The two of them sat in their enormous, dark brown extremely used leather chairs. They each had a table to the side of them. One on the right side and one on the left, piled up with pillboxes and tissues and cans of fizzy pop and old take-a-way boxes. You could hear their heavy breathing from the next town. Harold and Tatters, were twins. Both weighing in at around 620 pounds. Tatters sat in his Boston Red Sox jersey which had been specially made. It looked like a beach towel with buttons. It had a few food stains on it. You could see they had been washed a few times. Harold sat in his jumbo-sized salmon shirt, it was too big for him really, looking like a bed sheet wrapped around him. They sat barely able to move, watching their giant television. The room was large and very dark, some light would shine in through the blinds but they would always complain. They liked it dark, with their laptops filling the room with a bright glow that sometimes would create shadows on the ceiling as they typed away. They had been here for about five years now. The building wasn’t that old and the upkeep was done by a maintenance team, they’d come in every now and then to change a bulb, take out the trash open or close a window. The twins would always try and have a laugh with them, asking about their day. Most of the staff didn’t mind the twins, some of the nursing staff just wanted them to get better and move out. You see they didn’t have an illness, well they didn’t think so, they were just incredibly lazy when it came to actually moving and getting exercise. They both knew if something didn’t change they’d be dead before 40. At the moment it was just another Tuesday.
“Turn it over,” yelled Harold, catching his breath in his strong Boston accent.
Tatters fondled around his chair looking for the remote groaning and moaning as he tried to reach it.
A loud voice billowed over them.
“Will you two just keep to one channel?” said a lady with an extremely deep Eastern European accent. She was their nurse. The nurse that could put up with them the most.
She had bright white nurse’s uniform on with even brighter white plimsolls on her feet. She had short black shoulder length hair and a small radio device on her hip. She had been their carer for about a year now and enjoyed the twins but she could have a mean streak, especially when the twins would play up. She didn’t want them to be treated like children, like naughty school kids, so when she came, everything changed. No more midnight snacks. The only problem she had was getting them to move.
The twins had, had a few different carers but none of them could stand their behaviour, some calling them too negative, others saying too rude and one even quit before he couldn’t say ‘No’ to them. Always getting that extra slice of pizza or the whole cake for Jenny the receptionist’s birthday they ate between them. He had to go, he wasn’t caring he was supplying and when you’re in a care home to help you lose weight and have more of a life stealing cakes isn’t the best way in keeping your job.
“But there’s nothing on,” groaned Harold
“Oh give it here,” said the nurse as she snatched it out of Tatters’ hand, who had finally found the remote.
The two of them stared at her as she flicked through the channels till finally settling on the news. The two of them groaned again
“STOP IT, You’ll watch the news. You can see what’s going on in the world and not some silly game show.”
She placed the remote on top of the television and turned to face them.
“We have a new patient arriving today and I want you two to make them feel welcome,” she said harshly
“New patient?” said Tatters looking surprised
“Yes, his name is Caleb or Kaalebb, I’m not sure how you say it. He’ll tell us when he arrives. Now he’s special, like you,” she continued
“You mean mega fat,” laughed Harold
“That’s not funny Harold! He’s special, special,” the nurse explained
One of their ways to get over the mental pain of being morbidly obese is was to laugh at themselves whenever they could.
“So he’s a retard?” said Tatters
“STOP THAT!’ yelled the nurse as the two of them looked at her in shock. “You will not say that word!” she continued.
“Sorry, sorry, what is it then?” said Tatters looking for forgiveness.
“He’s special and that’s that. You two are going to be friendly when he comes her ok!” she snapped. They knew that wasn’t a question. When she got angry at them it could be hell for them, so they’d always apologies as fast as they could.
Harold and Tatters where the largest twins in the US. They’d gotten this way over the past 38 years due to poor diet and lack of exercise, well that’s what the doctors would say. They would always claim it was due to having bigger bones. Now both 38 they had actually done rather well for themselves financially. They had developed a social network website that pretty much took down Facebook and Twitter within the first year.
They would sit in their chairs eating, drinking energy drinks and writing code for most of their adult life. Tatters was the brains behind the website coming up with an idea but Harold was more technical when it came to actually building the site. They had made their first million within six months of the site going live. Harold had given Tatters the nickname Tatters after Twitter closed down. He would constantly say “You’re going to turn them into Tatters soon enough,” and the name stuck.
“Why are they special then,” Harold asked the nurse
“Well, I guess you can know. They believe they are as big as you,” she replied
The two looked at each other confused and laughed slightly.
“They believe? So there not mega fat? They just think they are?” said Tatters
The two laughed and grunting making pig sounds as they did so.
“Will you two stop it!” the nurse snapped again at them.
The light blue hospital doors to the main living area where Harold and Tatters sat, slept, worked swung open. The nurse held it open as another large chair was manoeuvred into the living area by the maintenance man.
“Here OK?” said the man.
He was a rather worn looking man, maybe in his late 50’s. He had a big grey beard, sort of looked like a wizard but the faded hand tattoos suggested he must have been a rocker or biker in his youth.
“Yes, that’s fine,” said the nurse as she walked over moving it ever so slightly
The chair was sat next to Tatters.
“If he’s not fat why does he need a chair this size?” he asked the nurse.
The nurse turned giving her usual annoyed look towards him. Harold and Tatters paid for the care home, they allowed new patients to get care and live there for free. It was one of their charity deeds.
Caleb waddled into the room, breathing heavily he stopped to catch his breath. He had two brown walking sticks and he hunched over as he walked. Caleb was skinny, short brown hair but it looked neat like he had it cut a few days before, dark brown skin, the kind of colour that would glow in the summer. He weighed about 170 pounds, pretty normal weight for someone his size. He looked healthy. He took a deep breath and fell into his chair. Caleb had on an oversized blue shirt. He looked like a small child had dressed up in his father’s clothes. Everything was far too big for him. Even his shoes looked like they didn’t fit.
“Gentlemen, this is Caleb,” the nurse said turning to Harold and Tatters. “Caleb is here to lose weight like you two.”
Caleb looked at them and smiled.
“Now, you three get along. Caleb dear is there anything I can get you?”
Caleb shook his head and the nurse turned and left
Harold and Tatters turned and looked at each other. They each took it in turns to raise their eyebrows at each other. It was like they were having a conversation daring each other to speak first. Finally, after a stern look from Harold, Tatters turned to Caleb and spoke
“So, what diet they got you on?” said Tatters
Caleb shrugged and looked around the room.
Tatters turned back to Harold and Harold shrugged back
“Well, I’m Tatters, this is Harold” Tatters continued
“Caleb,” replied Caleb shyly.
“How long have you been, you know,” said Tatters
“Fat?” Caleb replied.
Harold shook his head and spoke
“I’m sorry about him, we don’t get guest that often.”
Tatters swung a giant fist towards Harold missing him as per usual
“It’s ok, I know I’m fat, I guess it was a school. Lunchtime burgers, not one but four.”
Tatters looked surprised
“You’d actually eat four burgers for lunch? I don’t think I’ve ever eaten four at lunch,” Tatters replied
The conversation moved on from food to computer games and movies. The two had actually found Caleb and his stories rather entertaining. Here was a man who believed he was morbidly obese just like them only he wasn’t. He was normal height normal weight and looked in good health but in his mind, he was a 600-pound obese man.
The conversation had moved back to weight as they watched ‘Game of Thrones’.
“He’s a massive fatty too you know,” said Harold
“Who?” Caleb questioned
“George what’s his face,” replied Harold
“R R Martin? Is he?” Caleb questioned again looking interested.
Tatters sat up grabbing a can of coke from the small table next to him and cracking it open
“Oh yeah, look at him. Just like us, super mega fat, yet tremendously successful. You don’t need to be a ‘norm’ to be successful.”
Caleb had no idea who they were. The only photos of the twins published were actually of models they had paid and still pay to this day to be the faces of the company. The models are never allowed to speak to the press, just pose in photos and if ever seen out they had to make out they lost their voices if anyone asked them questions. It cost them about 250,000 dollars a year for the model twins.
“We made a little website a few years back,” said Tatters not giving too much away
Caleb had started to relax, he’d been rather agitated by the whole moving in and meeting new people. He’d had enough of people telling him something he wasn’t and had finally found a place where they’d except him for what he was.
A few days had flown by and the three of them were getting on like a house on fire. Each telling stories of events in their past and what led them to this point. The twins would sometimes butt in on each other’s tale and take over. Caleb didn’t mind he learnt a lot, he even spoke about the Doctors and Nurses saying he wasn’t obese. He had been a long road to this point for him, you could tell it had put a lot of strain on his mental health.
On this a bright Thursday morning Caleb had woken first ordered breakfast and lunch and then attempted to walk over to the treadmill that sat in the corner of the room gathering dust. It hadn’t been used in what seemed years. The twins woke to a crashing sound, there just by the treadmill on the floor was Caleb
“You alright?” asked Harold
“Yeah, just thought I’d try and get some exercise for once, maybe shift some of this weight,” he said, pointing at his invisible massive belly
Harold pressed a button on the chair that took him into a standing position and attempted to walk over to Caleb to help him up
“What are you doing Harold?” called out Tatters “We have people to help for that sort of thing.”
Harold took a step and grabbed a sort of Zimmer frame and pulled it in towards him, each step he made towards Caleb was a hard thud to the ground. The glasses on the tables actually shook.
“Oh be quiet. Get up and give me a hand. The boy’s right, we need some exercise and we are all going to lose the weight together,” Harold replied to Tatters as he made his booming way to Caleb who was trying to pull himself up.
Tatters not letting his brother get the better of him cried out with determination and stood for what might have been the first time in months.
“See I knew you could do it, grab your stand,” Harold said pointing towards the back of his chair.
Harold, Tatters and Caleb now all standing next to the treadmill looked rather pleased with themselves as the nurse came in the room. She had the look of horror on her face yet it turned into a gigantic smile shortly after.
“Boys, Boys, Boys,” she cried out. “I can’t believe it, you’re all standing,” she said.
“We thought we’d get some exercise for once,” said Harold
“Yeah, work can wait, we’ve got people to do the jobs for us,” replied Tatters.
Caleb shuffled onto the treadmill, the two helped as the nurse tried to help as well but a large paw-like hand flung up towards her indicating they wanted to help him and do it themselves.
“You can do it sonny,” said Harold
“How do you make it work miss?” Caleb asked the nurse.
“Don’t you just walk?” said Tatters
The nurse moved to the front of the treadmill and looked at the controls and pointed at the big green button.
“I think you press this one, with ‘GO’ on it,” she told the group
Without a thought of what settings, it was on Caleb pressed go, and with a loud thud he had fallen face first onto the track and flung out the back, he slid across the floor banging his head as he fell off.
“OH JESUS,” cried out the nurse.
“Bloody Nora, that was one hell of crash mate,” called out Harold as they watched his small body lying on the floor.
The nurse ran over checking him and then with a click on her belt she spoke into a small radio type object and as soon as she had finished the room had three more nurses a doctor and two maintenance men with a trolley.
“Is he going to be ok?” asked Tatters.
The nurse walked back over the two who had now been standing for 20 minutes, the first time in about 2 two years.
“Oh yes, nasty fall. Banged his head but he’ll be ok,” she said to them as they lent on the treadmill.
“Why not, we set the settings lower,” she continued with her now stronger eastern European accent. She would always slip back into a strong accent whenever angry or worried, the twins noticed.
“You expected us to go on that?” Harold asked.
“Why not, you’re already up. I know Caleb would want you to try. He tried, maybe you try for him and when he comes back he can have another go, yes?” She smiled at them.
Harold stepped up on the treadmill. There were loud creaks and he gave Tatters a look of fear.
“Now, hold on and we’ll set it to slow walk,” said the nurse as she started the machine up again. The machine made grinding sounds and Harold began to walk, each step you could hear grinding sounds. This treadmill was not meant to take that sort of weight. With a sudden thud the belt snapped off and Harold was standing on a broken treadmill.
“Oh for Pete’s sake,” snapped Tatters.
“It’s ok lovely, will get a new one,” said the nurse as she held back laughter, “how about we walk around the garden?” She pointed towards the doors.
“Outside?” said Harold.
Just as he left Caleb burst in, he was walking normally no walking stick, no back problems nothing wrong at all.
“Alright lads?” he called out to them as he headed over.
“Caleb! You’re ok and walking without your sticks,” said Tatters.
“Turns out I don’t need them, so where we going?” asked Caleb.
The nurse opened the blue door.
“We’re going for a walk in the garden Caleb, would you like to join us?”
“Can we get some lunch first, look at me I’m like a stick, I need some breakfast.”
The twins and the nurse all looked at each other and laughed.