Monday, July 04, 2005

Fat Man

The fat man went walking along the shore, and the sand squirted up between his toes. He was such a pondering weight that the force of his steps fused the sand to glass, and it hung just as it spurted, in frozen splashes of light. Mother-of-pearl fronds.

The fat man squatted there on the beach, and his round head settled into his jowls, like an egg settling into its nest. Chins flowed down to his breasts, and breasts flowed down to his belly, and bellies flowed down to his thighs, all of it quaking and trembling, while the blood flowed through it all. His huge chambered heart pounded.

He reached out with his great puffy fingers and grasped handfuls of the gleaming sand. Waves roared into the holes he left, and broke unnoticed on his bulk.

The fat man was thinking.

I have eaten the crabs and the mussels, he thought. I have eaten the gulls and the sandpipers, the sandfleas and the weedworms. I have eaten the cows and the pigs, the chickens and the turkeys, the buffalo and the oxen. I have eaten the ground wheat and the rolled oats and the milled corn. I have eaten the pale green salads and the sharp green onions. I have drunk the olive oil the spinach swam in, and the wine in wooden bowls, and the sweet licorice-tasting ouzo in shot-glasses. And now I am big.

The fat man raised his fist suddenly and struck the beach. All the shoreline rocked, and huge waves raced away. "I am content!" he bellowed.

And at that the stars began to drop from above, just a few at first, and then a steady drizzle, vanishing into the sea -- and then the sky itself peeled back, daysky and nightsky, all peeled back, and the moon and the sun went rolling away unregarded, like dog-chewed tennis balls. The fat man stood up.

"I have been waiting for you," he said quietly. "I have been waiting a long time."

"I know," she answered. "But now you are finally big enough."

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