Archive for September, 2006

FatLand: The Early Days – 19

September 29, 2006

“See?” Angela said.

“Come on,” Brenton said. “We have to present this as clearly as we can.”

“Fine,” Angela said. “Let’s present it.”

Bill rolled in on his chair. “Did I miss anything yet?” he whispered to Charla.

“Well, it’s kind of interesting,” she whispered back. “A guy wants to build a gym with a weight-loss type theme five miles outside FatLand in exchange for giving us major funding for infrastructure projects. Roads, hospitals, power plants, you name it.”

“Who’s this mystery man?” he asked.

Charla motioned with her head. “Brenton is going to tell us.”

Brenton detailed the meeting with Stark and the terms he offered.

“What concerned Angela and concerned me, too,” he said, “is that he implied that if we didn’t take the deal, he would do damage of some kind to FatLand.”

They were surprised to hear Bill chuckling to himself. “What the- ” Darren glared.

“So old Win is still at it,” Bill said, still chuckling. “He never misses a trick.”

Angela started to laugh. Darren looked at her open-mouthed. “So you’re the one.”

“I always thought so,” Bill agreed as he caught Charla’s surprised eye. “Now tell me how I am the one.”

“You’re the one Stark knew,” Angela exclaimed. “He said there would be one.”

“This is starting to sound like Jesus and Judas,” Evan muttered.

“Except that old Win was never my disciple, nor was I his,” Bill said, still grinning. “Now this is how you handle him. Take the offer, but make things difficult for him.”

“How?” Angela asked. “And how do you know him?”

“I was a consultant for one of his gyms.”

“His gym?” Angela said. “Weight loss gym?”

“The very same.  So this is what you want to do with him. Take what he wants to give you, then get a few restaurants in the same area.  Preferably one sthat serve luscious, yummy, chocolatey desserts.”

Even Brenton, who had been considering the alternatives rather gloomily, started to laugh. “What a great counterstroke,” he said, slapping Bill’s chair. “How did we manage without you all these months?”

“I don’t know how I managed,”Charla said, patting Bill’s hand.

Angela was smiling. “So we pretend to sell our souls and then we kind of run an end run around him.”

“Didn’t know you were such a football fan,” Brenton said.

“I’m not,” she said. “But I like the language.”


FatLand: The Early Days – 18

September 27, 2006

“The way to hell is fraught with good intentions,” Angela intoned as the meeting began.

“You don’t think that is a mite prejudicial?” Brenton said, gently mocking.

“Maybe it is,” Angela said. “But so what? It may save us.”

“Oh come on,” Brenton said. “He’s not the devil.”

“He’s worse,” Angela said. “He’s the devil without that intense reverse morality. He is completely amoral.”

“This is all very interesting,” Darren said. “But let’s begin the meeting.”

Charla said, “I was hoping that we’d wait for Bill.”

“Yeah,” Angela agreed. “I kinda thought he’d be there. But maybe he’ll come in. He was up in the North quadrant again. They’re getting the first snow of the season.”

“We should all go,” Charla said. “Okay, let’s start the meeting.”

“We are convening this meeting at the request of Brenton and Angela to consider the offer of a third party, namely Winston Stark, to provide funding for intrastructural items including roads, electricity, buildings, trash disposal, and others, in exchange for permission to erect a fitness-oriented gymnasium in an area within five miles of the border of FatLand.”

“So he really does want our souls in exchange,” Ronnie whispered not too softly.


FatLand: The Early Days – 17

September 25, 2006

On the way back from the meeting, Angela said, “A light bulb just went off over my head.  I felt something. This proposal can divide the Board.  I keep wondering if that is what he had in mind all along.”

 “Oh come on,” Brenton said. “Stop with the conspiracy theories. He may not even know that we have a Board.”

“I would bet anything that not only does he know, but he probably already knows someone on it.”

“Okay, conspiracy monger,” Brenton said. “Who do you think it is?”

“No clue,” Angela said. “I’ll also bet it’s someone we would never even dream of.”

“We’ll call a meeting immediately when we get back,” Brenton said. “We have to take this to them as quickly as possible.”

“Is there any way we can do it without doing what Stark wants to do – I mean, splitting us?”

“Yes,” Brenton said. “I think there is. Now if you are willing to bet on the person he knows – what would you like to bet?”

A thousand answers came to her mind.  She shooed them out and said, “A picnic for all of us near the river, to be paid for by the winner.”

“You’ve got a deal,” Brenton said, and shook her hand. 

Dear Patsy (emergency)

September 21, 2006

I was sick yesterday, so was not accessing email and such. I sure hope you can read this, at least!!

I have been supporting Sandy in the messages she has been posting to fatso. Let everyone know that all thisthis healthist stuff is simply hype and marketing. Of course many of them in their hearts know this, but refuse to believe it because healthism is like a religion to them – genuflect at the feet of the food god, and he/she/it will reward you with long life and good health, right? 😛

Hope you can access your emails soon! And hope you were able to get out yesterday..I was sick, but the sound of the autumn winds shivered through me and acted like a tonic…

Hugs, Frannie 

FatLand: The Early Days – 16

September 20, 2006

As they waited in the lobby, Angela said, “Bet they’re longing to weigh us, haha.”

“But they can’t,” Brenton said. “The law doesn’t pertain to people from other nations/territories.”

“Oh, but they so want to,” Angela murmured, looking at the people walking through the lobby.

A man walked out of the elevator. He looked around the lobby, then came over to the couch -brown leather with nails- on which they sat.

“Nice to meet you,” he said, extending a hand to Brenton, then to Angela. “I’m Winston Stark, from TotalFitness.”

“Nice to meet you,” Brenton said.

“Hi,” Angela said.

“Let’s  take this up to my room,” Stark said. “I think we’d be a whole lot more comfortable there.”

Once inside the lavish room, Angela gasped at the spread laid out on a long mahogany table.  “I didn’t think you were allowed to order that much anymore.”

“Business allowance, you know,” Winston said. “For parties and entertaining.

“Oh, is that how it works,” Angela said.

Winston held up a cocktail frank in a blanket. “Here, have a few.”

She took the frank encased in dough and cheese on the toothpick. “Thanks.”

“Now,” Winston said as Angela and Brenton were munching, “I know very well that you don’t want the gym in FatLand territory and I know why.  But please listen to me before you say anything else.

For a gym that is within five miles of FatLand, I am willing to offer the following.

You need roads and hospitals and office buildings. I am prepared to advance the capital and the personnel to help you build them.  Think of it.  You can advance FatLand in about two years further than you could in twenty five years if you take my help. Without it you’ll struggle to make it any kind of respectable nation state. All this for a gym that isn’t even in your territory and poses no threat to you whatsoever.”

“What I’d like to know,” Brenton said, “is why you are so keen to have the gym so close to FatLand. Why is this so important to you? Do you think that one day FatLand is going to relax its policy against weight loss establishments? Or do you think that FatLand will grow and you’ll have your gym there so you can make FatLanders feel guilty and join?”

“None of the above,” Winston said.

“Then?” Angela said.

“Let’s just say that I have personal reasons for wanting the gym where it is. And it will never impinge on your territory or your philosophy in any way. I am not prepared to divulge the reasons for my wanting this. I am prepared to assist you in a considerable way toward building Fatland. ”

Brenton rose. “This is a most generous offer,” he said, holding out his hand to Stark. “We will put this offer to our board. We will then contact you with their response.”

“It is to your advantage to make sure that that response is positive,” Winston said.

“To your advantage? What do you mean by that, exactly?” Angela said. “Do you think you are bribing Brenton?”

“My dear young lady, I meant that it would be to FatLand’s advantage,” Winston said. To Angela’s surprise, he sighed.

Angela forbore to mention that she was not his or dear or, to her own thought, young. She nodded and said, “Thanks for clarifying.”

“My pleasure,” Winston said.

FatLand: The Early Days – 15

September 19, 2006

The meeting was scheduled in a hotel in Colorado, just on the other side of the border.

“Why the hell did we have to schedule it here?” Angela asked as Brenton parked and they got out. “Why couldn’t it have been in FatLand?”

“He said he was kind of chained to the hotel for a few days,” Brenton said.

 “Then let him unchain himself,” Angela said.

They walked into the hotel lobby and announced themselves to the clerk.

 As they waited for the gym owner to come down, Angela said to Brenton, “My God, this place is bringing back all the things I hate about the Other Side. Let’s just tell him we don’t want his gym in FatLand and get the hell out of here.”

“I have a feeling it may not be that simple,” Brenton said.

“Why not?”

“He’s gone to a lot of trouble to schedule this meeting, even though he knows we probably wouldn’t want the gym.”

“True,” Angela agreed. “But why?”

“That,” Brenton said as the elevator door opened, “is what we’re going to see.”

FatLand: The Early Days – 14

September 14, 2006

A few days later Brenton called another meeting.

“I have here in my hand,” he said, “a proposal for a gym. Guy wants to start one here. I asked him if he had in mind to put a gym specifically in FatLand or near it. Either way I didn’t want him to start without understanding what we’re about.”

“Special needs,” Bill said. He was back from supervising the building of new houses in the northernmost quadrant of FatLand. He held hands with Charla unabashedly.

“Yes,” Brenton said, “but it’s also philosophical. He has to understand that we’re not interested in weight loss schemes. If he wants to provide a means and medium for people to exercise, fine. But we get plenty of that on our own.”

“Are we allowed to tell him that?” Angela  asked.

“You mean, are  we allowed to tell him politely that we don’t want his establishment anywhere near FatLand?” Brenton said, now grinning.


“Come with me to the meeting, then,” Brenton said. “Should be interesting to begin with. With you there, it will be twice as interesting.”

“I am proud to be interesting,” Angela said.

“That you are,” Darren said.

FatLand: The Early Days – 13

September 14, 2006

When they were talking among themselves after the meeting with the families, Ronnie clapped a hand to her head and said, “What happens if there are thin kids? It happens.”

“Take it further,” Angela said. “What happens if there are thin people?”

“Would they be thin spouses or just thin people on their own?” Darren asked.

“Either. Or.”

“My grandmother was plump,” Evan said. “Grandpa was thin.”

“Yeah, it does happen,” Charla said. “So what do we do?”

“You know,” Angela said, pouring hot chocolate into mugs, “I think we might actually have to take it on faith that the thin people are size acceptors. Because if you imply that they’re not, that’s discrimination. And we don’t want that here.”

“We can simply put it in as an addition to our  constitution.”  Brenton took a sip of hot chocolate. “All those who honor and embrace our ideals of size acceptance are welcome here.” See? We don’t even have to mention size or anything else. That says it.”

“Yes, it does,” Angela agreed, somewhat surprised but pleased by Brenton’s grasp of the nuances of the situation.

“There’s one thing though,” Ronnie said. “We’re going to have to take special care to enforce the non-discrimination policy in schools and also make sure bullyism doesn’t take root there.”

“Why should we worry that much about it?” Charla said. “There wouldn’t be anyone to bully.”

“I’m talking about if there are thin kids,” Ronnie said. “We don’t want any reverse discrimination rearing its ugly head.”

“We’ve got to make sure to hold training sessions,” Brenton said, making a note in his e-notebook. “That’s a very important thought, Ron.”

Ronnie looked pleased.

Angela took a sip of the hot chocolate and spooned dollops of whipped cream onto the tops of the newly-poured mugs of it.  “Whatever we do,” she said, almost to herself, “let’s let them be kids and not worry about stuff too much.”

“That’s the idea,” Brenton said in a reassuring tone. 


FatLand – The Early Days: 12a

September 12, 2006

A few days later, Brenton called another special meeting.

“We’re getting kids,” he said.

“Congratulations,” Ronnie said. “How many?”

“Seven,” Brenton said. “Are you going to be their mother?”

“Attached to families?” Evan asked, fondling Ronnie’s knee under the table. “We were sort of thinking in that way.”

“I know,” Brenton said with a small grin. “You’ll learn by example.”

“Kids need playgrounds and schools and toys and culture,” Charla said.

“And food,” Angela added. She brought out a plate of knishes, homemade.

“Yeah,” Darren said, biting into one. “Like this. The ones in camp were always frozen.”

“My grandma didn’t like the frozen ones either,” Angela agreed.

“Special housing needs?” Ronnie said. “I mean, for the kids.”

“We’re meeting with the parents tomorrow,” Brenton said. “Although I don’t think all of us have to be there. But maybe you and Evan would like to come. You can compare what you would like to see in housing to what they suggest.”

He wouldn’t suggest that I come, too, Angela thought, although they would have some special food needs. She said, “And what about their food needs?”

“That can be worked out later,” Brenton said, sipping his amaretto chocolate shake.

“I see,” Angela said. She went back into the kitchen and proceeded to hack five pounds of broccoli for broccoli cheese soup.

Some people hack wood when they are angry, she thought. I hack broccoli.

FatLand: The Early Days – 12

September 12, 2006