from The No Niche
I killed a man once. Believe me, though. He had it coming. He struggled- like any man would if he were about to lose his life. But, I did it without compassion, without remorse, and with a great focus that he inevitably realized there was no escape from.
Yup. I killed Big Sam, and he had it coming.
Like any person born into this world, Big Sam’s birth didn’t happen over night. It took time. His parents were a 14 inch sausage, onion and cheese pizza that hooked up with a foot long chicken cheese steak with mayo and ketchup. Night after night they would often meet up inside of my stomach, and lay the ground work for Big Sam’s conception.
I worked at a restaurant, and when I told customers that I loved our food, there was no salesmanship involved. The food was really just that good. And, of course, the food was even tastier, since I was allowed to have it for free after my shifted ended.
Big Sam’s parents conned me.
“Feeling down today?” they’d ask me with their delicious grins. “We’re here for you. Take a bite out of our listening ears and caring shoulders. We’ll make you feel better!”
Thus, Big Sam had been born. It was a slow, but tasty process, and I didn’t sense his presence for a long time. I was completely clueless to all of the signs. My jeans were tighter than usual. My shirts didn’t slip on as easy anymore. Tell tale signs of weight gain, sure, but my denial goggles were firmly in place.
Big Sam had been following me. Stalking me- sabotaging my life from the shadows. And those had to be some pretty huge shadows.
I knew that sadistic bastard felt victory with every pretty girl that didn’t return a smile, with every jean button that wouldn’t button, with every flight of stairs that took five extra minutes to climb.
But, Big Sam got sloppy. And not just four sloppy Joe sandwiches for lunch sloppy.
I eventually caught him.
I had gone out one afternoon with a friend of mine. We ventured around Center City, Philadelphia with our cameras, and took tons of photos. When I got home, I sat down to comb through them. It only took one click on one picture of me to see the harsh truth.
Now, they say that a picture speaks a thousand words. My picture only said two: “You’re fat!”
But that couldn’t be possible! I’m not fat! So, who was this guy, who was standing in the very spot I was supposed to be?
He was wearing my short sleeved, gray shirt. It was usually a size too big for me, but on him, well, it must have been about to rip at the seams. His belly was swelled and rounded. Every time I blinked, I felt as though it grew, and I knew it would only be a matter of time before Steve McQueen would show up to defeat his Blob of a stomach.
And his face! Where did those puffy cheeks come from? And that double chin! Who was this guy I had never seen before? What did this…Big Sam do with me?
It was all out in the open. I caught him. But, now what? He had been in my life for so long. What could I do? Could I even take Big Sam on in a fight? He weighed 200 pounds to my average 163.
Living with him was insufferable.
I couldn’t go anywhere without constantly looking over my shoulders, now that I knew he was there. He must have been saying some bad things about me, too, because I came to realize how differently people looked at me. I even went to his parents time after time to ask them to keep their big boy away from me. But, I always lost the argument and left overly full.
I had become a sad, desperate man. Paranoid. Eyes to the ground as it shook with every heavy step Big Sam took. His constant presence even became too much for the girl I had started dating.
“I like my guys tall and thin,” she told me, without tact for rejection.
If I could have dropped that round belly of his into the inescapable lavas of Mount Mordor, I would have done so without a hobbit’s moment of hesitation.
A couple of months later, everything would change.
I went to a club for a pal’s birthday party. A girl I had not seen in three years, but had a crush on, was also going to be there. I wasn’t going to forgo the chance to reunite. So, I went, and, yes, Big Sam was right there with me. But with oversized clothes, and the darkness of the club, he remained pretty well-hidden. The girl never noticed, and after the night was over, I felt there was something more than a hidden belly of fat between us.
I decided I wanted to see more of her, but what about Big Sam? I surely couldn’t convince the girl to go to dark places all the time. We’d have to be out in Sun light and well-lit places at some point.
So, I knew what had to be done. I had to kill Big Sam.
I wish I could say the killing of Big Sam took some creative thinking and ingenious planning. But, it didn’t. I wielded no carbohydrate-less weapon complete with a vegan silencer. I didn’t hire professionals to take Big Sam for a ride, and drown him in a protein shake river. I didn’t even result to torturing him with fancy equipment, and DVDs of Tae Bo or Pilates before I officially put him out of his misery.
I simply took him outside and made him run. Didn’t even put a gun to his back. I stood in front of my bathroom mirror, looked him straight in the eye, and told him, “I have no choice, but to make you do this.”
Big Sam ran day after day, and if scheduling conflicts got in the way, night after night. I made him run from anywhere between 30- 40 minutes with nothing but that focused look in the mirror to carry him on. His time was up.
I killed a man, and I’m not going to pretend it was easy. There were times I wavered. What if someone caught me in the act? Who wouldn’t notice that sweaty belly flailing all over the place while running? Could I handle that attention? What if I wasn’t strong enough to follow through? I worked in a restaurant after all, and was always amongst the delicious parents of Big Sam. They didn’t want their big boy to die off, and they protested my intent with every savory scent and cheesy glance they threw my way.
But I dumped the 14 inch sausage, onion and cheese pizzas and the foot long chicken cheese steaks with mayo and ketchup. I forced turkey sandwiches, apples, pasta and salads with grilled chicken down Big Sam’s throat.
“Choke on that!” I’d scream at the fat.
I forced Big Sam to run, because my life depended on it. By sheer force of will, sweat and bone, I made him take off. And about two months later, and 40 pounds shed, Big Sam proved to be a dead man running.
I killed Big Sam not only for the girl. I did it, because he embarrassed me. I killed him, because I couldn’t let him make me feel bad anymore. I killed him, because he made me look into a mirror and not recognize the reflection staring back. I killed Big Sam, because he had it coming.