“Ain’t nothing gonna break my stride, Nobody’s gonna slow me down, Oh- no! I got to keep on moving!”
Yes, that damn Matthew Wilder song from the ’80’s that I was forced to do aerobics to during elementary school P.E. is running through my head over and over. But it’s ok! I feel good! Actually, I feel fan-fucking-tastic! The fact that I’m sneaking my favorite “F” word in is a sign that I’m in a great mood. I got a big, hurricane-size gust of wind in my sails on Tuesday and I’m going to share it with you before I treat you to the second installation of The Hunger Camp.
On Monday my brain coughed up a little hairball of memory that reminded me that I was long overdue for switching the price of Fifty Shades of Puddin’ back up to a whopping $1.99. For once, I followed through and made the change on Amazon and Smashwords. The next morning I decided to google my book to check all the distributors for the change. When I did that I found a link I’d never seen before about 6 down from the top. After looking at it more closely, I realized it was a review of my book.
My heart stopped, flopped around a bit, and restarted. I was scared to death that my little book had been sodomized like it was shower day at Rikers. But I gathered my courage and dove into the review…and it was good. It was better than good. It was fantastic. To quote Villara Noir, “This book is brilliant. Bloody fucking brilliant.” Well, she had me with the use of my favorite word, so I kept on reading, and it kept getting better. Her review ended with her recommendation that everyone go and buy the book immediately!! I cried and squealed and danced around. I may have even broke into some of those 1980’s aerobic moves.
What kind of made it even better is that when I went through her blog, I discovered that my review was part of a Fifty Shades Friday series she started to poke fun at the parodies. Here’s an excerpt:
“Welcome to the very first Fifty Shades Friday at VillaraNoir.com! Here, I
poke fun at review one of the many spin-offs of the Fifty Shades trilogy. Yes, it’s two years after the release. Yes, everyone is sick to death of Fifty Shades of Anything, which is why I’m here to ridicule the bejeesus out of those books, because honestly, I have nothing else to blog about.
So, without further ado, my first
victim review is for … (drum roll please) …”
Why does this make me happy? She set out to poke fun at and ridicule these parodies and I won her over!!! Yes! Now, I think she has every right to poke at us because lord knows I jabbed the shit out of EL James with my pokin’ stick (a trick I learned from Jerry Jones, but that’s another story). But in the end, my redneck erotica pulled her to the fried side…because it’s funny!!!
So, I’m sending a big thank you out to her. She gave me some extra drive I needed to get some stuff done and schedule my book signings. I want to share the love back to her, so go read the full review on her page and snoop around a bit. She writes real erotica so you may even want to give that a whirl if things have been rather dry in that area of your life (yes, pun totally intended). And now that my moment of gloating is over…
The Hunger Camp (part 2- go here if you missed the first part)
We drive in silence to the high school. I see other families pulling out of their pads, fat kids with heads hung low in back seats and the beds of pickup trucks. Daddy parks our El Camino and we slowly trudge towards the gymnasium. It’s all really humiliating. You can feel the other fat kids and their families sizing each other up. We’re all just hoping there will be another kid who’s just such a lard ass that there’s no way they won’t get picked over you. But getting sized-up by other fat kids isn’t the worst part. All the skinny rich kids have shown up, too. They’re sitting on the walls outside the school, eating supersized meals, waving huge burgers and shakes around at us, pointing and laughing. I want to go punch them in the balls and tits, but that will just get me sent to some juvie version of fat camp.
When we get in the gym there’s a newspaper reporter, a couple of stupid kids from the yearbook staff, and one TV camera. I can see poor Giovani from my grade hiding behind his big mama as she talks to the TV reporter, a girl who looks like she’d slip down the drain in a shower. Giovani is Italian and his mama sends tons of food with him every day for lunch, so I don’t think it’s all his fault that he’s roughly the size of a baby hippo. I wonder if his mama knows the other kids call him “Giggle-ani”. I wonder how you’d say that in Italian?
Daddy marches me and Levon up to the folding table in the center of the gym. Some of the school coaches are sitting in folding chairs behind it. I’ve always thought it was weird that all the coaches are the fattest teachers in the school and they’re the ones telling us how to be in shape. There’s just something wrong about that.
“Names and grade?” grunts Coach Crump. He’s the swim coach for the middle school but he looks like the only pool he should be swimming in is a tank at Sea World. I’ve heard that he wears those little banana hammock swim trunks to practice even though he never gets in the water.
“Ambrosia and Levon Wood, both are going to be sophomores,” answers Daddy.
The coach just looks at him like he’s really confused or he thinks Daddy’s stupid. “Sopho-whats?”
“Why didn’t you just say so?” mumbles Coach Crump looking over some papers in front of him and checking off our names. “Boys to the left and girls to the right.”
I walk off towards the line of girls and Daddy takes Levon to his line. I get to another folding table and there’s some of the women coaches behind it. They start grouping us by age and one at a time we’re taken behind a curtain where some lady I’ve never seen before is waiting.
“Take your shoes off and get on the scale,” she says, looking my outfit over.
I do what she says and she adjusts the little bar until it stops moving. 165!! I was only 140 when I’d left for my mama’s. It’s hard to make myself accept it, but I know in my heart that my boobs don’t weigh 25 pounds. I guess it was really the big ass fairy who came to visit me.
“Lift your shirt,” barks the woman like she was reading my mind about boobs.
I do and she starts measuring me around my waist, chest, hips, thighs and even my neck. Then she pulls out this plastic claw-looking thing and pinches a blob of fat on my waist with it. She scribbles down a bunch of notes and then tells me to go sit with my group in the bleachers.
I trudge back out towards the rest of the fat kids lined up on the bleachers away from the parents. I see Levon and Dale both already sitting with the boys. I’m looking around for other people I might know when I hear my name called.
I spin around and see a pretty girl with brown hair smiling at me. She’s got a really nice dress on and definitely isn’t fat enough to be here for the trimming. I decide she must be one of the asshole kids from outside who’s slipped in to make fun of us.
“What?” I say kinda mean like.
“Ambrosia, it’s me—Martha.”
I look at her a little closer and kinda recognize her. “Martha Morgan?”
“Yeah, it’s me.” She smiles real big, but I’m still confused.
“Uh…What?…You’re not fat,” I stutter. This can’t be happening.
“I know,” she squeals. “Daddy got me and him that surgery where they put a big ol’ rubber band around your tummy so you can’t eat so much.”
“Wha…what?” I’m definitely gonna puke. She was my safety net.
“It cost a whole bunch of money. Daddy sold Mama’s 4-wheeler and our treadmill and exercise bikes to pay for it. And I puke almost every day and my throat always feels like it’s full of acid—but I’m skinny!!” She squeals again and turns in a circle. “Isn’t it great?”
“Yeah, it’s great,” I mumble.
I want to be happy for her because she’s a nice person, but I’m pissed off. It’s not fair that rich people can buy their kids way out of Hunger Camp. My Daddy doesn’t have anything fancy to sell to get my stomach hog-tied so I can puke and get all skinny. This is just like when rich little Jimmy Fork’s parents paid for Jenny Craig to cook all his meals and Loretta Lord’s family invested in some meth sold right out of our very own trailer park to keep her from going to camp. The rich people like to pretend we don’t exist until they need some crank for their tubby kids.
“Well, I have to go. Good luck,” says Martha with a worried expression.
I turn and go to the bleachers where I slump down with the other tenth graders. We wait there for a bit as they move the tables away and arrange some chairs in the middle of the gym. Eventually Martha’s daddy wanders out to one of the chairs. He’s lost a bunch of weight, too. Right behind him is a big black woman with blonde hair piled up high on her head. There’s some red, white, and blue braids woven into it and a tiny American flag stuck in the middle. She’s wearing a tight Presidential Fitness Challenge tee-shirt, some short white shorts and massive wedge heels that also have flags and bling on them. Her name is Effervescence Tinkle. She’s the camp representative for our school district.
Principal Morgan steps up to the podium, taps the microphone a couple of times, and starts telling us all the crap we already know. He talks about how economics and lifestyle have played a part in destroying the youth of our district and our state. He blabs on about how poorly our state performs on the challenge and how our state cares so much about the students that it created Hunger Camp to give us a better life.
He goes on about how each year each of the twelve districts must send two S.T.A.R.S. to the camp. S.T.A.R.S. is short for Students Taking Action and Responsibility to Succeed. They call us STARS but it didn’t take long for some shithead to link that to twinkles like a star which became Twinkies. So, all the skinny kids, and even adults, refer to the fat kids sent to camp as “Twinkies” because we’re soft, squishy, and, according to some of them, stuffed with filling. It’s just kicking us when we’re already down.
I dream about poking Principal Morgan with a giant fork while he reminds us of the horror of what happened to district 13. He tells us about how the school didn’t care enough about their kids to send them to camp and eventually most of them got so fat they died of diabetes and the school got shut down. Now, all those poor fat kids who were left were forced to go to the alternative school where they probably all got shanked or were homeschooled. Principal Morgan says homeschool like it would be worse than swimming in a septic tank.
Once at Hunger Camp, the kids learn all about nutrition and how to exercise. At the end of the camp, whatever kid has lost the most weight will be in parades and crap like that. The school that kid is from will also get lots of money from the government to pay for football equipment and other important academic stuff. I’ve heard lots of stories that they do lots of mean stuff to the campers while they’re there, and that the kids are forced to do whatever to whoever it takes to win. I even heard that kids have died. Daddy says it’s not true, but I’m not sure I completely trust the government. I saw on the internet that they even have Elvis and some aliens hidden away in some desert.
School district 12 has only had two winners of the Hunger Camp since it started. One is in jail and the other is Haystack Abersnatchy. As soon as Principal Morgan says his name, Haystack appears out of nowhere riding a scooter that’s meant for a kid. He’s wearing a Superman helmet and a cape with a big “H” on it made out of duct tape. He starts zipping around the gymnasium, whooping and hollering. All the kids are laughing, but the principal and Effervescence both look horrified.
Haystack lives in the same trailer park I do. We all know that he’s a tweaker, so him running around like a fool isn’t unusual. He’s still pretty skinny from the drugs and I guess his stint at Hunger Camp, but he also drinks enough beer that he’s got a gut that looks like he has a kickball stuffed under his shirt. He looks like some type of mascot you’d see at a demolition derby flying around like a crazy asshole. Some of the coaches start to chase him to get everything back on track when he suddenly loses control of his scooter, crashes into the chairs, and goes flying face first into Effervescence’s crotch.
Effervescence jumps up screaming. “Crackhead peckerwood!” She puts poor Haystack in a headlock and flings him around like he’s a limp Ramen noodle.
Even while Principal Morgan and the coaches are trying to free him, Effervescence doesn’t let go until he passes out. She drops him into one of the chairs like a ragdoll, straightens her weave, and takes her turn at the podium.
“Now that fools taken care of, childrens, let’s gets down to business.” She holds out her hand and one of the coaches gives her a clip board.
She takes her time looking at the results. On that board is the name of the fattest boy and fattest girl. I sit there and quietly pray to baby Jesus that at least one girl there ate more Little Debbies than I did this summer. Please don’t call my name. Please don’t call my name. And she doesn’t call my name.
She calls Levon Wood.