Archive for the ‘FatLand – The Early Days’ Category

FatLand: The Early Days II – 7

February 22, 2007

Darren punched the numbers into his smartpod.

It just didn’t add up.

There had been a certain amount assigned for each quadrant’s development. Three of the quadrants had only used about fifty percent of theirs. But the fourth quadrant had already used seventy five percent. And it wasn’t even the quadrant containing downtown.

What was going on there?

Darren focused in more closely on a map of the fourth quadrant.

Mostly wood-bordered living complexes, some already favored by older people, places where one could relax and watch birds and butterflies and not hear too many loud motorcycles.  Some younger people liked them too.

They had already been built with assigned monies and since they were completely subscribed rather quickly, they were all paying for themselves and more, as the pleased managers and landlords reported.

And yet the fourth quadrant was reporting seventy five percent of its developmental monies accounted for. And this even with the collection of taxes and festival monies and…

Darren smartmailed Brenton. “Shortfall in quadreant four that I don’t quite understand. Want to meet with you tomorrow before we call a board meeting.”

Within five minutes, Brenton smartmailed back:  Let’s do lunch tomorrow.  How about Wickersham’s?

Sounds fine, Darren smartmailed back.

He liked Wickersham’s, which was indeed located in the fourth quadrant.

It was quiet and dignified, with two fireplaces, books (the real kind), and tables of crackers, cheeses, cut-up fruits, and little pastries for dessert or a light meal.

Darren gathered up his smartpod and walked slowly back to his four-room ground floor apartment in the third quadrant.

FatLand: The Early Days II – 6

January 31, 2007

Bill looked out on another sunny cold early spring morning from the White Room as he ate breakfast. He had soaked and swum in a giant jacuzzi and whirlpool for half an hour before, followed by stretching exercises and very hard massages.

He was now able to move both legs.  He could still hardly believe it. He continued to munch on a bagel with cream cheese, lox and tomato as Stark came into the room.

“Great smoked salmon, isn’t it?” Stark said.  “We fly it in from Norway with the gjettost cheese.”

“It sure is,” Bill said, taking a sip of strong and excellent coffee.

“I’ve some plans for you to go over,” Stark said. “Just take a look at the blueprints. And tell me what you think of the placement of the equipment as well.” I want to cover every state with Total Fitness ceneters. And this one, especially.”

“Sure,” Bill said, trying to figure out Stark’s angle.

As if he had heard Bill asking, Stark said, “It’s simple, really. If enough people go to Total Fitness Centers, they become slimmer or at least engaged in the system. The key would be for me to get to FatLand people with mandated exercise programs, since they can’t diet. But that may be far in the future.  They’re pretty hardline there now.”

“But they’re just an itty bitty corner,” Bill said. “Why do you care what they do or don’t do?”

“Because of who is there now.”

“And that is?”

“Her name is Margaret,” Stark said, “and I won’t discuss her in detail yet.”

“Up to you,” Bill said. “I’ll have a look at those plants when you’re ready.”

FatLand: The Early Days – 5

January 25, 2007

There I go again, Margaret thought, quickly regretful. With my red-headed temper..
“Margaret,” she heard Angela’s voice. “Come on back here. We need you.”

She walked back in slowly. “I didn’t think you’d be back yet,” she said to Angela. “I thought you were still on tour.”
“I got back yesterday,” Angela said. “Especially for this meeting. Especially to elect you.”
“And I messed it up,” Margaret said. “Oh god, I’m sorry.”
“Don’t be sorry,” Angela said. “Just have a seat.”
Drew Harris, the member who had protested, started to stand. Angela raised her eyebrows and looked at Brenton, who looked back at her.
Drew sat down.

“Let us continue with the proceedings,” Brenton said as if nothing had happened. “The first item on our agenda tonight is to elect a new member of the Board. According to our rules, Margaret Clancy has been proposed by two members, and we find her qualifications in order. A three-quarters majority is needed to elect with overwhelming consent, a two-thirds majority is needed to elect with strong consent, while a simply majority will elect a member with consent. I therefore move to start the proceedings to elect Margaret Clancy to this Board. Do I hear a second?”

“Second,” Ronnie said.

“Since there is a second, we may proceed. Ms. Clancy, you are entitled to have one member of the Board speak for you and then to speak for yourself. Would you like to avail yourself of this opportunity?”

“I would like to speak for myself,” Margaret said, finding courage. “And- ”

“And I would like to speak for her,” Angela said.

“Be it noted then that Margaret will speak on her own behalf, followed by Angela, who will speak on Margaret’s behalf. Margaret?”

Margaret stood up.

FatLand: The Early Days – 4

January 22, 2007

Margaret thought that having a playground for adults was such a wonderful idea that she was surprised no one on the Other Side had thought of it.  Then again they weren’t much into having fun on the Other Side these days.  Along with tasty food, most fun seemed to have been outlawed for one reason or another.

Why were some people, especially leaders,  so threatened by fun? Margaret wondered.

She arrived at the Board Meeting to see the ten other members seated and obviously awaiting her.

“Margaret,” Brenton greeted her. “Good to see you. Have a seat.” He gestured to the twelfth chair near the desk.

Greatly cheered, since the twelfth chair was near all of the other board members, she started to take the seat, only to hear one of the members say, “Brenton, isn’t this a little premature? After all, she hasn’t been voted in yet.”

“And you needn’t worry,” she heard herself saying. “I’ll spare you the trouble.”

With that, Margaret flounced out of the room and back into the early spring night, anger spurring her steps.

FatLand: The Early Days II – 3

January 17, 2007

Margaret put on a cream-colored suit with a light pink blouse.   She looked at herself with satisfaction in the mirror.  It was the first time in years that she had even looked in the mirror.

She had felt for so long that the world was experiencing a serious case of schizophrenia in judging its fat women.  Here was Stark, on the one hand, all but kidnapping her -and he almost did, in many ways- so she would sleep with him.  And in other places, at other times, men sneered if she even came within five feet of them.  Then again, there were those who didn’t sneer.

As she put on lipstick and foundation, and then eyeliner and mascara, she thought, gee, hope thye don’t think I’m being too obvious or forward. Then again, if she couldn’t be a little forward here, where could she be?

Someone had told her about a new place called Shanda, where adults actually could go on swings and seesaws and a whole lot of other more complex rides.

FatLand: The Early Days II – 2

January 12, 2007

The gate trellis was worked in flowers, no matter the season.

The sign spelled out in jewel-like colors, “Shanda – A PlaySpace for Adults Only.”

Evan and Ronnie smiled at the person on duty. “Jus the free space today, Sheila,” Evan said.

She smiled and waved them through.

Shanda, also on Nevins Street, was becoming a hit with people who lived near downtown. Even at one month, it was one of the most visited venues in all of FatLand.

Shanda had four levels – the free space, which featured swings, whirlarounds -those swing-like rides that are run by people turning them- , seesaws, and slides. There were higher and lower slides, as well as higher and lower seesaws.

The second and third levels of Shanda were devoted to more strenuous and thrilling rides, all electronically run.

The fourth level was geared to something even the Other Side didn’t have yet – erotic rides.  These cost more, but paid for themselves because corporations often paid for their staff and clientele to meet and partake of the rides and other attractions on this level.  There was a rumor that some Other Siders were sneaking into FatLand specifically to go to Shanda, but Evan and Ronnie dismissed this rumor because they knew exactly how difficult it was to get into FatLand from the Other Side.

They knew because they were the ones who haed drafted the Safety and Immigration Laws.

Today, they seated themselves on the swings in Level One, in the Free Space.

“I keep wondering what happened to Charla,” Ronnie said. “I miss her.”

“We all miss her,” Evan said.

“Angela kept looking,” Ronnie said.

“I think she left to try to find Bill.”

“Yes, most of us think that. I guess.”

“It’s so peaceful here in the early afternoon,” Evan said. “I could just sit here for hours.”

“By then it will be crowded,” Evan said.

“I guess we should go over our proposal,” Ronnie said.

“Yes,” Evan agreed, shifting around to face her.

Ronnie took out her smartPod and read:  “Motion to replace Charla with another member of the Board. ”

“I’m sorry that it has to be done,” she said when she finished. “But it’s been six months. We need twelve people now, not six. And Margaret deserves it.”

“None more,” Evan agreed. “And I’m sure most people will see it that way. Everyone, actually.” 

FatLand: The Early Days – Part II

January 9, 2007

One Year Later

FatLand:  The Early Days

Part II

Angela made her way down Nevins Street, lists for produce in her hand.  As the CEO of Restaurantville, which was how her restaurant complex was now known -FatLand didn’t allow chains- she could easliy afford to send buyers out in the morning. But she loved walking in the cool early hours to select fresh produce to be cooked and round thick cheeses to be added to meals and desserts, as well as sweet succulent fruits to be presented in different forms and times throughout meals. She was so proud that FatLand now had its own Farmers’ Market, with suppliers coming in even from Colorado to display their products.

And no wonder, she thought, since their sales had fallen drastically since the stricter implementation of weight-based rationing on the Other Side.

But as she strolled down Nevins Street where it met Howell Road, she remembered again that Charla was no longer with them. One night she had said good night to her. The next morning they had found a note on her bed. Angela continued to hope and pray that she was still alive, perhaps even with Bill somewhere, somehow. Most of the time she managed to keep busy enough these days to keep herself from thinking about the void. It was just sometimes..

Brenton waved to her. She stopped in her tracks. “Well, this is a surprise,” she said. These days Brenton didn’t usually go anywhere by himself.  She knew of one death threat and according to Ronnie and Darren, there had been a few more.

“Out and about with the folks,” Brenton joked. She knew he was running for the newly-constituted Chair of the Board Position. He wanted and needed to be seen and heard. 

“I knew you weren’t just interested in mushrooms,” Angela joked back. “Looking good, though.”

“Thanks,” Brenton said, his entourage dressed in suits and looking a bit menacing, since they weren’t allowed to carry weapons.  “Shows me as a man of the people. Not afraid to buy my own cabbage and greens, you know.”

“As long as that’s all they see you as.”

“What does that mean?” Brenton said, looking at some baby carrots.

“Oh, that you micromanage, et cetera.”

“I didn’t think of that,” Brenton said.

“Don’t worry about it,” Angela said. “Just show them that you’ll love your job.  You preside so well as it is. It’s a natural talent.”

Brenton bowed.  “Thanks of course. Want to come with me on a few stops?”

“What?”

“You heard me.”

“Wow. Well – ” She thought of all the schedules  she would have to juggle to set aside even an hour. But to come with Brenton… it was what she had longed for, then given up on, only to have the 0pportunity tossed so casually into her lap.

“It would be interesting for you,” Brenton said. “See how I’m received.  And I would welcome your opinion on strategy.”

“Well,” Angela said, struggling with different parts of herself, “a couple of them. Then I’ll have to get back to planning.”

“Fantastic,” Brenton said. “I’ll meet you at Larry Fats in a couple of hours, then. We’ll have a bite first.”

“Larry Fats,” Angela repeated, thinking of all the times she had fantasized about bumping into Brenton there. “See you in a couple of hours, then.”

When Brenton left, she stood, looking at a few early celeriac roots, then started to walk toward the dairly section, wishing that Charla were still around so she could tell her and they could giggle about it together..

FatLand: The Early Days – 51

January 1, 2007

“What could he possibly offer him?” Charla asked.

“A chance at resurrection. Complete health.”

“How could he possibly do that?”

“That facility has some of the best medical personnel in the world, if it’s the one I’m thinking of.”

“So you’re saying Bill would be able to walk again?”

“He would. But there would be a catch.”

“I think I know it already,” Charla whispered. “He would be able to walk again as long as he stayed there.” 

FatLand: The Early Days – 50

December 25, 2006

“Since I have an idea as to where he is,” Margaret said, “I’d be happy to tell you about it and see how possible it would be for you to see him there.”

“See him there?   I want him back here.”

“Of course,” Margaret said, “but what if ?”

“Why shouldn’t it be possible?”

“You see,” Margaret said, sighing,” I think I know  who we’re dealing with here.”

“You mean he would want Bill to stay there? Indefinitely?”

“Well, Bill has a lot of talents,” Margaret said, not adding that Bill was also the person who knew the kind of statistics that Stark would most covet.

“But it’s not only that,” she went on.  “It’s more that Stark will offer him something he could only get there.”

“Have you been to this place?”

“I sure have.”

FatLand: The Early Days – 49

December 22, 2006

It was easy and natural in a way to remain active during the day, Charla thought. It was also easy to fool people into believing that you were all right and that everything in general was okay.

But during the night, the charade came undone, and the hollowness returned.

She kept remembering his voice, soothing as maple syrup, and his smile, which had quickened her blood every time she saw it.  She remembered how it began in his eyes, which could turn merry and angry so quickly, but which usually reverted to merry.

She remembered his easy, amused drawl, and the way he looked at her as she took off her clothes. She remembered his whispers, urging her, and his moans.

Angela was away.  Ronnie and Evan were expecting and thus in no condition to soothe or give advice.

Almost out of the blue, but not quite, she thought of Margaret, who was now back from following Angela.

With a slight amount of embarrassment she dialed the number. “Margaret?” she said. “This is Charla.  I guess it’s a little late, but- ”

“Late,” Margaret said, “is after midnight. It’s not even 11 PM yet.”

“Glad you feel that way,” Charla said. “Are you busy with something now?”

“I just stopped being busy about five minutes ago.  What’s on your mind?”

“Bill.  As I guess you know.”

“Not surprising.  You’re wondering if there’s something you can do.”

“Yes.”