From Rags to Inches. And Inches and Inches…
An unauthorised biography (don’t tell anyone I wrote this). Many thanks to Smiler, who helped spark off this particular character. I thought he deserved some background to fill him out. Spot the pun, everybody…
The Government recently announced plans to enforce fitness and health on everyone, whether they want it or not. Obesity is reaching epidemic proportions. Through years of chronic under-funding, local sports centres and equipment are being sold off or shut down. Hospital beds, public transport and open spaces are filling up far too quickly. To encourage increased activity, grants are being handed out in exactly the way that sweet, salty and fatty foods shouldn’t. The money is for the provision of new equipment, the opening of new gyms and the setting up of new physical activities. And, in one town at least, this opportunity has been grasped in both pudgy hands. A small but ambitious local company is importing a highly unusual sport to the region, and it’s set to take off in a very big way. It’s indoors, doesn’t require much experience to get started, it’s physical, and it’ll benefit hugely from the population’s natural attributes.
What sport is it? Oh, umm… well, it’s… err…
Ahh, joined up government…
Advertisements for the newly fledged Amateur Sumo League appeared in all of the local papers. To make this hopeful and enterprising enterprise work, it needed bodies. Big bodies. And that means YOU! Feeling a little rotund? Always been embarrassed about your size? Well, find a use for all that couch-potato mileage. Come have a free-try out at the next meeting, Sunday afternoon. Think of the prestige (lots, honest)! Think of the glamour (even more)! Think of the free buffet! Think of the prize money (ok, it’s only a couple of hundred quid at the most, but then this is only amateur…)
“You know… I think I might try this sumo stuff.” In the warm, grease filled atmosphere of the chippie, all his friends turned and looked with surprise at the 20-something dragon reading the advert. He certainly had a proper name, but thanks to genetics, an abundant supply of junk food for a growing reptile to snack on and a smart-scaly-arsed comment a few years back (“Hell, just call me Fat. You all do anyway”) he was known universally as Fat. Shrugging, he tucked into a large bag of cheese and chips. Further down the table on the opposite side, an athletic-looking buck snorted. He was called Joel, an avid rugby player, an exercise freak and one of those despicable people that could live off deep fried Mars-bars ad nauseum and still retain a 30-inch waist without trying.
“You do know it’s not some new foreign food, right?” There was a titter around the group. Fat grunted.
“I know what it is, and I’m going to have a go.”
“Wouldn’t that involve exercise, lard-lizard? You hate exercise.”
“Get stuffed,” Fat retorted casually, waving the rolled up newspaper. “That’s the beauty of this sport: the less exercise you’ve done the better you are at it.”
The fudge-figured dragon pressed his hands to his midriff and jiggled it in emphasis. He was wearing old tracksuit bottoms and an England rugby shirt. Both quivered along with the bulging stomach they clung to. At 6’5”, 21 stone was quite a size, although a fair bit of the weight resided in his hefty legs and tail. He tugged unconsciously down on the shirt to adjust it, the dark green colouring of his sides visible, in stark contrast to the pale scales on his throat, chest and belly. He wasn’t the biggest person in town, but he was definitely in the top (the widest, you might say) bracket.
Joel snorted again and shook his head, forcing those around him to duck those sweeping antlers. Rumour had it that they were expensive extensions, and if anyone could get the proof his credibility would be ruined. He tucked into an enormous burger that dripped frying fat from meat, salad and bun alike.
“They’ll want people with some muscle. Unless you’re going to sign on as the punch bag?” Fat chewed his own large mouthful, a scowl creasing his chubby features in between bulging cheeks. Joel wasn’t exactly his favourite person in the world.
“Well, I’d take up rugby, but I’ve still got a use for my brain cells.” Joel, ever thin skinned, glared.
“Sounds like you’re looking for a use for your fat cells. There’s plenty of them, too. They’d never, ever let you into my sport in your shape, tubbo. In any shape, even!” But some others around the table- Matt, Becky, Amy, Mark, Dave, and Jim- were coming down on his side.
“Yeah, why not? Go for it.”
“You’ve got the build alright. Could make yourself some money.”
“You’re the biggest person I know.”
“Ergh! There’s some kind of bug in my lettuce!”
The conversation was immediately derailed by this announcement as everyone fought for a good look. Fat didn’t bother to mention it again, but mentally crossed off next Sunday as ‘reserved’.
* * *
The meeting place of the ASL turned out to be a converted sports hall, a single large space with two very cramped changing rooms squeezed into the corners of the plan. The sign over the door was a rushed job, and there were still painted tramlines all over the varnished floorboards. Someone had, however, painted a large ring in each half of the hall. Fat knew enough that you were meant to stay inside and get your opponent out. He also knew that you were supposed to wear a nappy (or whatever they were called), and that was troubling him a bit.
As it was ‘the Try-Outs’ (i.e. anyone they could get), everyone who came was new to the sport, even if a few didn’t look it. The tubby dragon was stunned by the size of some of them. There was the faint background static of denim fabric under pressure, and the occasional creak of a tourniquet belt. Any niggling discomfiture about his slowly escalating weight was dispelled there and then. In fact, it looked like he was going to be a bit below average size for the group. One thing that was apparent was that no women had turned up. Fat was a little surprised- he knew some who would definitely have passed the physical.
The first thing they were ordered to do was to change. All those who hadn’t got shorts with them were issued with them. Shirts, tops and even vests were decreed as obstructive and forbidden. Some of the more self-conscious volunteers protested but soon quietened down when the trainer, the guy taking this session, growled at them. Fat’s tracksuit bottoms were curtly disqualified, so he joined the queue for clothing. He was given a pair of ludicrously lime green shorts. They were tight, and he shifted uncomfortably in them as he left the changing room. On the plus side, it looked as though everyone was uncomfortable.
The next queue was for the weigh-in. The trainer (his name was Frank) stood by a pair of scales with a clipboard to record the results.
“I hope you boys haven’t had a big dinner or anything, haha,” he told them. Frank was a feline of some description (Fat uncharitably classed him under ‘moggy’), his fur an insane tortoiseshell patchwork which left him with the illusion of a black eye-patch over his right eye, and the impression that a puddle of white fur between his ears had poured down towards his left, on an otherwise ginger face. Both ears were ragged and his whiskers crinkled. He was short and looked like some kind of boxing coach, wearing a tracksuit with a whistle on a string around his neck. If he’d had a good figure once the weight had sort of shifted downwards, but he still looked reasonably burly. He took everything with a stoic air, obviously in this for the money rather than the joy of teaching.
It soon became Fat’s turn, and he stepped onto the scales and stood there, arms held out a little way. The waistband of his shorts pressed into his scaly body, whilst the soft pudge sagged over it around his sides, making him look even bulgier. His stomach stretched the band out and it had slipped lower on it. The lower part of his pale belly jutted out from the band at an angle of about 45 degrees, steadily curving back to give him a chubby, football-sized paunch. His tail twitched as it kept his balance, tugging even more at the snug material around his thighs and buttocks. His chest didn’t look anything special beneath its layered armour of keratin, the smoothness betraying the strata of lard that spread it out. His arms were the most muscular- as opposed to big- looking part of him, although his shoulders suggested that looks didn’t always count.
The digital readout flickered, and Frank licked his pencil.
“Name?” Fat gave it, and the cat filled in a column. “Any nicknames?” He should have thought, and supplied something with a little pizzazz to it, something memorable, but the dragon’s tongue blurted out,
“Fat.” Frank glanced up at him suspiciously. If this was a joke he obviously didn’t approve, but the dragon just blinked backed at him.
“Right.” Fat saw him scribble something short in brackets next to his name, and groaned inwardly. It was memorable all right. He was told that he weighed 134.72kg or 297lbs- 21 stone 3 exactly. When he asked whether that was good or not, he got no answer. Chattiness didn’t seem to be working.
There followed an hour of basic training. First came the rules: don’t grab your opponent there, there or there. And especially not there if you don’t want to pay the subsequent hospital costs. It was below the belt, literally as well as metaphorically. No de-bagging if at all possible, although there was some leeway. That was pretty much it- a lot of the ceremonial rules and quite a few practical ones had been relaxed for this amateur version. It wasn’t really sumo even if they called it sumo, just wrestling for animals of the fatter persuasion, and the organisers seemed to be making up the rules as they went along. But it all seemed simple enough.
Then came some practice of a few different holds and pushes that were allowed, as well as the proper way to fall over. Fortunately, they were all naturally well-padded against any serious injury. They were made to pair up with someone of a similar weight. Fat ended up with a bear, American but now living in Britain, who was several inches shorter and several inches wider than him. They got on well, and the training was good-natured and enthusiastic. Everyone stumbled about as they bounced off each other inexpertly, one of the pair eventually being bulldozed backwards. Fat found to his surprise that his height was more useful than his weight, as it gave him a longer reach and more leverage, although the bear was hard to budge when he put his weight into it. The moves reminded him of a strange, heavy series of rugby tackles. Frank wandered between the rows, offering helpful, ambivalent and sometimes obscure comment on things like posture, grip and technique. Fat found himself grinning as he unseated the bear for the third time in a row. He was starting to get good at this!
A blast on the whistle eventually brought training grinding to a halt, although some of the enthusiasm had dissipated. An hour is a long time. The room, which had seemed chilly earlier, was now roastingly hot and stuffy. Sweat poured off chubby torsos and stained shorts. Fat’s were already going embarrassingly transparent in patches.
“Alright lads.” The corners of Frank’s mouth curled upwards. “20 minutes rest, then we’ll have a go at what you came here for. A few bouts of sumo.” They raised a ragged cheer, then staggered over to a table strewn with water bottles. Fat managed to edge through the scrum and emptied one in greedy, thirsty gulps, trying to wipe the perspiration from his flabby frame.
After 25 minutes, they returned to find rings of crash-mats laid out around each circle. Looking mildly jaded about the whole process, Frank began to read out pairs of names from his clipboard. Fat was in the second bout. He stepped into the ring to mild applause, and he bowed ironically. Then his opponent hauled himself upright. The hefty dragon found himself facing off against a German Shepherd, slightly bigger than himself all round. He hulked abnormally tall for his breed, about an inch and a half larger than Fat. He was roughly about the height and stature of one of those horror movie werewolves, albeit one who had never missed seconds at any point in his 40 years or so of life. It looked like there was enough canine there to divide into two average dogs, which might explain why he had twice the shoulders. Fat felt a bit like he was looking at an eclipse with big ears. The applause was noticeably more enthusiastic: the crowd had found its favourite. The dog nodded to him and then grinned confidently, settling into a sturdy pose. Smiling for pretty much the first time, the laconic trainer got ready to bellow ‘Go!’
Lacking a height or weight advantage, and lacking experience of any kind, Fat decided to let blind enthusiasm stand in for finesse. On the yell, he surprised the Shepherd by hurtling forwards, arms spreading wide. He thumped into the dog’s meaty form and tried to keep on going, arms wrapping high around his chest in an effort to lever his opponent backwards. It felt like even his tail was trying to lever him forwards. He grinned as he felt the hulking dog grunt and stumble backwards a grudging step… and then another!
“I’m gonna do it I’m gonna do it I’m gonna do it…” he wheezed to himself triumphantly, but then felt his heart sink as the dog, regaining his balance, put his foot down, leaned forwards and checked the charge dead after a yard. And now Fat daren’t let go. Locked together, each tubby antagonist heaved and pressed at the other in a very physical version of arm wrestling. But the dog seemed to be putting less effort in, biding his time. He wasn’t trying to use his impressive arms, just his weighty lower limbs and inertia.
Fat compressed his legs more and tried to push even harder, but his heavier opponent wouldn’t budge.
“Glarh… gldge,” he commented in frustration, snout buried in the thick pile carpet of his opposition’s fur. Their bodies were pressing flat against each other, the dog's seeming more firm compared to the dough beneath Fat’s scaly hide. He shifted his grip lower to try and break the friction grip with the floor, sliding his arms around the hairy gut presented to him. The dog suddenly smiled, and took a deep breath. His stomach swelled against Fat’s chest, and began to push the hapless dragon’s arms outward! Trying to reach enough to keep hold of this expanded target took vital strength out of Fat’s stance, and allowed the dog to press home his advantage. The adversary leaned and stuck his gut out more, bending the dragon’s body back even further. His bare feet began slipping on the floor, drawing loud rubbery-sounding squeaks from the varnished wood against the scales, and the dragon was forced to concede a step. Then another, and then another. He redoubled his increasingly frantic efforts, but now that the guy had got momentum up it was all down to a question of mass. And he had more. Fat was inexorably bulldozed across the ring, the dog bringing his vast arms more into play, keeping him off balance. He thrashed his tail and tried to use that to swing his weight lower and forwards, but he couldn’t seem to get enough of it far enough.
Fat’s ankle suddenly touched the edge of a mat. The dog, thrusting his arms out and with one last thump with his large beach-ball belly, sent the unfortunate reptile sprawling. A decidedly less-happy Fat sat up, but was mollified by a round of applause. He was helped back into the group to watch the next bout, his ego still smarting a little at his ignominious defeat on his first try. Frank crossed something on his clipboard.
The bouts lasted for a little over an hour in a kind of ‘friendly’ play-off tournament. Fat got to compete a few more times against animals who came second in their own matches, mostly weighing more than him. He did 5 bouts in total, and won 2 of them. Not very impressive. The dragon’s gloom had set in for the day it seemed, and at the end he was downhearted as Frank thanked them all for coming and told them all that the ASL would be in touch. When the room was nearly empty, he approached the cat, who was scribbling busily. Frank glanced up.
“Yeah?” Fat pulled his T-shirt back over his head, and tried to cover his embarrassment. He wasn’t sure how to phrase this. In the end, he put it as bluntly as he could.
“I just wanted to know. Do you think I’ve got what it takes?”
He expected to be fobbed off with an answer like ‘it’s too early to tell’ or ‘it’s not up to me to decide’. Surprisingly though, Frank lived up to his name. He gave the dragon a doubtful once-over.
“Personally, I don’t think that you do. Sorry, but you really haven’t got the size to be a winner, or the skill to compensate.” Fat blinked,
“Hey! Either of those could change, you know.”
“Aye, they could.” The cat’s look suggested that he wasn’t that interested in waiting that long. The ASL was looking for ability now. It looked as though Fat hadn’t made the cut. The young hopeful tried again.
“Well, can’t you sign me up for a second session or something?” He felt obscurely narked at being turned down flat like this without at the least some kind of jury. Frank shrugged.
“Sorry, but people only get one try-out. There’s quite a waiting list.”
“Can’t you just give me a chance?”
The grizzled trainer didn’t look encouraging, but he did at least seem to be thinking about it. He tapped the score sheet reflectively, checking the statistics.
“You’re borderline, very borderline…” Frank hummed and hawed, studying Fat. He didn’t see much potential, but the boy was keen. And they needed some fodder for the big contenders to warm up on. Maybe the list wasn’t as long as all that…
“Alright kid, tell you what. I’ll put you in for the first proper set of bouts in 3 weeks time. We’ll see how you do.” He ticked something on the sheet, and smiled to himself. It was plain he didn’t expect Fat to be able to do much. “You can keep the shorts.”
* * *
By the time he got home, Fat’s disgruntlement had had time to smoulder, and had matured into downright annoyance. Steaming up the stairs, he stomped through the front door of his small-ish flat and slammed it shut after him. He knew he wasn’t taking it well, but he didn’t want to. He was betting that that chow-hound of a German Shepherd had got through, all right. And a lot of the others. Fat kept seeing Frank’s dour face wearing its expression of pity as he did him the great favour of giving him the benefit of the doubt. He was borderline? For the first time ever, Fat was too small for something, and he wasn’t used to it. Oh, there had been plenty of things he was too big for. Lots of them in fact: his body had always been well rounded, and just recently it had been filling out like mad. He glared at himself in the mirror, the crackling bonfire of annoyance finally catching light and flaming into anger. He was fat! How the hell could he be too small for anything?
Well, he’d show them. The expression on Fat’s snout solidified into one of grim determination, and his tail twitched dangerously. The mirror was practically fogging over from steam snorting from his nostrils. He’d made up his mind. He’d really only gone along for the fun of it, but they’d effectively stopped him unfairly because he didn’t meet the short-term requirements, and now he wanted it very badly indeed. He just knew he’d got the guts- more appropriately, the gut- to do it, and he was going to do it in spite of not having ‘the size’. No, more than that- he was going to do it well. Better than that, even. He could keep the shorts? He wanted to make Frank eat them. He’d show them all: he was going to damn well become the biggest, best, fattest sumo wrestler ever seen!
Having got that off his chest, Fat’s anger began to die down a little. But he realised that he still meant every word, and that he was going to go through with it come hell or high water. His legs went a little weak at the enormity of the idea, and he wobbled to the kitchen for some supporting sustenance. He reached the fridge and tugged the door open, casting his eyes over the assorted odds and ends that had accumulated over time. In the end he selected an economy-sized pack of sliced ham and pulled out a handful. Filling his cheeks, he munched contentedly, anger mostly forgotten, and flicked through a slim, glossy-looking book. It was in effect an ASL manual, handed out free to everyone who’d come to the session. It outlined how a prospective sumo should train, building up muscle with certain specific exercises and regimes (affiliated gyms recommended, all quite expensive), what kind of lifestyle he should adopt, and how to gain weight effectively.
Fat read the book, eyebrow ridges rising higher and higher as he went along. At the end of it he whistled in surprise. Was that all they suggested? Some kind of fish stew and a lot of rice to go with it? They must be joking! He lifted the book and inspected his T-shirt clad belly, not looking forward to the thought of rice with everything. After all, he’d managed to reach this size just by eating a bit too much normal food. What could a special diet do that he hadn’t already-?
Anyone watching would have been seriously disturbed by the malevolent grin that oozed across the dragon’s face. He shut the book with a snap and dropped it contemptuously before getting back up and returning to the fridge. Pulling out the pack of ham again, he stuffed in fistful after fistful until his cheeks ached. He chewed stolidly, making himself swallow it in parts. It was surprisingly hard work. Then he repeated the process. By the end of the second mouthful he’d emptied the entire pack. Tossing it towards the bin, he reached further into the fridge, finding the last two-thirds of yesterday’s spare extra-large pizza that he hadn’t been able to finish. He finished it now, washing it down with a can of beer. And it wasn’t a light one.
The fullness suddenly hit him like a train as the unexpected volume of food crammed into his stomach. He actually felt his gut slowly lift off his groin as it stretched, his scales taut from the internal pressure. A faint groan was forced out of his snout to make more room, and a sliver of scale peeped out from under the shirt. A steadily increasing agony from his lower regions reminded him that he was still wearing those freebie shorts. He really should take them off before something got strangled. Despite that, Fat leaned back against the fridge door and grinned. He patted his swollen, solid middle.
He was going on his own diet.
* * *
The dragon didn’t meet up with any of his mates until the Thursday afternoon. It was in everyone’s favourite home-grown local international generically tasteless fast food joint, McBurgers (“There’s a reason we sell it so cheap!”). Why they were called ‘hamburgers’ no one would ever know, especially as they were supposed to be beef, anyway. The evidence suggested otherwise, but never mind: it was hot, it was greasy and you could add enough seasoning to give it at least a flavour.
Fat was the last to arrive. He stumbled through the door and sat down. A chorus of sympathetic exclamations greeted him. The dragon blinked, looking confused.
“What’s up?” Jim, a Border-Collie cross who was marginally better mates with him than the others, said,
“Sorry to hear about it, mate. You must be pretty bummed out.”
“Uhh… what for?” Jim looked hard at Fat’s guileless expression, but could see no hint of mickey-take. It was his turn to look confused.
“We heard you got turned down for the sumo, didn’t you?” Fat’s eyebrow ridges climbed his forehead as he slowly shook his head.
“Nuh-uh. I got in. I’ve got a bout in 2 weeks and a bit. Training until then.” The sympathetic murmurs around the table became jubilant calls of congratulations. From his right, Matt slapped him on the back, successfully hurting his hand despite the padding. Jim, looking totally lost, joined in the congrats.
They all went up to order together. On the way, Fat tried hard not to smirk. ‘Bummed out’. Very apt, actually. What they didn’t know, and couldn’t tell beneath the camouflage of his loose top, was that after three days of near solid eating the only thing that had got bigger was his arse. He knew because, deciding to do things properly, he’d taken measurements each day, and his ungrateful gut hadn’t expanded by so much as half an inch. Around his hips however, he was up a full inch. Just over, if you were being optimistic. Apart from that, he had the testimony of his old, favourite shorts. They’d been a bit on the tight side for the past 6 months, but now his legs were definitely feeling the squeeze, so to speak. His tail wasn’t doing anything though. Ah well, all weight was good, some was better than others. Besides, right now he wasn’t after quality, but quantity.
Fat ended up at the head of the queue, being served by the obligatory gormless hireling, this case in the shape of a skinny, spotty and ragged alley-cat in a plastic apron and a silly hat.
“What can I get you?” he asked with blatant disinterest, impatient to finish his shift and get the hell back to being a guitar-mangling rock-star wannabe. Fat considered his options on the board. He tried to cover a stuffed wince as he leant against the counter- he’d eaten just before he’d left home. It was a good job his scales were green, because they disguised his nausea at the thought of eating anything for a week. But no pain, no weight gain…
“I’ll have a cheeseburger, a medium chips, and a coke.”
“Diet coke, sir?” Fat gave the smug git a level look.
“Ok sir.” The cat turned away.
“Hang on…” The cat turned back. “Actually… scrap the coke. Make it a large pack of chips. With barbecue sauce. And a small box of chicken nuggets.”
“Alright…” The cat made his way to the serving area, but after 3 heartbeats Fat pulled him back again.
“Hang on, wait…” The cat gave him an exasperated look, hovering by the shout-through. Fat shrugged inwardly. Oh, what the hell… “Make that: two double cheeseburgers, your biggest bag of chips, a large box of chicken nuggets, and barbecue sauce. Oh, and a pack of onion rings. And give me the coke, after all.”
The server gawped at him, before recovering enough to stutter the order through. Jim tapped Fat on his meaty shoulder.
“Hey, thanks.” The dragon turned to him.
“Thanks for what?” Jim grinned.
“For getting everyone’s food like that.”
“Everyone’s food?” Fat took the bag from the grotty server, who leaped backwards to avoid catching whatever terrible fashion-destroying contagion that doubtless possessed him. “This is mine. What’re you going to order? Hell,” he added, grinning when Jim’s jaw nearly hit the floor, “I’ve got to keep my figure. I’m in training, remember?”
On Friday they went to the local Indian restaurant, and got a bulk discount.
On Monday they went to the all-you-can-eat-Chinese, and Fat really ate all that he could.
On Tuesday they had fish and chips. He contributed a small but significant amount to the decimation of cod stocks.
And in between Fat ate. No restaurant, snack bar, sandwich joint, or even vending machine was safe. He indulged hugely in his favourite foods as encouragement, pigged out on the most fattening things he could find and waded through massive meals that he didn’t really want at all, but devoured with a grim determination to clear every plateful. He discovered quite quickly that the best policy was to eat pretty much continuously, rather than having to go through the huge strain of stopping and starting monstrous binges. The more or less constant bulk-flow of food through his stomach kept it stretched, allowing him to push even more food in there without bursting. And stretch it did. After about a week he was surprised and encouraged to find that his appetite had grown noticeably, and that he was handling all the food far better. Even so, he spent almost all of his time in a fog of stomach-strain and belly-busting fullness. It took an effort to even bend over. He got an insight into what a stuffed turkey must feel like. But he kept at it. For over two weeks he diligently ate.
* * *
In the meantime, a rolling sumo advertising campaign gathered plenty of moss. They’d got a lot of volunteers to participate, with a surprising (or unsurprising, if you chose to look at it cynically) amount of natural ability. They hadn’t realised just how many widened waistlines there were out there. To fit them all in, they expanded the whole operation a bit, increasing the number of bouts. Even then, they had the luxury of being picky. In total, they took on 34 competitors. Interest was running high in the surrounding area. People were queuing up to buy their seat tickets.
But better yet, from the company’s point of view, was that the telly was interested in it! Not the Beeb, unfortunately, just a very local, very new digital channel that didn’t have enough programs even to fill all its slots, but it was a start. The contract they signed for filming rights was quite expensive, too.
It had taken some time, but their new premises had finally been renovated to fit their needs. There was a new coat of paint on the outside of the building, and the proper sign had come at last. Technicians, camera people and managers all swarmed about, getting things ready for the first day of bouts on Saturday.
* * *
“Hi folks! I’m Tony Allshot!”
“And I’m Michael Flammer. Welcome to Channel 113’s first live sports spectacular.”
“That’s right! We’re proud to bring to you exclusive coverage of the all new, exciting, amazing Amateur Sumo League amateur sumo competition!”
“We hope you’ll stay with us, because we’ve got a very impressive line-up for you. A series of 10 bouts, each the best of three. As you can see, the stands are filling up very nicely here at Wedgwood Park sumo ring. This has certainly generated a lot of interest, hasn’t it Tony?”
“Sure has, Mike!”
“Sorry. As I was saying, this crazy idea threw everyone for a bit of a loop at first, but now it looks like they’re embracing it with open arms! You never know, Mike, maybe you’ll find a sport that you Brits are actually good at!”
“Like rugby, in fact.”
“So guys and gals, we’re looking forward to a fierce, fiery, fun and fat-packed couple of hours here! It’s just about time to start! And here come the first couple of competitors! I think they’ve got to go through a weigh-in first, right Mike?”
“Yes, they do. We’ve got all their stats down here in front of us, of course, but this is just a last minute check to see if there have been any changes.”
“That’s just great! The first guy’s getting onto the scales, now! What do we know about him, Mike?”
“Well, this is Julian Shaw, as we can see he’s a monitor lizard. He works as a plumber, and he’s a local boy. The crowd will like that, I wonder what you watching at home will think of him?”
“As far as I know, Mike, they’re all local boys competing here! This is a home grown league! Do we have anything else on him?”
“Well, this says he weighs 22st 12, 6’2 tall”. And we’ve got some comments here from the training sessions. It says ‘good power, but needs to watch his balance.’”
“For those of you who don’t speak Brit, that’s 320lbs! Wow, they’re obviously starting by bringing out the big guns! I’d hate to get between him and his dinner!”
“Seeing as he’s mostly insectivorous, so would I.”
“Here’s his competitor! And he’s a dragon! Wow, don’t see many of them back where I come from, in the good old U.S of A, and now I’ve met two! You going to be rooting for him, Mike? Species stick together and all that!”
“I’ll be watching both with interest, Tony.”
“What do the comments say about this big lug?”
“They say… ‘Fat’.”
“Is that all?! Hey, you’re right, it is! Well, they didn’t miss a trick, did they? He certainly is fat!”
“Says here he’s 6’5. And he weighs 297lbs.”
“What? You’re kidding! He’s huge! If he’s 297lbs, I’ll eat my cowboy boots!”
“Whatever you enjoy, I’m sure. He’s getting on the scales now, so we’ll see in a minute.”
“Well, ladies and gentlemen, I think someone must have had their tape-measure twisted, because we’ve just heard that his actual weight is 486lbs. That’s certainly a Fat Dragon.”
“486?! The name suits him all right. Mike!”
“And it looks like they got his height wrong, too! He’s 6’6”!”
“It’s an easy mistake to make.”
“No, the height. And I guess these were taken 3 weeks ago…”
“No-one can put on 200lbs in 3 weeks, Mike! Anyway guys and gals, this is shaping up to be a real clash of the titans! Godzilla v Godzilla!”
“This is Tony Allshot and Michael Flammer at channel 113. We’ll be back in a few minutes to watch this first ever bout of amateur sumo. Shaw the Massive Monitor versus… one Fat Dragon.”
“One last thing, guy and gals! It’s just been announced that the competitors don’t have to adopt traditional sumo dress, but can fight in shorts! I’m sure they’ll be very relieved!”
“Aren’t we all.”
The newly christened Fat Dragon grinned happily at nothing as he waited for the bout to start. His weight shifted on the chair, making his gut wobble sluggishly. He cupped it in one meaty hand and felt its weight sag down and out, forcing his fingers to splay wide. And what a belly it was! Everything seemed to come together in the last two weeks, as though all the calories had been held up by a backlog. Probably through weight of numbers. Ever since the first morning he’d woken up to find his body a whole inch wider around the middle, it only picked up more steam. An added half-inch in circumference every 24 hours was his average. An average! His stomach had lost its neatly circular shape and had become a whole lot more bulky, hanging way out front. It was surprisingly soft, too: he’d retained his doughy consistency. Of the nearly 200lbs he’d managed to balloon up with, he guessed that over two-thirds of it was now packed around his abdomen.
The rest was liberally distributed. The chair protested under the pressure, filled almost entirely by his behind that had now bummed out a lot more. He’d discovered why those green shorts had been so horribly uncomfortable: whoever last washed them had added starch to make them seem newer. A near boiling-hot wash and a lot of pulling on them had allowed them to relax a hell of a lot more. He was wearing them now, and they weren’t enjoying the experience much. Fortunately, their protests were smothered by the chunky rolls of fat spilling over their sides- Fat Dragon’s horizons had really broadened just recently. His legs, which had always looked disproportionately well built, now looked absolutely massive from a distance. And absolutely massive close up too, but not in the same way. His thighs in particular were like snakeskin-wrapped hams, rolling into chubby ripples of fat around his knees. Not to be outdone by its downstairs neighbours, his chest had swiped its share of adipose too. His ribcage was wearing a lard lifejacket and it looked a little tight under the arms, where it bulged most. Combined with a thickening of his arms, this wasn’t a recipe for incredible mobility, but he could manage surprisingly well. There had even been enough fat to spring for a comfy inner tube around his neck, and stylish extra upholstery on his cheeks.
For the first week, the only thing that had felt different was his physical size. His gut kept acting as a buffer whenever he forgot to stop in time, and there was a growing list of people he’d accidentally barged when he’d misjudged a gap between them. Then like a delayed hand-grenade the heaviness had hit him like a tonne of bricks that had all been strapped around his waist. It had been an effort to stand fully upright against the drag of his belly. Fortunately, he’d been able to co-opt both butt and tail as a counterweight. The first couple of days had been hard work, but now he was getting more used to being a ‘big guy’. He couldn’t remember why he’d been so worried about his size before- that was matchstick thin compared to the bloated bulk he was fast becoming.
Just then the bell went to announce the first bout. He struggled to his feet, and the chair seemed to shrink in a sigh of relief. He stumped over to the ring, trying to ignore the first few pangs of worry about their appalling lack of training. How did it go again: grab like that and like that, or that and like that? Oh well, too late now. Fat Dragon stepped into the ring opposite his opponent. The lizard was looking a lot less confident than he had before the weigh in, despite a prominent barrel-belly. The dragon grinned at him, and Shaw flashed back a somewhat sickly smile. He seemed nearly paralysed by uncertainty, and one glimpse of his eye-wateringly orange shorts told him they’d both shopped at the same place. They were both in the same boat. Better hope it’s a strong one, then.
The crowd applauded if not with enthusiasm then at least with high spirits. Fat felt a sudden pang of shyness about exposing his body, that most people would have called obscene, to such public scrutiny. One hand absently touched the bulging curve of his belly, and its solidity felt slightly reassuring. The crowd, thinking he was indulging in showmanship, stepped up the cheering. Fat grinned, nerves starting to evaporate, and this time deliberately wobbled his belly at them, before the ref hurried over. He looked harassed and distinctly uncomfortable. It was obvious to everyone that nobody had a real clue as to what was going on. He did a lightning run-through of the rules for the two heavy animals, then a slightly slower one for the benefit of the audience, who booed him good humouredly, on principle. Then he got the hell out of the way.
Fat Dragon and Shaw faced each other in sudden silence. Shaw had a lot more muscle than Fat, but the dragon had a real weight advantage. And he intended to use it. Carefully, he bent his legs and half squatted, waiting for the start. He could do almost anything from there. The yell sounded and the crowd cheered, but at first neither animal moved. The crowd cheered louder to chivvy them along, and almost simultaneously they began to take slow steps towards each other, circling out of each other’s way. Shaw looked tense and trigger-happy, so Fat tried lashing his tail to see if he could get him to crack. It worked. With a bellow the fat monitor lizard leaped forward, anticipating a charge that didn’t happen. He tried to check his run, and then Fat hurled himself at him. Their bellies bounced, Fat’s compressing like a kicked beachball against Shaw’s firmer gut, and he staggered back, winded. However, Shaw was bowled backwards almost off his feet and almost immediately out of the ring. Fat Dragon grinned at this obvious sign of the improvement that his weight had leant him. But by this time Shaw, looking more annoyed than nervous now, was getting his balance back and Fat closed the distance, trying to keep him near the edge of the ring. Now the two porky protagonists grappled with each other, the lizard gong low and trying to use his muscle to lift or even tip the huge pile of dragon off his feet, whilst Fat Dragon just tried to push. He felt his bulk being hoisted but his feet had no inclination to rise. He grinned. He was too big to lift! Shaw looked as though he were about to blow a blood vessel. Mind you, Fat was panting pretty hard too, trying to wrench the guy backwards. A freak shift in pressure made them spin crazily through about 270° and both fought for balance. Finally, Shaw chose just the wrong time to relax his pressure, and a surprise heave from the dragon slung him sideways over the line.
It was only then that either of them became conscious of the crowd again, which was clapping and cheering like mad. Obviously they’d enjoyed it. Fat grasped his knees and sucked in air. This struggling lark was more work than he remembered. Still, he’d won that round. He smiled at Shaw, who was getting up and trying not to look too annoyed, and was glad to have a win under his straining metaphorical belt. A renewed determination gripped him. He was going to win the next one, too.
But he didn’t. The lizard’s blood had had time to warm up now, and he was a lot quicker on his feet. Taking advantage of that wait-and-see opening policy, he cannoned into Fat Dragon a couple of times in quick succession, heaving himself back each time to avoid a crushing bulldozing. The impacts knocked the air out of Fat again, who was attempting to recover his balance and keep his eye on the lizard at the same time. He twisted to try and meet the next charge, but Shaw dodged sideways and pushed from a different angle. Already on the rear foot, Fat lumbered backwards, helped on his way by the lizard, until he tripped and was deposited on his rear outside the boundary. The crowd loved it. This time it was Fat Dragon who tried to hide his annoyance at losing, wiping the sweat from his face. He still had another chance, and he wasn’t going to give one to this skinny squamata, either! The steaming monitor lizard saw a black scowl crease his opponent’s fat face, and felt a bit worried.
The final bout was short, but hard work for both of them. On the call Fat Dragon didn’t wait, but charged pell-mell for Shaw, spreading himself as wide as he could. This turned out to be smart, because the lizard almost spun out of the way in time. Fat’s left arm and shoulder caught him around the chest, and they did another dizzying, tightly locked pirouette, the crowd ‘oohing’ excitedly. They were really getting into it, audience and performers. Fat kept pushing, tail lashing to try and retain his balance. Shaw slid backwards, eyes wide at this pile-driving advance, but then fought back just as fiercely, trying to move sideways and topple his overlarge opponent, even grabbing at his tail and trying to haul him round. The dragon was a little nervous of doing the same back to him: was it monitor’s tails that broke off when you attacked them? He really hoped not. Fat’s arms clamped round Shaw’s and he heaved himself forwards in a kind of lumbering bunny-hop. Scaly flab squished around the lizard, who didn’t have time to respond. The pressure bounced him back on release, and he slid over the line.
The surrounding crowd, who’d somehow either expected blood or boredom from this day out, whooped and cheered both of them. Their animosity vanished instantly, steaming away with the sweat that dripped from both of them. They waved to the crowds, grinning sheepishly. The score was marked up on a big blackboard, and then the ref. hissed at them to go and dry off. They escaped as quickly as they could, whilst the crowd’s attention was soon called to the next bout.
“Wow! Exciting stuff for our first fight, eh Mike?”
“Sorry! Shaw really put up a struggle, didn’t he? Good technical work, too!”
“That’s right, Tony, but I guess it only shows just how important a really good weight advantage is in this kind of situation. And that Fat Dragon really made an effort to make it work for him.”
“Yep, that dragon sure is fat! I’d say he was a sumo natural!”
“I dare say you’re right. The crowd will remember this, and doubtless we’ll be seeing more of ‘FD’ in future rounds.”
A star was born.
* * *
“C’mon, FD. Hurry up!”
It was a week and a half later, and everyone was coming out to help celebrate Fat Dragon’s win: ok, it took a long time to try and organise these things. They’d had informal drinks and stuff already, naturally. This was a proper meal stroke party stroke blow-out. FD’d seemed a bit embarrassed about the whole sumo gig at first, and had kept kind of to himself, but probably it all took some getting used to. Jim hadn’t seen him in about 4 days, even though he lived only a street away. And he was busy with lots of sumo stuff since it had all really kicked off. Now, though, he was just holding things up. The dog crossed his arms and glared at the locked door of the flat in front of him. He’d tried running up the stairs for a lark and was regretting it. Then he imagined how Fat must be coping, what with his recent ‘training’ and all. The guys had ribbed him good-naturedly about it, until a) they had realised he was deadly serious about deliberately getting chubbier, b) they saw the catastrophic results of said training, and c) they hadn’t been able to find his ribs anymore beneath the blubber. Now they just kind of looked on with part amusement, part concern. It couldn’t be natural. Or healthy, for that matter. But FD apparently didn’t care. He seemed unshakeable. He was also provably immovable, and no one volunteered to see if he was unstoppable. They all knew he’d been going to proper training sessions at the sumo complex (or the ‘fat-farm’ as Joel had nicknamed it).
“Come on!” He repeated.
“Just a second, keep your fur on!” There were heavy footsteps the other side of the door, then the lock clicked back. The handle twisted and the door was pulled open a way. Jim pushed it the rest of the way.
“Took you a long time to open that. Are you rehhhhh…?”
The rest of his sentence was almost instantly forgotten as his brain made sense of what his eyes were seeing. FD stood there looking innocent, arms by his sides, wearing nothing except a fluffy blue towel. Water dripped from his snout and trickled down his scales. He was eating a submarine sandwich.
“Sorry,” he grinned unapologetically, “Was in the shower.” But that wasn’t the only reason that Jim was staring. Since his bout, FD had grown. Before, his belly had just looked unusually big for his size. Now that impression had been swamped in calories: he was whoppingly overweight, his body shape resembling some over-inflated balloon animal. His torso was a hugely rounded pear, about 6 inches wider than when last seen. His gut, indulged until it hurt, hung and pressed into his thighs. The towel, which was roughly pachyderm-sized, had not very much overlap after circumnavigating his tonnage. And ‘tonnage’ was the right word. The dragon’s appetite had continued to grow with his belly, so he’d decided to step up his eating campaign. He was successfully passing from the physical stage of ‘big guy’, and could now be classified as a proper ‘fat lad’. His face in particular was startlingly chubby, his big green cheeks bulging.
It was currently wearing a slightly concerned look.
“You ok?” he asked. Jim diplomatically tried not to let the shock show on his face, and failed miserably.
“Wha? Oh, n-no, nothing. It’s just… you’re not ready, yet.” He gave a ghastly grin. FD shrugged.
“Won’t be a minute.” He headed towards the bathroom. The bemused collie stepped into the flat and shut the door. He sat down to wait, but FD was true to his word, and wasn’t long at all. He stepped back into the room. “What do you think?”
This time the words didn’t even reach Jim’s larynx before they fizzled out. The towel had gone, to be replaced by a pair of faded old shorts. The seams looked under stress, and the material didn’t have a wrinkle in it as FD’s lower body took up every cubic micrometre of volume that could be wrung from them, giving his behind a curiously square shape. The legs were skin-tight around his thighs, the material stretching and bunching with every step. His tail had swollen with lard too this time around, and twitched sluggishly behind him. It was hanging closer to the ground than it had before, and the reinforced collar of material around the shorts’ tail hole was being stretched to fit it through. Fortunately, at the waistband most of the volume simply spilt over the top and buried it in warm jiggling rolls of scaly stomach, from which water still occasionally dripped. FD had made an effort though, and the band was close to its limit.
He wore nothing else.
It had to be a joke. It had to be!
Jim finally exploded in incredulity.
“You can’t go out just like that! Jeez!”
“Why not? It’s a warm night.”
“Not that warm! You can’t just waltz around topless!” Indeed, the thick rolling bulge of FD’s chest meant that he could quite comfortably have worn a bra. “I mean, put it away! Not everyone wants to see you!” FD’s face began to look sullen.
“Well sorry mate, but this is it. I don’t have anything else that’ll fit.”
“What?” Jim was starting to look a little frightened. FD just shrugged.
“I’ve outgrown it all.” The collie blinked, and tried to reason the dilemma away.
“Look, you’ve got to have something that fits. No one can outgrow their wardrobe in a couple of months.” He tried to match this up to the evidence that was FD, and found even his imagination stretched. “Even if it fits badly! A shirt or something.” The rotund dragon shrugged.
“Ok, ok, I’ll go and have a look for something. Wait there.” He ambled into the bedroom, and Jim tried to ignore how little room there was either side of his friend as he lumbered through the doorway. “But I know for a fact that I’m bigger than my wardrobe, as well as my clothes!”
Jim sank back into the chair. Bad jokes, that was all he needed! But he couldn’t let FD go out looking like that. He’d get arrested! Worry, which had already set in, began to gnaw again at Jim. This whole thing seemed to be getting just a little out of hand…
“Ok, I found a shirt.” Jim sighed in relief at the welcome announcement. Creaking footfalls alerted the dog to his flabby friend’s return. Jim looked up.
It was fire-engine red. It was XXL. It was short-sleeved. It was too small. Worse, it was unbuttoned. It hung around his shoulders, draped over the rolling hillocks of his sides. He could see the tension where it was pulling across the gulf of his back. It did nothing to hide the enormity of his size: it framed it. FD just smirked.
“Not my colour?” Jim tried not to laugh, worried that it might turn into hysterics.
“Can’t you at least button it up?”
“Nope. Sorry, it doesn’t stretch that far.” The dragon patted him on the shoulder, pushing it down by about 3 inches. “Unless you can find an all-night tailor, I think you’re going to have to live with it.”
The collie’s smile was definitely wobbly.
“So… you’re still gaining weight then?” FD laughed and rather sheepishly patted his side, making his entire figure joggle in its revealing ensemble.
“You spotted that, eh? 10 points for deduction.”
“No! I mean…” Jim grinned sheepdoggishly. There was a pleading look in his eyes. “I guess everyone- you know, the guys and me- kind of thought that you were just building up to the start of the season. Then that’d be it, kind of thing. Is all this just catching up with you from then?” When in embarrassing situations, people tend to smile. FD did just that.
“Nope, this is new, Jim.” He squeezed up a huge, doughy roll of pudge from his gut. I’ve seen some of the guys I’m up against, and I’m going to need every pound I can get out there!”
“Buh-buh-but,” Jim gaped, “how’re you going to lose it all again afterwards?”
That brought FD up short. He frowned.
“Afterwards?” The sudden thought made him blush. “I don’t know, I guess. Haven’t really thought about it…” He brightened up. “Besides, who says sumo is going to end any time soon? It seems pretty popular so far.” He smiled and tentatively ran his hand over his girthy gut. “And I’m not going to quit, that’s for sure. Might even turn pro.” Why not, after all? There was talk of a better contract already for next season, if it happened.
“You’re going to keep this up?”
“Yep. And so I’m going to carry on eating, too.” He grinned. “I’ve got to keep in shape, you know.”
“Not funny, Fat! Just how big are you going to get?” FD shrugged once more.
“Don’t know. As big as I have to be. As big as I can get.”
“That… that’s crazy! Fat,” Jim looked deadly serious, “I really, really think you should see some kind of doctor about this. A dietician. A therapist! It isn’t healthy!”
The dragon looked at him, then burst out in belly-laughter. Jim was absolutely right. It was downright bizarre! But there was something even more bizarre: he wasn’t particularly bothered about slimming back down, even to his old not-inconsiderable size. He’d not thought through any implications of his urge to be the biggest and best, but one he couldn’t have possibly imagined: he was starting to like being this fat! God knows why, but he felt buoyed up by all the blubber. His increasingly bouncy body was giving him a bouncier, more confident personality.
FD finally noticed that Jim looked ready to run in total, utter panic. Grinning, the dragon wrapped a plump arm around the dog’s neck and companionably hauled the completely bewildered bowser along with him out of the door. The stairs creaked loudly under his feet.
“The only thing I’m going to see tonight is a steak. Lots of it: I’m starving!” He licked his lips, stomach already growling at the succulent, fattening thought. Bring it on!
* * *
The steak house was packed. FD’s inclusion made it a little more so. They got a booth, although they had to push the table out to let the dragon squeeze onto the bench. There was a bit of concern because they’d booked a table for 10, but thanks to Fat’s ‘new job’ he took up two spaces on his own. And he refused point blank to suck it in for the entire evening. The management had thoughts about charging for the 11th space, but a brief look at the dragon’s stomach assured them they’d make more through selling food rather than seats.
Everyone agreed to pay for their own, then let Fat order first. The management wasn’t disappointed. Some of his friends had stared incredulously at the sumo when he’d arrived, and now their incredulity increased. In some cases it was verging on hostility. Jim, who was sitting next to him, played wretchedly with the cutlery rather than catch his eye. Naturally this made FD a little uncomfortable, but he refused point blank to moderate the order. He’d eat it all. Besides, he was starting to get used to being stared at- especially on the trip over in this little outfit. But hey, he bared his belly for national digital TV. It was his duty to see the viewers got good value for money. It was better than being ignored. He’d had a lot of that too, before- people not wanting to look at the chubby guy. Now they were having trouble taking their eyes off him. There was something magnetic about being so oversized, as though gravity were pulling everyone’s eyes towards it.
This was proved half-way through the meal. A party of blokes streamed in, their progress well lubricated with alcohol. Immediately they headed for the bar. They didn’t have a reservation. One of them looked their way, shouted something over the din of conversation and made towards the booth. FD’s friends imperceptibly slid away from the huge reptile. Jim cringed a little over his chips. He’d been afraid something like this might happen. Everyone knew that big people were targets for bullying. It wasn’t nice, but he couldn’t stop it. And there were quite a lot of people with this one.
The guy made it to the table. He was a big, well-built tiger in the stained remnants of smart clothes. Whatever party they’d all been to, it had been fun by the looks of it. Jim had the feeling that Joel, who was absent from this meal, played rugby with him. The tiger was swaying slightly from his feet.
“Hey, you…” he slurred, trying to focus on FD. The dragon looked at him warily.
“You’re that really fat sumo guy from the TV.” His eyes widened in drunken astonishment, as though seeing him for the first time. “That’s freakin’ cool!”
Jim choked on a chip. FD’s guarded expression melted somewhat into a surprised grin.
“I mean… I mean.” With a tremendous feat of concentration, the tiger got both paws resting on the table without falling flat on his face. “You’re bloody amzi… amazinh… cool. You’re a goddam walking whale! How’d you get so freakin’ big?” FD’s grin became a bit more malicious.
“Just lucky that way, I guess.” The tiger blinked, and taped the table knowingly.
“Y’re a lucky, lucky guy, you are. Very, very lucky, haha.”
Just then, one of the tiger’s companions wandered over. It was a wolf, and he also looked like a rugby player. He was also marginally more sober than his friend, and grinned congenially at the assembled party.
“Evening all. Sorry, he’s utterly trolleyed, I’ll look after him. C’mon Phil, it’s time for your round!” The wolf grinned, this being blatantly not the case, then blinked owlishly at the enormous dragon. Then he noticed Jim. “Hey! You’re a friend of Joel’s, aren’t you? Mark, issit?” FD decided to answer for the stricken dog.
“That’s Mark, this is Jim.” The wolf beamed.
“Ah, gotcha.” He started laughing, in that embarrassingly loud way that people do when they’ve had too much to drink. He suddenly looked a whole lot less sober. “Haha, y’won’t see Joel tonight though: Rugby Club social. Last I saw he’d got his head inna dustbin-nhahaha!”
By now, Phil had had the time he needed to marshal his thoughts.
“Hang… hang on a jus’ minute, jeez. I was talking to… to this great guy here!” He waved a hand expansively in a gesture that happened to take in the entire room, but the wolf got the idea. “Was… was jus’ saying how… how cool he was, doin’ sumo like that. S’amazing. I’d never have the nerf… the thingies to do it.” The wolf registered surprised, obviously now recognising FD, but this was quickly overtaken by pique.
“Hey! You told me you thought that sumo wrestling was disgusting! You said it was full of obscenely fat freaks and rugby drop-outs and that you weren’t going to watch it!” On his second attempt the tiger managed to turn and face the wolf, wearing a lofty look of righteous indignation.
“So? M… M’allowed to watch what I like! S’a free country! N’ if I want to say it’s… it’s a cool sport ‘m allowed to, eh?”
“Well, in that case I happened to watch it too! And it was bloody impressive.” He smiled and held out a paw for FD to shake. The dragon did so. “Call me Bing.”
“Call me Fat Dragon.” Bing the wolf howled with laughter.
“Don’t worry FD, I won’t argue with that. I like being 3-dimensional! Say!” A sudden flash of cunning crossed his inebriated countenance. “You couldn’t get me some tickets, could you?”
“Yeah, for the next fight! On a week Tuesday!” He leaned forward conspiratorially, so his more judgmental friends at the bar couldn’t possibly overhear. “I tried to get some, and they’ve sold out already.” Fat blinked.
“I can try.”
“Great!” The wolf’s face lit up with surprising enthusiasm, and then glowed with embarrassment. “Eh… hehe, just pidge them to me at the rugby club if you can. I’ll get them!”
Phil leaned closer, raw alcohol crystallising on his breath.
“Yuh- you must have a freakin’ lotta muscle to carry all that round. Boy, you must work out like a demon. Y’should play rugby with us. Bet y’ve got shoulders n legs like freakin’ tree-wotsits. Trunks. Thassit.”
For a moment, Fat wished Joel had been there to witness this. He’d have had apoplexy. It was almost better than hearing what a lightweight he was. Grinning, the dragon extended his arm again. It bulged impressively against the sleeve of his open shirt.
“Well, have a feel.” Laboriously, Phil swayed forwards and grabbed the biceps, squeezing. His fingers sank into the plump flesh, practically to the bone. The tiger looked comically amazed and squinted closer. FD’s grin widened. “I’m pure, 100% flab. I haven’t done a day’s voluntary exercise in my life.” Phil’s eyes went as round and as glazed as china teacups. Even Bing blinked uncertainly at this news, but shrugged, the smile returning.
“Fair enough. I’m not sure I’d like to be quite as big as you, though.” FD just grinned again.
“Watch this space.” Bing’s eyebrows shot up even higher, and he nodded.
The tiger seemed to be having trouble digesting the whole no-muscle thing. His face held childlike bamboozlement.
“Then how… how d’you freakin’ stand up, even? You’re a blimp!”
“Like I said, I’m just lucky like that.” FD replied without rancour. Adroitly, Bing grabbed the scruff of Phil’s shirt.
“Nice to get to meet you, FD. A pleasure.”
“C’mon Phil, let the big guy alone to eat! Besides, it’s your round! Actually, you’re paying for the next two rounds!” The tiger, being towed unceremoniously backwards, screwed up his face in the effort of thought.
“Issit? Hang on, Bing! I paid for two rounds ‘n the Ball and Pass!”
“I know! So to catch up, you’ve got to buy us two rounds here!”
Jim was on the verge of a breakdown. Grinning, Fat tucked into his third T-bone steak and called for the waiter to bring everyone another beer. The dog downed his almost in one, thinking fervently,
“It can’t last… it’ll fade away in a month or so…”
* * *
But sumo didn’t fade away. It became a screaming, shocking success. Journalists and councillors who’d provided snide commentary at the very start were forced to eat their words. FD managed to get Bing a ticket (although, according to the ruse he used to get it, he and the wolf were technically going to have to get married. Fortunately, no one ever found out) and he got to see an hour and a half of chubby, short-straining bodies lumbering at each other. Up close and personal. A couple of enterprising people were selling snacks to the crowds (a surprisingly lucrative trade), although most people didn’t stay still long enough. They were on their feet shouting, cheering and booing like mad. Bets were soon being placed on the winners, the losers, hell, even the weights of the competitors. The atmosphere was unbelievable! By the third Saturday, demand was such that they announced an extra day of bouts on Thursdays. Most audiences were newcomers, curious despite themselves, but there was a rapidly swelling group of die-hard fans that never missed a round, either in person or via TV. It was becoming a more popular spectator sport than world championship snooker. Bing was secretly a member of that group, although unbeknownst to him so were quite a few of his team mates. A whole extra bunch of people even joined up late. Who’d have thought there were so many fat animals out there?
The Wedgwood Ring expanded. The company was privately becoming a little concerned about what it had started, but it couldn’t close down now: if they did, another company would jump in and rake up the profits. The digital TV channel, which couldn’t believe it’s luck, splashed out on more and better cameras, and threatened to sue the bottom off any other company that even thought of trying to infringe its exclusive coverage. A few additional surrounding buildings in the old sports complex were hurriedly bought and converted. The sumo wrestlers now had a ‘stable’ in which train.
And train they did. They knew a good thing when they saw one. As far as they were concerned, it was in their interest too to keep the ball rolling.
FD was one of those who went along regularly, although he didn’t avail himself of the weights room, treadmills or rowing machines, which could also be used by the public for exorbitant fees. No. Reasoning quite sensibly that he was growing perfectly well without help, he worked on his technique in the practice rings. The company hadn’t also sprung for any additional trainers along with the rings, and the existing ones were all busy making life hell in the gyms, so those sumos practising had to make it up as they went along, incidentally having a much better time than the work-out addicts.
Frank (wearing a badge enigmatically labelled ‘Trainer in Chief’) came and went like the company’s very own morose messenger pigeon. He had told the dragon a few days ago that he had an official bout scheduled for this afternoon, his 5th of the season. The last three opponents had each been tough, but he’d beaten them all, by skill (the doughboy dingo, bout number 2), luck (bout number three with a ham-fisted pig) and sheer bloody-mindedness (a half an hour toe-to-toe shove match against a bull big enough to equip McBurger for the rest of its franchise. The crowd had loved that one).
Very slowly and carefully, he was putting himself through some squats as a kind of warm up. Since his career had taken off, he’d been expanding too. Almost frighteningly so. His belly put people in mind of one of those massive beer-storing kegs. His sides made it look as though it had been wrapped in huge crocodile-skin rubber-rings. His tape measure at home could no longer encompass his equator, no matter how hard he or any of his friends pulled. His neck had seemed to vanish as flab swelled both shoulders and chins. He was beginning to look seriously weighed down. His underbelly completely occluded his thighs despite the best effort of his shorts to hoist it out of the way, and so his gait had incorporated a fairly broad waddle. But, surprisingly, he could still get up a respectable turn of speed, even if he lacked acceleration or fine control. One of the hired physiotherapists was amazed at the size of his existing leg muscles. In fact, he was amazed at his size full stop. Relatively speaking, his grossly overballooned bulk wasn’t slowing him down at all, when by now most animals would by now be forced to roll everywhere. More than that, it transpired that he was actually growing taller as well as rounder. He was now over 8 feet in height, although his width made it hard to notice. As he hadn’t grown previously for over 5 years, the colossal dragon wasn’t sure what to make of it. To cover his nervousness, the physio had jokingly remarked,
“It’s as though your body was designed to grow absolutely huge. I don’t know how big you’ll get.”
FD had liked the sound of that.
He lowered himself again, the effort of lifting his body straight up all the exercise he needed. From behind, he was a monstrous sight, resembling the back of an ocean liner. Somehow, those green shorts of his were still hanging in there, stretching over a bottom that was as wide as a full-blown rugby-scrum. Around a tail that was thicker than even most lard-tubs, each fat-bloated buttock was sufficiently big to equip any other sumo with a prize-winning paunch. The stretched green material practically twanged with every movement of his lower body. He wore them almost constantly, now- nothing else could be persuaded to fit. Even then, the pressure on them enforced a kind of compulsory builder’s bum, the blubber from his bottom that couldn’t be shoehorned into them bulging out at the sides. This wasn’t helped by the fact that, due to the tenuous nature of their encompassing of his bulk, underwear wouldn’t fit underneath them. There was no more room.
It was when they were at their most taut- at the nadir of his thrust, the material trembling with the terrible strain, fat thighs at the horizontal and struggling against gravity like jet engines trying to stop the sinking of a gas giant- that a hand smacked hard against one prime, tender cheek and jiggled it.
Every muscle reacted at once. His tail stiffened from the shock. His legs tried to snap upright with a force sufficient to hurl him into orbit. But they failed from the start, the closest they came to being a substantial change in shape as they desperately tried to heave upwards. The majority of his body, no longer being suited to such rapid movements, stayed exactly where it was whilst the legs flailed around madly underneath it. There was an agonised heartbeat of indecision and then FD toppled backwards and hit the floor like a body-temperature avalanche. The shockwave bounced through him like a blubbery tsunami as he first landed on his bottom, then his back. He ended up spread-eagled, quivering and panting hard, body heaving from the surprise. Of course, the only thing damaged was the floor, which was going to need its suspension replacing.
The bottom-patter stood over him, totally unrepentant.
“What,” he asked, with mock curiosity, “did you go and do a silly thing like that for?” The dragon’s angry demeanour slipped badly as he desperately tried not to laugh. His sides jiggled in mirth. His friend, a fellow wrestler by the name of Chaz, grinned and leaned over the supine sumo. He patted the scaly fatso heartily on the belly- a target which reared up like an all-cholesterol hill nearly to his chest height. His hand sank in about six inches before he pulled it back. “Oof! Have you put on some weight, big guy?”
FD snorted in laughter, even as a blush raced across his cheeks. With one meaty mitt he reached up and lightly punched back.
“I can tell you have!” The barrel-bellied horse smirked at him, rubbing at the point on his prominent gut where FD had playfully thumped him. Both he and his brother had joined up a week after the first official bouts on TV- according to them without consulting one another. Chaz had been heavy for his size then- not really having any gut to speak of, just a good, solid thickness of weight all over him. It was a very unusual physique, and it had earned him a lot of sideways looks. He seemed to thrive in them. After a week or so the brothers had met FD and had become friends almost instantly. Since then both horses had adopted his winning strategy of complete, shameless don’t-give-a-damn-about-anyone-else gluttony. The effects had been dramatic, proving its success to the ‘world at large’, as they referred to the sumo fraternity. Chaz, who’d apparently been struggling to put on any additional weight whatsoever, was going up whole clothing sizes more or less every week. The equine’s frame was fast thickening with flab, and although it seemed to be following the pattern of fattening every little bit, the pressure of so much fat was making his midsection bow out big-time.
FD carried on grinning.
“In the canteen, still eating his head off.” Chaz snorted, his large nostrils flaring. “Greedy pig.”
The supine dragon roared with laughter at that comment. Both over 6 feet tall, Chaz and Rocky were twins, although they’d never been alike enough to mix them up. Now, under their strict regimen of eating until they bust, they were practically gaining equal weight, pound for pound as they went along. But whereas Chaz’s belly was ballooning, Rocky’s wasn’t. ‘Butt’ was a very relevant word to use around Rocky. All that weight seemed to have slipped. He had the stomach of an ordinary fatso, but a behind that looked like it wanted to try and give FD’s a run for its money. Trying to keep it contained in a pair of tracksuit-shorts seemed to take up a lot of his time. It was, everyone agreed, a magnificent behind.
“Last time I saw the pair of you, you were outstripping his weight by double figures!” Chaz’s smile became smug again.
“So why aren’t you out there maintaining your lead, chubby?” FD had money on Chaz weighing more than Rocky by the end of the season. The brothers had set up the book themselves, so that ‘friendly sibling rivalry’ would speed their progress. He also privately had money on Rocky, not seeing why one or the other should lose out. Chaz chortled.
“I’ve got to rest up. Got a bout later on.” FD blinked, in the act of trying to roll his bodyweight over.
“Really? Great. I’ll be there to cheer you on. I’ve got a bout on, too.”
“Yeah, I know you have.” FD wriggled some more without much appreciable result.
“Erf… give me a shove or something, will you Chaz?” The horse, who’d been watching his efforts with increasing amusement, squealed with laughter.
“I knew it! You’re beached!” It was getting to be an occupational hazard, FD had discovered. “You’re getting too big for your boots!” The dragon flopped back, panting from an attempt to curl himself forwards around his belly. Lifting his head, he flashed the horse a grin of bravado. He thumped his sides heavily.
“Too big? Bah! There’s no such thing!”
“Well, I’m not going to get in your way. I might be squashed.”
Chaz stifled his giggles and held out both his hands. FD caught hold of them and braced himself.
“On three. One, two…”
“Three!” Chaz hauled whilst FD threw his weight up and forwards as far as he could, trying to get his legs back under him. He nearly threw Chaz over his head, before he flopped back.
“Wait a minute!” he said. “We’re going about this all wrong. I’ll sit up first, and go from there.” Twisting his arms so his hands splayed back from him, he tensed his back muscles and slowly pushed himself into a sitting position. It was an impressive sight as rolls and folds of fat formed and compressed. His belly went through fascinating changes in shape as gravity resisted and then assisted its movement. After a few moments, half-bending, half-rolling, he got himself sitting upright, where he stayed. Grinning and reaching for the impressed stallion’s hands, he leaned his monumental bulk forwards.
It was accompanied by the most embarrassing, long drawn out ripping noise ever experienced, as though multiple sheets of paper the size of a wall were being torn. FD’s grin froze, and then became an expression of sheer mortification. He didn’t even bother to very gingerly reach back with his hands to check. He could tell exactly what had happened by the draught, and the way his backside was suddenly spreading out a lot more. Chaz hadn’t moved a muscle, and was looking at him with round eyes.
“Err… one meal too many for these old shorts,” FD muttered in embarrassment. “I… I think I’ll just stay here for a bit. Until there are less people around.” From the feel of it, the waistband had ripped asunder along with the seam.
Recovering, the horse politely tried to stifle his titters. At least he tried.
“Good job I’m here, then.”
“Huh? Why?” Chaz snickered, and picked something up from where he’d dropped it behind him.
“I come bearing a gift.” He held up a pair of luminously lime-green shorts big enough for a 7-legged race, and then dropped them on FD’s front. The dragon lifted them up, and tugged. The elastic stretched for miles, and would probably be baggy even on his titanic tush. They looked even worse than his recently dearly departed pair. “From our new sponsor.” The dragon saw a logo around the broad waistband, and frowned.
“‘Large Lads Inc.’ Specialist sumo shorts suppliers. Everyone gets a free pair. Those’re yours.” Chaz was wearing a smaller pair of shorts in a similar style, although his were an alarming aquamarine. He must have seen the dragon’s bemused expression, because he just shrugged and grinned. “We’re in fashion.”
“People are buying these things?” That made Chaz laugh.
“Buy them? The smallest size they do is XXL! Of course people are buying them, even if they can’t wear them.” The dragon grunted.
“I can understand the ‘not wearing them’ bit. I can’t wear them either. Or at least, put them on. How am I meant to get to the changing rooms from here?”
“You’ll just have to grace everyone with your magnificent presence unfettered! Stone me, you’ve let everything else just all hang out up until now, and those old shorts left nothing to the imagination!” FD chuckled and held out his hands again.
This time he rose like a skyscraper being erected all at once, leaving the wrecked confines of his shorts on the floor like a tiny chrysalis. Chaz stooped and retrieved them for him, grunting against the weight of his belly on the way up. The dragon smiled.
“You’re not far off being beached yourself.” The horse grinned at the outlandish compliment.
“Thanks! Feel sorry for my opposition this afternoon?”
“Yep, but not as sorry as for mine.” Chaz chuckled.
“Oh, not too overconfident, then?”
“Nope. I’m going to flatten him.” The dragon smiled comfortably as he started off towards the changing rooms, feeling remarkably unselfconscious about strutting around naked. Well, it wasn’t as though much more than usual were visible. The horse came with him.
“I’m going to be holding a winner’s party tonight. Want to come along?” FD laughed in surprise.
“Now who’s being overconfident? You might not win. I might not win.”
“Hell, I’m going to have the part anyway.”
“Then sure I’ll come. We can celebrate both our wins.” Something struck Chaz as side-splittingly funny.
“We’ll have real trouble doing that.”
“You’re wrestling me.” That brought FD up short. He goggled at the stuffed stallion. Chaz grinned impishly. “Still going to flatten me?” His opponent thought for a minute, then snorted back a laugh.
“I’m going to sit on you!” The hefty horse whinnied hysterically.
“Hah! Glad to see you’re not going to just let me win this fight. But it won’t help you in the end!”
He threw an arm across FD’s pudgy shoulders and chaperoned him to the changing rooms. Haphazardly, his other hand rested lightly on the lower surface of the dragon’s awesome gut. FD felt a bit self-conscious about it, but not really enough to comment. It was something he’d noticed increasingly about all the sumo wrestlers over the past bunch of weeks. He didn’t know whether established sumo-wrestlers kept themselves at a specific weight or not but around here the average waistline was rapidly getting rounder, and with it they were all getting much more touch-orientated. Bellies were rubbed, gut-slaps were exchanged, and everyone was just a lot more… willing to make contact, he guessed. It just seemed to have become the norm. Hell, even he was doing it- he was parading around right now like a balloon float without a stitch on, and he wasn’t even inclined to blush anymore. He knew that before going sumo, he’d have cringed at the thought of just going topless.
He was beginning to think he knew the answer, and it was to do with fat. An old mate of his had once explained the warm-fluffy-beer-suit theory of drinking, which explained the effect of alcohol as to why you could wander around town at 2 am in the middle of winter and still be sweating in just a T-shirt. Because you’d donned your warm-fluffy-beer-suit, and it didn’t let you feel the cold. FD was currently wearing his big-heavy-fat-suit under his scales. Being this enormous changed your entire perspective. He’d never felt so confident in his entire life. Almost everything bounced off you. Skinny people were so thin they barely registered as existing, kind of like with gravity. You felt like you could do anything. It was only other big people that had any impact on you. And why shouldn’t you want to interact boisterously? As he’d mentioned before, fat was magnetic. They all knew what it was like. Apart from that, there was also the thing about personal space. All the bodies around here were so big that the idea was meaningless. Even an empty room could seem cramped- doorways especially. It was only natural that you’d be a lot more familiar with guys you spent half the day squashed in to. With clothes as tight as they’d all become, it wasn’t like anything was hidden anyway. And it felt weirdly good to be the centre of all that attention.
More than that, it felt good to be so bloody big just for its own sake… FD realised that he’d put a greater strut into his stride, making his belly quiver. Grinning at nothing, his hand crept down and absently squeezed his bulk.
* * *
“Welcome back to the Wedgwood Ring, everyone! I’m your old favourite Tony Allshot!”
“And I’m Michael Flammer. You’re watching live coverage of the Amateur Sumo League Championships, courtesy of 113, the Sumo Sports Channel.”
“That’s right! And it’s a beautiful Thursday afternoon here, guys and gals. 3 bouts down, 7 to go!”
“Indeed. The fettling bouts are over for the season, and we’re into the really professional calibre of competitors, now.”
“‘Calibre’! Ha ha! You Brits just crack me up, Mike!”
“Michael. Right, well, the next bout looks to be the most popular of the day, Tony. Fat Dragon vs. Chaz.”
“And they don’t need any more introduction than that, do they?!”
“Yes, they’ve both become something of cult figures as the season’s progressed. I’m sure their fans are sorry that one of them has got to be knocked out of contention.”
“Not as sorry as one of them is going to be though, eh Mike?!”
“And here they come for the weigh-in! We’ll be right back, just after a word from our sponsors: L.L. Incorporated and, just recently, McBurgers!”
As he lumbered out of the changing room door, the sound hit FD like a brick. Gods, it had never been as loud as this before. The dragon blinked a little in the bright lighting, before taking a deep calming breath and making his way towards the weigh-in station. Chaz was converging on it from the other side of the ring. The horse was already winding the crowd up even further, waving and making gestures. The crowd responded more enthusiastically than probably even Chaz expected, standing in a great wave and cheering like mad. FD noticed that they’d finally replaced the second-hand school gym beams with properly installed rows of benches. It looked like they’d squeezed extra seating in, and it was all filled. The place was more tightly packed than the showers after a long and sweaty practice session.
Both seeming a little stunned by the verbosity of the crowd, they reached the scales, by which stood the referee. FD didn’t know where they found these people, but he suspected they chose deliberately diminutive specimens to show of their sumos’ sizes all the more. This one looked particularly apprehensive as two monstrous shadows fell over him. He gestured at the scales. Winking, Chaz offered with exaggerated politeness to let FD go first. The dragon’s deliberately calm competition demeanour broke. Unable to help himself, grinning from ear to ear and with equally exaggerated courtesy he insisted that Chaz could do the honours. Grinning himself, the horse hopped onto the plate with an audible thump. The numbers flashed like crazy on a deliberately large screen, and the crowd oohed appreciatively at the spectacle. The readout finally flicked to ‘217.3kg’ and ‘478lbs’. Chaz weighed 34 stone, near as damnit, and looked every inch the part.
Then it was FD’s turn. Carefully, he raised a foot and put in on the scale, then stepped up. The numbers flashed…
“I… I don’t believe it!! Tarnation, what has that boy been doing, eating elephants?!!!”
“Almost 850lbs does seem rather a lot, I agree, but-”
“A lot?! It’s… it’s… I can’t even imagine what it is, Mike!!”
“Its Michael, and that doesn’t surprise me in the least. Every time FD’s stepped up to the ring so far he’s surprised us. I think he’s just done it again. The last time we saw this crowd’s favourite in a bout, he was only a stripling at 670lbs.”
“But that was only a couple of weeks ago! That’s… obscene!!”
“I think the crowd disagrees with you on that one, Tony. It sounds as though they love it. Since we last saw him, Chaz has put on a lot of pounds too, although I don’t think it’ll be enough to overcome this weight advantage. Strange, I always notice a lot of rugby shirts in the audience at these bouts-”
“Aww, I’d hate to disagree with you Mike, but you’re wrong! I’m rooting for Chaz on this match! The big green guy’s overdone it this time! He’s too big! He’s going to be struggling just to hold that gut of his off the ground, let alone pushing his competitor out of the ring! Chaz’ll have the speed and agility in this fight, and we’ve seen he’s not afraid to use brute strength when it comes to it, either!”
“I’ve heard FD quoted as saying there’s never a ‘too big’. I’m going to stick with FD.”
“Why would you do a crazy thing like that, Mike?!”
“Michael. Species solidarity.”
“Oh. Well, you’re entitled to your opinion, but if that walking whale pulls off a win, I’ll eat my cowboy boots!!”
“Strange: you’ve wagered your boots on almost every bout this season.”
Both sumos settled into a starting crouch in the ring. The expectant hush that settled over the crowd now was even more distracting than the maniacal bellowing of just a few seconds previously. FD could feel himself sweating already. He hitched the shorts down a fraction- they weren’t loose in the slightest, and the sponsors had wasted their time on the logo- it was buried along with the waistband under rolls of hot scaly flesh. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw the ref take a nervous swallow and a step back, ready to bolt from the circle. He took a deep breath, and FD felt his nerves vanish.
He lunged forwards, away from the edge. Chaz had done the same, but had gone to the side as well to knock him off centre. He was wearing a frown of concentration. Grinning, FD swung heavily to match him, and began a slow circle himself. The crowd cheered them indiscriminately. The horse unexpectedly chose that moment to close the gap, lunging sideways on at the dragon. FD was surprised, because Chaz couldn’t put his full weight behind a sideways lurch like that. Then he was even more surprised as the horse hit him like a cannonball at that crazy angle, creating a glancing blow that half spun the dragon. Somehow, the horse managed to check his escape velocity and leaned back into the push from a different angle, making his unbalanced monster of an opponent topple further. FD’s centre of gravity shifted wildly, his body’s inertia working against him as Chaz frenziedly kept heaving and pushing from continually different angles. They struggled around the centre of the ring. With growing desperation and dizziness, FD tried to fight back, but couldn’t put his weight behind it as it swung about. Growling, he redoubled his efforts, pushing into where the next shove to his back would come with all his might. He misjudged it: Chaz actually shoved him from behind and to the left. However, the violent force of his recoil stopped his linear motion dead. The horse suddenly found himself pushing at an immovable object, and was bounced back, staggering. But the side on shove spun FD like a top. He felt his massively chunky legs tangle each other as he attempted his first ever pirouette, and he fell, still spinning, to the floor. He took Chaz with him, landing on top.
He heard and felt all the wind ‘whoosh’ loudly out of his friend, as well as himself. Fortunately, he’d fallen belly-first, so the horse had at least been additionally cushioned. All he could see was Chaz’s head and arm protruding from under his armpit, eyes bulging like a frog’s. The horse wheezed and tried to get up, but there was just too much dragon sprawled on top of him to do anything about it. He tried harder, the only effect being to make FD’s body quiver. FD could feel him straining like mad to lift him.
“Get… off… me!” the horse gasped out vehemently, utterly helpless. His hand scrabbled futilely for a grip on the floor as he changed tactics and tried to slip out from under the dead-weight ball of fat that was FD. Then he tried to roll the dragon off his back. The dragon started laughing, his body quivering all the more. Chaz struggled harder, and FD laughed more. He was practically crying with hilarity, utterly helpless in that state to lift himself. Chaz gritted his teeth and gargled out,
“Get off me you great fat lug! Or I’ll… I’ll…!” The horse couldn’t help it any more either and flopped back flat on the floor, laughing along with him.
The ref and two assistants eventually offered to help, but FD said he could manage. Drying his eyes, he slowly got to his hands and knees and then heaved himself up. The crowd, which had been yelling and laughing as well, cheered. They cheered all the more when Chaz spatula’d himself off the floor without even a bruise. To the surprise of all, there was no hole, but the horse complained that he felt two-dimensional. Then they cracked up again, and had to have a drink of water before they could restart the bout.
“Ouch! That fall had to hurt just a bit, even if he is still smiling. However, it was obviously an accident, so no harm done.”
“And that was some fine display by Chaz, wasn’t it Mike?!”
“I can’t argue with that. It looks like he knows he can’t throw someone as large as FD, and is trying to get the big guy unbalanced to trip him out of the ring.”
“Yep, that’s what it looks like! And I’m afraid FD’s just too big and slow to do much about it! I guess he’ll be going the way of the dinosaurs any time now!”
The minute the bout began again, Chaz went straight back to his tactics, although much, much more warily this time. Being steamrollered was enough to put anyone off, but he was determined. Having seen FD drop at practice, he knew he could beat him like this. But by now, FD had had time to think, and he’d come up with a plan of his own. He let the horse bounce him around for a while, waiting for a really big push. Chaz obliged, hurtling in at him from the right hand side. He was going to try and bump the tottering dragon clear from the ring. Grinning, FD lashed his mammoth tail and, using the weight as a cantilever, pivoted with a gasp-drawing speed no-one knew he had to meet the rush, slamming both feet down and bending his legs. The startled horse collided full on with that stomach, almost suffocating himself. FD absorbed the collision, then thumped his belly back out. Chaz almost flew, crashing back and sprawling across the line. The crowd was stunned for a nanosecond, then erupted in rapturous approval. The horse got up, shaking his head in bewilderment. FD smugly folded his arms across his ample chest. Sweat was steaming from the pair of them in an acrid haze. Chaz looked up and grinned ruefully. He knew there wasn’t a way he was going to beat this monstrous dough-ball dragon now. He stepped back into the ring for round two.
“Remember: don’t let me win!” They both grinned as they settled into crouches.
“I… I don’t believe it guys and gals!”
“I’m afraid so. One of sumos best-loved competitors has just been knocked out of the Champs, in two straight rounds. I’m sure Chaz’s supporters will be very disappointed.”
“At least he doesn’t look too cut up about it! That’s what we like to see, a good loser! Look at that! He’s not sore at all! If it were me, I wouldn’t be that sporting, Mike!”
“Well, never mind, Tony. I hope your feet won’t be sore as well as your head on the way home.”
* * *
Whatever else, Chaz threw one hell of a party. He hadn’t stinted the guest list either. Almost every single sumo wrestler was there, and they were all heading for the best club in town- Carmen’s. The eyes of the two bouncers outside widened as a large crowd of very large animals strutted up to the door. Nevertheless, the bouncers were equal to them. They instinctively blocked the door as the crowd came to a halt, although instinct also told them to be polite. The first of them, a great-Dane Rotweiller cross of some kind, asked.
“Are you all wanting to come in, sirs?” His tone implied that, given the size of them individually, there definitely wouldn’t be room.
A chestnut horse that had seriously been overdoing the nosebag pushed to the front and gave the smaller bouncer a bright, if slightly unsteady, smile. He was wearing a Hawaiian shirt that matched the blue of his shorts.
“Hi! It’s ok, we’re on the guest-list.”
“Under what name sir?”
“Milson. What’s yours, then?” The bouncer leafed through the clipboard.
“Thomas. Oh yes. Mr. Charles Milson and party.” He looked up. “Where is your party?” Chaz laughed and waved behind him.
“What do you think this is?” The bouncer’s unsmiling eyes took in the crowd of beaming, chubby faces.
“I’m sorry, but there isn’t room for all of you.”
Chaz’s sunny countenance began to fade into consternation.
“But I’m on the guest list. I’ve paid, check up if you like. I’ve paid for everyone, and free booze inside.”
“I’m very sorry, but there’s not much I can do.” The horse’s consternation became more of a frown.
“I told them how many were coming.” He said it in a very deliberate way, and his temper didn’t look to be placid. He was going to kick up a fuss about this, he just knew it. The rest were looking on, waiting. Thomas called in reinforcements from his partner.
“If you’ll just wait to one side gentlemen whilst others on the list can get past, Richard here will help sort things out.” He turned to some smaller, smiling guests, leaving the second, larger bouncer, a grizzled tiger with some pale scars across his muzzle, to deal with a now scowling Chaz. Unlike Thomas, he was able to afford digital, and so had a bit more of an idea about what he was dealing with. And he didn’t like it one bit.
“Now then, sir, I’m very sorry about this, but-”
“I told you that I’ve already paid.”
“Yes, and I’m sure that the owner will be more than willing to refund you in full over this little misunderstanding.”
“I don’t want a refund! This is meant to be a party. We want to go in!” Richard tried his best to look unfazed, but leaned back slightly from the glowering presence looming somewhat in front of him. The others were getting closer as well.
“I’m very sorry sir. Unless you’d like to wait until there’s more room-?”
“I don’t want to wait. I’ve paid the money. I told you the time we’d be here. I told you how many were coming!” Chaz’s dander was well and truly up. Richard found himself sweating. They were of a height. He glanced inside. He was good at this kind of thing, and he could tell that if they went in there would be one hell of a squeeze.
“I can fully understand, Mr. Chaz, sir,” he began carefully, “but I’m afraid it’s not really a case of numbers, it’s more about size, you see.” This was received about as well as could be expected.
This was not going well. The bouncer decided to employ their super weapon against such threats.
“If you’ll wait just one moment, I’ll get someone who can deal with you.” He leaned back through the door they so jealously guarded. In the meantime, something went ‘click’ at the back of the horse’s mind. He grinned.
“’Tom’? ‘Dick’? Who’re you calling now? H-?”
From just the other side of the doorway there squeezed a figure, wearing the standard suit and shirt employed by bouncers everywhere, although for him it had had to be custom-tailored. He towered over Chaz, blotting out the doorway. It was a parrot, but there was very little comical about the fact. Dark glasses perched on top of his beak, the red of his feathers looking very dark against the lights from inside. He was enormous. Inside the confines of the suit, a vast suet pudding of a stomach jiggled. However, Chaz was good at this kind of thing and he could see that a lot of the bulk around the shoulders of the suit was in fact muscle. This bird loomed. More than that, it was a particularly menacing kind of loom. Although Chaz couldn’t know it, he was in fact talking to the most junior of the three bouncers, but because he was bigger than most landmarks he was kept in reserve for occasions such as this.
“Is there a problem?” The horse took an involuntary step back, and tried to unglue his vocal chords.
“No…” he squeaked, then tried to bring his voice back to its normal register. “No, not a problem as such, it’s just that-”
“It’s just that we’d like to come in, and your two friends are a little worried about space.” Chaz jumped as the deep voice behind him suddenly spoke up. He realised that he’d been sort of aware of heavy footsteps coming up behind him. His elbow hit a bare, scaly stomach. FD smiled politely at Harry, winching his head down a notch to look the bird in the eyes. Thomas and Richard had now backed well off, and were staring with panic-stricken incredulity. Harry blinked, eyes widening as for the first time he met someone both bigger and heavier than himself. Chaz’s lips curled up and from there on he couldn’t stop grinning.
The bird looked astonished. Then he glanced around at the rest of the group.
“Hey! You’re the guys from channel 113, aren’t you?” For obvious reasons, there was something instantly recognisable about FD. He raised his eye-ridges a little and said pleasantly,
“No. They’re from us.” A big, watermelon grin split the bird’s features. He leaned forwards.
“I’ll say. Cor! You don’t half look bigger in real life!” FD smiled.
“Thank you.” He swept his gaze up, down and across Harry. “You’re not a bad size yourself, y’know.” Harry grinned all the harder.
“Thank you, too. From you, that’s a compliment! You think I’d have what it takes to be a sumo wrestler?”
“Definitely.” FD, Chaz and Rocky all said it in unison. Subconsciously, Harry preened. He treated them all to a smile.
“So, what seems to be the trouble. Space, you said?”
“Space,” FD confirmed. He nodded at the other two bouncers, who were trying to ignore proceedings, “I think your two pals thought we might be a bit too fat to all fit in. The other guests might not like it.” Harry considered them, himself, and the people inside.
“Have you eaten?” FD wiped barbecue sauce from the corner of his mouth with the back of his hand.
“Yes, but there had better be some snacks in there!”
“Oh there are. Plenty.” Harry gave them a big grin, and then said, “Well, I guess they’ll all just have to shove up to make some more room then, won’t they?” Grinning, he stepped well clear of the door. With a cheer, large bodies began piling through, whilst the other two bouncers tried not to have breakdowns.
* * *
The bar-dog looked up from cleaning glasses, and as before took an involuntary step back.
“Oh, it’s you, sir. Sorry, you just… loomed rather suddenly. Another drink?” FD nodded hazily.
“What’ll it be?” The bare-chested blimp of a reptile thought about it long and hard.
“Get a lot of ice, n’ put it in your biggest glass. Then take a bottle of Baiybe- Bayleaf…” he frowned and concentrated, “Baileys n’ fill it up. Add a shot of ameretti, n’ then two of Crème de Banane. Then slice up a banana and s’m strawberrirrirries and drop ‘em in. Shake it about and sprinkle some chocolate powder on the top. And then give me a pint of cider to chase it down with. With a slice of apple n’ a frosted sugar top on the glass. And don’t forget the umbrella! That’s the best bit!”
If FD had a weakness, then it was for preferring big, strangely coloured weird and wonderful cocktails with paper umbrellas and sparklers over plain beer. He ambled back towards his seat, clutching his two drinks. For good measure the bar-dog had put an umbrella into each of them, and got a tip for doing so. His seat was in fact pretty much the whole of a u-shaped area of padded sofas, as there were no other chairs that would either fit his bottom or stand his weight. Over here the noise from the dance-floor was a bit more muted, the flashing lights not directly playing over them. Carefully putting his drinks down on the table, he lowered himself into the massive, warm dent he’d previously left. He groaned happily as he took his weight off his feet and leaned back, throwing his arms over the back of the sofa. His belly rose up almost level with the top of them. He practically filled the area.
Squashed in alongside him, Chaz grinned and slurped his own pint of cider shot with lime.
“That looks good. What’s it called?” The bar-dog had in fact used a jug for FD’s drink, trying to match his scale. The dragon picked it up and gulped down about a fifth of the milkshake-like mixture in one go, then shuddered a little.
“‘My Mistake’.” He settled back and continued drinking. The horse tried unsuccessfully to tug his opened shirt back over his more-swollen-than-usual belly, then stood unsteadily.
“Here’s to the winner! The sumo-stomach that squashed me flat! The unbeatable uber-dragon! No-one’s seen anything like him before! Long may he grow!”
There were loud, if slightly slurred cheers from the surrounding tables, sofas and other comfy seats. FD laughed uproariously as Chaz sank back down. He was aware that he was slightly embarrassed deep down, but he was currently wearing his beer suit as a kind of waistcoat to his fat suit, so that was ok.
“Me, grow? Wouldn’t dream of it!” He reached down and grabbed at the rolling swell of his gut, hauling a good majority of it up between his arms. He grunted with the effort. “Y’know what my goal is?” he continued, letting his belly flop back. Chaz chuckled and shook his head, then tried to haul his dangling mane back out of his eyes.
“A tonne.” The heavy horse blinked, then whistled.
“Wow. God, I’ve no idea what that’d feel like.”
“Haha! ‘M nearly there now!” FD slapped his belly jovially. “Give me a month and I my figure’ll be into four figures! Great huh?”
“Unbelievable!” Grinning, the sozzled stallion put a hand of FD’s monumental girth and wobbled it. The dragon blinked, then grinned at the nice sensation as he polished off the last of the Mistake and took a swig on the cider.
“Grehh… Hey, Chaz mate? You couldn’t pass the crisps, could you? I’m starving!”
“You’re hungry? After that meal? We cleaned the all you can eat out!”
“No, I said I’m starving! Pass em over, please?” He waggled a hand to indicate that he couldn’t reach. Chaz passed them, keeping his hand on FD’s bulk as the dragon began inhaling them. He was used to it by now- his body was so big it demanded a huge amount of food to keep going, and it was so used to non-stop eating that if he didn’t munch more or less continuously, hunger pangs set in after about half an hour. “Besides, I didn’t empty the place by myself. What was I saying?”
“How you were going to hit a tonne in a month.” A grin swept over FD’s chubby, extra-wide features.
“Oh yeah.” He smacked his lips over the almost stale cheese and onion crisps. “I can almost taste it. Then… then I’m going to go for the real biggie. A proper ton!” It took a few moments for this to percolate into Chaz’s well lubricated thoughts, but he cottoned on.
“A metric ton? 1,000 kilograms? 2,240lbs?” The dragon nodded, trying to drain his glass at the same time. He quickly discovered why drinking and moving your head can’t be done easily. Chaz blinked owlishly. “You’d be… huge. More than twice as big as you are now.” The dragon grinned, and stifled a belch.
“Pardon.” He patted his belly, making it quiver. At that big he’d probably overflow this seating area. If they could find a way to crowbar him through the door, he’d have to come back and test it out.
Chaz poured his own pint down his throat, then coughed, trying not to laugh at the same time.
“Are you ever going to lose weight?” FD blinked. Quite honestly, for about the last month and a bit the thought had never entered his head.
“Don’t know.” He shrugged and grinned. “Why would I want to? Never thought about it, actually.” Chaz’s plump hand squeezed up a roll on FD’s side. He grinned sheepishly.
“Don’t. We all like you big. Very big,” he corrected himself. He started to rub his hand in circles over the pale scales of the dragon’s bloated, ponderously massive midsection. “Besides, it’s good luck.”
“Huh?” Chaz giggled.
“Everyone’s saying your belly’s good luck, because it’s just so big.” He giggled again. “And it’s true. Look at me n’ Rocky. We were runts before we met you,” he patted his own very impressive paunch for emphasis, and whickered happily when FD gave it a companionable pat, ‘and now look at us!”
“Why’re we all looking at me?” Rocky chose that moment to make an entrance, returning from the dance floor. His blond mane hung around his face, and he grinned mischievously. His tail flicked behind him, longer than most horses would ever have it. On him however it looked in proportion to the huge behind and saddlebags he carried with him. He’d found a pair of trousers that would cover them for now, and had been showing it off for about the last hour. “You guys going to step up and dance?” FD groaned, the sofa creaking under him.
“Did that earlier.” Rocky chuckled.
“I know: you take up to much room on it not to be noticed. You had girls dripping off you.” The horse rolled his eyes, at exactly the same time as his brother. FD snorted in amusement.
“There’s more than enough for them to hang onto.” With a laugh, Rocky squished in on FD’s other side, and both horses began to knead at the dragon’s belly. He grunted, then let out a long purling growl of pleasure. “Mmm, feels good.”
“Yeah,” Rocky agreed. “I wish I had a gut like this. Or even Chaz’s, for that matter.”
“Hell,” Chaz said, “I need to work on my butt. It’s nothing like either of yours.” The two horses glanced at each other, and FD got the hazy impression that one of those twin things was going on, where they had a conversation without actually speaking.
“Tell you what, FD,” Chaz said, kneading a little more firmly, “How about this? You help the two of us grow as big as we can bloody well get, and we’ll help feed you up to a full metric ton.” Rocky’s eyebrows tried to leave the top of his head.
“1,000kg? You’d be… huge. ”
FD burst out laughing to hear Rocky use Chaz’s exact words in the exact same tone of voice. Both horses looked bewildered, suspecting some kind of joke.
“What? What?!” It was too much to explain, so FD just shook his head, and patted both horse bellies, one big, one even bigger.
“It’s a deal. As big as we can get. All of us. I’ll see if I want to stop at a ton when I get there.” He smiled at both of them. “Buy us all a drink to seal it. Oh, and…” he held out the empty bowl, grease glistening around the corners of his mouth. “Get me a couple more packs of crisps.”
* * *
“Hello, ladies and gentleanimals, this is the sumo sports channel! I’m Michael Flammer.”
“And I’m Michael Trust, standing in for Tony Allshot whilst he’s away recovering.”
“Yes, very nasty that, but I suppose it’s expected if you try and swallow your spurs. Still, we all wish him a speedy recovery. In the meantime, it’s a pleasure to have you on the show, Michael.”
“Oh, thanks very much, Michael. I suppose we should say that we’ve got a very ‘big’ day here at the Wedgwood Ring- if we wanted to be fired immediately for bad punning- as we approach the last few bouts of the season. The rules of the final 10 bouts are different from the previous ones- each bout only consists of one round. “Our next bout of the day is a surprisingly early meeting between the two favourites tipped to win the title. Whoever goes through from this bout is almost certain to go all the way.”
“And those two favourites are Fat Dragon, a.k.a ‘FD’, against someone who we believe he came up against in one of his early training sessions. We don’t know how well these two get on, but it could be we have the makings of a real grudge match here. I hope the ring can stand it.”
“I hope they can both fit in the ring. We’ve just had the official weigh in for the bout. ‘Mad’ Max Maxfield, the ‘demon dog’, at 6 feet 7 inches, tips the scales at 627lbs of canine corpulence and muscle. This bowser’s put on a fair bit of weight this season, hasn’t he?”
“He has, but I’m afraid it doesn’t even really register against his opponent’s… phenomenal expansion over the past few months. I don’t think anyone’s seen anything quite like it. Weighing in today at a mind-boggling 1,006lbs and standing at just under 8 feet, 4 inches tall, lets just hope he can put all that size to good use.”
“And lets hope they’ve got some snacks put by for him afterwards, Michael.”
“Oh please, call me Mike.”
“Certainly, Mike. Call me Mike, too.”
FD crouched in the ring, smiling to himself. His body was a Goliath of scale and blubber, and still gaining strong. He could feel the breeze on the several feet his belly overhung his shorts, once more skin-tight on legs like stacked beer-barrels and a vast, fleshy backside like the back of a supertanker. Which is what he was. A food supertanker. He had a 400lb weight advantage over Max. He was going to win. It wasn’t arrogance, just plain fact. He remembered his very first bout where Max, the big burly German Shepherd, had just stood there, and used his weight to push him back. Fat was the real secret to sumo. He stamped his feet slightly, making the floor under him creak, and listened to the crowd. He didn’t know if they were cheering for him- he’d caught sight of Bing in the crowds, and that had made him smile. Mostly the crowd just cheered from excitement, but it was nice to think at least some were on his side. In fact a majority of the crowd wanted him to win.
Max was crouching on the other side of the ring, his substantial, furry belly pressing against his thighs. They caught each other’s eye and shared a small shrug, which was rapidly becoming tradition. They’d each try to win, they were still friends, no hard feelings. Both had reputations for being serious sumo wrestlers, as Max’s nickname implied.
The crowd were too worked up to go quiet when the ref. stepped into the middle of the ring, so the word ‘go’ was lost in the boiling noise and stifling heat of the room all around them. Each immense animal stood and began to close on each other almost leisurely. FD knew exactly what he wanted to do. Max definitely wasn’t without confidence- his ears and tail gave him away, but he was also being smart with it. That was why they’d both got so far in the competition. He’d also been smart enough to know he needed to be bigger, and had gone at weight gain with gusto. FD also new how strong the dog was. Muscles rippled in both legs and arms as he prowled around the ring. Both pairs of footfalls sounded loud and echoey to the contestants, but probably couldn’t even be heard in the first row of seats.
Suddenly the demon dog turned and lunged at him. The floor shook as his heavy legs pounded on the floor, belly bouncing almost in slow motion. There was so much of FD that it was hard to miss, but the dragon was making precautions. As the dog raced nearer and nearer his tail flailed hard and faster, as though it were a spring being wound up. A moment before collision the gigantic dragon launched himself forwards and around, bringing the collision early. Each hit the other, belly to belly. The dragons spin, and his huge weight, deflected Max off at an unexpected angle. He almost seemed to slide across FD’s immense curvature, leaving a huge ripple in his flab like a wake. But Max grabbed onto a thick pile of flesh under FD’s chubby arm and managed to slow himself down. Immediately the dragon tried to grab him, to pin him and press him back out of the ring. The demon dog twisted and managed to half leap, half fall out of arm's reach.
After this kind of thing, FD usually stepped back to recover. This time though, he just pressed straight on, confidence pounding through him. He was a good sumo- the best, and the biggest by far. He was going to prove that, right here and now. Max, caught off guard, had to skip backwards to try and avoid the lumbering mountain that was after him. He tried to slip around, back into the rest of the ring, but FD dominated so much of it by just standing still that it was a majorly risky business. His nerve beginning to fail him a little, Max made a mistake and began to grudgingly back away. FD followed, suddenly having Max trapped in front of him. He was wide enough to be able to grab the dog if he tried to go wither way. Max growled, and he knew that he knew that, too.
Then Max did something entirely unexpected. He charged, arms outstretched, straight at the centre of FD’s belly. He was across the space in just over a second, and FD felt the breath ‘whuff’ out of him as the arms and body hit, grappling with him. Max was stronger than he’d though, having spent days working out in the new gyms as well as eating like a pig.
“Oof!” FD felt his centre of gravity tilt backwards as the dog tried to half-lift, half push him away in a snowplough through him. His sides bulged as fat was pushed there as the dog pushed in, trying to tip him. The dragon swayed vertiginously for a few seconds, and he felt the dog’s efforts redouble. Firmly, FD swayed backwards and put his foot down, using his tail as an anchor, too. He stopped dead, leaving Max pushing fruitlessly at an ocean of belly. He could feel the dogs arms pressing in just beneath his equator, squeezing fat over the top like a scaly avalanche. His body felt like a very slow, very large bullet was trying to force its way into his big-heavy-fat-suit. Even Max’s head was buried in an attempt to push harder.
Unfortunately for Max, the belly won. He felt the growing pressure as all those countless calories fought to sag back to their rightful place, automatically producing an equal an opposite reaction to his force, whilst FD merely had to stand his ground. The ocean began to inundate him, flooding back to reclaim the deep basin his body had forced into his surface. He fought back, but the effort it took was knackering. Slowly, legs still working to drive him deeper in, he slid backwards, FD’s belly returning to its original rotund shape. They both came to a standstill, with Max clinging to this awesome avatar of fat and size, his arms not even getting a third of the way round that legendary belly. Breath wheezed out of both of them, causing ripples in both girthful, chubby bulks. Stalemate.
Then FD grinned, and took a deep breath. Max’s eyes widened as he felt the smooth curve he was clinging to grow firmer, and swell slightly beneath him. He knew what was coming next, and there was nothing he could do to stop it. The dragon inhaled another, even bigger puff of air, and his belly swelled even further, the scales going taut. For a dreadful, superstitious second Max was convinced that he wasn’t just breathing in but that every bit of volume was in fact becoming more fat, so that this behemoth was growing bigger and bigger in his grasp. He felt his arms start to slide back along the smooth scalage, unable to get a decent grip. They squeaked loudly as they went, the dents they made vanishing instantly. He no longer had a decent grip.
Still holding his breath, FD pressed forwards. His swollen, taut gut crushed into Max once more, burying him, dominating him utterly. The dog felt himself being leaned back irresistibly by the pressure, and felt his stance weaken, totally destabilised. He struggled to stop, replanting his feet. But FD took the opportunity and immediately pressed forwards, breaking Max’s grip to the floor. The dog stumbled, then desperately tried to regain control as FD’s body built up a terrible and unstoppable momentum. He slid and slithered back across the ring at an increasingly rapid pace, the floor made damp by the sweat of their exertions. He could almost feel the edge looming up behind him. The dog felt the edge of the thick, slightly raised line with his heel. At the same time, FD pulled himself back, pushed expertly with his arms, and THUMPED his belly into Max with all the force he could muster. It was like being hit by a sandbag bunker. The dog almost somersaulted out of the ring, before toppling down onto the surrounding safety mat.
The crowd almost went insane. A couple of pockets tried to set up some chanting, but it was lost in a maelstrom of sound and excitement. There was no doubt about who was going to end up winning this seasons competition. Panting, FD watched as the dog sat up, and shook his head muzzily. Then he looked up at the dragon, and a small smile flicked across his muzzle.
“Teach me to do that some day?” He had to repeat it at the shout to get it through the sound. FD laughed and bellowed back.
“Sure, but get eating. You’ll have to catch me up!” Grinning, he managed to help haul Max to his feet. The dog then grinned and held up FD’s huge, chubby arm to announce the winner before the ref. got a chance to hog the glory. They were almost deafened. If there was one thing the crowd loved more than a good winner, it was a good loser.
* * *
It was about half an hour afterwards, and both FD and Max were cooling down with a cold drink and a light snack- half a dozen hotdogs each. Max groaned lightly and rubbed his stuffed belly.
“Feels good, but I’m going to have to get used to this. See you next week, champ.” He grinned and said his farewells, heading towards the changing rooms. He passed Frank on his way out. The flea-bitten cat looked around, and his eyes lit up when he saw FD.
“Ah, there you are, kid. Good! Been looking all over for you.” FD raised his eye-ridges and folded his arms. The cat advanced, holding some kind of letter. It was open.
“This is for you. Some kind of magazine want to do an interview and a photo shoot. The press have finally caught up with the rest of the world.” He smiled mirthlessly and held it out. “Oh, and not bad work today, kid. He almost had you a couple of times, but not bad.” FD took the letter and turned, scanning through it. Frank turned to go.
“Oh, Frank…” The cat turned back.
All light vanished as a monstrous, bus-sized green-clad behind fell on him from a great height. He breathed out, not because he had any choice but because he was being crushed into the floor like a pair of bellows. Then all he saw for a little while were stars.
FD shuffled his bottom, legs stuck out in front and to the sides, making himself comfortable and checking that his weight was distributed nice and evenly. To Frank, it was as if the Rolling Pin of Judgement was being repeatedly run back and forth over him, followed by the steamroller of retribution parking on top. FD settled down to read the letter in detail, ignoring the frantic struggles and caustic language happening beneath him. It looked like quite a good deal. They were some new specialist magazine for ‘large’ scalies like himself, and they wanted to do a quick feature on his sumo career and the secret to his success. A pretty good price-tag, too. Oh, and some up front and personal pictures of him in just his shorts. He grinned, and then read the letter through again just as slowly. By now, Frank’s vile protests had turned to faint whimpers and impotent scrabbling. Calmly, FD folded the letter up, and sat back. There was a very sincere groan from underneath his bulbous butt.
“Frank,” he said pleasantly.
“Nggh! Get off me!”
“You remember when we met?”
“I said get off gmmghh!” FD carefully repositioned his weight.
“Yes! Of course I do! Get offmmph!” FD’s face twisted into a satisfied smile.
“You know what I want to hear then.”
“Where you said I wasn’t big enough to be a winner?”
“Huh? Ohh, oh yeah, so I did. Well…” Frank’s voice took on a wheedling tone, “maybe I misjudged you, kid. You know, hidden potential and all that. First impressions can sometimes be argh!” His voice trailed off like a crushed cockroach.
“Say it.” FD unclenched.
“Ok, ok!” He spat, “I admit it, kid, you’re more than big enough! You’re big enough to be a continent all by yourself! You’re freakishly fat! There’s no way in hell you should be so vastly enormous! You’re as big as a hot air balloon of blubber! Now get off me before you crush me, you one tonne pig!”
FD felt a deep and wonderful sense of satisfaction. Slowly and casually, he rolled his weight forwards, bent his legs, and lifted his bottom. Frank crawled out, managing to make it to his hands and knees, but going no further. He cast the dragon his most baleful look, only to have it bounce off that stomach like a pea flicked at a rhino.
“It’s a good job I’m going to retire very soon,” he growled out, “You’re trouble.” FD smiled. “Now, which way are the physios? I need to be straightened.” The dragon pointed, and the cat crawled off.
FD turned and sauntered back to the table, polishing off the last few hotdogs that were left. He patted his enormous belly contentedly. He had absolutely no idea about how big he was going to get, but now he was really looking forwards to finding out. Jiggling his monumental poundage, he waddled towards the changing rooms in search of a snack. Then he was going to go out and really let himself go. He was going to be the biggest and the best this time around, he’d absolutely no doubt. But he didn’t know how much training he was going to have to do for next season.