonishment of the universe, the weights rose.
FD’s face started to turn a funny colour.
As carefully as he could, FD let the weights come back down. He knew in a general kind of way that to get a ‘proper’ workout from this thing he needed to sort of let the weights drop down further than when they’d started and then push back up again. He let his quivering, jumbo-sized legs compress a bit more, then a bit more-
Then was surprised as all the weight seemed to be taken off of them. He experimentally tried letting them down a bit more, but the pedal stayed put. That shouldn’t happen, should it? Ok, so the machine felt pretty cramped all of a sudden, but then it had been cramped even before FD had got on the wretched thing…
At this point FD chose to open one eye. He discovered that the plate was being held up. By his belly. His actual stomach was so enormous, and filled up so much space between him and the machine, that the weights were just resting on it. And he was so big and fat he barely felt it…!
The humungous, overflowing (and ever so slightly squashed) dragon gingerly experimented by taking a small breath. The guide-wheels squeaked in an apologetic kind of way as the weights rose a fraction, then sank back down again as he expelled it.
Somehow it seemed to perfectly sum up FD’s opinions on the relative merits of fat vs. muscularity.
At least six animals had stopped dead in their workout routines to stare at this display, aghast. He reached a decision.
“Stuff this for a game of sumos…” he muttered to himself, and reset the weights to their starting position simply by taking a deep breath. This bloody thing wasn’t built on the right scale for him. But he got his revenge as he was extricating himself from the pointless contraption- he pushed down with all his weight to lever himself out of it, and felt solid steel bend with a protesting whimper to mould itself to his behind.
FD strutted out, with the obscurely pleasing feeling that he’d had the last laugh. From now on, he decided, the closest he was going to get to exercise was sports drinks…
* * *
It was only just approaching the end of the season, but Oi Takama still wanted a meeting. Not in the main ASL stable, though- in an old converted warehouse off the side. Apparently it was going to become Scaletech’s offices on-site. It was almost like they were trying to take over or something…
The lizard sat patiently behind a makeshift desk in one of the office-spaces, every scale visible beyond his exquisitely tailored suit looking as smooth and polished as a pebble. He smiled mirthlessly to himself as the floor began to shake. It was irregular, but with traces of rhythmicity in there somewhere. If you were of an imaginative turn of mind, you might even convince yourself that they were very, very heavy footsteps…
Takama upped his smile to full-beam as a figure appeared in the doorway.
“Mr. Dragon. Do come in, please. Gentlemen, make room for our guest.”
Quite a lot of room was needed. FD lumbered in slowly, panting with the effort. He’d broken 2,600lbs this morning. His arms couldn’t reach past the expanse of his sides, huge thick folds of fat engulfing his shoulders. He hauled his hulking tail behind him, which was almost as thick as a Giant Redwood. In fact, ‘Giant’ was a very good word to describe almost everything about FD at the moment. It seemed that his body had been forced to grow taller to make more space for all the fat that had filled him out. His belly wasn’t round now- it had outgrown that stage and was a vast, squashed pear of flab hanging out in front of him. Every laboured step made it quiver. In fact that didn’t do it justice- he didn’t even really seem to have a distinguishable belly now, or rather he was almost ALL belly, he was so big. He was just one gigantic, hyper-hogged-up Bulk. His neck seemed to have vanished, in exchange for two massively chubby chins. The room began to heat up the instant he waddled through the door.
“C’n… we… make this… quick?” he grunted, seriously out of breath from the long slog of heaving himself up there. “Gotta… bout… later…”
“Of course. Please have a seat.” FD twisted his massively overblown body and groaned in relief at the sight of a three-seater sofa. He sank down onto it, ignoring the springs as they sprang in protest. His belly spread across the cushions on either side. Gods, he was getting to be a wiiiiide boy these days…
He looked about him for the first time.
“Who’re… these people?” They looked like more hired muscle, though some of it was discreetly disguised in business suits. Takama smiled genuinely for the first time.
“Just more associates, Mr. Dragon. No-one for you to worry about. We wanted to check with you on whether so far you approve of our new and improved Lycaz-ade, and if you have noted any impact on your… performance.”
FD wiped sweat out of his eyes and shrugged, making the huge rolling expanse of his chest quiver.
“S’good stuff. I’d buy it. Haven’t noticed it doing anything for me, though.”
“Most… insightful, Mr. Dragon. Thank you.”
The vast, vast fat-arse of a dragon goggled at him.
“Yes, yes I think so.” Oi glanced down at some paperwork, then clicked his claws. “Oh, do forgive me, where are my manners? A drink for Mr. Dragon. He looks… thirsty.” A casually dressed goon appeared in front of him with a large, 1-litre lycaz-ade cup as smoothly as if they’d rehearsed the move. FD wasn’t about to say no. He grabbed it gratefully and brought it up to his lips. He glanced into the cup before drinking. It was green.
“’Nother new flavour?”
“That’s right, Mr. Dragon. Or can I call you ‘Fat’?”
A couple of good, long swigs sluiced down FD’s throat. He grimaced slightly and handed the mostly-still-full cup back to the goon, who was waiting to take it. He wiped his mouth on the flab around his shoulder.
“G’ergh! Tastes chemical. I don’t know what your research boys were thinking but-”
A deep, long, loud Fatboy belch forced its way out of FD’s gut, catching him completely off-guard. At the same time, he felt himself expand. It wasn’t just wind, his scaly hide suddenly stretched as though his body had just remembered that there should be extra weight there, and had gained accordingly. The seams of his shorts burst apart beneath him, letting his backside spread itself. Incredibly, impossibly, his gut grew even larger, rolling out by another foot over his already hopelessly swamped lap, scale rubbing over scale.
In the rather stunned silence that followed, Oi Takama coughed politely to get his attention. He’d stood up, and was walking to stand in front of FD. Most of the lizard was hidden from his view by the now-jaw-dropping mass of blubber that was the dragon’s belly. Takama took the lycaz-ade cup from the goon.
“If my ‘research boys’ are correct, you have just become slightly too fat. A victim of your own success, you might say.” There was dutiful tittering behind him. “Of course, if they are wrong then they are fired.” The tittering stopped.
The diminutive lizard looked the huge pork-ball of a dragon sprawled out before him up and down.
“Try to stand up, Mr. Dragon.” When FD just goggled at him the gecko’s thin smile became slightly sharper. “Then let me give you an incentive to stand up. Have you ever heard of ‘Fyreworks Inc.’?” He held the cup out at arm’s reach. FD caught sight of the odd little logo he’d idly puzzled over. “I thought not. They’re a rather… specialist company, but we bought from them a rather interesting new active ingredient. A weight gain supplement, Mr. Dragon.”
Wheels finally began to turn in FD’s brain. Convulsively, he tried to explode from his seat and launch himself at Takama. He strained his legs and back in an effort to get at the underhand, diabolical, manipulative, dragon-fattening little skink, but his belly pinned him, simply too big and heavy to shift.
“Take a memo, somebody. Remind me to congratulate my research team. As you’ve guessed, you’ve been consuming a relatively low concentration of this compound for quite some time. You’ve just taken a far more concentrated dose to… ahem… ‘round off’ the demonstration. Not only does it directly put weight onto the subject’s body, it also acts as a mild appetite-stimulant in long-term use and adjusts your metabolism to make sure your body carries around every nutrient it possibly can as extra adipose. I understand that test subjects can prevent themselves from becoming overweight, IF they have enormous willpower and keep to a strict diet.” Takama smiled thinly. “Happily, you have been doing neither, Mr. Dragon. In fact, if there was a creature designed for this compound to put as much weight as possible onto, it would be you.”
FD redoubled his efforts to strangle him, but sank back, exhausted. His mammoth bulk quivered with tension.
“So I’ve… been your guinea-pig, you stinking-”
“Oh no, Mr. Dragon, this wasn’t just idle curiosity, though it has been vaguely amusing to see just how freakishly obese you could be made. We wanted you like this.” Takama’s smile became cold and malicious.
“T’get me… out o’… the way.”
“Ah, you can be astute, after all. And I believed that you were just a wasteful, junk-food-guzzling ball of lard. You should have listened to my observation, Mr. Dragon. This is about money. ScaleTech doesn’t enter into anything unless it can achieve maximum profits. We are not in the business of subsidising sports for… fun. We are even less in the business of subsidising sports to maximise the supposed competitors’ body-fat indices.”
“I’m gonna sit on you… you-”
“Mr. Dragon.” Takama’s infuriatingly calm tone had an edge that implied he was losing patience. “You are in no position to threaten. Your body, and what we do with it, falls entirely within my remit to decide. But don’t worry, we’re going to give you exactly what you want.” His smile was the most chilling thing FD had ever seen. Even including low-calorie option ice-cream. “We’re going to give you more.”
The subtle irony of the comment was, unfortunately, completely lost on FD.
“You’re… gonna make me bigger?!” Takama sighed at how distressingly slow on the uptake some people could be.
“No, Mr. Dragon, as it seems I must spell out to you, you are going to make you bigger. The biggest, in fact, just as I promised you when we first met. After the past few months I doubt that you have any willpower left when it comes to food. And with the amount of concentrated supplement sloshing around in your system at the moment-” he actually prodded FD in the stomach. The audacity! As the ripples subsided FD felt his bulk shift position slightly, scale dragging ever so slowly over scale. He was still growing! The enormously over-gutted dragon tried, he really did, but was simply unable to reach Takama and tear his head off “-it shouldn’t be at all surprising if you exceed the Pachyderm weight class in one sitting. Though of course, if it takes more than one, Scaletech will generously supply you with seconds. In short, Mr. Dragon, we are simply going to let you eat.”
It was ingenious. It was evil. The hugely obese dragon felt worry squirm deep in his gut.
“No… one… would ever believe-”
“Mr. Dragon, given your past record of weight-gain, people believe you are capable of anything. But I doubt they would believe you if you were to shout ludicrous stories about being spiked with a mysterious compound that made you put on so much weight. You are a slob, Mr. Dragon. A phenomenal slob, but nevertheless. Your own gluttony will be blamed for your exit from the arena, because at over 3,500lbs there frankly won’t be room in a sumo ring for all of you. Doubtless you’ll eventually be able to make money selling your success story, maybe even a diet plan-”
“Take your diet plan and shove-”
“But you will be out, Mr. Dragon. And thus we can make more money, particularly as we can… adjust competitors as we gain a bigger share of the investment in the sport. In the interests of keeping the competition even, of course.”
“And you can adjust-” FD spat the word “anyone who starts to do too well-”
“Almost everyone drinks lycaz-ade, Mr. Dragon. We are taking over. You may find that you are not the only sport’s only ‘phenomenon’…”
At this point, there was a commotion in the ranks. FD heard an “I’ve just worked it out” noise…
“WHAT?!” There was a kind of bovine vocal explosion, almost deafeningly loud, and the localised chaos resolved itself as a bull storming to the front. The bad temper was easily recognisable. The rest of him wasn’t. “You… you mean that I’ve been drinking Get-Fat juice?!!”
“Ah,” Takama said, not turning a frill. “Our other… test subject.”
Hogarth loomed over the diminutive lizard like a vision of Wrath, shoulders quivering and massive hands flexing dangerously. Unfortunately, a noticeable double chin completely spoiled the murderous violence of his expression. The tiny bit of pudge FD had noticed that day after the bout had in the meantime bloated into a full-on beer-belly. It sagged out over the waistband of his trousers and wasn’t completely concealed by the T-shirt that had been employed to disguise it. In fact, it was so tight that it did the complete opposite, and drew people’s attention: in the slightly desperate way of the increasingly overweight, it looked as though Hogarth had stuck to his original clothes size in an effort to wish himself back down to it. That soft, out-of-place paunch was quivering with suppressed fury. He seemed to have a lot on his mind.
“I nearly killed myself on the treadmills in an effort to… and my girl dumped me for a… and all the time you’re the one who’s…”
“Mr… Hogarth.” Takama settled on, cutting in on the tirade as smoothly as if he were raising a point at one of his board meetings. When Takama talked, people listened. “With respect, frankly, you are not important to all this.” Nothing good ever started with ‘With respect’. “Your problems are you own. Your participation was not required, you continued to drink our product of your own accord. In short, you are merely collateral damage, I believe is the term…”
“I’ll give you ‘DAMAGE’!”
All those internal disputes seemed to be subsumed into agreement that the best solution was to pound Takama. Face working, the bull threw himself at the skinny lizard. And Takama would probably have ended up as merely an incredibly expensive dry-cleaners’ bill on his immaculate designer suit, if two other goons hadn’t happened to be standing one on either side of the bull.
Takama didn’t even flinch. He looked at the struggling, thrashing, but completely impotent bull and tutted, his demeanour conveying a professional disapproval. He looked as though he were criticising the financial bid of a rival company.
“I do so hate it when personal feelings get brought into business practices.”
He looked down at the two-thirds full cup of lycaz-ade he was holding and grimaced with distaste. He handed it fastidiously to a third heavy. “Dispose of this.” He turned his gaze back to the belligerent-but-bulgy bull and the huge, fuming form of FD, and smiled. “Then take our two… volunteers… to Corporate Hospitality…”
* * *
It took three goons to get FD to rise from the sofa. The trip that followed was an equally gruelling effort, with someone prodding- prodding!- one bulbous arsecheek practically every third step to chivvy him along. Hogarth bellowed imprecations all the way, forcibly frog-marched between two even more muscular ex-colleagues.
Corporate Hospitality turned out to be something like a cross between a large, open-plan prison cell, a herding pen and a dining hall down in the basement. One wall was made of tough, thick, good-old-fashioned-made-in-Blighty steel bars. A large gate was set into it. Sweating and exhausted from the waddle down, FD grudgingly allowed himself to be forced through the gate. He sank against the nearest wall, trying not to let himself slump onto his behind, because he severely doubted his ability to get back up.
Hogarth, it seemed, despite all his caterwauling, still had plenty of energy left, and succeeded in giving one of the goons trying to restrain him a black eye with a flailing elbow. One of the suits who’d been ‘escorting’ FD calmed the situation a little by putting the bull into a vicelike headlock from behind.
The slightly bruised escort guards seemed to take this recalcitrance personally. They glared at the bull.
“I’ve got a good mind to kick him in the corridor…” That was the goon with the shiner.
“I’ve got a better idea.” The associate who had been favoured with disposal of the incriminating evidence was obviously in the fast-stream programme, appearing both bright and ambitious. He practised an evil smile on the bull that would have elicited a grudging 6 from the judges, and brandished the polystyrene cup. Hogarth froze in mid-struggle, his eyes widening in horror. “The Boss did say to dispose of this, after all…”
There was a moment of consideration, and then the other henchmen present chuckled unpleasantly. The one providing the headlock pulled back slowly, forcing the struggling, gasping bovine’s head up until the angle forced his jaws apart. Two others tightened their grip around his shoulders and arms, pinning him completely. As the chief-assistant goon approached with the cup, Hogarth seemed to come out of his paralysis. Steam snorted from the bull’s nostrils as he tried to yell, threaten, and gore his captors, but singularly failed in all these objectives. The unprintable noise died to a strangled gurgle as the cup was decorously upended into the bull’s gaping jaws. The contents glugged in, two-thirds of a litre of concentrated weight-gain. Hogarth’s eyes bugged wide, as if he couldn’t believe what was happening to him. A sharp prod in the throat ensured that he swallowed. Then, with a remarkably balletic movement, the ex-heavy (or the even-more-heavy, as he should probably be known) was catapulted into the cell after FD, the gate hurriedly clanging shut behind him. Any expected enraged assault wasn’t forthcoming- Hogarth just lay on the floor, groaning.
The smart goon reprised his evil-smile attempt through the bars, and assayed a fitting last line.
“Bon appetit, Greed-ball!”
Fairly authentic unpleasant laughter followed them out of sight down the hall. But Hogarth didn’t respond to it, and FD’s attention was elsewhere. Most specifically, it was not on the mountain of food that came supplied with the fixings. It probably took up the catering budget of a small global corporation. Whoever had planned the menu certainly knew how to entertain, and how to cram every last calorie possible into a dish. Succulent smells were already wafting into his nostrils, and the air was heavy with warm grease. In particular he could smell Chinese duck pancakes. Never mind being too big to bout- it wouldn’t even take a whole sitting to push his weight past Pachyderm- just a few mouthfuls would probably make him bigger than the room! Distributed at intervals amongst the feast were familiar polystyrene cups with the lycaz-ade logo all over them. It seemed that someone had a sense of irony.
Trying hard not to drool, FD leaned there and fulminated on the- haha- gravity of his situation. The more he thought back to what had been done to him, the angrier he got about it. When he’d thought he’d been in control, it had all seemed so wonderful. Now he knew that he’d been turned into some kind of… of… living blimp! They might as well have strapped him down, stuffed some kind of hose into him and watched him swell! Oh, but this was much, much nastier and ingenious than that, though, because it had all seemed so innocent. Whilst he’d been happily wandering around, laughing, joking having his belly slapped, all the time that metaphorical hose had been there, and he had been steadily, unstoppably, unwillingly blown up, getting pumped bigger, and bigger, and BIGGER! He glowered at his treacherously fat form, a huge, slowly swelling balloon of blubber. They’d used his own body against him, and now he couldn’t make it stop! Just how ludicrously fat could this stuff make him? He looked like some bloody parade-float parody of a dragon that someone had left the gas-hose in for too long! It was humiliating…
Even worse, he realised that they were going to get away with it. A deep, organic noise arose from his massive middle, and he felt his supplement-soaked, artificially-augmented appetite swelling to something he’d never experienced before. It felt like a chasm of some kind was being widened in there. He shut his eyes and moaned, clamping his jaws shut. If some miracle weren’t forthcoming in about the next minute, he knew that the last few threads of his willpower were going to be overruled by the instincts of an enormous, food-addicted, calorie-craving fatboy, and pretty soon after that there was going to be more of him than anyone would know what to do with…
A moan from floor level reminded FD that he wasn’t alone in his predicament. He managed to tear his attention away from the mouth-watering hillocks of food- just- and stared at the unfortunate bull. He was just starting to sit up, his beefy belly compressing, a sick expression on his face. He stared in horror at the leviathan he was sharing his captivity with, whimpered, and put his hands to cover his mouth. FD frowned at him, his temper shortening dramatically as hunger took a hold and he tried to resist its demands.
“What’s up with you?”
Hogarth didn’t reply, but got up gingerly and rocked a little on his hooves. His expression suggested that he was either suffering from some kind of digestive complaint or he was about to throw up. FD would have felt some sympathy with him, if only he didn’t feel so damn ravenous…
“You going to be ill?” The bull didn’t respond- his eyes changed focus, and he seemed to be staring at a point about 5 inches from the end of his muzzle. He didn’t seem to be breathing, and both his cheeks and chest were bulging.
It started as a volcanic gurgle in the bull’s throat, coming straight from the base of his belly. It was the Belch of the Apocalypse. It was hurricane strength. You could have started a religion around a phenomenon like that. It was long. It rolled. It was LOUD- the bars actually jangled, and the wall FD’s back was spread against vibrated. Hogarth visibly tried to stop it, but you might as well try to stop the End of the World.
As he burped, that bull inflated. His casual clothes filled, overfilled, stretched, strained and then burst, his T-shirt tearing open down a fault in the material in the front, whilst his jeans rent open around his legs and ripped apart at the seat as too much pressure was put on them. As the fabric confines vanished Hogarth swelled out by a whole foot in every direction, gravity not even having time to draw breath, before his gain settled down to a slightly more steady, tide-like rise in his BMI. But it was still shockingly fast. The remains of the T-shirt tightened and creased around the bloating beast’s back, riding up as all the slack was yanked out of it, before that too tore from the strain. FD saw Hogarth, his eyes filled with helpless panic at what was happening to him, strain mightily to suck it back in. All that resulted was that the lower half of his belly didn’t stretch out quite as quickly as the rest of him, giving him an unusual, slightly top-heavy appearance as his body became fully rounded, before the effort became too much and he had to let it all hang out. The last vestiges of his prized original physique were washed away as easily as sandcastles in a spring tide, buried in a growing ball of grade-A blubber. His arms and legs swelled like sausages having the stuffing pressed into them until they looked so plump they could burst. His butt grew into something that would have had any butcher begging to joint it, if only they could find something big enough to fit it on. His underwear still clung to it, though, seemingly made of pretty elastic stuff. It stretched over his buttocks like a second skin, showing off every curve he had.
Hogarth lurched forwards as he blew up, belly pressing heavily against suddenly-chunky thighs, his centre of mass swinging waaaay out in front. He overbalanced and dropped onto his hands and knees, his gut being the first thing to hit the floor with a resoundingly heavy rubbery SLAP!
Pretty much in the space of time it took FD to draw breath in order to exclaim his astonishment, the bull on the floor in front of him transformed from out-of-shape gym-a-holic to full-blown-amateur sumo-wrestler! The guy’s bulk topped several of the competitors who has taken the thing up at the start of the season, even a few who’d been competing the season before! The bull lay for a moment, panting, his new chubby form quivering, then got dazedly to his feet, trembling with disbelief. Managing to keep upright on the second attempt, he looked himself over and did a double-take, fixated with horror by what he saw- a big, jiggly belly that stuck out by several feet beyond a rolling pair of pectorals, and deep, soft love-handles.
Slowly, his gaze winched up to meet that of FD’s, rounded features looking into rounded features, and his mouth opened.
“AUGHHH!!!” It seemed to perfectly sum up the bull’s feelings as to what had just happened to him.
“Never mind ‘Augh’!” FD retorted. He was staring at his swollen, supplement-stuffed cellmate, a desperate plan beginning to form at the back of his mind. Hogarth was goggling at him in shock, completely stupefied. It was regrettable, but as far as FD was concerned the only thing that mattered right now was that he mustn’t be allowed even a sniff of all that food. And he had found a way of safely disposing of it. “Get EATING!”
The 400lbs-plus bull continued to stare up at him, completely uncomprehendingly. Groaning with the effort, FD hauled himself upright, making his complaining legs take all his weight, and waddled forwards, towards the danger zone of all that lovely grub. He grabbed the bull by his plump shoulders and twisted him around to face Glutton’s Paradise.
Hogarth took one, long look at the mountain of food and recoiled instinctively with a remarkably-high pitched squeal.
“NO!” He struggled in the dragon’s meaty grip, dwarfed by the monster.
“EAT IT, Hogarth!”
“Not a chance! D-do you think I want to end up like YOU?!” His voice seemed to have deepened as he’d grown bigger, or possibly it was just the strength of emotion behind it. The panic on the bull’s face was obvious, but he couldn’t get away.
“Do you want that little weed Takama to WIN?!” FD ground his teeth, wincing as a hunger-pang so strong that it hurt went off in his middle like some kind of firework. His stomach visibly quivered under its strength. Hogarth seemed to be petrified by his glare. He loomed over the bull, who backed away from him, towards the food. FD took a slow, deliberate step, closing the distance between them.
“Do you want him to win?” he repeated. Hogarth shook his head, though the rest of him was shaking too. The dragon heard the bull’s new belly growl from there, over the ravenous noise of his own gut. They might be complete polar opposites in their opinion of physique, but they were at least on the same side of the coin compared to an anorexic runt like Takama. “Well that’s what’s going to happen if I have so much as one mouthful of that lot,” he growled. “I’ll get as big as a house and Takama will have won!”
He was distracted by an embarrassing ‘pang’ noise, as another seam on the seat of his shorts surrendered to his slowly inflating, colossal obesity. Gods, even the smell of food seemed to be fattening, right now. He was running out of time.
“There’s no way we could get all that food out of reach through the bars, and I’m starting to get hungry, so the only way out I can see is for you to get rid of it for me by eating it. You don’t like me, you don’t like sumo, and I don’t like you very much either, Hogarth, but neither of us wants Takama to win, and there’s only one way to stop him, and that’s you! I need your help, Hogarth!”
The overwrought bull took another panic-stricken look at the mountain of food that surrounded him.
“I’ll get FAT!” he almost wailed.
“You’re ALREADY fat,” FD ground out. He took another dangerous step forwards, belly to belly with his unwilling saviour, looking like a blue whale intimidating an orca. His patience was a fuse that was rapidly burning down, and he was one BIG barrel of gunpowder. “If you don’t pick up some grub and start stuffing it into your face in the next 5 seconds, Hog, I’ll eat YOU instead!” And at the monstrous size FD was at, he looked perfectly capable of carrying out that threat.
The bull just gaped at him, rooted to the spot.
FD’s temper parted like the seam on his shorts. The gorgeous smell engulfing his nostrils was driving him mad, and to be surrounded by an almost limitless supply of food, stuffing it into himself as hard as he could go was his normal idea of heaven. But he mustn’t, and he had to do something now. He grabbed the nearest handful of food available- he didn’t even dare look what it was- and before his body could make a claim for it he stuffed it into Hogarth’s gaping mouth.
“EAT!” he thundered, grabbing a second handful and pushing it in after the first, making the bull’s cheeks fill to near bursting. He was unbelievably angry, but actually angry was good. He was too busy being angry to really think about how hungry he was. “You’re going to eat this lot even if I have to push every last bit of it into you myself! There’s no getting away from that, so jam your FAT FACE into a pile of grub, HOG, and PIG OUT!”
It was shameful, bully-boy tactics, but they were effective. The bull gulped in sheer terror, swallowing most of the unchewed-mouthful crammed into him by an outraged, cranky whale of a dragon. He almost choked on it. FD was about to actually bodily pick up the plump bull and insert him into the nearest drift of nosh when Hog finally got the message. With a kind of choked sob he hurriedly grabbed another mouthful of food and, with a tiny whimper, bit into it. He chewed, swallowed, and stuffed the rest in after it. It slid down his neck with a loud ‘glop’.
“That’s right,” FD glowered, “you’re in the SUMO leagues now, Hog, and you’ve got a looooong way to go.” He managed to take a lumbering step back to where the smell of food was less intense just before his willpower crumbled entirely. He tried to shore it up by staying angry at Hog. He was fairly confident that he could shout the bull into eating as much as he needed until either all the food was gone or rescue miraculously appeared. “What’ve you stopped for? Did I SAY you could stop, HOG? No, I DIDN’T! For gods’ sakes, you’re fat enough to have one hell of an appetite on you, GIVE IN TO IT AND STUFF YOUSELF! That’s BETTER! Again…!”
* * *
“That’s it…” FD croaked, “Keep going, Hog. For gods’ sakes get rid of those hotdogs to your left, they’re looking at me…” He tried to swallow some saliva to ease his parched, aching throat. He’d been yelling abuse, threats, instructions, advice and encouragement at Hogarth now for over half an hour. He was drenched in sweat, more wrung out than after a whole afternoon’s sumo practice.
But it was working. He hadn’t cracked yet, and there was perceptibly less food in the room than there had been. And if forcing someone to eat wasn’t enough to keep his mind off his appetite (his stomach was howling like a starving wolf now), Hog was pretty distracting. Just how much of that supplement had he had to chug? It was powerful. His body saturated with miracle-bloat, and consuming a whole tonne of the world’s most fattening food, you couldn’t NOT spot where he was putting it all. The bull was gaining before FD’s eyes, swelling up as easily as if he really was some kind of balloon-animal on a hose. Left a large lad by his initial ‘growth spurt’, he had practically doubled in size since then. A great big blob of a belly now jiggled out in front, its underside just about level with his podgy knees, so large it was starting to hamper his reach for more food. Obediently scarfing down one of the offending hotdogs, Hogarth absently scratched at his whopping new gut, making it quiver. FD was mostly getting a rear-view of the bull, so had been able to watch just how the bull’s behind had ballooned. It had grown disproportionately fast and big, as though trying to catch up with his increasingly domineering belly out in front. Incredibly, his boxers had stretched with him- whatever material they had been made out of, they had obviously been designed for every contingency. He was even starting to look a little bottom-heavy, his hips at least as wide as his rolling, bulging, swelling sides. Chaz would have exploded on sight out of sheer, hoof-biting jealousy.
Hog polished off the first jumbo-sized, onion-slathered hotdog in double-quick time and immediately grabbed the second, cramming a good half of it into his muzzle. His face had become completely round, even when his cheeks weren’t stuffed full of calories to fuel his downright terrifying weight-gain, and he sported two extra chins, both full and ripe. He had to lean back a little now to accommodate all his extra weight, making him seem to loom even larger than he was. Although FD couldn’t decide if the bull actually was getting bloody bigger height-wise, or if he was just hallucinating from hunger- stop it, stop it!
“Keep EATING!” FD said again, but it was dawning on him that he didn’t really need to encourage the bull to keep eating- he hardly seemed to be listening to FD at all. And he certainly seemed to be enjoying that hotdog…
FD thought he recognised the symptoms, and despite the situation, he smiled.
“Tastes good, eh?” he said, trying not to think about it too much. “Y’know, if I didn’t know better, I’d say you were really starting to get into this.”
He got a distracted-sounding grunt from Hog, whose belly spread out another inch all around as he washed the second dog down with a swig of thoughtfully-provided lycaz-ade. He really should have exploded by now, the amount he’d packed away, but he didn’t even look full. He must have had such a huge overdose that he was digesting the food almost instantly and packing it all on as flab, wherever it would fit. FD heard the bull’s belly give a deep, satisfied sounding gurgle.
“That’s it!” he said. “Give IN to your stomach, Hog. Give it every last damn thing it wants. Its GOOD to eat, isn’t it? You can just eat and eat and eat and it doesn’t matter what it does to you, it’s just all so good! And you’re looking bloody GREAT on, it too. Gods, that grub must be so- gnngh…”
FD bit his sentence off and tried to look at the walls as he started to sweat all over again, another hunger-pang going off inside him. He suddenly had a whole load of saliva to wet his throat. But then, he’d been sweating so much he was building up a serious thirst. And the only thing there was to drink was lycaz-ade. Typical corporate promotion…
* * *
“Go on… Hog…” FD wheezed, “…You can’t be… full already, you’ve… got masses of room…” Even through breathing, FD’s weight had still climbed in the past 45 minutes or so. He was so sodding huge it was hard to tell, but he must be well over 3000lbs now, possibly even into the 3100’s. His body didn’t feel draconic-shaped any more, just bloated and round. It was hard to bend his head forwards because his chin immediately pressed into the thick tyre around his neck, but he could feel that his belly was even bigger now- his arms couldn’t even reach the point where its underside started to curve up again in front of him. He could feel how his backside had spread against his supporting wall, the last few stitches in his shorts holding on with a kind of grim sense of honour the only things keeping his shorts from exploding off his gargantuan form.
Hogarth had eaten at least half of the food in the room. His underwear had stretched to fit even this. Well, if you were charitable about the word ‘fit’. Approximately the bottom quarter of each buttock was constrained by the near-transparently-tight material, the remainder- like a pair of smallish hippopotami crammed together- swelling out above it like some Biblical Flood poised and ready to go.
The bull. Was. ENORMOUS. He was awe-inspiring. He was frighteningly big, a balloon-animal bull. It was a miracle he could even stay standing upright, even with his legs now braced 45 degrees apart to accommodate the swollen barrel of each thigh. When you looked at him, it was hard to get any sense of scale he was so rotund. He’d grown so fat his belly was smoothly featureless save for the shallow, stretched dent of his navel, not a crease or a fold anywhere to be seen in the hide stretched over it. It just hung there heavily, a massive, pear-like heap of super-fatted flesh, too big to even really quiver in response to rapid movements, not that Hog was probably capable of any rapid movements any more. His arms stuck out from the deep rolls that his shoulders now were, unable to compress enough to lie against his sides, getting almost too big to even be useful for scooping up more food. He now had to stand awkwardly, side-on to the grub, to reach around his bulk in any case. And damn it, he had got taller! Every bit of the bull seemed to be expanding under the influence of that gods-know-what supplement, turning into a creature who’s only design criterion was the ability to become even heavier.
The cell was starting to feel a little cramped with the two of them in it.
FD realised that this must be how he looked to other people.
But Hog was filling up. He was sweating as profWWthful between his jaws, and now actually chewing the food. The dragon had switched entirely to cajoling him now, in a desperate plea to keep the food vanishing.
“C’mon… Hog…” FD groaned at his own gigantic bodyweight, “You’re… looking AMAZING… Gods… you could probably win the Championships… y’cn eat just a… little more… Y’must… be flaming thirsty…” The dragon panted and gulped dryly, “I know I am…”
The bull automatically took another chug from a cup, and bloated out a fraction more even as his eating speed picked up by a hair.
* * *
FD finally snapped five minutes and 20 agonising seconds later. It was at the sight of the desserts. The air was thick and stale with sweat and the smell of leftovers, he could have drunk a lake of lycaz-ade, he was so hungry that it hurt and there was all this food still lying about and he didn’t care what happened to him now just so long as he ate!
“AUGH!” FD heaved himself up from the wall with glacial slowness, leaving a wide, sweat-stained patch on the paint, and hurled himself at a giant, sweetly deceptive, fluffily-light strawberry mousse in a kind of lumbering, waddling run. He crashed into the table and practically fell on top of it, snout first. Somehow his legs regained his balance for him, but there was absolutely no part of his brain involved because he had grabbed the dish and was sucking up the dessert practically whole, snout pressed to the ceramic, eyes shut, moaning in ecstasy. A deep, rumbling gurgle from his middle at last signalled some kind of satisfaction.
At the same time, he began to swell. FD didn’t give a monkey’s. His free hand grabbed as thick and juicy a roll of his own scaly stomach as it could and jiggled it, feeling himself stretching, spreading. He knew there was some silly reason he shouldn’t be eating, but how could he deny himself such a wonderful feeling as this? Even before he’d finished, he was reaching for the next heavenly treat. He didn’t care how big he ended up, he was going to eat every scrap of food he could lay his claws on-
Something enormous thumped into him. FD staggered back in shock as remains of mousse splattered, his eyes bulging wide. He only just avoided falling onto his cataclysmic-sized rump. As the shockwave from the impact finally rippled through the rear part of his body, his shorts burst apart completely.
Hogarth mooed unintelligibly around a mouthful of cake, still wobbling from the impact, half scowling at the dragon, half absorbed in the act of eating. It turned out that desserts were a favourite of his, too. He was now burstingly fat.
The dragon, still expanding, stared at the bull. Then he roared and hissed, staggering fully upright again despite the mammoth weight trying to pull him to the ground. No matter that he’d forced Hog into starting his ludicrous binge, no matter that he’d been trying for over an hour not to eat, all he saw in the bull now was competition. He lumbered at Hog, tried to bulldoze him away from the food that was rightfully his with his unstoppable size.
He collided, but had the biggest single shock since pretty much his first ever go at sumo wrestling, back when he’d been a complete tiddler. Hogarth was bigger than him! During the course of his unbelievable pig-out, the bull had gown to an almost supernatural size. He topped the dragon for height by about 3 inches, and he was almost a foot wider on either side. His belly hung to below his knees, so big and fat it was almost incompressible. He should have been on display as some kind of freak-show.
The bull whoofed as FD thumped into him, but only wobbled backwards by a half-step. FD stopped dead, pressed against this monster. The bull was still recovering his balance, and the dragon was just gawping at him, stunned. Then the bull righted himself and pushed back, automatically leaning and putting all his weight behind it. FD slid. Only grudgingly mind, but for months nothing had moved FD. For the first time in ages, FD didn’t have the weight advantage.
But he was still a sumo. With a Herculean grunt of effort, FD heaved his stupendous bodyweight forwards against the bull, and pushed with all his might. Hog staggered backwards, completely raw and untrained but so damn big it didn’t really matter. The bull pushed back.
The ad hoc bout that followed was amateurish and undignified, but both competitors were hampered by being so fat they weren’t able to reach around their own bodies to get a decent hold on their opponent. They wobbled together on the spot like two vast living parade-floats full of custard wrestling one-another. It didn’t help that they both kept getting distracted by glimpses of particularly tasty-looking desserts to one side, neither being able to resist grabbing a mouthful even as they should have been shoving their off-balance adversary further away from the grub. Struggling, sweating, scoffing, still gaining, the expanding pair heaved and threw themselves at each other, until FD finally managed to get his weight behind him properly and shoulder barged the lower-half of Hog’s unbelievable belly, heaving upwards as he did so. They both went over- Hog bouncing backwards, FD following because he just had too much weight behind him to stop. Like some monstrous cannonball they catapulted over, and slammed into the bars of the cell-
And went through them. Their momentum wasn’t even checked. The bars were ripped from their sockets as though they’d been held up with spit and sellotape.
FD hadn’t thought of that.
The pair of vastly obese beasts half-fell, half-rolled out of their prison and onto the floor outside, FD sprawling atop Hogarth’s bulk. They filled the hall to the ceiling, the dragon’s back, butt and shoulders squishing against the cheap polystyrene panels.
The collapse echoed like a gunshot down the corridor. In the deafening silence that followed the blubbery super-behemoths just lay on top of each other like a pair of heavy party-balloons, wobbling and sloshing as each wheezed and panted, their bodies swelling and relaxing against one another as they tried to get their breaths back.
They didn’t even try to get up.
Then there was the sound of footsteps, and the cavalry finally arrived. Cavalry horses obviously had less demanding physical examinations these days, because Chaz was in the lead, flanked by a whole gang of fellow sumo-wrestlers. The horse skidded to a stop and stared at the scene of devastation.
“…And here we were thinking that you were in trouble because you missed your pre-bout-snack snack.” He said eventually in the ringing, stunned silence. His eyes were almost bugging out of their sockets. All the other sumos were staring at him with dumbfounded expressions. “What the hell happened to YOU?!”
Then he realised that FD wasn’t lying on some gigantic blow-up training-dummy.
“And… and… who’s your friend?!” he finally spluttered.
The dragon gave a heartfelt groan and lifted himself slightly. The sweaty bull beneath him distorted into an even rounder shape.
“Someone,” he announced flatly, breath steaming in front of him, “get something low-calorie for me to EAT!!” He looked down at the utterly indescribable Hogarth, who’s face was as round as Jupiter, his muzzle looking tiny in amongst it. The bull looked dazed, and a deep, overfed ‘boilk’ sounded from inside him. The utter blob of a dragon on top of him found himself grinning madly. He clapped a flabby hand to the bull’s cheek.
“And someone,” he continued, “get this Champ some pudding!”
* * *
The real problems started after the end of the official Sumo Season, of course, when there was talk of disqualifying FD. The relevant committee had finally got around to sitting, and could either charge him with a) exceeding the maximum weight category available or b) training with the help of substances alien to the spirit of the competition. Ignorance was no excuse, apparently.
This all seemed unfair to FD. So, as a goodwill gesture to his fellow sumos, to whom he had already explained the whole story, he turned up to one of the off-season training sessions with a whole mess of lycaz-ade. In fact all of the rest of that promotional crate that he hadn’t yet worked through. Then he financed an all-you-can-eat-blow-out at Mr. Hong’s. Every day for a week.
His boutmates couldn’t disguise their feelings at the results, particularly the pachyderms like Des. Neither could the governing-and-ethics board of the ASL.
They had to institute a new weight category. They called it ‘Dragon class’.
* * *
About a month-and-a-half after that, the last, last laugh came in the form of a letter from the new owners of Scaletech UnLtd. When it emerged publicly that Scaletech had been buying Fyreworks Inc.’s supplement and for what purpose, Fyreworks Inc. had used it as an opportunity to buy Scaletech.
They still wanted him to be the new body behind Lycaz-ade.
The dragon stood just outside the doorway to his home, letter clutched in one chubby hand, grinning like a pumpkin. He hadn’t lost a pound. Not one. That supplement had had a very interesting after-effect on him, it seemed- he’d grown into his new weight. Topping 10 feet tall, looking every bit as fat as he did when he’d burst out of that cell, he was now almost as mobile as he’d been back before this whole thing had started. Only now he looked so much better. Of course, now he was having to contemplate getting a home built that was big enough for him to be comfortable, but right now Scaletech’s solicitors were feeling very unhappy about any forthcoming legal proceedings, and had offered a generous settlement for ‘inconvenience caused’. FD giggled to himself as he read the rest of Fyreworks Inc.’s letter, clutching a handful of his mountainous gut as it shook with mirth. It now hung past his knees, and he could do a pretty damn convincing impression of a bouncy castle. Fyreworks were also going to replace Scaletech as an official sponsor of Amateur Sumo- apparently they were all for a growth market in their competitors. Although there wasn’t going to be so much as a sniff of their supplement available for sporting purposes. They looked forwards to watching his progress- and the progress of all like-minded sumos- during the next season. It was certainly going to be interesting. More fun now that he had some real competition to fight against.
FD had a final surprise whilst reading the letter, when he heard footsteps coming up the path. He looked up, and to his surprise a tall, incredibly-built bull was walking towards him. Even without a couple of tonnes of stomach and a behind the size of a county, FD could still recognise Hogarth. He hadn’t heard hide nor hair from his fellow-victim since their escape, save third-hand that he was on an emergency diet and exercise regime. Oh well.
He smiled at the bull, rather uncertainly. Having seen how he could pack it away, and the sheer gluttonous spark that had shown itself before, he liked the guy a lot more than he had.
“Hogarth! Nice to see you again. You’re looking… well.” He said it very carefully. The bull still blushed and wouldn’t look the dragon in the eye.
“Yeah, thanks.” He replied gruffly. His voice seemed deeper than ever, like some kind of bass bell, almost how you’d imagine a barrel of bitter to sound if it could talk.
“You’ve really been hitting the gym, by the looks of it.”
“Yeah.” Hogarth ran a hand through the carefully-styled hair between his horns, “Dragging… all that… about helped, too, I guess.”
FD surreptitiously flexed his leg- a thigh muscle the size of a watermelon bulged briefly. Fyreworks may be responsible for more than it thought…
The conversation lapsed in the doorway. FD tried to work out what the bull was doing here.
“Well… I’m glad you’re doing well-”
“I wanted to ask you something,” the bull blurted out awkwardly. The dragon blinked.
“Uhh… sure thing.” He waited a few moments, but the question didn’t come. “Well? What did you want to ask?”
Hogarth stayed silent, looking very uncomfortable. FD suppressed a small sigh, and tried to make himself comfortable by leaning against the doorframe. Very carefully. When the bull finally spoke, his voice held a curious mix of hope, dread, and pleading.
“D’you… d’you think I could make it as a sumo wrestler?”
FD goggled at him. If he’d been drinking anything at the time he’d certainly have sprayed it all over Hogarth in surprise. As it was, he just opened and shut his mouth a bit, unable to think of anything to say.
“What?” he finally said, half-thinking that he’d misheard. Words tumbled out of the bull like he couldn’t get through them fast enough.
“It’s just that everyone kind keeps looking at me now, even when I look like this-” he flexed a near-perfect biceps in demonstration “-so none of the guys really take me seriously any more, and I know I’ve lost all that weight and worked really hard to look good again but… it just doesn’t feel that good any more.” He trailed off rather lamely, though it seemed there was still stuff on his mind. He looked around as though expecting a jeering mob to appear out of thin-air and deride him at any second. “And… it felt good when I was… that size. I mean, I’ve never eaten like that before in my life. You made me scoff half a roomful of food! I was such a colossal pig! I’d never have had the guts to do something like that, looking like this. And I felt so… big. Specially when I was trying to push you around. I kinda liked it.” A big, old-fashioned crimson blush was appearing on his cheeks. “And now I put on weight if I even so much as look at anything other than nutri-grain and working-out all the time’s dull and it’s all just got so boring. I want to be big again.” The blush grew deeper. “I want to get as big as you, if I can. If you think I can.”
FD stared at Hogarth as all that sank in. The bull turned steadily redder and redder, looking less and less comfortable.
“Be my coach? Please?”
The dragon burst out laughing. He almost split a seam. As it was, at least one stitch in his new pair of shorts bust. Before the bull had a chance to stomp off, FD flung an arm around his shoulders, half-burying the bovine pin-up in scaly lard, pressing the guy into his godzilla-sized rolling gut. He had to lean against him, he was laughing so much.
“Got what it takes?! Hell, Hog, you were a natural! The Gift of the Gut! I should have been taking tips from you on how to eat. And I’ve never been able to wrestle someone my own size before. That bout we had, I haven’t had that much fun in almost ever! I want a rematch!”
The bull grunted with shock and amazement as he had to take some of the dragon’s weight. Then, half-buried beneath an uber-chubby draconic armpit, a shy kind of smile crept across his muzzle. FD felt one of the bull’s powerful arms go around his rounded back to support him. The other reached across and hesitantly hefted some of his stupendous stomach. The hand surreptitiously gripped his overflowing flab, and joggled him.
The enormous, oversized, outrageously Fat Dragon chuckled anew and looked down- slightly- at the rather squashed bull’s face. What potential.
“Hoggy-boy,” he declared, grinning, starting to waddle back into his house, the world’s newest sumo supporting him, “you stick with me and I’ll turn you into the biggest, fattest damn sumo wrestler in the world!”