Friday, 19 August 2011

Chapter Eleven

The fun ended abruptly. Cinderella was tossed out into the street by a grumpy driver who said that the time was up, he had an eighteenth birthday party to get to in Ipswich and called her a mini cab. He drove away, removing his hat and muttering something about bloody punters not tipping as a lightly confused Natasha stood by the edge of the road.

When the cab turned up it eventually dropped her outside a large-ish, vaguely run-down ex council house in Essex.

"That'll be eight fifty" said the driver.

There was no such thing as a free limo.

A front door crept open and a male voice beckoned her inside in a strangely high pitch.

"Quick! Before the paps see me!"

Fantastic, thought Natasha, another nutter.


The interior was crème and bookless. The style copied out of a magazine, the magazine stolen from a dental surgery. People who were struggling to prove their normality lived in crème houses. Serial killers probably lived in crème houses, (with the possible exception of Ed Gein). Natasha lived in filth and peeling woodchip, like normal people. She mentally kicked herself. Of course she'd willingly got in a car to a serial killer's house. She was a ginormous helmet.

"Excuse the décor" said the man who had gushingly introduced himself as Bob with a firm, unsarcastic, handshake "I inherited the place from my folks."

Did that mean his parents were serial killers? He ushered her through to the back of the house.

She was trying to devise an escape strategy involving windows and a can of mace that she didn't have when she walked into the Taj Mahal of kitchens.

She gasped a little as light bounced off chrome, glistening like a roller disco. He had one of those giant fridges that offered you ice cubes; he had a range oven with specific little bits for making specific little foods; he had an array of knives that she was far too nervous to focus on and one wall was loaded from top to bottom with cookery books. Every cake, every curry, every anything you might want to wrap your gums around, the secret to unlocking them was on the shelf in front of her. Holy shit this serial killer was obsessed with food.

"I've made some treats!" he sighed shyly. "It's not much" he blushed, taking a seat opposite her at a huge rustic looking kitchen table, which was partially obscured by a cake stand loaded with eight different types of glistening picture book cake in a variety of colours.

"Holy fuck" exclaimed Natasha, prompting a visible wave of panic in her host.

"I'm not crazy!" he chipped in far too quickly for a sane person. "It's just that I love your campaign and I really wanted to impress you."

Honestly no one had tried to impress Natasha in a long time. There was an ex boyfriend who had romantically tried to burp her name but had ended up throwing up on her shoes, but she hoped she didn't have to count that.


Bob smiled a little bit. "You don't recognise me at all do you?"

Truth be told Natasha heard that statement with frightening regularity. 50p tequila, low morals and a propensity for making bad decisions had dictated her life choices for nigh on a decade. Tequila Tuesdays tended to morph into Wake With a Wanker Wednesdays. She had forgotten more people who had seen her naked than most life models.

"Did we sleep together?" He shook his head. Then it began to dawn on her. The house in Essex, the cooking obsession, the name. Bob was famous - she'd seen him on TV numerous times.

In trying not to scream and point Natasha merely clamped her hand over her mouth and yelped.

"Have some cake" said Bob "lord knows I can't have any."


It had been the usual fare, dead mum, absentee dad, insane sister, doughnuts for love. Cut to the advert break. A quick re-cap and bam - welcome to balloons of lard covering his body, a mars bar habit that was costing thousands a week, washing in bed and a humiliating documentary series. Next ad break, whizzy re-cap and an opinion column in the Daily something or other by a deeply embittered columnist naming and shaming the Fattest Man in Britain ™ - and other horrible drains on our precious resources. Follow up with paint on windows, starers and paps looking in and a generous donation of cash from a stranger towards a gastric band.

Bob hadn't eaten properly in two years, he could only manage a few mouthfuls before being full to the brim. Before then he had eaten enough every day for five people. And even though the lard had gone away and the skin had been removed, even though the paps no longer followed him and he wasn't stared at in the supermarket, he was by no means cured.

Food had always been his lifeline. It hugged him when he was lonely, it celebrated with him when he was happy; it filled him up when all he wanted to do was cry. Nothing had changed, it was just that his anaesthetic had gone.

"So what do you do now?" asked Natasha.

"Nothing" responded Bob, "At least it was going to be nothing, until today."

He smiled mysteriously, Natasha began to feel nervous again.

"I've decided to do what you're doing." He explained. "I'm going out for revenge."

As ever, Natasha hadn't been aware that this was what she'd been doing.

"I love your organisation!" beamed Bob. "Giving fat laden foods to all those smug skinny people to even things out, using cake to choke your enemies."

"It's exactly how the fat people can hit back at the world which mocks and undermines us, which forces us to subscribe to its twisted beliefs of what health and beauty are."

He was really going for it now.

"This is for every chubby school kid, every anorexic teen kicking back at every relative and evil skinny columnist who dared to laugh at us. This is our revenge Natasha - we will flood the streets with cake, we can change normal forever."

He leant back in his chair triumphantly whilst Natasha tried to discretely wipe a glob of spittle from her lapel.

"So let me get this straight. You want to force feed everyone cake to make them fat so they don't laugh at fat people any more. Especially the columnist who humiliated you."

"It wasn't just me she humiliated Natasha" he growled.

Suddenly there emerged a thunderous banging from below the floor. Then silence, then another fevered banging session. Then another eery silence.

"What the hell is that?" asked Natasha. Bob smiled the smile of a snake.

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Chapter ten and a half

"You have to keep them on their toes." Explained Gladys. "You have to remind them that, no matter how much they think they own the place, they're only renting. And one day, no matter how many facelifts they have, one day no one will want to see them because they'll smell like piss."

Direct action called and so Natasha's moment in the sun loomed before her. She'd had the foolproof idea a few moments before, switching diet food for chocolate cake. People on diets never seemed happy, people eating cake did. It made perfect sense. Admittedly there had never been scientific studies, there had never been published PhD theses or bun fights on The Guardian's website, but it was clear for all to see - Natasha knew it deep down in her waters, the incidents of people on anti depressants had risen exactly in line with the purchases of crisp bread. It was science! And she was going to cure the world.

The supermarket was moderately empty, filled only with a few (deliberately) slow moving pensioners and some tired looking new parents confusedly sorting their way through the gobbledegook splattering the packets of baby formula, terrified that if they used the wrong type then they might end up breaking their babies.
The health food revolution hadn't rocketed its way into this particular branch - Jamie Oliver's tears had yet to form a river of low sodium diet muck in the centre of the store so the crispbread section was hidden away in its shame with the gluten free biscuits. The freaky food aisle.

Crouching low Natasha slid along the floor like a ninja, grabbing a packet and deftly slicing it open with a letter opener that her granny had bought her for Christmas when she was 11. She poured the cardboard content on the floor disdainfully and then ripped the top from the Tupperware container, refilling the contents with Kat's amazing cake.

"I was born to do this!" thought Natasha, as she reached for a second packet. She envisioned the delighted looks on the faces of the dieting masses, free at last. She took a quick couple of photos of the operation for all the armchair eaters and assorted blog freaks - well if they wanted to hero worship her she might as well let them….
This was what she'd set out to do, this would really get them talking. Here she was, an outlaw, an ass kicking, Nazi fighting, women's libbing outlaw who was going to change the world.

She'd star in a Marvel comic. She'd be played by Drew Barrymore. She'd get to sleep with Adrian Brody and then she would ignore his calls because she'd be on the road in her own Ken Kesey style bus - only instead of handing out acid they'd hand out cakes. They'd storm Hollywood and feed cakes to the starving starlets. Fat would once more be sexy, sumo would be king ……………..

"Would you please put down the Ryvita and come with me miss?"

Asked a freakishly young Policeman, who had probably been standing there for quite some time. Had she been speaking aloud? Natasha's stomach flipped. Which outlaws ended up being told off by 14 year olds?

The cell was more like a really bright community centre bathroom than the goo dripping, light buzzing, threatening rat holes on telly. Not only was she caged, her spirit broken, but Bad Girls had lied to her.

They'd put her on her own, possibly because she was a well-known revolutionary and a threat to the other, more vulnerable prisoners, or possibly because she hadn't stopped sobbing like an infant who'd crashed her roller skates, ever since they'd picked her up.

A kindly policeman called Stuart had been bringing her cups of sugary tea and lending her his Christmas handkerchief on the promise that she might stop soon, they were trying to get some work done in the other room and wailing was distracting them.

Unfortunately, the very process of attempting to stop crying made Natasha choke a little bit, uniting her with fresh tears of frustration blending with sadness. At some point in the last three hours she'd realised that maybe she wasn't ready to be a martyr the cause yet.

"I'm too middle class to go to prison!" she wailed, as if somehow they'd understand and let her go.

"It's okay" said Stuart, three hours later, patting her with as little of his actual hand as he could, whilst painfully aware of the thing that was about to drip out of her nose. "The supermarket aren't pressing charges, the only damage you caused was to half a packet of crisp bread, so not only are you free to go but there's a car here to pick you up."

Natasha sniffed long and hard and Stuart gagged a little. "You can keep the handkerchief" he added.
She'd been expecting Glady in a Metro, or possibly Kat in a taxi. Instead she was pleasantly surprised. The cars in Natasha's mind were smaller and had Magic Trees in them. This was a limo. A big massive shiny limo. This was what happened whenever drug runners were released from prison. Did someone want her to become a drug runner? She wasn't sure how many condoms full of heroine she would be able to swallow, although she had once fitted 23 Maltesers into her mouth at a party.

A chauffeur wound down the window:
"Mr Richards would like to meet with you immediately."
She considered the stranger danger aspects for about two seconds, whilst it started to rain.

Well it was the limo or the bus, and the bus wasn't there.

Saturday, 6 August 2011

Chapter Ten

According to the mimeographed call sheet (duly posted to each and every member in a format to meet their needs) the dress code for The Society for the Abolition of the Tyranny of Youth's day  of direct action was Mature Casual. Kat and Natasha, therefore, found themselves in to co-op browsing through jumpers featuring Scottie dogs. She was shocked by the array of pets that could be found on clothing but played nonchalance, so as not to seem uncool in front of the old people. 

It was imperative, according to Gladys, that their organisations should work together. After all they shared the same ultimate goal. Kat nodded sagely, it was okay for Kat, the only life changing ideas that she'd encountered before had been in Judy Bloom novels. Natasha had little idea what Gladys was talking about. Was she supposed to have goals? Legal pharmaceutical based freak outs were not conducive to in-depth project planning. She only remembered something vague about wanting to change the world through cake and now she was being likened to a potato in the national press. 

Old people had always made Natasha nervous, so it stood to reason that SABTY scared the willies out of her.  She had ever been haunted by the fear that she might be force fed cod liver oil at an moment and had always known this, subconsciously or otherwise. She just hadn't realised until now that it was deliberate. 

But, like the Wu Tang Clan, SABTY were massive and very well organised, and she was scared of them. She feared anyone who knew what they wanted to do and took action to do it. What would happen after that? If it was successful surely it would lead to some form of responsibility and then what? It was difficult to get a decent tv break when you were leading the revolution. Even to only watch Neighbours. Even on catch-up!  

But direct action was Gladys' thing, so much so it was difficult to tell the difference between the crazy lady who danced and screamed in public parks and the massively sane evil genius lady who had introduced bags on wheels to London train stations at peak times, causing more broken designer shoes, savage commuter outbursts, nervous breakdowns and drop-outs from the rat race to lead rich and fulfilling lives than tube strikes, taxi drivers and chuggers put together. 

Resplendent in a thousand shades of beige, trimmed with salmon, sensible shoes hugging their tootsies like a long lost parent, they shuffled into Costa, the centre of everything. They sat amidst the mummies dreaming of yumminess; internet surfers pretending they were novelists and workers filling three minutes with a five quid sandwich. The table was plastic, the cups were paper, the mood was tinged with a set of people desperately paying attention to themselves.   Following five minutes of noisy rustling, ensuring they had the attention of the room, Gladys produced a corned beef and pickle sandwich wrapped in greaseproof paper, meat sneaking out of the bread like Jabba's dead tongue to be caressed by Gladys' slobbery gums. The waitress slid over like Robocop in an apron. 

"I'm sorry madam but you can't eat external food in here." 

Natasha wondered how a human would eat internal food, would it involve injections of mashed up swede and the slow release of bile? It didn't sound good. 

Gladys looked at the waitress and drooled slightly, it pooled on the fake wood veneer and threatened to burn through to the plastic below.

"I was in the fucking war." She said, through a mouthful of fake meat. 


Twenty minutes later they were shuffling down Oxford Street dragging shopping bags behind them and giggling like children. 

"You have to keep them on their toes." Explained Gladys.   "You have to remind them that, no matter how much they think they own the place, they're only renting. And one day, no matter how many facelifts they have, no one will want to see them because they'll smell like piss." 

She triumphantly lit a cigar and trundled along the middle of the pavement, piles of enraged suits trudging angrily behind her. 


And so it came to be her turn. Kat had skipped off to walk very slowly near some mainline train stations, and Natasha had been assigned a task more topical. 

Monday, 1 August 2011

Chapter nine

Beth Richards had been stuck on the Victoria line for fifteen minutes when she realised that she wanted to gun down all the other passengers. She was only on the stupid tube because the paper had cut her taxi budget, and the budget had been cut because these morons had stopped buying newspapers. The world was full of selfish assholes who were just trying to get in her way.

Other people were the sand in her ass crack that grumpy Monday. Some intern had informed her that her last column on the dangers of multiculturalism had received only 10 complaints and had barely been mentioned on Twitter and then she poured last week's coffee on her suede brogues. To add insult to injury the chocolate machine at the station had eaten the only change she had and she was about willing to rip the skin from the nearest snotty nosed kid's pet rabbit.

Someone was going to pay for all of this. That pointless cake girl - the one who'd managed to get them all excited over the weekend, she was as good a target as anyone. Beth resented being pulled from bed by a phone call from her editor to tell her to write about the new phenomena of cake giving. Apparently it was the new knitting. So what if it made a few hippies in London feel better about themselves? It was clearly some kind of danger to society. She took out her iPad and began to ponder. Something about the obesity crisis and ugly angry feminists………..

Waking up seemed surreal to Natasha, something to do with being in someone's gran's living room adorned with portraits of Vince McMahon where normally the Queen or Terry Wogan would be. Who knew that you could not only buy, but display an Ultimate Warrior tea towel?

"What about Hulk Hogan?" she asked the Crazy Lady - who was attached to a laptop in the corner of the room on a sofa that you wouldn't buy in a second hand shop.

"He was a fucking pussy." She retorted with a snort.

The smell of chocolate fudge cake wafted in, Kat was awake.

"You girls are famous" said the Crazy Lady, who had thrown away her crazy credentials overnight and could now speak in complete sentences. She thrust the laptop in Natasha's direction.

"We're trending?" she asked. Crazy Lady gave a seasoned nod.

"You'd better buy more gold clothing."

Apparently some pro-fat ninjas had forced an English Defence League rally to be cancelled by poisoning their speaker with cake. The man in question was recovering at home, meanwhile the internet was alight. Opinions seemed to be split roughly three ways. Some thought that they were about to save humanity and had dashed into the street to throw cake at unsuspecting passers by. Bank staff, Librarians, bin men and workers at Superdrug had all reported being handed unprecedented amounts of cake and cups of tea by masked individuals in various locations across Britain.

The second third, the beauty bloggers screamed obesity crisis - angrily criticising what they saw as a direct attack on the health of passers by. And the third - well they wanted to string Natasha and Kat up for attacking their leader. But they were smelly nut jobs and no one liked them.

"There are pictures!" wailed Natasha, wishing she'd brushed her hair, changed her pants, or taken up the offers on Groupon for several weeks of microdermabrasion or that other thing that makes you a better person by blasting you with lasers.

"You bet your ass" retorted Gladys.


Kat bounded through the front door with a tabloid newspaper held aloft like the Olympic Torch, resplendent in borrowed tiger print leggings and a Big Daddy t-shirt, eyeliner like shadow dancers across her cheeks.

Natasha wondered when she'd be able to drink a cup of tea. No wonder Jordan always looked vaguely harassed. Fame was definitely a burden.

"This one really hates us!" giggled Kat. "Beth Richards says: "It's potato like harpies like these two who, with their vengeful feminism, teach kids that it's good to be obese."

That wasn't nice. Natasha reeled slightly from being described as potato-like in a national newspaper. Natasha didn't think she looked like a potato. She had arms and legs, potatoes didn't have arms and legs. She had hair. Potatoes didn't have hair. She had a nose…….

She suddenly didn't want to eat breakfast any more. The thought prompted her to think about breakfast. "What's for breakfast?" she asked hopefully, "I can smell cake!"

Gladys picked up Natasha's jacket and belted it at her like Beckham playing Skeeball, forcing Natasha to fake it until her breath returned.

"No time for cake Doctor Jones. We've got work to do."