Well, here it is, the brand new story that I promised. It's a bit heavy, so I hope everyone will be kind and helpful with their reviews (as they have been with "Frame"). I hope everyone enjoys it and I would love your feedback, so please leave me a review and check out "Frame" (and review it!) if haven't already. Thank you all for your support.
1. Six packages of double-stuffed Oreos.
2. Twelve bags of differently flavored potato chips.
3. Three gallons of strawberry ice cream.
4. Two industrial-sized bottles of chocolate syrup.
5. Seven two-liter bottles of soda.
6. Ten twenty-piece McDonald's chicken nuggets with a mountain of fries.
7. Three cases of White Castle hamburgers.
8. A platter of chocolate chip brownies with vanilla frosting and sprinkles.
9. Two lemon meringue pies.
10. Large birthday cake covered in butter cream frosting.
Luke gave a quiet shudder as he finished reading the planned menu for his birthday dinner that would be taking place later that evening. Although most kids enjoyed celebrating their birthdays, Luke was quite the opposite. He hated his birthday with every fiber of his being. Every birthday brought him closer to the year that he would be forced to become like the rest of his family. For Luke, that meant that he would have to start the process of becoming like his parents and older siblings. And, unfortunately, that dreaded birthday had finally arrived.
Currently, Luke found himself stuck in the cookie aisle at Wal-Mart with his mother, Moira, and older brother, Hammond. The two of them were having an argument about Oreos, and whether or not to get the chocolate cream instead of the double-stuffed variety.
"Mom, come on, chocolate cream Oreos are ten times better than the double-stuffed kind. I mean, chocolate cookie with chocolate filling? Pure genius!"
"Only to a fatty," Luke muttered to himself.
"Well honey," said Moira in a sweet voice, "if you really want them, then I guess we can get them. I've never tried the chocolate, but they do look good."
Luke gritted his teeth. He absolutely hated this vile woman. She took far too much joy piling bag after bag of Oreos into her motorized cart with her pudgy little hands. He was amazed that she somehow had the self-control to not rip the bags open and shove the cookies down her throat as fast as she could. He had seen her just the other day down an entire box of donuts while watching The View and then proceed to eat six slices of pizza. Her gluttony was astonishing.
Then there was Hammond or 'Hammy' as he was so affectionately known in the family. Luke knew that Hammy was the favorite in the family, but he really didn't care. Hammy only had this distinction because he was the fattest of all the siblings. This was hardly an honor that Luke wanted. All Luke wanted was to be left alone or put up for adoption so he could get away from these twisted people.
"Hammy, darling," Moira said in her sickeningly sweet voice, "would you mind going to the end of the aisle and grabbing mommy some macaroons?"
"Sure, mom!" Hammy said excitedly.
Moira sat back down in her motorized cart as Hammy waddled down to the end of the aisle. She wheezed with every breath she took and used her free hand to wipe a bead of sweat from her brow. She perused her carefully made list again, using one of her swollen fingers to make an imaginary check mark next to each item that was already in her cart. Luke stood as far from her as he could, with his arms folded in front of him and a clear scowl blanketing his freckled face.
"Aren't you just excited for tonight?" Moira turned to him, her three chins jiggling as she gave him a sipid smile. She beckoned him over to her cart, but Luke refused to move from his position five feet from her.
"Oh, Luke, aren't you even just a little excited?" she asked exasperatedly, her smile vanishing from her face. She beckoned him to come over again with her free hand.
"No," Luke answered simply not looking at her and keeping his arms folded.
"Well," and the smile came back over Moira's face, "I'm sure you'll change your mind. Hammy was just like you when he was your age and look at him now. He's such a strong and healthy boy."
She beamed as Hammy came tottering up to her with four bags of macaroons in his arms. She took each bag and examined it before placing it delicately into the cart as though it were a precious relic. Luke rolled his eyes as Moira patted Hammy on the head like a dog and rewarded him with a cherry sucker that she pulled from somewhere on her large person. Luke did not want to speculate the 'where' because he did not want to make himself ill.
"I think that's all we need from here, boys," said Moira sweetly, folding up the list and slipping it into the front of her tent-sized, white t-shirt, "daddy and Libby went and bought the cake so we can probably head on home."
Moira turned the motorized cart on and slowly drove it out of the cookie aisle and toward the registers at the front of the store. Hammy gleefully walked beside her while Luke hung back at least ten feet, trying his best to make it appear that he wasn't with those edacious people with junk food piled a mile high in their motorized cart. The distance didn't help him when it came to the looks of disgust and pity that people gave his mother and brother, though. The other shoppers were honestly horrified by his family, much like he was, and no matter how much he limited his association with them in public, he still felt like the subtle reproves were aimed at him as well.
The check-out lines, unfortunately for Luke, were moving more quickly than usual, and he and mother and brother were out of the store and on their way home sooner than expected. Luke sat in the back of the family van and blocked out the happy conversation that Hammy and Moira were having about him in the front seat. There was nothing happy about today, and Luke would not feed into their delusion that being as fat as they were was normal or something to strive for.
Throughout the entire car ride Luke wished that it would take forever to arrive back at their little ranch home at the dead end of a tree-lined street, but, of course, it did not. As soon as they arrived, Hammy and Moira unbuckled themselves from their seatbelt extenders and hollered for Libby, Luke's older sister, and Quentin, Luke's father, to come and help unload the car. Luke sunk down low in his seat in the family van as Libby, his squat sister with legs like tree trunks and a large protruding stomach, walked out of the house along with his father, Quentin, who was dressed in holey grey sweatpants and too-small t-shirt that rode up and exposed part of his flabby stomach. The pair walked over to the car and began helping Moira and Hammy grab bags from the trunk and bring them in.
"Hey Luke! You going to help or what?" Libby asked, reaching over the backseat and hitting him across the back of the head, "all of this is for your birthday."
"I don't want any of it," Luke said quietly, "I just want to be left alone." He leaned his head against the cool pane of the window and closed his eyes tightly, wishing himself away from the situation.
"Well, you better suck it up because dad and I spent a lot of time setting everything up. Now get inside before dad has to come out and get you."
Libby slammed the trunk shut and Luke watched as she walked into the house with the last bag of groceries. Luke knew he was out of options at that point. All he could hope for was a miracle that their methods wouldn't work or that someone would swoop in and take him away. There was nowhere a nine-year-old boy could run to, and no one who would listen or believe what his family was going to do to him. The thought of what was to come made Luke's heart race and his breathing become erratic. He clutched himself tightly with his arms as he attempted to correct his breathing and regain his composure.
He couldn't go inside that house. He wouldn't go inside that house. He didn't want to become like Hammy, or Libby, or his parents. The thought of one day resembling them made him choke out a sob as he continued clutching himself and trying to force himself to calm down. He rocked himself quietly back and forth, still being held by his seatbelt and letting out an occasional gasp for air. His mind was going a million miles a minute, trying to come up with a solution that would ease his troubled conscious, but there was no solution to be found.
Eventually, the sliding door of the van was opened and Libby poked her head in the car and looked back at him, still in his obvious state of upset. Libby rolled her eyes at him and shook her head.
"You are such a drama queen. Would you come inside already? We are all way hungry and you are holding up the party."
Luke didn't look at her and bowed his head, shutting his eyes tightly and continuing to hold himself. Libby let out a huff of frustration and got inside the van and squeezed her way into the very back of the van where Luke was sitting and began unbuckling him. Luke struggled with her and tried to stop her from undoing the latch, but she used her massive weight to her advantage and subdued him with it while she successfully undid the seatbelt and let it slide away from Luke. She grabbed the front of his button-up shirt and began pulling him out of the van.
Luke tried to pull himself out of her grasp, but Libby kept a firm hold on his wiggling form as she dragged him from the car and shut the sliding door behind them. She held this tight grip on him as she brought him to the front door of the house and pushed him inside. She slammed the door shut and locked it, huffing as she took off her shoes and threw them down on the mat next to the door. She shot him a nasty glare as she walked by and down the hallway toward the kitchen. She stopped before she turned into the kitchen doorway and looked back at him.
"Are you coming?" she asked nonchalantly.
"Yes, Lukey, you need to hurry. We are all waiting for you!" Moira's voice echoed from the kitchen excitedly.
An incredulous look covered Luke's face. A tiny part of him wanted to believe that his family cared about him and might respect his wishes to decline participating in this abominable tradition, but it was obvious that they did not. This did not surprise Luke in the slightest.
With a heavy sigh, Luke removed his shoes from his feet and placed them on the mat next to Libby's. He took a deep breath as he walked down the hallway, following Libby's path, and into the kitchen where the rest of his family was anxiously awaiting the beginning of a very long and, for them, entertaining evening.