A new short story today. It’s about the future. I guess, technically, it’s a time travel story, in a way. It’s about choosing to be fat as an act of revolution. Hopefully you enjoy it.
You won’t believe this from when you’re reading, but I want you to know that we are not allowed to own things anymore. It started with the Great Purge. That wasn’t some government thing, it was a disease, and it spread wildly. Half the human population died in 2039. Some sort of intense virus that constantly mutated and kept ahead of scientists for two years. The region you know as the American Empire was essentially wiped off the planet, as was its former colony, Mexico.
Basically, what I’m trying to say is that people who were overweight died fastest but also carried the disease furthest. It wasn’t just being fat that killed you, but being obese, which ravaged third world nations dependent on artificial food created by the former empire. The artificiality of the food and the fat cells created this disease and, well, like I said: half the population decimated.
We figured out the cure and immunised ourselves against future outbreaks. We returned to ancient farming techniques, and because no one trusted anyone else’s crops, the world transformed into a largely agrarian society, loosely affiliated. International trade began to decrease as distrust spread from food to any product coming from a place the recipient hadn’t seen. Your worldwide connectivity through the internet was already a relic, as the intense censorship and control imposed by the former Empire basically ceased communication. People were afraid to go online except to look up the most general pieces of information.
Sure, there were still hackers and curious folk who kept up the internet, uploading information, stealing it back from governments, but for most people it became something from a bygone era. My grandmother remembers the day she signed off for the last time and my mother parents never seemed interested with the global community, having been survivors of the purge. But, me, I breathe through the internet.
Most people don’t even have computers anymore, except for novelty shops and the like, but this isn’t about computers. It’s about choice.
All my life I’ve dreamt of being large. I saw pictures in history books of these 20th and 21st century humans, with their immense girth and staggering height, and felt the loss. Most people think that the sizes of the people of the past are exaggerated. How could someone ever be taller than 1.8 meters, they say. How could a human ever weigh even close to 150kg? The notion is absurd to them, living in a world where the adult male tops out around 1.7m and 70kg. There are exceptions, of course. There always are, but even the tallest person here is within a normal range of what you’d expect a human to be.
The more I learnt about the past, the more I wanted to grow. Since I knew I’d never be tall, I chose to be wide.
I snuck meals, stole them, traded extras with other kids. By the time I was fifteen I was already 100kg, my body hanging off me at places, even flapping in strong winds. I measured my waist, the flab hanging from my jaw, and the circumference of my fingers. I wasn’t particularly tall or short, considering the world I live in, but I was only about 1.5m back then.
My mother and father became concerned. The whole village feared me. I was barred from continuing education or remaining in the longhouses with the others. I was ostracised, but I had the computer, the internet still defiantly alive. I found others obsessed with the past, with the size humanity once was, but none had gone as far as me. Still, none attempt what I daily live.
After being banished, I began to wander. From town to town to village to city, I was kept at bay. They believed I was a carrier, or worse: some monster from the past. As years went by and I continued to grow, word spread of me and my journey. Not only was I all over the internet, but my reputation preceded me in the cities and villages I passed through. Talking to no one but eating all I could gather, I grew. As I grew far past what humanity thought I could be, there were those who began to follow and feed me.
None of them attempted what I do, but they were filled with my defiant revolution. At 2.1 meters tall and 250kg, I am a giant in a world of hungry humans.
But as my fame grew with my size, so did my enemies. Fear is a powerful motivator and I ran into violence for the first time.
I was thirty years old, had learnt all there was to know about your wars and acts of aggression, but only then did I finally experience and understand what it was to be hated. I have read your tracts on racism, sexism, and every other kind of ism. Even for me, believer that I am, I couldn’t really begin to believe that such trivial things caused such chasms between people.
I was attacked outside of a town I had just left. Beating until bleeding, I managed to escape with the aid of some of my followers. I had a considerable amount by them, on this neverending pilgrimage with me, but I lost five that day. Five dead because I choose to live as they fear to!
It would be laughable if I couldn’t still hear their screaming in my dreams.
I understand their fear. I truly do. But they cannot understand what it means to go against popular opinion.
We are small societies. There are no rulers or appointed judges or even squadrons of police, as you have. The world is largely at peace, but it’s because they’re asleep. We have been trained into docility, programmed to obey.
But I fought back and now I will soon be dead.
Yesterday, over 100 of my followers were murdered in their sleep. Their blood was smeared around me spelling out the ways in which they intend to torture me and flay me alive.
I believe they may even eat me.
And so I am sending this back to you.
Beware those who will take from you out of fear.
I can hear them hammering on the door. I’ll soon be dead, but this will reach you through binary series. All you need to do is let go of Time, let it run freely and wash over you. If you can figure out how, you can change all of this. You can see what the future we’re building is like. You can prevent it. You can shape it.