Expansive Stories

Bread and Circuses

Formatting

Bread and Circuses

“Ladies, gentlemen, I present to you tonight what must truly be seen to be believed! The eighth—and probably the greatest—wonder of the world! The fifty tonne fiend, capable of indescribable feats of gluttony, The Blob!”

Kim squinted as the curtain that surrounded her was drawn back sharply, exposing a spotlight aimed directly at her face; the thick tube that had been wedged in her muzzle moments earlier doing little to block the blinding brightness. Gasps echoed from around the tent as the paying audience caught sight of a monstrous being towering 20 feet into the air and 60 across the floor; a being made of hundreds of rolls, roll after roll filled with blubber, each one fatter than any single audience member present. The face of this behemoth—highlighted by the spotlight that existed to showcase it—was almost invisible to them, engulfed to near totality by its own intemperance.

“The Blob can only be seen here, folks! Too heavy for aircraft! Too wide for roads! This beast can gobble food by the truckload and still have room to spare!”

Kim huffed indignantly to herself at the exaggeration—the first two points were true, but the third was still conjecture as far as anyone was concerned. Granted, it was her practically endless appetite that made her a star circus sideshow to begin with, some fifty tonnes ago. Maybe it wasn’t that conjectural…

Her thoughts were rudely interrupted as the ringmaster proceeded to poke and wobble parts of her great body, demonstrating to the crowd that “The Blob” was real and not some trick or illusion (it was definitely real, she would’ve noticed by now if it wasn’t.) More hands brushed along her rolls as a few audience members were invited to corroborate her existence. The non-consensual prodding didn’t bother her so much—it had been part of the show since she broke a mere tonne—but how unexpected it was still got to her. The fat rolls around her face meant she could see little else but the feeding hose and the house lights, the position and movements of the crowd always a mystery until they sprung into existence to rub and prod and jiggle her hugeness. Luckily this part only lasted a couple of minutes at the most.

“And now, ladies and gentlemen, the part you’ve all been waiting for! You’re invited to test the stomach of The Blob for yourself!

“This device, specially built for us here, will liquidate any food you put into it and feed it to The Blob! Owners of leftover burgers or unwanted popcorn, consider this your waste bin for the night!”

She couldn’t see them, but she knew that vendors from across the circus were now entering the tent, looking to upsell junk food to the crowd. They never wasted an opportunity to wean some extra money from the visitors.

The ringmaster continued, “And just for you, dear visitors, an exclusive extra treat! Tonight we intend to test The Blob’s capacity!”

Kim’s ears perked. This was new.

“In addition to everything you feed to The Blob, we will be supplying an additional course of all the food waste, from every stall, from every shop, from the entire past week!

Muffled discussion filled the tent. Kim squirmed uncomfortably—no one had told her this was coming. There were a few more minutes of muffled somethings. It was rare for the ringmaster to be silent this long, or for such a long gap between the talk and the food. It was almost a non-event when the hose swelled to life and liquid nourishment eventually did start pouring into her maw.

This was the “starter”—a cheap-ass nutrient slurry that she was guaranteed to get regardless, both to motivate any still-disbelieving audience members that she could, in fact, eat an obscene amount and to ensure she maintained her size during shows with smaller audiences. It was never particularly tasty—more like protein powder mixed with water and supplements—but it was something.

The sound of the audience reignited after a few seconds. Even though her girth they could see her body at work; her cheeks swelling out slightly as they filled, shrinking again as she swallowed, a slight ripple down her chins as her buried neck bulged to accommodate it. They were all very subtle movements, but her extreme obesity (and some performative license) exaggerated them enough for the auditorium to clearly see. The Blob was growing—and everyone knew it.

After a minute or so of talking up more of her generous attributes (“The Blob has been known to swallow three gallons of food in a single mouthful!”), the ringmaster started inviting people forward to come and feed her their purchased and leftover wares. The first taste of a cheap, greasy burger brushed her tongue within seconds.

This is where the fun part began. More burgers, hot dogs, candy floss, chips, doughnuts, corn dogs, churros, slushie drinks and more all started flowing into her, pulped up by the machine and mixed into a viscous fluid that she could swallow at speed. It didn’t have any single overpowering taste to it and the uneven temperature areas were occasionally unpleasant, but it was certainly tastier than the protein slop she got for starters and was much more fattening to boot. Here she could truly lose herself to the experience; the game of allowing her cheeks to swell and bulge with slurry before disposing of it with a mighty gulp, of trying to pick out individual foods she had been fed from the mixture, the feeling of her body churning it all up and inching further outwards in a years long performance of unrelenting gluttony.

So often she found herself coming out of the other side of this murring madly to herself and unaware of how much time had passed. Today proved no exception—her attention not returning to reality until after the flow of food had ended and the ringmaster had already moved on.

“—food waste, from every stall, from every shop, from the entire past week! Now this isn’t just freezer scraps and leftover lettuce, ladies and gentlemen, no no. We’re big fans of recycling here so we’ve decided that if it’s at all edible we should have someone eat it, and there’s only one Blob we should be feeding it to!”

There was a rumble of chatter amongst the audience. Something had been brought into the tent in from the sounds of it. She couldn’t exactly see.

“As you can see, ladies and gentlemen, we have a lot of food collected up here! Truly this will be the ultimate test of The Blob’s appetite!”

The hose swelled with air as the pump was activated once more, but nothing came through.

“First, a complementary course,”

The familiar clunking of the grinder could be heard, and down the hose came a thick, creamy-coloured mass. She knew it at first taste. Bread! It was all bread! This must all be leftover burger buns. She dragged on the hose, suddenly so thankful for something that wasn’t a nigh unidentifiable chimera of flavours.

The flow ended far too soon for her liking. Somewhere down below the ringmaster’s amplified voice called out, “Let’s put some more meat on The Blob’s bones, shall we?”

Aha, meat, very funny. Churned, mashed up meat chunks pushed their way into her, sliding down easily just from how greasy it all was. Her eyes could almost roll back into her head from how luscious the taste of unhindered meat was. The delight of eating greasy, fried meat was something she had missed so much since starting this gig. Time started to drift from her mind…

“We can’t forget dessert!”

The meat course stopped abruptly as a wall of sweetness smacked her in the taste buds. It tasted almost as unidentifiable as her standard meals, but now it contained enough sugar to make the sanest mare go mad. She already missed the meat course.

Dessert felt like it had barely even begun before it seemed to be chuddering to an end, the voice calling out again, “How about a little refreshment?”

She quite quickly picked up that some kind of soft drink syrup had been added. They hasn’t even bothered to dilute any of it. Everything got even more sickly sweet, artificial sweeteners and high-fructose corn syrup permeating every morsel passing by her lips. The taste was at least tolerable but the texture—an endless flow of thick, unyielding goop—was by far the most unpleasant thing she had been fed recently; hard to swallow and clinging to the sides of her throat on the way down.

“Dinner and a show, ladies and gentlemen. Dinner and a show!” the ringmaster sing-songed from below, “Well, folks, we have one last treat for you this evening—“

Wait, it still wasn’t over?

“For the first time we’re going to let you all experience The Blob’s growth for yourself! If you care to start coming forward again, yes, good, spread out a bit so everyone can reach…”

Kim squirmed a little as she could sense movement all around her, dozens of hands starting to press into the lower reaches of her bloated gut, at least one hand giving her a reassuring pat. As they did so, the flood of sickly soda syrups mercifully stopped.

“We will now deposit into The Blob… a week’s worth of grease trap waste! Plus a little extra magic to help it grow!”

Right on cue, the end of his sentence was timed with the feeding hose swelling out anew, brownish oil—still thick with the sediment of the food it had once cooked—flooding into her body. It took several more seconds for her to realise that she was swelling quickly, much faster than in any meal yet today, with each mouthful easily adding a hundred or more pounds to her frame. No choice given but to sit there and swallow as an invisible audience ooh’d and aah’d as her bulk steadily engulfed their hands.

The flow of this calorie-condensed grease went on much longer than she anticipated and it was with horror that she realised her only frame of reference, the narrow window to the world that lay between her cheeks, chins and other facial fat was rapidly shrinking. In vain she tried to raise protest, but no sound she could make would drown out the pump and no struggled movement could be discerned past her visibly rapid growth. Resigned, she sat and ate and ballooned until her world turned black.

Over time hands started to leave her, some swapping out for others, but most finally tiring of the attraction and pulling away. When the number had dwindled to the last few, finally, the pump switched off.

Kim moaned weakly to herself. Overstuffed past any previous show, overswollen past any previous limit; she couldn’t see anymore, but with the loss of that sense she could feel more than ever—her weight and how it pushed down on her insides, her girth and how far out it spread across the floor of the tent, the oversized sleeves of lard that encompassed her hooves and sagged against her stomach. She could feel her chins pushing into one another, a dozen person-sized slabs each jostling for size and space against her front. For perhaps the first time, she had no choice but to feel how truly, impossibly giant she had become.

From somewhere outside, increasingly muffled by an steadily thickening barrier of lard, the ringmaster’s voice called out to the room: “Make sure to come back for a future show; three on weekdays, five on weekends. After all, The Blob must grow on!”