I find myself at a church.
I want to say the church has been abandoned, but it’s more to do with it just being a quiet Tuesday evening.
That part of town.
We’ve all been there.
I wish I could tell you I was here to pray.
Sadly, that is not the case.
“Hi, my name is Bobby Dean.” I call out softly, but loud enough for the room to hear.
“Hi Bobby.” The gathered crowd responds with varying degrees of enthusiasm. The group of about fourteen sit in an uneven half circle. A wooden, broken down pulpit stands before them.
I, alone, am at the pulpit.
The baby blue polo I’m wearing is too close for comfort. I know this because the underarm area of the shirt is quickly turning navy. My elastic banned jeans are just a touch too tight. If I bend my knees the right way though, I can make them fashion forward.
Not all bad news.
“I’ve never actually done one of these, so I’m not exactly sure where to begin.” I say, almost at a loss for words. But it’s me, and as Cancer likes to say, my mouth can fill any void. “I guess I’ll start at the beginning.” A person stands up and leaves. Definitely not the start I was looking for. I press on. I must. “I was born June 22nd, 1980 to a wonderful mother and a who knows what for a father.”
Looking out at the crowd, I suspect I’ve already lost a little over half of my audience’s attention. I can’t really blame them for their lack of interest– reciting the entirety of my life story is a rather boring thing to sit through. Trust me. I lived it. It is definitely boring. Thankfully, they haven’t fled the scene like that one guy did with the fancy sunglasses and immaculate hair.
“You see, my father walked out on my mom before I was born. Some would say he’s the reason for my expansive appetite, because he was a competitive eater back in the day. Actually he was a multi-time champion, like me, except instead of wrestling he fancied hot dogs. I suppose he and my mom shared an affinity for weiner.”
I smile at my wisecrack.
No one else does.
“I suppose, you could also draw parallels to our parenting style. At last count I’ve got 8 bastard sons and daughters, all of which I’ve never talked to. Well, one of them is a pre-op transexual named Bobbi-Jean Dean. I only know that because she tried to be a wrestler over in UTAH a few years back. She flaked. Huh. I guess that trait is hereditary. Most of you are probably wondering why any of this matters, I guess when it comes down to it, it doesn’t.”
You know what?
They need to know.
So I continue.
“I guess I’m telling you this because the Bandits, that’s the Beautifully COOL AARP wrestling group I’m in, are going to be facing off against a guy who’s like the best dad in the world. And I can’t help but think what that would have been like. Having an awesome dad like him. Playing catch. Learning to ride a bike. Learning proper eating habits. Putting on a rain coat before sex so I wouldn’t have 8 unclaimed children.”
We all can’t be Big Papi Brian Hollywood.
Record wise, maybe.
“If I’m honest, just talking about it kind of makes me upset. Not that I wish I had what he’s got, but more at the fact that Steve Solex is so freaking amazing! No one should be that great! What in the world could his faults be? I bet he secretly beats his wife! Or he’s a raging alcoholic! For most, those two go hand in hand even!”
I chuckle, thinking back to many of my mom’s old boyfriends from when I was a child.
I look around the room. Some are appalled by my comments. Mostly the women. Some actually chuckle with me, or that’s just the sound my chins make when I chuckle.
“Maybe when Steve’s home he hides himself in his man cave and ignores everyone? Or his wife is one of those ballbuster types who emasculates him, and they hire a bull to come in and cuck him. Yeah, I could picture that. Him sitting in the corner weeping while some hulk of a Kostoff comes in and gives it to his old lady.”
Before my mind can wander further, playing out this imaginative and overly pornographic scenario, the lady running the show clears her throat. Concern running rampant over her eyes.
I can take a hint.
“So a cuck is–”
She coughs again.
“Right, I guess this is the wrong meeting for that kind of talk. I should learn how to better read the room, huh?” Another lofty chuckle that sees no one else laughing. “Anyway, THE REASON I’M HERE WITH YOU FINE PEOPLE IS, I’ve been struggling a lot recently. I mean, I was dieting. It started out well. Working out, counting calories, keeping a food journal. Doing everything by the book.”
Mostly, almost everything.
Definitely half of everything I was doing.
Close to half.
“But then my friends came back into the fold. It’s tough being in a trio, especially when two alpha personalities each have a different direction in mind. And here I am, in the middle, with my beta personality that just wants to seek their approval.”
I like them.
Maybe just Doozer.
Or is it just Cancer?
I guess they go hand in hand… kinda like those things before.
“It’s never really been a problem before. But, our last match did NOT go according to plan. Since then, I’ve been stuck in the middle, relaying messages over the phone at all hours of the night. Heck, we’re in a Discord chat, the three of us, well four counting Cardboard Dan. Doozer will make a post telling me to tell Cancer whatever he’s got to say, something usually less than flattering. And Cancer won’t reply to the message unless I repost it! It’s not like he doesn’t see the post the second Doozer sends it! It’s ridiculous!”
I can feel my blood pressure rising. My stomach growls in mounting hunger as the stress becomes overwhelming.
“I still don’t know what they’re even so angry about! We lost. It’s High Octane. What’s new with that!? Sure the Hollywood Squares bit was fun and entertaining, but we really should have remembered our audience! We’d have been better off with Double Dare or even Legends of the Hidden Temple where we find Dan Ryan’s charisma, or Andy Murray’s expansive coat tails for the rest of 24Gay to ride on.”
Trust me, I know a few of those guys.
“I even pitched those ideas, but they got shot down because the amount of running around would have probably killed me. Stupid clogged arteries. Funny enough, it was one of the last things Doozer and Cancer agreed on.”
“So here I am, struggling every second with the desire to stuff my face. A little Snickers here, Milky Way there, to help with the mounting anxiety. The idea that maybe I’ll never make the weight Lee Best set for me sits in the back of my mind, and now I’m beginning to question if I even care about that anymore. I bet no one has even noticed, I’ve been updating my bio on the website with every weigh in result. I’m now down to 280 and the finish line is within my reach!”
The group cheers.
“Then again, so is that delicious looking apple pie smothered with Cool Whip. Which one do I want more?” I lick my lips as I imagine the freshly baked, still steaming, Mama Kaelrean apple pie. I can’t help it, really. Force of habit.
Oddly, but not really odd once I tie this thing up, I see half the room licking their lips as well. I think to myself, oh shit, maybe they are listening to the ramblings of a fat guy on the edge after all.
“I’m worried. I’m worried about my friends. I’m worried about the World’s #1 Cuck. I should be worried about Joe Bergman, but honestly I had to ask Cancer who Joe even was! And all I got back was, ‘I think he was an Orthodox champion.’ And THAT made me worry even more. Yet the more I worry, the more I want to reach out for that carrot (cake) that dangles just out of my grasp.”
The devil’s game.
At least he can’t get me here……………………………………………………………….
“Can the Bandits put away their budding animosity for one night? Especially now that the damn rankings are being updated? It was one thing to know that we suck, but to actually see us sitting on a rankings sheet with a -1 behind our names. Boy does that make it more real.”
“Anyway, I guess all I have left to say is,” looking around the room, confusion clear on my face. “Where’s the food? I’m starving!”
With that, I whip out a large bib and begin to tie it around my neck as my eyes feverishly scan all over the scene. Next I unveil my custom made, freshly shined silver fork and spoon combo as the crowd before me looks as if I have now grown a second head.
The lady running the show steps up cautiously, holding her hands up as if she were approaching a hungry bear. “Whoah, whoah, whoah, we don’t have any food here sir.”
“Yeah right!” I exclaim in disbelief. “I read the sign out front, this is Eaters Anonymous!”
“Right, sir, this is a place for people with eating disorders to come and talk about their struggles.” she explained as if I were a learning disabled child.
“Wait, what!?” I ask, still in disbelief. “But I thought we all came here to eat… anonymously.”
“Why did you share with the group then?” she asked, now in equal disbelief as my own.
“Because Carol over there was boohooing about how hungry she was, then she bragged about how she just ate six lemon creme cakes this morning!” I shout, pointing the end of my spoon accusingly at the woman in question. “I figure, I’ll share my struggle then I can stuff my face! What a jip!”
I march back to my seat, reaching behind my chair I drag forth a large suitcase on wheels. Rolling it out to sit in front of me, I begin to crack it open as everyone in the room can’t help but watch.
“Luckily enough I brought my own, you cheap bastards.” I mutter, as the suitcase opens up and inside are stacks of tupperware filled goodies. There is cake, candy, pasta, meats and cheese platters, and everything else a former 360 lbs man can dream up! The circle of Anonymous Eaters all begin to inch their chairs closer to their hearts’ desire as the lady in charge frowns.
“No, no, we don’t do that here!” She demands, stomping her foot.
“Yeah, haven’t you heard that sharing is caring?” Carol asks as she finds herself right next to my open suitcase, a fork somehow miraculously in her hand.
Have you ever seen a herd of hungry pigs converge on a meal? Wait, what’s the plural for a bunch of pigs? Herd isn’t right… Well, none the less, this group of eaters converge on my suitcase of goodies like, well, a herd of pigs.
Suddenly I’m staggering out of the hostile crowd. My bib is hanging loosely around my sweating neck, torn to shreds. My prized fork is missing, my equally important spoon is bent at an odd angle, and I’m somehow missing a shoe, for whatever reason.
Probably because the leather was once a part of a cow…
The ting ting sound rings out, notifying one of an incoming text message. I fish my phone out with my now empty hand as I can’t help but watch the feeding frenzy before me. Tearing my attention away from what could have been a great lunch, I look down to see a text message from one of my best friends Cancer Jiles.
“Dear Mr. Bobby.
Please inform your compatriot Doozer, the old man who can’t read without his bifocals, that I would rather team with an overweight man who can barely walk to the ring. And in doing so, forfeit any and all victories, rather than wrestle with an ungrateful piece of crap.
The Maestro of COOL
Cancer W. Jiles III”
I still can’t figure out how he texts in italics.
“Well shit.” I mutter to myself, wondering how I’m going to spin this, to forward to Doozer. I reach into my back pocket and pull forth a King Sized Snickers bar, but as soon as I rip it open the feeding frenzy stops, and slowly turn their heads in my direction.
“Noooooooo.” I wail as I’m suddenly bombarded once again by 14 people, dragged to the floor helplessly.