Fat Man

by Robert Fenhagen (USA)


Brief news story out of Wakefield, R.I.: 
“A flight out of Warwick Airport made it safely through a ferocious storm. At one point, there were  fears that the flight was lost at a point because of  faulty communications, but they turned out unfounded, and the flight eventually arrived without incident in Tokyo, Japan” 

Hey, how ya doing

What?  Oh. The trip was ok, but let me tell you, something really freaky happened on it.  No, much worse than that storm.  This was really weird, Joe.

It began with the fat man sitting, or, what passed for sitting, in the outside seat of my row.  He kind of came in for a landing, if you follow me.  We were on a plane to boot.  Yeah.

     He had made his way down the aisle, excusing himself, and smiling both sickly and shyly, like he was thinking: “I know I’m huge and gross to most of you, but I beg you to let me through.”  He had on a Hawaiian shirt that was ridiculous with all of those colors.  He looked like a psychedelic hot air balloon.

Good old flight—number 103, non-stop to Japan.  I don’t know if he was forced to pay for two seats, or what, but this was a big boy!  I don’t know even how I remember the flight’s number, except for what happened on it.

When one of the stewardesses was giving her spiel about the plane and life jackets, etcetera, I was eyeballing the sweet, little thing sitting next to me. I was lucky not to have gotten a freaking migraine, because my eyeballs were stretched so much. Yeah, I know.

     I could not tell you if the plane was a 737, a 747, or a 777.  I’m serious; I was paying, like, no attention.  To the stewardess.

It was a long flight ahead of us, and as I said a silent prayer, a very pretty woman sat down, making her sandwiched between a grossly overweight guy, and a terrifically in-shape guy, who wanted to make small talk with her, and see if I might show her the sights upon arrival—one of those sights being the interior of my plush hotel room, which, thank God, work picked up the tab for.

    Naturally, it made me feel good that the powers that be within the hallowed halls of my company thought enough of my skills to put me up at a five star hotel for the length of my stay, but that certainly was balanced out by the fact that I had to catch the first flight out in order to trouble-shoot a wonky program that was allowing some stock traders to quote unconscionably low prices to their pigeons.

    A lot of those stock traders are personable young stock market gurus, but dig underneath, and they reek of shark—each and every one of them.

   I remember the time I was drinking with…, oh, forget that.  Let me tell you about how the fat guy changed me, which is saying something, because I  thought he was just a uncontrolled,  stupid as a fat,   red-neck, or in his case– dead neck,  pig. Pure and simple. 

He was fat, I was not. Again– simple.

    About two, or maybe it more like four, hours into the flight, the steward came around inquiring about refreshments.

I order a glass of champagne and she ordered glass of bottled water of some kind.   She looked like a health freak and certainly had the body of a health freak, let me tell you!

He ordered a fat, calorie-laden soft drink.  No wonder he was huge.

After another little while, the steward returned to our first class seats, and began to distribute the probably pre-poured drinks.   For some reason, they did not have pre-poured champagne.  They ran out, or something, so gave me real stuff.

    In any event, all was going winningly, as I toasted the young lady, and ignored as best I could the behemoth squished into the very comfortable, very plush seat next to her.


This is where, like every good story, the wind really began to shake the plane and the lightning seemed to be close enough to reach out and touch.  Oh, hey, did I tell you the one about the sixty –foot penis that wants to reach out and touch someone?  Oh,  never mind….. 

     I forget what I’m talking about sometimes, so I’d better finish this story before I forget it.

Oh yeah.

Anyway, I guess a bolt of lightning hit the plane, because there was a loud bang and the cabin lights flickered, and all hell broke loose.  The sweet-looking girl next to me squealed and grabbed my arm—which wasn’t bad.  I almost wished we were heading down into the drink, so I could find out where she would grab if she knew we were going down.  “Last call for sex-a-hol–if you catch my drift, which is exactly what it looked as if  we  might be doing in not too much longer– drifting among the wreckage of Flight whatever the hell numbers it was.

I’ll never forget that moment, because I felt her fingernails dig into me as if I was trying to rape her, or something.

“Ahh.  What are you doing?!” I yelled, and looked over at her, shocked by the strength of her digging fingernails.  She was eviscerating my freaking arm.

I’m telling you, Joe, she was sheet-white, but was shaking, too, and when I looked around for the cause, there was Fatso. He had spilled his soda all over the place!

    It was like he was this huge guy, so even though they serve drinks in those little, squat glasses, his sugar bomb seemed to have been served up in a fifty-gallon drum, because there was soda from here to kingdom come.

    I don’t know how he managed to spill so much soda from such a tiny glass.  Magician, I guess.  I can just see it now– come see   ‘The Amazing Fatso!”  Know what I mean?

Anyways, this girl is sheet white and digging her fingernails in my arm, and I’m noticing that she’s shaking to boot.  I watched her for a second until a giant bolt of lightning banged the wing outside my window.  Scared me half to death!

I thought, “Oh, man, we are toast.”  You know?  Hey, Joe, I’m over here.  Yeah, she’s hot, but pay attention to what I’m telling you.  This is freaky.

So anyways, I’m feeling like I may have messed myself, and I’m looking around. Joe, I’m serious here.  Listen to me.

I see that the fat man is sitting really quietly, and then I see that he’s patting the girl’s hand.  My girl!   The piece of tail that I’m hoping to make time with after we get off of this horrible flight.

I couldn’t help myself, so I said: “You know, this is not the time to be making moves on this young lady.  We could be dying here, you know.” I talked just like that—proper, you know?

Now, this is how I was changed by this fat guy, and you’d better not tell anybody down at Old Mountain Lanes.  Hey, I’ve got money riding that we’re  taking  first place in the bowling competition, and I don’t want any stories floating around.    No, I don’t mean he changed my diaper, hah-ha, you moron.  He said to me, and get this.   He says:

“She’s an epileptic, and is having a seizure.”

    I looked at this pile of flesh, and said:

“No, she’s not.  She’s just scared.” 

I’ll tell you, Joseph.  You know me.  You knew me when I was carrying around that excess baggage, but then began taking care of myself, and here I am—a fit and trim one-sixty.  I never told you this, but I was feeling really disgusted with myself, and now when I see somebody grossly fat, I hate them, and at that moment, I detested this fat pile of poop. 

I guess I see them as a reflection of my former self, you know, before I got the religion of health. People who have not seen the light   are undisciplined, fat slobs– at least as far as I’m concerned.

    Anyway, I figured that she was sheet white and was digging in my arm because she was scared, you know.

But, noooooo!

At that point, Fatso says: “The reason why she grabbed your arm is because she felt a seizure coming on.”  He couldn’t even lean forward to tell me; he just swiveled that giant head of his and spoke to me.  He had these really fat man features, all jowls and flesh, but, I’ll tell you, he had some far-out eyes, even though at first, they just looked like little pig eyes to me. 

    When he looked at me, I had to look away, so pretended to be interested in the storm outside.  Lightning was spearing all over the place and all I could see was the silver wing would light up every few moments like some kind of Doctor Bizzaro discotheque.

    I was watching rain running down the Plexiglas, but, also, was avoiding looking back at this fat  guy in the outer seat.

At that moment, there was a huge bang, again, lightning flashed, and then all of a sudden, we are flying in sunlight.

     I mean no thunder, no lightning, no dark clouds, nothing.  It was as if we flew into Shangri-La, you know?  If I didn’t know how corny it sounded, I’d say we were visiting Heaven.

I thought about it, and I guess we just outflew the storm, is all. It was weird.

The fat man just looked at me, or, through me, and said in this real dreamy, almost as if he were stoned voice:

“She’ll be alright, now.”

I looked right into this guy’s eyes, and do you know; I couldn’t say anything, I mean– Joe, I could not say one freaking thing.

It was as if his eyes were these deep pools of warm broth just like my Grandma used to make.  My Grandma, you moron.  Grandmother, you know.

Where are you from, Joseph?  The moon?

    Anyway, this giant guy had me frozen in his looking.  I don’t know what I mean, but I’m telling you, I could not look away.  Do you remember when my boss had me go to that seminar on language skills because he was afraid I might accidentally offend some big wheel, because I didn’t always say what I mean?

Well, I’m telling you right now.  Do you understand me okay?  Sufficiently?

I think this man was God.  I swear to you on a stack of bibles.   I think this fat guy, who had to squeeze into his plush, first class airliner seat was either God, or one of God’s guys.  He looked at me and I felt this light inside of me.  I mean, remember, Joe, we had been in one hellava storm.  Lightning, the whole bit, and then, shazam!  We are in sunshine and nice skies.  This guy stopped this woman’s seizures…

How do I know she was having a seizure?  How do I know she wasn’t just scared?

HE told me, you moron.  Remember?

Joe, don’t go blabbing this to Pete, or, Paulie down at the bowling allies– I’m serious about that. I didn’t go back to school; take all of those credits to get ahead in Tex-Ron just to be dis-credited by my best friend, that fortunate fellow being, you, Joseph.

Joe, what are you looking at?  I am serious here.  This ‘guy’, whoever he was, I think, had a close, personal relationship with the big man upstairs.   Think about it.  Me on a plane—in the air, severe storm.  Plane could be going down, girl in trouble, or, sick somehow, guy both helps her, and then suddenly we’re in the clear—weather-wise, and he looks at me with those amazing eyes.  Joe, I’m talking miracles.

Will you quit staring at me?! Come on, watch where you’re going!  Hey, did you know that there are statistically more accidents, and deaths in cars then there are on planes? True statement.  I think.

Anyway, here we are.

“Come on.  I’m hungry.”

Look at the size of that guy.  Must be new. What a whale.  I guess Mary’s off.  This guy has not missed a meal in a long time. Shhh, here he comes.

We’ll have the breakfast specials.  Thanks. 

Hey, Joe, what is he, a wise-guy?  Giving us donuts to start with–just what I need, right, after slaving for all of those months to loose a hundred pounds.


Oh.  He said, “This will fix you up, you’ll be alright now.  I guess he was talking to me, why?

Joe, hey, where are you going?

Fat Man

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