FatLand: The Early Days – 39

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.”

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