Fiction – Gas in the Stomach

“Hey dad, can I draw your face on your big white stomach?”
“Oh I don’t know sweetie, why would you want to do something like that?”
“Because I like your moon face and I like your big stomach.”
“Aw sweetie, it’s not that big. And besides I don’t think your mum would like to look at two faces of me.”
“C’mon Dad it will be fun. You can just lie there on the couch and I’ll do it with my crayons. When you have a shower tomorrow your face will wash off anyway.”
“It might be fun for you, but I’ll have to get up soon and do something before your mum gets home.”
“Dad it’ll be a beautiful moon face just like yours. It really won’t take long.”
“OK OK, just don’t leave a mess.”

Father adjusts his position on the couch, lifts his Led Zeppelin T-shirt and his teenage daughter begins her work; and she’s singing a tune, making up the words as she goes:

My dad does a pretty nifty Barney Gumble pose
I’ll turn his belly button into a funny squiggly nose
My dad’s got a moon face and a funky BMI
Not to mention sloth and a wonky beady eye
Mum says he looks too chubby in his birthday suit
And when he tries to dance he really is a hoot
Mum and me love him not just because he’s fat
Not because his stomach is a pillow for our cat
Dad does the dishes and takes me out for a walk
He listens to me keenly when all I want to do is talk
Mum says he’s real lazy and gives him a funny hug
Then she’ll start to cry and calls him a lazy slug
And I’ll draw your face dad, over your body mass
If I push your stomach in I bet you’ll make some gas
Your hair is thinning more but that’s alright by me
And you’re getting on in years that I plainly see
You might be called obese instead of being plump
But we can’t cruelly call you a bigger fatter lump
This face I’m drawing has got a funny open smile
That’s because I love you more than every little while
But I wish we were living in the Middle Ages
Back in a time when money didn’t come from wages
Your weight would show that we were doing very nice
We’d have a big food box packed with imported ice
And we’d be high society and not too near the poor
We’d be using a long drop with a locking toilet door
It doesn’t matter dad that you’ve been laid off work
(Dad has fallen asleep to his daughter’s lullaby)
Mum working in a bank gets us the occasional perk
You won’t see a doctor and show your mighty flab
That would be admitting you’re not feeling very fab
But what would I do if you had a heart attack
And you died and you wouldn’t be coming back
That’s why I’m drawing this funny jolly face
You’ll see it in a mirror and think my drawing’s ace
Doctors say chubbiness makes for chronic disease
Because you eat and drink whatever you can seize
Like burgers and pizzas with lots of sticky cheese
You’re like Homer Simpson gobbling as you please
Your stretching pants struggle with your monstrous thighs
And you can’t be bothered zipping your trouser’s fly
I don’t want to feel ashamed when we go out together
To walk our scruffy dog even when you hate the weather
Dad you’re good to me and that’s why I draw your face
When you hold my hand dad I think you’re really ace.

After about a half an hour’s napping dad wakes up, stretches and then rolls off the couch like he normally does, and heads off to the bathroom. He comes back smiling and tells his daughter he loves his face on his stomach and that the likeness is remarkable. He gives her a hug, not stomach to stomach, that causes her pain, but instead by bringing his daughter to one side and hanging his fleshy arm across her small back. His daughter asks him if he heard her singing while she was drawing on his stomach and he said no; instead he was dreaming nice dreams about chocolates and ice creams.

The next day, a strange thing happened to him when he was about to slide his corpulent body into the shower. He stopped and put his oversized clothes back on. He decided he didn’t want to shower anymore. Normally he showers in the morning and later that day his wife noticed that he was getting rather odorous. He showed her his daughter’s drawing and she gave a start because she thought his belly button winked at her. He told her he didn’t want to wash it off, not until he lost weight, because it is his real face not his belly face that should be looking happy.

She said OK but he’ll have to sleep in the spare room even if he wasn’t snoring, and because he was getting really pungent he must leave a window open and not come out unless it’s to go to the bathroom. She’ll bring him ready made healthy meals, because she doesn’t cook at home, dad normally does it, and he can see his daughter when he starts losing weight. This last edict made him cry, but his wife held firm. By depriving him of seeing his daughter, it will definitely motivate her husband to try and lose weight. And with a heavy heart dad made his way to the spare room and quietly closed the door.

And like a solitary confined prisoner desperate for redemption, he began to walk around his bed, slowly at first, once, then twice then more and more. His solitary days became many weeks. During this time he talked with his daughter through the door, and he often cried. Mum was there and she would talk too, though she didn’t cry. One time he told them he was changing, and he said that when he reaches his goal he will reveal his new self to them. Then everybody cried. After a long time in his room exercising he became strangely flexible, and he varied his exercising to include push ups and sit ups. He was also eating less because he didn’t need as much carbohydrate for energy. He asked for more fruit and vegetables. When he walks, he unconsciously presses his stomach which releases gas, and he’d laugh and ease the boredom. Sometimes the release brought loud and smelly fumes and embarrassed he’d disguise the farty sounds by singing loudly to himself “If I push my stomach in I bet I’ll make some gas”.

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