“Cindy! Come on! We’re going to miss the announcement.”
A giant woman with blond curls yanked on Cindy’s arm. Cindy feverishly looked through her desk again—it had to be there somewhere.
“I can’t find my ticket, Dez!” she gasped.
“Here, let me look.” Dezdemona pulled Cindy out of the cubicle; both women simply couldn’t occupy the same cube at the same time. Cindy backed out and let her co-worker check her desk.
The two women had been working at C.O.F.E. for several years now, and playing the “tits” lottery announcements had become a ritual for them. They always bought tickets—after all, one never knew.
“Your desk is so impossibly messy,” Dezdemona chided Cindy. But after just a few seconds of moving piles of documents around, she managed to produce the mislaid lotto ticket. “Here it is!” She held it up for Cindy to see.
Cindy eyed the rearranged paperwork. “Now it will take me hours to get back to where I was,” she complained, but she was glad the ticket had been found. “Come on, we only have fifteen minutes to get outside. Who knows how long the elevator line is!”
The women hurried to the exit.
By the time they reached the street, both were breathing hard. Now they just had to find a good place to watch the Jumbotron.
Over the years, the tits lottery announcements had become more and more of a circus. The people-movers were stopped until the end of the event, people poured out of office buildings to watch the announcements together, and overall the streets possessed the atmosphere of a block party—a giant, city-wide block party.
The C.O.F.E. workers were easy to spot; their ugly gray blouses, which they were required to wear, showed off each and every fold of fat. When Cindy had first started working there, she’d tried to use colorful scarves to liven up the gray, but then she got the memo reminding her of the official government policy. And besides, it was just too damn hot to wear scarves. So Cindy stopped trying, and at some point she simply stopped noticing. After all, everyone on her office floor was more or less the same rotund size. Aside from high-ranking supervisors and guards, few people had full a government-supported weight reduction account with Transdimensional Industries, and even fewer had the personal funds to afford one on their own.
“It’s starting, it’s starting!”
Dezdemona was practically giddy. She really believed that she had the winning ticket each and every time. It was kind of charming, Cindy thought. Dumb, but charming. Cindy just liked to get out and watch. There was so much hope on the city streets the days that the tits lottery winners were announced publicly. And the only thin people were the ones on TV.
A beautiful announcer from G.O.W.A.M., the Government Office of Weight Assistance Management, smiled broadly from the huge screen, her smile as wide as a bus. She was ready to reveal the winning numbers. Cindy squeezed her fingers around the little paper stub of her lotto ticket. Her hands were wet with perspiration. They won’t even be able to read my ticket, she thought. It’s all mush now.
“And the winning numbers…”
There was a roar from the crowd, thousands of fat hopefuls screaming and cheering. They drowned out the announcement, but it didn’t matter; the winning numbers were displayed in giant text on every Jumbotron.
“Oh well, maybe next time,” Dezdemona shouted into Cindy’s ear.
The beautiful lotto announcer said a few more words—they were completely inaudible under the roar of the crowd—and then her image dissolved, replaced by a view of a giant toad of a woman. This woman looked positively psychotic, from the smile plastered on her face to the sweat running down her forehead and the eyes that shined insanely.
The lotto announcer’s voice-over cut through the crowd noise. “Presenting… last week’s tits winner!”
And the crowd changed pitch again.
Cindy just nodded and watched the Jumbotron. This was her favorite part—the transformation. Each week’s tits winner was taken to a Transdimensional Industries lab, placed on a pedestal, and direct-wired into the Transdimensional Industries Tanks—the “tits.”
The camera zoomed out so that everyone got a good look at the woman’s giant stalactites of fat. Her face was still radiating insanity. Then the lights in the lab flashed and the transformation began. Slowly at first, then faster, the rolls of fat started to recede. The extra skin was sucked back into the body. It always seemed to Cindy as if there was a beautiful woman hiding underneath the cellulite and flab, a woman who was slowly revealed as the fat was siphoned away.
At some point the woman’s too-big clothes fell to the floor, and she stood there, completely naked. The whole world watched her body firm up and take shape. Her muscles toned and her nipples perked up. The droopy cheeks and chin pulled back to reveal the lovely outline of her jaw and cheekbones. Her eyes, which had been hidden in a weal of flesh, now looked bright and interesting.
The crowd gasped when the beautiful naked woman stepped off the pedestal. The lovely lotto announcer appeared from off-screen, bringing a white silk robe that she draped over the woman. But the silk couldn’t hide the attractive curves of her new body.
The lotto winner, as usual, was crying, and the announcer was delivering her usual breathless spiel, but Cindy stopped listening. This was what she should have looked like, she thought. Beautiful. She should have been beautiful.
Cindy wiped her eyes and turned to go back to work. Might as well try to beat the elevator queue.