Most Important Meal
A commissioned work
Crisp morning air held heavy over the train station as Gary hoisted his backpack over his shoulders with a grunt. His brow furrowed as an autumn breeze swept over him, feeling extra chilly over his sweaty forehead framed by light brown hair. Marching through the morning darkness as he crossed the street and began his trek down the sidewalk, he grit his teeth as the hefty straps dug into his shoulders, knowing this would all be worth it to surprise his mother.
His arms aching as he dug into his pocket to find his phone, he leaned forward to better distribute some of the weight. Quickly clicking through the apps, he found the maps function and quickly calculated the distance to his house. Ugh. Two miles. Noting the battery was at only five percent, he repressed his pang of regret over not charging it and stuffed it in his pocket again, desperate to conserve the battery.
Biting his lip and now waddling with a slouch, Gary thought “Lift with your legs” as he continued his journey from the train station to the place he called home just a few short months ago. As he planned his first trip back home since leaving for college, he figured the long walk home with his textbooks in tow would make for good exercise, as he was rapidly approaching the true “Freshman fifteen” without even making it halfway through the year.
“That’s it. The burning is good.” Gary whispered to himself as he tried to avoid thinking about the pain in his legs, looking at the uphill incline of the sidewalk. He usually appreciated living at the top of a hill at the end of a cul-de-sac, but for now he wished he lived anywhere else. He couldn’t believe how hot he felt, despite it being early November. “Feel the burn. The burning is great. The burning is amazing.” He breathily exclaimed as he imagined himself losing weight over the trip. Slumping, he then remembered the home-cooked meals he’d inevitably eat at home and rolled his eyes, thinking he’d look like an asshole if he refused any of it.
His muscles now felt like they were on fire. Gary swung his backpack over his shoulder and his heart jumped as he lost his balance. A bright flash of pain burst over his left kneecap a split-second before his chest struck the solid sidewalk. “Fuck!” he shouted as he realized he slipped on a wet leaf. Shivering as he placed his palms on the ground, trying to heave himself upwards, he darted his eyes to the left, noticing something oddly-colored on the yard right next to him. Crawling on all fours, experiencing the electric pain on his left knee pulse each time it hit the ground, he reached for it and gasped. It’s a ring.
Sitting on the sidewalk, not caring that the morning dew was soaking into his jeans, he twirled it between his fingers, admiring his find. Silver, or maybe platinum? It looked valuable, especially with the three heart-shaped pink gemstones arranged in a strange pattern on the top. Still observing it, he groaned as he planted his feet on the ground and stood up, every muscle in his body aching. Placing one foot in front of the other, Gary walked with renewed conviction, knowing he had a nice gift for mom. Clenching it in his fist, he let out a long sigh as he caught sight of the house at the crest of the hill. The lights still off, he knew that mom would be beyond happy to see him once she walked downstairs. With the ring on his finger, he reached into his pocket, groping for his phone only to find a black screen. Sighing, he slipped it back and pinched his house key between his two fingers and lifted it as he lightly stepped up his front stoop, staying as quiet as possible in spite of his heavy breathing.
After gently inserting the key into the hole, Gary leaned forward and entered. The rooms, filled with the dim light of the early sunrise, were familiar enough to easily navigate. Tip-toeing through the living room, he entered the kitchen, still heaving the backpack, not wanting to drop it and wake his mother up with a shocking crash. Scanning the room, a sense of nostalgia washed over him, despite having only lived in his out-of-state dorm since August. Wanting his return to be extra sweet, he reached up into the cabinet and retrieved a bowl, one of the nice ones with a complex floral pattern on the inside.
Placing it on the table gingerly, Gary felt the backpack’s straps grind into his shoulders, causing him to squeeze the ring he found in his palm, oddly feeling one of the gemstones press down slightly. His heart dropped. “Oh no, did I break i-”
His chest felt as though it burst with an agonizing shock. Dizziness overcame him as a bright pink flash, brighter than the sun, overwhelmed his vision; blinding him. He fell to his knees, almost feeling his already-hurt kneecap crunch against the hard floor. Tossing his backpack off, he blinked over and over, trying to normalize his sight, ignoring the throbbing pain from below.
The blurriness wearing away, he shook his head. Feeling a cold, hard surface under him, Gary felt as though he was transported somewhere else. Panic immediately set in. A flood of thoughts entered his mind. Was he knocked out and dragged somewhere? Did a ceiling beam crash into his head? Dragging his fingers on the frigid surface below, he noticed the familiar texture and pattern. The very cereal bowl he took from the cabinet magnified one thousandfold. Shaking his head, dizziness overtook him again. This couldn’t be possible. Craning his neck upwards, he bit his lip and widened his eyes as he saw the cusp of the bowl tower around him, surrounded on all sides by a steep, almost sheer floral-patterned wall. “Oh, God.”
Gary’s head was spinning. “This can’t be possible. This can’t be possible.” His jaw quivered. The ceiling above looked so distant it became blurry. As the reality sunk into him, he realized he must be the size of an ant, maybe even smaller. “It must have been that ring! That fucking ring!” Rising to his feet, he attempted to suck down his fear as he approached the wall of the bowl that surrounded him.
Looking upwards, his eyebrows contorted into a look of almost hopelessness as the wall seemed climbable, but only barely. “If only I could get that ring back” he thought, “I could probably get myself back to normal.”
Placing one hand above the other and attempting to grip the slightly bumpy floral texture that lined the inside of the bowl, Gary began his slow crawl upwards. Sweating profusely at this point and adrenaline fueling his second wind, he saw the cusp of the bowl above. Not even caring about how he got down, he felt as though he was mountain climbing.
He slid down an inch or two and froze as an immense, rhythmic thumping started, growing closer to him with each boom. An immense shadow passed over the rim of the bowl. It’s mom! “Hey! Hey mom! I’m down here!” Gary screamed as he continued his ascent. A loud yawn filled his eardrums, eerily massive, giving the same impression as whale song.
Gary’s fingers, fiery with pain, grasped over the top of the bowl. Almost unable to hoist himself any further, he bit his lip and managed to get both elbows over the rim.
Breathing heavily, he finally saw his mother for the first time in months. He could see she was wearing a long, oversized, grey tee shirt that slightly hugged her pudgy abdomen, ending right at the top of her thighs. Facing away from him, he looked up to see her brown hair, the same light shade as his, slightly shift as her head looked downward. “What’s this?” Her booming voice asked, as she leaned forward. “A ring?”
Gary winced and quivered as he saw the tee shirt hike up as she leaned forward, exposing her bare ass, her cheeks slightly spread to fully display her asshole and vagina to her tiny, shaking son. His arms gave out as he wanted to heave. His slow slide down the inside rim of the bowl turned into a violent tumble, with each slam causing a flash before his eyes. Landing at the bottom yet again, he shouted as loudly as he could as he saw the shadow of his mother’s form pass back and forth.
His blood ran cold as he heard the next sound. A familiar rattling of a cereal box. It was only a few short seconds before he heard a resonating crinkling and his mother’s face loom over the bowl itself. He could see her familiar features: Her long nose, her slight crow’s feet next to her eyes, her puffy cheeks, looking tired, but still good for forty eight. “Mom! I’m down here! It’s me Gar-” His voice was muffled by an avalanche of corn flakes pouring down from above, burying him under a mountain of cereal.
Lighter than he expected, he used the flakes as stepping stones to ascend, making it only a few strides before a torrent of ice cold milk shocked every nerve over his skin. He could feel his body hair jump. Swimming upwards through the cereal, he breathed in a gasp of air and spit out a mouthful of sweet white liquid. He lunged forward and grasped one of the hard flakes, not soggy quite yet.
His fear feeling as though it were both physical and coursing through his veins, Gary breathed deeply; uncontrollably. He remained frozen with a blank expression as he stared at his mother’s uncaring face, completely without knowing he was swimming in her cereal bowl. The ceiling scrolled past her head as the liquid below him shifted as his mother lifted and carried the cereal bowl into the other room.
Plopping her round ass into the couch below, Gary slipped on one of the cereal pieces he was using as a life preserver. Submerged in milk, he flailed his arms as it filled his ears. An incredible rumble thundered from all around as he swam for the surface. The vibration led to an extra layer of frigid coldness from within to match the freezing milk over his skin. He knew it was the rumbling of his own mother’s stomach. The thick aroma of sickeningly sweet milk and the heavy scent of the cereal almost overwhelmed his senses as he stared up, past his mother’s big, round breasts and to her thin, pink lips.
“AIIUGH!” Gary screamed as he spat out another mouthful of milk, now panicked into a frenzy, knowing the bowl itself was perched on his mother’s gut as she stretched her legs on to the coffee table as she always did. His eyes blurred as the fluid washed into them, but he knew he saw an incredibly long, silver rod descend upon him. “ACK!” He coughed as the spoon dug into the flakes, resulting in a wave that pushed him under the surface yet again.
A sense of relief washed over him as he knew he wasn’t being carried away with the first spoonful. His heart was pounding so hard in his chest he felt nauseous as he looked upwards to see the round edge of the utensil enter his mother’s mouth, causing a line of milk to drip down the corner of her mouth. Gary waved his arms as he saw her eyes transfixed on the television, her teeth crushing the mouthful before a loud gluck-sound accompanied a lump in her throat, sending the corn flakes down into her stomach. He screamed, realizing that could have been him, the slick, wet chewing sounds still echoing in his eardrums.
After wiping away the dripping from her mouth, Gary’s mother lowered the spoon into the bowl, lifting up another hill of wet cereal. Gary was paralyzed with terror as he watched his own mother’s jaw jump up and down before sending spoonful after spoonful of corn flakes into her waiting body.
Gary bit his lip so hard that his teeth broke the skin as he saw the spoon descend directly towards his position. He dived forward, and screeched “Mom! No!” in a terrified, high-pitched timbre as the cold smoothness of the spoon slid below his feet. The world felt as though it was spinning as he stared upwards into his mother’s brown eyes, looking away aimlessly, not even at the mound of food she was about to shovel into her face.
The sensation of ascent gripped Gary so tightly he felt as though he couldn’t breathe. Despite this, he painfully squeezed out shouts of “Mom! Look down! Please! I’m down here! Please!”
His desperate cries were drowned out by the milk dripping from the sides of the spoon as it slowly ascended towards his mother’s face. Looking forward, he couldn’t accept his reality as he watched his mother’s lips part, exposing a dark, wet cave filled with chewed cereal and cords of saliva mixed with milk dripping from her palate above. Gary splashed his arms into the milk so hard he felt pain from each strike. Splashing as hard as he could, he tried swimming backwards, screaming “MOMMY! MOMMY! MOMMY NO! MOMMY!” He had never known he could experience such terror, nor that such a terror could even exist as he felt his mother’s body heat wafting over his tiny form.
Time appeared to move in slow motion as he watched his mother’s mouth open as wide as it could. His voice felt scratchy and scarred as he began to smell her thick, humid morning breath. His mind now capturing everything in an uncanny clarity, he continued to splash in a desperate attempt to swim backwards as he caught sight of a cluster of white spit bubbles hanging from her uvula.
He ran his fingers through his hair and gripped as hard as he could as her upper lip loomed over him followed by her slightly yellowed front teeth, then her dark palate. “MOMMY NO!” He screeched as the roof of her mouth lowered upon him. He put his hands up in the air as the warm, slick surface pressed upon him from above, pushing him into the wad of soggy cereal.
His shoes squeaked as the spoon slid out from under him, leading him to drop abruptly on to the unstable, undulating tongue below. He inhaled as hard as he could, the heavy odor was horrific, smelling like a mixture between cereal and poison. His mother’s saliva oozed between his fingers, causing Gary to retch in horror just as the mass of cereal jumped and squelched between the immense, chewing teeth. “YAHHH!” He shouted, just avoiding being crushed.
Now partially embedded in a ball of chewed cereal mixed with his own mother’s saliva, Gary kicked and pressed in every direction, feeling the agony of his tired muscles overexerting themselves and the stinging pain of his bashed knee. He couldn’t do anything but scream as the ball jumped and was squeezed between his mother’s molars.
“NO! N-N-NO!” He shouted as the mass lurched forward. His tiny face dragged over his mother’s bumpy, slick tongue as the ball of chewed cereal made its way to the back of the dark, slimy throat. Spitting out a wad of liquid that was too thick to just be milk, Gary began weeping. He winced and cried, experiencing the sharp pain of dread overtake him.
Whimpering, he could hear the wet, tight, bubbly sound of his mother’s throat contracting to begin her swallow. Frozen in fear, he could feel the chewed mass around him, now warm with body heat, ooze over every inch of him. The fluids surrounding him soaked into his clothes, his hair, and pressed up his nose. His mother’s tightness embraced him as a loud GLUCK sound marked his journey downward into the wet darkness below.
Squeezed on all angles, all Gary could do was cry, knowing his life was reduced to being food for his own mother. The esophagus slid against his tiny, crying face, emanating body heat over a calm, slow, rhythmic heartbeat. Grumbling and squeezing sounds echoed from below as the bolus of food continued descending, Gary’s body with it.
As it reached the entrance of his mother’s stomach, Gary could feel the chewed cereal pour around him into the smooth hole below. Feeling the tight grip, Gary felt his legs dangle in midair as the soft grip of his mother’s sphincter held him lightly, despite the rest of the food landing below.
Now stuck at the bottom of his mother’s esophagus, he flailed his arms and attempted to climb upwards, but the fiery pain in his arms and the slick, mucus-covered walls proved impossible. Another loud groan vibrated his body from below. A true sensation of doom came over him. For the first time in his life, Gary had to contemplate death in a real sense.
A squelching sound thundered from above. He knew that there was another bolus of chewed cereal descending upon him. In just a few seconds, Gary understood that a warm ball of food would ooze him into an acidic pit from which he would never return.
He felt the heavy mass land over his body with an unexpected force, blasting the glob into his eyes, down his throat, and up his nose before he fell into an ocean of his own mother’s vomit.
An oceanic torrent of slime immediately covered Gary’s entire body. He forced his arms into a swimming motion to find the surface of the thick, bubbly mixture, but he couldn’t tell which way was up in the pitch darkness. Heat blasted him from every angle as the chunky sludge washed over him. By chance, his head emerged through the surface and he spit out a sour mouthful of his mother’s puke before inhaling the most putrid, humid air his brain could comprehend.
Able to do nothing but flail, he felt the acidic slime cling to his skin. He tried wiping it from his hair or his face, but another wave of chyme would just envelop him, like trying to dry yourself off while swimming. His whole body was electric with horror, his skin now beginning to tingle from the acid.
A rumbling splash blasted inches from him as another chewed ball of cereal fell from above. “Mommy… mommy… let me go… mom.” He was delirious with fear. Gary treaded slime and found the wrinkly wall, caressing it almost lovingly. “I love you mommy. Please... let me go.” His eyes began to burn.
Grasping one of the wrinkles, he could feel the wall undulating back and forth as the stomach churned the bubbly, foaming mixture of chewed cereal, milk, mucus, and stomach acids. Gary’s horror forced him to feel nausea. A dizziness-induced headache pounded at his skull from inside as the food rained down, followed by a loud, long splash. His mother must have finished the rest of the milk.
He knew there was absolutely no way she knew he could possibly be in here. He continued to cry, stuck on the thought that he ended up as nothing but an addition to his own mother’s breakfast. His arms didn’t even give any warning when they finally gave out. They just stopped working. His fingers and arms just lost grip abruptly as he slid right into the stinging, swirling mixture.
Breathing in a lungful of acidic foam, Gary couldn’t scream. He could only cough painfully and harshly as he felt the most sensitive parts of his body begin to burn. His crotch, his toes, his thighs, and especially his eyes. He couldn’t see in the darkness, but he still wondered if the acid etching at him had made him blind anyway. The grumbling from all around remained relentless as the current of vomit carried him through the bubbles of his mother’s mucus. He couldn’t swim with his arms too tired to move.
Every inch of him now burned with a fiery fury. His skin felt as though it was completely dissolved with no relief of numbness. Gary’s mind could only focus on the electric pain both from within and without. He couldn’t sense where his limbs were, he could only sense scorching agony, as if he were formless.
The mixture was thick, but he could feel himself begin to sink. He could see bright lights flash before him as he felt his insides begin to fill with his own mother’s slime. He tried to cough, but his lungs were filling with puke. Mom’s puke.
After only a few seconds of submersion, Gary’s mind drifted into complete unconsciousness, his body now one with its surroundings.
Christine walked over to the sink with her dish, feeling her flabby breasts and belly bounce with each step. Sighing, thinking she should lose some weight, she rinsed out the remaining flecks before putting it into the dishwasher. Her stomach groaned, but she didn’t notice it as she admired her new ring, even though she had no idea where it came from.
Grabbing a cup of coffee and looking out the window, she enjoyed the angle at which the sun shined in on mornings like this. In a good mood, she thought of her son. “I wonder how he’s doing” she thought as she picked up her phone and found his name in her contacts. Pressing the touch screen and putting it up to her ear, she put an eyebrow up. Strange. Straight to voicemail.