The Ecphorizer

The Fat Farm
Mark R. MacHogan

Issue #58 (September 1986)


The last time I was picked up by the Fat Patrol, I was on my way home from work, ticked off at the guy who had the desk next to mine for taking too many of the red pens, when bingo! flashing lights and the Fat Wagon. And only two forty! Two forty, [quoteright'/>for cripes sake. I mean, I could see the real tubs going off to the farm to melt away their three hundred pounds down to something manageable, but two forty?

***
Ahh, we used to laugh at the Tubbies when they made the springs of the Fat Wagon squeak, and the streets ring with their little piggy cries. "Squeak an' squeal!" somebody'd yell, and we'd all down tools and rush out to get a laugh. And then, three or four months later, they'd show up with a free ride back to where they were picked up, and with a baggy set of pants held up by green suspenders. Trim bodies and a hungry look they had, all of them, but after that, their expressions were as varied as the way people eat eggs: some were sheepish, some were triumphant and proud, and some had the most venomous look I've ever seen. And just as sure as waffles need butter, they'd all head for the nearest hash house and order up some mashed potatoes or a chocolate shake or whatever their little pea brains had been thinking about every minute for months. And now me; now I'm in the wagon, and, boy, do I dread whatever is going to happen next. Lookit 'em laughin', out there. Damn!

"And so, Morgan Lavell Huffman, having been found with a Cumulative Body Index of one point three eight, you are hereby remanded into the custody of the Crestland Heights Fitness and Training Center until such time as you reach an Index rating of one point oh, which will entitle you to a second review."

"Your honor, sir, I... I don't know if I can hack it in there, with all those veg'tables and all. Couldn't I, I mean if it please the court, could I go on a weight loss program of my own? I could..."

"Mister Huffman, all three of us on this board have been in your position, and if we can stand it, you can. It'll be good for you."

"But..."

"NO sympathy, NO arguments, and no more time. Bailiff, now, please. NEXT!"

***
"Listen up! Hello, my little tub-etts. Welcome to the Crestland Heights Fitness and Training Center, known to those who love her as the Heights Fat Farm. Your job and mine are both the same: to get you out of here as fast as we can. The day room is down that hall, and if you're smart, you won't be there much. The exercise room is next door, and it's the quickest way out of here. You all have a list of the other facilities available, and the little green plastic card is your meal ticket, but don't think you can get more than one meal per mealtime; you can't. You're all probably worried about dinner, so I'll tell you right now, and you can start your own personal daydreams early: this is your first Saturday, and you get five delicious steamed veg-e-tables, a tasty green salad with a dressing you won't believe, a yummy piece of toast and an unforgettable beverage. Dessert is a crisp, tasty apple, and breakfast is at 8AM. Questions? You there in the second row."

***
Green. It used to be my favorite color. I have never yet found out why the Fat Patrol used green lights on their prowl cars, or why the walls of all the Fat Farms are green. All we can think of in there is food, real food, juicy red steaks and gooey yellow cheesy potato dishes and rainbow ice cream concoctions that could earn a medal at the world's fair. And all we get is green. Green veggies, green walls, green tea, green pills, and more green veggies. Green uniforms on the guards, green leaves on the supper plate, and more green. Green. God! I hate green.

***
Third Thursday. If I ever get out of here, all I want is a cheeseburger with lots of mayo, and crispy fries, and a big glass of Orange Crush. Pecan pie and a huge scoop of vanilla, and coffee. A real cup of coffee. If I ever think about tea again, I'll slit my wrists, I swear I'll do it. Third Thursday. Three days left until the Sunday banquet of broiled cod and mint, with cantaloupe for dessert. If you'd have told me a year ago that I'd be looking forward to five ounces of plain fish for Sunday dinner, what a laugh that would've been. It's been three hours since that abomination they call breakfast (a grapefruit, a hard-boiled egg and one mug of @J$%*<5c green tea), and there's still an hour and a half until the joke of a lunch, watercress and cucumber salad with lemon juice, one slice of 72 grain bread, and one mug of (§#$%&*! green tea. I can't even think about dinner. But oh, that luscious cheeseburger. Ohhhh.

***
"...and as a result of your record improvement, Mr Huffman, we are therefore offering you a seat on this board to replace Mr Anderson, who is leaving to take over the Riverside Fat Farm...ah, Fitness and Training Center. You would start at the salary of..."

***
"...rating of one point oh, which will entitle you to a second review."

"But Justice Huffman, I know I can..."

"NO, Miss Rotvick. This little experience will be good for you. And I know you're going to enjoy the herbal tea. Bailiff, now, please. NEXT!" 

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Mark R. MacHogan




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