All I knew was that I was hungry. Immensely hungry. Insanely hungry. Impossibly hungry. This was no normal appetite at all but more like some kind of a sickness. It was a curse, an affliction. This sick, abnormal, unnatural hunger bore down on me like an enraged bull elephant in the mating season. It leant down on me like twenty tons of bricks – no, like a particularly grim and joyless mountain, putting the big hurt on me, crushing the very life out of me.
Luckily I had food right there in front of me, on the table at which I was sitting! A double portion of chips, liberally covered with brown sauce, sat there in a colossal pile in the middle of a few sheets of grease-laden newspaper. The Sun if my eyes served me correctly. Along with the huge pile of chips I had two steak and kidney pies, two battered saveloys, and four pickled eggs.
I noticed that I was already eating. I didn’t have to tell myself to start eating – I was already doing it. My two arms were going up and down alternatively, first one and then the other, mechanically shovelling handfuls of chips and pie into my greedy mouth. They reminded me of a pair of pistons going inexorably up and down, up and down, up and down.
I was so hungry that nothing else mattered apart from eating. I didn’t care about anything apart from shovelling the food into my mouth as quickly as humanly possible. It was as if I was in an eating trance – my whole concentration was on stuffing my face. I don’t believe I’ve ever put as much single-minded attention on anything as much as getting that food into my belly. Sweat ran down my face in small rivers as I worked away. I couldn’t wipe it away because that would have got in the way of the serious business of eating.
The experience of eating was nearly orgasmic in its intensity – no, it was orgasmic. If anyone had been foolish enough to come up to me just then and had attempted to interrupt me I think I would have hit them. I would have just felled them instantly with a fist right in the face and then carried on eating, without missing a mouthful. No questions asked. No answers given. Apart from the crashing blow of a rock-hard fist being driven like a sledge-hammer into some soppy idiot’s gormless-looking face.
This thought, the gratuitously violent thought of smashing my fist as hard as I could into someone’s face, came into my mind with such ease that it shocked me. The thought of smashing someone in the face got me going. It gave me a sick jolt of pleasure. Visualizing how I would do it made me feel weak inside in some kind of a sexual way. It excited me. I would not normally have considered myself to be a violent sort of a person. It occurred to me then that I would have enjoyed punching someone as much as I was enjoying stuffing pie and chips into my face, as if it was the same sick and bestial appetite that was being fed in both cases. After I had this thought I turned my attention back to my meal.
As the pile of food in front of me dwindled I became aware of deeply satisfying feeling in my gut. The process was stupefying me, it was making me stupid. My gut was being loaded, I thought dully to myself. I was loading up my belly and it felt good. I was belly-loading. Belly-loading is good, I said to myself. Belly-loading is yummy. Then, as I noticed myself thinking this way to myself I was instantly repelled. What kind of a vile pig was I? I looked again at the arms that were methodically loading the food into my avid mouth. They were huge arms, massively thick and hairy and covered in bad tattoos. The kind you get done in prison because you are bored. The hands were equally massive, with three large gold rings on each of them. They were brutal hands. The thought came into my head then that they were a murderer’s hands.
The pie and chips was finished. I had just crammed the last pickled egg into my mouth. There was brown sauce all over my chin. And there was a deliciously warm glow in my belly. I looked down and noticed that it was in fact an inhumanly vast belly, hanging out over my belt, spilling out from the bottom of the extra large tee-shirt I was wearing. The tee shirt, over-sized as it was, barely came down to my belly-button. It was like I was wearing some kind of grotesque belly-top. It certainly wasn’t a pretty sight.
As I stared down, I noticed my hands, not needed for feeding any more, slowly come down and start rubbing that obscenely big belly in evident satisfaction. I had the uncomfortable feeling that I had been witness to a deeply perverse autoerotic act. More than just witnessing: I had the dull, guilty awareness that I had been participating – all too willingly – in some utterly obscene and unholy rite. I had been a voluntary participant in an act of unspeakable vileness. I felt bad. But at the same time I felt good.
As the hands rubbed away I let out a series of resoundingly deep belches. Mastering myself with an effort, I turned my head away from contemplating this dreadful distended belly, unable to bear what I was seeing any longer. I was consumed with a feeling of sick horror. It was like being trapped in a bad dream. How could this be happening to me? This wasn’t me, this wasn’t my body. That wasn’t my belly. I had to put a stop to this before it was too late, before I lost my humanity for good. Before I was lost forever in the vileness of whatever was happening to me.
And then the hunger started to come back – the pleasurable glow in my stomach was gone and had been replaced by a nagging ache. The good feeling I has been getting whilst stuffing my face had vanished now and I missed it badly. I wanted it to come back. The hunger grew and grew until it was as bad as it had been before I started eating. I was frightened by that hunger – it was as if there wasn’t enough food in the whole wide world to satisfy it. I had eat again, much as the thought of going through that vile ritual again sickened me.
Leaving the mound of greasy scrunched-up sheets of newspaper where they lay on the table, I walked out of the front door, not even bothering to shut it behind me, and headed up Union Street towards the nearest kebab house, the sick sweat breaking out afresh on my forehead at the thought of a large donner and chips.