Archive for November, 2006

FatLand: The Early Days – 43

November 29, 2006

Charla banged the gavel twice. “We would like to begin the meeting. Please take your seats.”

The PTA Association of FatLand all seated themselves in cushioned purple chairs with wings instead of arms.

“I’d like to begin by welcoming everyone to the first meeting of the PTA Association of FatLand,” Charla said.  “This is not only exciting because it affords us all the chance to work together and meet each other, but also because it gives us a chance to be proud of how far we’ve come and what we’ve accomplished.  We now number high enough to work in a PTA Association. Bravo!” She clapped. The entire audience applauded.

“One of the most important parts of our meeting tonight,” Charla said, “is discussion of how we want our children to be educated in FatLand.  I think many and perhaps even most of you know about our campaign to make your kids feel at home in their bodies and with themselves.  Now we want to hear from you. We want to hear your concerns about educating your children to be healthy and happy in our fat accepting and celebrating society.  We want you to work with us in creating curricula and activities and celebrations and pageants and physical ed programs.

The first item I would like to cover is the campaign I mentioned which tries to make our children feel at home and happy in their bodies.”

FatLand: The Early Days

November 27, 2006

Bill listened with some amusement to the soft music coming from one of the rooms nearest to the breakfast room. “What’s that one?” he asked Stark. “The muzak room?”

“That is where I meet with clients,” Stark said. “Want to see?”

“Sure.”

Bill wheeled himself in using the rider.

Sun streamed in through all the windows. Snow on the mountains reflected it, turning the sundust into rainbow streams. Bill caught his breath.

“Amazing,” he said. “And the white furniture catches all the colors of the sun.”

“Poetic,” Stark said. “But you’re right.  Want to stay here for a bit?”

“Sure,” Bill said.

“I’ll be back in about half an hour.  We might as well discuss things here.”

“Yep.”

After Stark left, Bill was assaulted by the renegade wish to remain here for the rest of his life. I wouldn’t try too hard, he thought. Could just pretend to shore up things and could find out about Stark’s plans that way.

The light, he thought, was God, had to be.  God had come to Colorado. 

But how, he wondered, could the devil have created or replicated God?

FatLand: The Early Days – 41

November 24, 2006

A Thrilling Occasion and Milestone for FatLand

FatLand Acquires Its 50,000th Resident

by Margaret Clancy

The parade streamed down Szwarc way as the crowd waved and whirled  streamers that read , “FatLand Forever!” and “FatLand Welcomes Everyone!”

“This is an incredibly exciting day for us,” Brenton Wood, the President of FatLand’s newly constitutional Board, said.  “It means we’re a growing and vibrant territory with a lot to offer many people.”

“People can be happy here,” Angela Gerston, another member of the Board, said. She waved to someone in the crowd.  “Oh, look, one of the bands from the schools.”

Sure enough, the band from Happy River school marched in, stood at attention, then proceeded to express themselves in a drill that was partly a dance. “Wonderful,” I said, watching the girls in their red, white, and black costumes throw ribbons in the air and catch them.

“Our girls might have been afraid to wear these costumes on the Other Side,” Charla Pasconi, another member of the Board, and the one in charge of running Fatland schools, observed.  “Here they’re proud of them and happy in their bodies. ”

And indeed as one walks here and there near the venue of the parade, one sees hordes of happy, healthy fat people expressing their pride in their own territory.

But what of those who did not attend the parade?

I ventured further, into the shopping district near Wann Way.

Two women emerged from a store, their arms full of bundles.  They started to discuss where to have lunch.

“How do you feel about living here, in FatLand?” I asked them.

“I feel as if I’m flying half the time, when I remember,” one of them said. “The rest of the time I just go about my business and I feel – natural, I guess.  As if I blend in.  I never felt that way on the outside. And with the coming of the Gluttony Laws, it was ten times worse. They were always reminding you. And for what? Some people are fat, some people are slim, some are in-between.  I never understood why they wanted us all to look as if we came from cookie cutters.”

“How do you feel?” I asked the other lady, who was balancing three bags of clothes.

“I feel as if I count for something,” she said. “On the Other Side I was invisible for a long  time in sort of a bad way, but it got worse when the Gluttony Laws were passed.  Now I simply don’t have to worry about what I am or am not, or the way I look or don’t look.  Here I just live.”

And that seems to be the best justification of all for FatLand’s existence – to provide a place where people of all sizes can just live.

We heard the sounds of the parade in the distance. “Do you know that they’re having a parade?” I asked the two women.

“Yeah,” one of them said. “But we had plans to go shopping and have lunch.” She laughed. “They don’t make attendance at parades compulsory.”

“Thank goodness for that,” the other one said. “That’s another reason why we like living here.”

FatLand: The Early Days – 40

November 22, 2006

“Who wants to dress as a squash?” Charla asked as she and two teachers assembled the first and second grades for a Food Celebration and Pageant. The theme ran, “Food is Good and Good For You.”

“Me, me,” Sophie raised her hand.  She was a thoughtful looking little girl with dreamy eyes and glasses.

“Great,” Charla said, hugging her.  “Now we have all the ingredients for an excellent ratatouille. Who can tell me what a ratatouille is?”

“Ratatouille is a vegetable stew,” April said.  She raised her stew high in the air.  She was a mushroom.

“Excellent,” Charla said, patting her red head. She beamed at the two teachers. “Good job,” she whispered.

“Thanks,” Elise, the first grade teacher said.  “This has made all the difference in the world.”

“And I’m really looking forward to teaching that dance class,” Renata, the second grade teacher, said. “It will be so good for them to move with joy and without self-consciousness. I want them to feel that they are safe and secure.”

“So do I,” Charla said, now thinking of Bill and offering a silent prayer.

FatLand: The Early Days – 39

November 20, 2006

Margaret looked around the office.

Large enough for now, she thought.

She also thought of the offer she had refused.

“Thanks but no thanks,” she had told him.

“You’ll need it,” he had warned. “Maybe not to get the paper off the ground, but for so many other things.  To hire extra staffers.  To get the best digital printers.  For advertising outreach.”

“I am sure you are correct,” she had told him in a podmail.  “But for now I prefer to do it on my own. I do have some resources, you know. ”

He laughed, not pleasantly.  “I am not sure that this offer will be repeated.”

“So be it,” she said.

“So be it?  Margaret, you’re sounding biblical.”

“That’s how I sound when I talk about the paper.”

“It gets me hot.”

“Hotter than your wife makes you?”

“Oh hell, you’re still going to put that up to me?”

“Well, perhaps because you’re married?”

“Margaret, you have such a misplaced sense of morality.”

“And you have no sense of morality.”

He had laughed again.  “My beautiful Margaret, you look and sound exactly like a lady from the high Victorian era.”

“Thanks for the compliment, Win. The answer is still no.”

“I don’t take no for an answer.””

“Well, you’ll have to this time, won’t you.”

“We’ll see about that.”

She stood up and looked out.  From the unpretentious third floor office she could see the new main street of FatLand, soon to be named Swarc Boulevard after the most determined fat rights pioneer and reformist.  There were a restaurant, a clothes store, a shoe store, a bread shop and an art store.  How wonderfully refreshing, to see stores that sold one particular kind of product and sold it well, as opposed to the impersonal megastores on so much of the Other Side, as they called it here.

Indeed the entire place was refreshing.  It still felt strange and oh so wonderful to be able to walk around without worrying that someone was going to whisper about her size behind her back, or snicker, or say that she shouldn’t eat a piece of cake.

 Of course most people on the other side now couldn’t eat cake.  And they couldn’t eat many rolls or slices of bread either.

That was where her one guilt lay, in that she had left the Other Side when it needed people like her the most to speak out against the Gluttony Laws, and what they were doing to the fabric of the USA. The greatest divider of all, she thought – friend suspicious of friend (“where did she get that chocolate marshmallow from?”), the media inundated by weight loss shows and themes so that it was almost impossible to turn on the screen without seeing people starving or exercising strenuously, or both.

But meanwhile here all was peace and plenty.  It seemed both unreal and realer than anywhere she had ever been.

She clicked her podphone. “Hi,” she said. “I’d like 10,000 rolls of printer paper. Yes, for tomorrow. Oh yes, thanks.”

FatLand: The Early Days – 38

November 15, 2006

“Quite a spread,” Bill said as he entered Breakfast Room One on his rider.

“Only way to start the day,” Stark said. “Can Loretta pour coffee or something else for you?”

“Cappucino, if possible.”

“No problem.”

Within seconds, Loretta left, then returned with a steaming cup of cappucino.

Bill reached for a croissant and spread it with strawberry jam. “Nice,” he said, taking a sip of cappucino, then a bite of the croissant. “So, Win, to what do I owe the honor of your hospitality?”

“Well, it’s like this,” Stark said, sipping black coffee and fingering but not chewing a rye crisp. “They look up to you.”

“Flattering.”

“But true.”

“Okay. And so?”

“You’ve done a lot of work for them.”

“True again.”

“What if I paid you double or even triple to work for me instead?”

“And that would be to do – what?”

“Build an extension here. Build some underground structures. Make the existing ones airtight.”

“Hmm.” Bill took another sip of cappucino. “My specialty is more in ordinary housing.”

“But your standards are high.”

“Of course.”

“I think you’d do a better job than many of the specialists.”

“Than all of them?”

“Maybe.”

“Is there an and or but here?”

“Such as?” Stark said, lighting a cigarette. He pushed it gently into the non-smoking ashtray.

“Another reason why you want me instead of the specialists when you can obviously afford them.”

“Ah.” Stark removed the cigarette and took a puff. He pushed it down into the ashtray again. “I think we can offer you things you wouldn’t get elsewhere.”

“Like?”

“Being able to move around without problems. Being able to do other things. Not having to exert yourself if you didn’t want to.”

“So I’m to get my healthy but misspent youth back here if I stay?”

“You can put it that way.”

FatLand: The Early Days – 37

November 11, 2006

“Help me,” Charla said to Angela the next day.  They were both washing mushrooms for dinner meals. Since Bill’s disappearance, Charla had taken to helping Angela with the Restaurant meals.  There  were, as Angela pointed out, numerous underchefs to take care of preparation, but she knew that Charla found the tasks therapeutic. And she liked having her around, anyway.

“I think of songs,” Charla said. “That’s the first thing. We “Oconvert a few and write others. All about everyone being equal regardless of ethicity or religion or gender or size.”

“That’s certainly a good beginning,” Angela agreed. She put the bin of washed mushrooms on the counter near the sink and waited for Charla to finish hers.  “They’re going to become steak and mushrooms en croute,” Angela confided. “With caramelized onions on the side.”

“That’s almost as inspiring as a song,” Charla said. “Hey, we can do something with food, too.  Talk about how food is good and eating is good. Poor kids, they probably feel guilty about that, too.”

“I sure did, when I was young,” Angela said. “I’d wait until all the other kids were eating.  Then I’d go off to the bathroom and eat my ice cream cone.  That was so they wouldn’t call me names. Even though more than half of them were eating ice cream, too.”

“My God,” Charla said. “You’re bringing back so much. We have to make sure they don’t have those horrible food issues that plagued us.  How could I have forgotten?”

“In a way it’s good that you forgot a little,” Angela said.  “Shows that there’s hope for people to live happily even after a youth of being hated and tortured for your size.  Our job is to make sure that that never happens to them.”

“We should have cooking classes and make them lots of fun, then,” Charla said. “So they continue to associate food with good things and pleasure, rather than something they have to sneak.”

“Absolutely,” Angela agreed. “And I know I can send people over to help with that.”

FatLand: The Early Days – 36

November 10, 2006

The Board of FatLand, although not officially incorporated and voted in as yet, now considered themselves the first responders because they had been the initiators of FatLand.  Each of them handled certain areas, some officially by assignment, some unofficially.  Charla had taken on, with Board approval, the building and running of FatLand schools, with the assistance of Bill.

Luckily the twelve schools -six elementary, three Junior Highs, two high schools, one college, as yet unaccredited- had been built before Bill disappeared. The Board knew that issues might develop around their housing capacity in the near future, but they had other areas of higher urgency at this time, so they left biodynamic questions for later.

Thus it came as something of a surprise to them when Charla reported on an issue pertaining to the elementary school students.

“Not one,”she said, “not two, but three classes of students from Happy River have come to their teachers in tears. The reason is that they thought they were being punished because there were only fat children with them in their class.”

“Oh my word,” Ronnie said.  “I guess we have some work to do.”

“I can see now,” Charla said, “that we have a lot to do in the way of developing fat-positive materials and even more importantly, attitudes. The problem as I now see is that we have to do more than that, though. We have to develop a sense of entitlement in our students. We have to make them feel that they are naturally as good as, as worthy as and entitled to the same feelings of ease and contentment with their world as any slim or “average” students. And that is until it becomes so completely natural for them to be in the same classes with a lot of other fat students tha they don’t even think about it.   I really forgot just how much self-hatred they absorbed even at their young ages. I guess it shows that this starts so early that we have to start countering it even earlier. Until we reach the point where kids coming into our schools have either been raised in FatLand or absorbed little or none of these self-hating tendencies.”

Darren said, “It sounds as if this problem goes deeper than lessons.  What can all of us do to make the idea of being fat natural and even healthy for our kids?  This is really important.”

“We’ve got to put our heads together on this one,” Brenton agreed. “Charla has identified the problem quite clearly.  Now we have to figure out how to create the kind of atmosphere in which our kids don’t identify being with other fat kids as a punishment.”

“Amen to that,” Angela said. The others nodded.

FatLand: The Early Days – 35

November 6, 2006

“Use the transport feature to lower yourself into the tub,” Loretta said.

Clicking a button, Bill did so.

“Man,” he said, pushing his legs up and down inthe water, “this is great.” Suddenly he realized what had happened. “My God,” he said.  He pushed his legs up and down again. “I haven’t been able to do that in- ”

He worked them up and down yet again.  “I can’t believe this.” He pushed his legs from side to side in the water, then up, then down again.

Loretta looked on approvingly.  “Our hot tub is good for that.”

She took off her clothes, one garment at a time. Bill’s eyes followed her.  She lowered herself slowly into the tub, then looked below the water and grinned. “I think something else is rising besides your legs.”

Bill looked down at that part of himself.  “Geez,” he whispered. “I didn’t think- ” He stopped. “It’s been ten years since- ” 

It continued to grow and rise.

“What do you want to do about it?” Loretta said softly

“I don’t know,” he said. “I don’t know how long it’s- ”

But his member continued to rise and harden.

“Looks pretty long to me,” Loretta said, working her own long legs up and down slowly.  She swam over to him. “I’ve always liked big men,” she whispered.

“I’ve always liked big women,” Bill said. “You’d be amazing if you had about forty or fifty more pounds on you.”

Loretta’s mouth opened, then shut. “You mean – you mean you’d want me to be fatter?”

“Well, you’re kind of nice now,” Bill said, his member showing no sign of softening.  “But it really turns me on when a woman has big breasts and hips and a lovely round soft tummy. Nice big round bottom.”

“You really prefer that?” Loretta said, her voice soft in disappointment.

“Yes, I do.”

Loretta swam back to the other side of the tub.  “Maybe we should kidnap one of your friends, then.”

Bill laughed.  “Sure, if you let me tell you which one.”

“Don’t bother.” Loretta sighed. “Well, let’s get you to the breakfast room.”

“Lead on,” Bill said as he climbed out using the transport device on the rider. He dried himself with a large white cotton towel, then transported himself  into the seat.  He noticed with some dismay that his legs were no longer moving much on their own.

Oh well, he thought. At least I know they can move in the hot tub. And so can something else.

“You’re a damned nice lady,” he said to Loretta, his spirits still buoyed from what he had discovered.

“Thanks,” she said and turned so that her back faced him as she led him to the breakfast room. 
 

FatLand: The Early Days – 34

November 3, 2006

“She’s so pretty,” Charla observed to Angela as they watched Margaret lift a handkerchief to her cheeks.

“A value judgment,” Angela said, “but I find myself agreeing with it.”

Brenton went up to Margaret and introduced himself.  “Welcome to FatLand,” he said. “Nice to have you here.”

“The honor is mine,” Margaret said, looking around. “It’s beautiful here.”

“As yet unspoiled,” Ronnie said. “Much building will be done and the views will change. But for now- ”

“Come to the Restaurant,” Angela said.  “We’ll have lunch and talk.”

The clapping continued as they headed up the path to the Restaurant, as people now called the Dining Hall since its conversion.

“You’ll live over there temporarily,” Darren said, pointing to a pine and faux-stucco building about two hundred feet away. “Until you’ve decided where you want to be.”

“I’ll see about arranging for office space,” Margaret said.

“That was already done,” Evan said. 

“By whom?” Margaret asked, feeling a slight chill.

“By me and by Bill,” Brenton said. “A newspaper needs a certain kind of space.”

“Thanks so much,” Margaret said, feeling both overwhelmed and relieved. “I would like to thank Bill as well.”

“If he were here, you certainly could,” Evan said. “Unfortunately – ”

“Unfortunately what?” Margaret asked.

“We don’t quite know where he is.”

Seeing Charla’s face, Margaret said, “Listen. Newspapers make it their business to find missing people.  That will be my first headline and mission. We’ll find him.”

“Thanks,” Charla whispered, not able to speak louder at the moment.