FISH, FAT, AND FURY

A middle-aged man, Haben, walks to his hut in the scorching heat of the midday sun. Today is Sunday, which means everyone in the village must go to the local reservoir of fats and dump whatever excess they may have accumulated throughout the week. Haben is returning from his weekly dumping—as he settles in his hut, he ponders why he has consumed more fat this week than usual. He thinks back to when he was selected to be on the Regional Agricultural Committee, and his wife complained about his lack of a real job. Deep down he knew she was right–serving on the committee earned him little to nothing in wages, but he managed to silence her with the threat of cutting her.That was three nights ago. Perhaps that was it. Or maybe it was when his son came home with a basket of caught fish from the local river—he remembers feeling a great sense of joy when he saw the basket nearly overflowing with fish. Maybe that was it. Haben can’t quite seem to understand why he had an excess of fat this week. Nonetheless, the thought vanishes as he feels a fierce rumble in his stomach—he is incredibly hungry.

Haben yells at his wife to prepare him a meal—as he is demanding his food, some fat grows on his sides. She doesn’t respond within the usual three seconds he expects, so he yells even louder–asserting his dominance with greater fury. Immediately after he yells, his stomach increases in magnitude and nearly topples him forward. With tears running down her eyes, his wife quickly runs into the room, nervously apologizing as she frantically gets begins to start the fire. Haben’s stomach slowly increases in size, and he calmly plumps down on his favorite chair like a king. His wife had dumped her fats in the reservoir earlier this morning, but she was already dangerously skinny to begin with. She had never achieved a healthy amount of fat—each week she ended with a trembling fragility of thinness. She never got to speak–Haben always silenced her. Everything she did was under his radar, and he always needed to approve of what she was doing. She lived a life of submission–lacking in dignity and independence–depriving her of any wholeness she may ever experience. As she is cooking Haben’s meal, her skin becomes tighter to her bones, and her face gradually loses its life. She falls to the ground, unable to sustain herself—her legs are now as thin as twigs. Haben’s stomach deflates and he quickly rises from his chair and runs over to his wife. He kneels beside her, and holds her close. She’s as light as a feather, on the verge of death. Haben picks her up with great ease and leaves his hut, running through the village headed towards the open desert. He’s taking her to the local reservoir of fats.

By the time Haben arrives at the reservoir, his wife is as thin as a leaf. He frantically installs her in the fat extraction mechanism of the reservoir–a grotesque, primitive conglomeration of metallic messiness–and begins the transfusion. Slowly, his wife increases in size—her breasts, stomach, face, and legs are enlivened with a vivacious fat. She awakes with a satisfied smile, and throws herself at Haben, kissing him passionately. Haben’s body increases in fats and he is gratified by his wife’s submission to him. The satisfaction that is brought forth for the two of them is so mighty, that they become incapacitated by their fats. A physical distance between them grows as their stomachs become larger than their arms’ lengths. Their weight is so great that they can no longer sustain themselves. They fall to the ground, face up towards the merciless sun. Their arms and legs are nearly engulfed by their fat—paralyzing them in their helpless position. Haben and his wife begin to panic, because the sun’s fury is blackening their skin. They scream and try to kick—doing everything in their power to not burn alive in the sun. But it is futile. They are doomed to their fat, suffering the consequences for their submission to the reservoir.

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