Eugene Olestra lived in suburbia slowly being swallowed by the inner city, in a neighborhood peopled by those who cared just enough to get by. Houses hovering on the edge of respectability raised privacy fences against denuded lawns and no-doubt warped and curious neighbors. Eugene lived in one of the worst—his yard overgrown to thigh-height—but despite this he was no worse than any other American—a fact he never failed to point out to the Jehovah’s Witnesses who never learned to skip his door. He was also defiantly proud of his 500-pound girth, which rippled as he stepped outside. The concrete path that connected his warped front door to his mailbox was pocked with damage easily prevented by regular maintenance, but the odds were unfairly stacked against him. Anyone who needs 30 minutes of strenuous exertion to roll out of bed deserves at least a little kindness.
The armpits of his wife-beater already stained with that effort, he surveyed his upcoming trek with the suspicion that someone, somewhere, was mocking him, perhaps conspiring with the garden gnomes digging tunnels in his overgrown lawn. It was a common feeling for Eugene and, once again, he vowed that justice would be his. Whether the offender’s chest would be crushed beneath his flabby ass or his windpipe pried out and snapped between his teeth like a candy cane, Eugene would make his presence felt. His girth wasn’t his fault. It was a gland condition. Why couldn’t anyone respect that?
Eugene pulled the king-size bag of chips from his sweatpants pocket and, upon finding only crumbs, crushed it in his meaty hand. Advertising was always a lie. The package said king-sized, but Eugene could eat four before he was close to being full, at which point he had to eat two frozen pizzas, also falsely called king-sized. The world was a piece of shit and he despaired of ever finding a product that lived up to its name. Even the exercise machine he’d bought—after getting tired of his sister’s incessant nagging—was not, in fact, easy to assemble. It still lay in pieces in his living room. Occasionally he used one of the crossbars to bat his magazines closer when he was too tired to get off the couch, which was also breaking down, but he’d had to wrench that small victory from the jaws of indifferent fate. For Eugene, it wasn’t a joke. The world was out to get him.