Fat Freddy arrived at John’s at 7:05 p.m, bursting out of his clothes even more than he did in college. We’d fallen out of touch after college, moved to different states, got different jobs. He hadn’t come to any of the other reunions—he hated traveling, but this one was in Maine, his home state, so he came. I hadn’t seen him for about 20 years. He found me immediately—the other fat kid, of course.
We used to draw huge crowds to the frat parties—“Fat Freddy and Joe The Giant sumo wrestling party” the invites read, and everyone would come to laugh at us grappling about in skimpy clothes. I laughed, at the parties, and the invites, and I guess I still do (have to).
By college, I’d had enough of being the stereotypical bitter fat kid, like I was, perfectly, in high school—I’d sit in the cafeteria, alone, eating my lunch, or multiple lunches, and food would be everywhere. Food got on my face, on the ground, on the front of my shirt, all over the table-- because I was sloppy. But I don’t think I could have gotten food on my back myself if I tried—fat kids just aren’t that flexible. But almost everyday, some skinny kid would think “hey, he wants the food, I’ll give it to him” and amuse himself by squirting his mayonnaise, ketchup, mustard, macaroni and cheese, apple sauce, whatever was left, in my direction.
I made the teasing worse, because I seemed to have the common fat kid compulsion to wear tight white t-shirts, like the jocks did. And of course, I was always hot—all that insulation—so I’d wear the sweat stained white t-shirts. I must have spent $100 on those damn white tees, but I don’t think a single one escaped high school without a food stain. Thank God though, because I got new, looser clothes for college.
What about girls? I used to like them, in high school; they were more like me, softer, with a little extra. For a while, they were my only hope for the human race— in high school, I viewed the human race as consisting predominantly of teenagers—and girls were pretty much the only teenagers that would even think about talking to me, the fat kid.
But the LF hottie ruined that for me. LF means lunch to French, because that’s when I saw her, on my way from lunch to French. I don’t know why I made up a code name for her, because it wasn’t like I had anyone to talk to about her, but I did, and I know I made up code names for other girls, but I only remember hers.
See, girls were nicer to me than boys were, but they weren’t about to date, much less kiss, the fat kid. So I’d just stare and read porn, when I could get my hands on it. I was fascinated with LF—her breasts, I remember, were shaped like softly swelling pancakes, with a chocolate chip on top (the desert I ate at lunch was never very filling). For a couple weeks, at the end of my senior year, I was able to stare at her, the whole way down the hallway, whenever I could. I’d catch a glance of her breasts, and fantasize about them in French, where the teacher Monsier Bonshoveitupyourbutt, as far as I’m concerned, assumed I was dumb just because I was too scared of being made fun of to speak. He would always ask the class, thinking I couldn’t understand a single word, “Qui n'est pas maigre?”
“Pierre n’est pas maigre,” they would giggle, looking straight at me (Pierre was my “French name”), “Pierre est gros!”
Anyways, one day, on the way to being made fun of in French, I almost forgot that I was fat for a few blissful seconds—LF caught me staring, and smiled. Reality jerked itself back on like a pair of too small pants, though, when she turned to a friend, not nearly as pretty, and loudly exclaimed “AWWWW! I SMILED AT THE FAT KID, IT MUST HAVE MADE HIS DAY!” in a sarcastically saccharine tone. As she passed, she gave me the finger. I wanted to throw my myriad of lunches up, all over her, but I just threw up in the boys bathroom instead—I can remember there were drips of some kid’s jizz all over the toilet seat. I stayed in there for the rest of the day, staring at myself in the mirror, and wiping my fat sweaty face with wet paper towels.
I walked a different way from lunch to French after that, but I saw LF at graduation. She smirked at me—cementing a nascent resolution to change, in college. I knew people would still be assholes—Einstein couldn’t disprove humanity’s innate dumbass—whether at Harvard or where I went, this little school in Virginia, Adamward. My grades were—well, they were, alright, but I needed to go to college—my parents had the money, and I wanted to be an engineer—but most of all, I craved the chance to start anew. I wouldn’t have a reputation—I wouldn’t have to be bitter. I could be the loveable fat kid, like Fat Freddy.
When I met Fat Freddy, in my English class, I fell in love. Not that way, (I may have been desperate and fat but I’m not gay) but I fell in love. He was my platonic, male, girlfriend. We did everything together—probably because we weren’t ashamed to do anything together. He had always been the fat and proud type, but was starting to become bitter, which I was determined not to let either of us become. Thus started my crusade to show Fat Freddy that he was something other than fat, and could be good at something other than eating. Funny, because fat is pretty much all I thought I was at that point. We tried the sumo wrestling, but I beat him every time—he just had no fight. We tried math, but he didn’t have the patience, writing, but he didn’t have the eloquence, and even dancing, but he didn’t have the elegance.
Fat Freddy was just your average kid, a little good, but not really good, at a couple of things. Except Freddy was fat, so that made the little good big bad. I’d started to give in to being bitter. No one wants to hang out with the fat kid. No one wants the fat kid on their team. No one wants to hire the fat kid. The French word for fat is the English word for disgusting. Gros. Personne veut le gros gosse.
I kept trying, though, and I convinced Fat Freddy to try out for football. Freddy sucked at football—he could barely throw or catch. But, on the day Fat Freddy tried out for football we discovered it: Fat Freddy could run. I don’t know how the hell he did it. All 6 ft, 300 hundred (he never told me exactly how much—when we were together, we tried not to care) pounds of Fat Freddy would fly. It was like a bear: hunting, careening through the forest. The ground didn’t shake, but I’m sure if he ran inside, it would have. Fat Freddy outran the whole entire football team—the scrawny ones, the chubby ones, the buff ones, every single football player--Fat Freddy beat them all, easily.
It became another frat party ritual—who can outrun Fat Freddy? We’d carouse to the football field, whole drunken group of us, and one by one, Freddy would beat us. He couldn’t run very far, and had to rest often, but sprinting—Fat Freddy was never beaten.
He beat all the track runners, and the coach tried to recruit him—but Fat Freddy wanted nothing to do with track. I think he was so shocked by breaking the slow fat kid stereotype that he was afraid—maybe it would vanish. If he joined track, he might lose weight, and what if he lost his speed when he lost weight—or what if his speed lost its shock—Fat Freddy knew that he’d just be the average fast kid if he lost his weight. But the fast fat kid, that’s not average.
“Fat Freddy!” I greeted Freddy, at the frat reunion.
“It sucks to be fat and have a name that starts with an f,” he retorted, just like he used to in College. Whenever we were fed up with our weight, failed a midterm, got rejected by a girl, or were just depressed, we’d always laugh about how fate farted on Freddy’s face by naming and shaping him like it did. It might seem weird, but I was thrilled when I was called “Joe the Giant.” I would have preferred Joe, of course, but at least my name wasn’t just “fat kid.”
Freddy told me that he had been married—his wife had been fat too, but Freddy hadn’t wanted kids so she left him. He didn’t want to get married again—he had his ways to have sex, he told me. His short marriage had taught him that sex was all women were good for. I didn’t pry—I had my ways, too, but my relationships were never passionate. Every time I saw a woman’s naked breast, I thought of throwing up in the boy’s bathroom after my encounter with LF, and the jizz drips on the toilet. The reunion was just our fraternity, so there were no women there yet, and wouldn’t be, until the paid ones came later.
So we all acted like we were back in our all boys dorm, in College. I gorged
myself on barbeque and beer, but I lost track of how much I drank. I used to be able to drink endlessly—one of the good things about being fat is the amount of booze you can stomach—but I hadn’t pushed myself since college.
I was pretty damn drunk. So all I could do, when it happened, was sit there and pet the dog, oozing.
It was all I could do, when the terms of Colby’s wedgie were set. If Colby could outrun Fat Freddy, who still had not been beaten, he would escape, unscathed, but if Fat Freddy remained unbeaten, the quest to give Colby a wedgie would continue. It was all I could do, when the race started, and Fat Freddy took the lead.
All I could do was stare, drunk, and oozing, when the pains slowly began to squeeze, and Fat Freddy was beaten.
crits welcome. this isn't like wat i write normally, but i had much fun