Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Another quick flash fiction story for you.


Fat Camp Confidential

“This is stupid.”

Maria shifted on the faux leather seat, skin sticking to the uncomfortable material, and the seat made a short, high farting noise. She grimaced. The booth was twice the size of a janitor’s closet and had some of the same nauseating smells. Instead of a plush red couch, like the Big Brother TV show the booth was modeled after, the camp had found an old diner seat.

She stared balefully at the camera and refused to say anything else.

After another stifling minute, a timer shrilled and Maria fart slid her way off the diner booth and shoved the door open. She had to turn sideways to squeeze through. It was like the booth was feeling up her fat rolls every time she had to enter and exit.

Grace waited ten feet away, three steps past the yellow line painted on the concrete floor. The line was supposed to ensure the confession booth was private. The camera sorta wrecked that illusion.

Maria sighed and adjusted the too tight waist on her shorts. They were fat camp issue, with Camp Ninitaki stamped across the ass. “You’re up, Grace.”

Grace sashayed across the concrete, shaking her hips and fluffing her shoulder-length mop of hair. Maria laughed and found a wall to prop up. Sweat trickled under the straps of her bra, making her skin itchy. It was the middle of summer in South Texas. Maybe Ninitaki’s founders had figured the heat alone could sweat a few pounds off the camp kids, even if exercise and rabbit food didn’t.

On the correct side of the yellow line, a row of girls stood waiting for their turn in the confession booth. They’d separated out into the camp’s natural pecking order - chubby girls at the front, hefty weight class in the middle and the OMG-how-do-you-walk division pulling up the rear. Even in fat camp there were popular girls, cliques and a social hierarchy based mostly on weight.

Grace kicked the booth door open three minutes later, grinning. She joined Maria and they left the rec hall, ignoring the other girls.

“So what’d you confess?” Maria asked.

“I dreamed I was twinkie and couldn’t stop pulling out my cream stuffing. It was so good. But then I was just an empty sponge cake mess and sort of fell apart. Very intense.”

“You didn’t!” Maria laughed.

“Dream it? Of course not. But Doc Sherman will bust a gasket trying to psychoanalyze that one.” Grace rolled her eyes. “How about you?”

“My vow of silence continues.”

“Wrong approach. That just makes the counselors more determined to find out all those dirty little secrets that make you over-eat.”

Maria snorted. “I’m fat because my family has the metabolism of a walrus clan and french fries are my kryptonite.”

Grace nodded. “Maybe. But Doc Sherman is never gonna buy that. We’re here to find the source of our pain and learn new healthy habits. Don’t you listen during morning sessions?”

“I listen. I just don’t actually pay attention. I play Fat Camp Bingo, instead. I’ve got a point system going on different words Doc Sherman says. I tally them up and compare the score between days.”

“Like what?”

“A hundred for ‘obese,’ two hundred for ‘denial,’ two-fifty for ‘lifestyle.’ Shit like that. Yesterday he cracked the thousand mark.”

“Huh, who knew I could have been enjoying our morning lectures.”

When they reached the cabin, Grace peered around the door before walking inside. “All clear. Shauna and Lacey must be at the cafeteria already.”

Grace kicked Shuana’s bunk as she passed it.

Maria just averted her eyes.

“Queen Shauna better not pull any crap today,” Grace muttered, flinging herself onto her bottom bunk. The bed springs groaned.

“Bet she’s lost another two pounds.” Maria perched on the edge of her own bunk and frowned down at the dusty floor.

“Whatever. I’m happy with my body. Size twelve is not the end of the world and there’s a whole lot of sexy packed in here. If that bitch wants to join the Barbie Brigade, let her, it’s nothing to us.”

“Except she’s the camp wonder.”

Grace rolled over and met Maria’s eyes. “There’s nothing wrong with us. Big is beautiful.”

They fell silent as a sound came from the bathroom, someone throwing up and then the toilet flushing. Shauna walked into the room a moment later and froze, staring at them.

“What are you doing?” Shauna demanded, hands on her hips. Her black hair was lank but her face looked thinner and her camp shorts sagged around her hips. Ninitaki’s biggest success story in the flesh.

“Taking a moment to relax before they have us running obstacle courses all day.” Grace glared at Shauna.

Shauna narrowed her eyes. “If you heard anything keep it to yourself. Then again, maybe you should take notes. Unless you want to be fat asses forever.” She stomped out of the cabin.

Grace sighed. “Guess that explains her miracle weight loss.”

“She’s lost a lot of weight,” Maria said. “She’s pretty and popular. Maybe she’s on to something.”

Grace sat up quickly and scowled at Maria. “Barfing your food up after every meal is disgusting and stupid. You’re beautiful just the way you are.”

“My parents don’t think so or they wouldn’t have sent me here. The counselors don’t think so. The kids who oink at me in the halls at school don’t either.”

“They’re all idiots. There’s nothing wrong with us! Keep saying it, Maria.”

“That’s easy for you to say, you don’t look like a baby whale shoved into gym shorts.”

“Neither do you!”

“Would it be so bad to be skinny? To fit in?”

“Yeah, if that’s how you have to do it. Promise me you won’t do anything stupid.” Grace grabbed Maria’s hand and squeezed.

When Maria was quiet too long, Grace squeezed harder.

“Fine, I promise.”

Grace smiled and gave her a quick hug. “Good. Let’s get some breakfast.”

Maria followed, but glanced back at the bathroom. You learn all sorts of things at fat camp.

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