The Devil's Food by Gabino Iglesias

Once there was a couple of sisters who were wildly different. One of them had no children, lived in the best part of town in a beautiful palace made of cheese, and held the prestigious title of World’s Fattest Woman. The other sister had five kids, lived in the midst of filth, was a widow, and suffered from such poverty that she no longer had food enough to satisfy herself and her children. Although the same blood coursed through their veins, a little slower and thicker on the fat one and a tad more contaminated on the poor one, the two sisters had grown to despise each other and had not exchanged a single word in more than a decade.

The filial bonds had been shattered because each sister thought her own path righteous while looking down at the choices made by the other. To Henrietta, the morbidly obese sister, her emaciated, disease-ridden blood sister was nothing but a soiled wench with a floppy puss and very loose morals. Henrietta had watched with a censorious scrunching of the brow as Gertrude, the skeletal sister, had abandoned the virtuous ways of the Church of Conjoined Knees and had figuratively stuck her moral compass past the evil door of her dilated sphincter. While becoming a sex mercenary and engaging in despicable acts with men, robots, animals and aliens was something that didn’t sit well with Henrietta, it was her sister’s decision to marry an anencephalic dwarf that had made the plump one decide to never again utter a word to her rail-thin sibling.

In the case of Gertrude, who saw her carnal performances for monetary remuneration merely as a way to achieve the highest echelon of upward social mobility, Henrietta’s desire to expand her considerable girth to award-winning proportions in order to acquire fame and fortune was contemptible. Watching her sister drink down melted butter and wolfing down deep fried furry organs and chocolate covered teratomas always made Gertrude queasy. A professional didgeridoo player who’d come to town on tour and had requested Gertrude’s services had laid bloodshot eyes on her sister when he picked her up. After he’d given her a cherry cobbler and a clam chowder enema, the musically-inclined octopus had told Gertrude her sister probably suffered from sitophilia, which is sexual arousal from food. The explanation only achieved one thing: Gertrude began to think of her overweight sister as a sick individual.

The daughters of a couple with limited means, Henrietta and Gertrude were forced to put up with one another throughout their teenage years in the worst of ways: they had to share a bedroom. Lack of personal space only added to their growing dislike for one another. Continuous bickering and senseless screaming eventually lead to a cold silence between them. The bitter gap was only stretched further every time Gertrude came home reeking of intercourse with some feral beast or when Henrietta’s slobbering and moaning while eating shattered her sister’s last nerve.

Thankfully, all situations are bound to change and all things sooner or later meet their end. On the same week, both sisters found ways out of this state of affairs.

Henrietta found a young man with a budding career as a mobster who loved to roll around in her vast expanses of soft flesh and proposed marriage. As for Gertrude, she learned that the viscous liquid pouring out of her meant she was pregnant with a squid, which irked her father to no end. Fearing her father’s wrath, she went out and found an anencephalic dwarf on whom she blamed the pregnancy. In response, the dwarf drooled. Gertrude took the dribble as a marriage proposal and readily agreed.

Two days later the sisters muttered halfhearted goodbyes:

“I truly hope I don’t see you too often down the road, you anorexic harlot,” mumbled Henrietta.

“The day you choke on a whole pudding-stuffed ostrich I will celebrate your departure as if it was my birthday,” replied Gertrude through clenched teeth.

After those last words, the sisters went their separate ways in the arms of their new husbands. Their father, a deaf-mute piano tuner, said nothing. Their mother, a rather passé mermaid table lamp, only complained about the nautilus she was forced to hold over her head.

Henrietta’s husband, Giovanni Vincenzo Giuseppe Battaglia Spilotro Lombardo, who everyone called Tony, quickly became a big man in the underground world of hallucinogenic worm trafficking. Money begot power and his crimes lead to a successful career in politics. The day Tony became mayor, the couple moved into a posh four-story cheese palace on the outskirts of town. Away from the bustle and hustle of lesser beings and hidden from judging eyes, Henrietta confined herself to a gigantic bed in order to burn as few calories as possible. She spent her time eating, sleeping, farting, and allowing her husband to roll around naked over her large, soft body.

With Henrietta concentrating on becoming the first female to reach the 2,000 pound mark, her eating became a full-time endeavor. Since Tony had to attend to other businesses regularly and his wife never left the bed, two of his goons were given the task of shoveling fatty foods down his beloved’s throat. Although the gallons of gravy, dozens of bacon-stuffed fetuses, fried fatback sandwiches and lard-covered cheesecakes that disappeared down Henrietta’s gullet were expensive, Tony was a man who had sufficient funds to keep his adored mountain of adipose tissue happy. Miles away, unbeknownst to Henrietta, her sister was regularly woken by the rumbling complaints of her own empty stomach and the desperate cries of her starving children.

While Henrietta’s life was pampered and she lived surrounded by the comfort and mental peace that comes from opulence, Gertrude’s wretched existence was the complete opposite. Her first baby, a squid she named Franklin, ravenously ate fish and shrimp. With both food items reaching astronomical prices in a world where all oceans had turned into gigantic stretches of toxic green slush, Gertrude was forced to accept high-risk jobs that landed her in painful and uncomfortable situations. It also brought a second child her way.

Upon waking up from a five-month coma she was left in during a biomechanical gorilla gangbang, Gertrude learned a second being was growing inside her. This time around, a baby girl covered in luscious red fur was born. Gertrude named her Binadryl. Soon the twins, One and Two, joined the family. The twins had the dark, slick skin of a seal, cartoonish voices and purple tongues. Finally, Big Timmy joined the family. Timmy’s cyclopean size was matched by his cyclopean hunger.

Between Gertrude’s work and her husband’s panhandling, they scraped together enough money to get by. Sadly, that came to an end when George, Gertrude’s husband, died in a freak jump rope accident. As if that wasn’t bad enough, Gertrude contracted a strange disease from a traveling plantain salesman and painful, bulbous growth started appearing all over her body. The growths prevented her from finding clients. That was the proverbial last straw.

With five kids, no husband and no money, Gertrude was forced to move into the worst part of town. She acquired an apartment where they could all fit and where the landlord accepted oral sex and contributions that would help him keep his cropophiliac tendencies satisfied as payment for rent.

The abode smelled of rotting garbage and the walls could not be touched because they were covered by flesh-eating mold. Surprisingly, although Binadryl lost a leg to the flesh-eating mold, the carnivorous pest that plagued the walls was not the worst thing about the new dwelling. That title belonged to a gang of immense kleptomaniac cockroaches. The rowdy bunch of arthropods would invade the apartment once in a while and steal everything they came across.

One day, while Gertrude and her kids were busy trying not to pass out from hunger, the cockroaches showed up. There were six of them and they all carried butterfly knives. The biggest roach stood up on its hind legs, pointed at Gertrude with his blade and said:

“Listen, lady, we don’t mean no disrespect or nuthin’ but you gotta get those damn crazy kids the fuck outta here. Me and my boy Jeremy over here had to run away from the big one with only one eye the other day. We can’t live in fear of those little freaks eating our asses, you know what I mean? Maybe if you get the hell out, somebody who can actually afford some food might come to live in this damn dump. I’m being nice right now, but if we have to come back here again, every last one of yous is getting a Colombian necktie, ya hear?”

Scared and broke, Gertrude broke down and went to her sister. A tall man with no mouth let her in and took her to see her enormous sister. Swallowing her pride and steering clear of small talk, Gertrude addressed her sister:

“My children and I are suffering the greatest hunger and now we’ve been threatened with eviction by some very mean cockroaches. You are rich and have everything you can eat. Would you give me a mouthful of bread or at least some cheese from your walls?”

The very wealthy, portly sister, who was as soft as marshmallows on the outside but as hard as a stone on the inside, looked at her sister’s fleshy, suppurating growths with disgust and said:

“There is nothing to eat in the house. I can barely feed myself as it is. Now please remove your skanky, diseased ass from my property before I eat you.”

After those harsh, untrue words, the obese woman watched as the poor creature who shared her blood walked away. A smile spread across her face, but her cheeks were so heavy, smiling made her tired.

Later that day Tony came home. He was about to cut himself a piece of bread, but when he made the first cut into the loaf, red blood came flowing out. When Henrietta saw the bleeding bread, she became terrified and told her husband what had occurred. As she spoke, the walls all around them began to reek of a mixture of Roquefort, Camembert and Munster, which was strange considering they were made of American cheese. Just like the bread, the walls began to bleed. Tony reprimanded his beloved spouse and hurried away to help the sick widow and her children.

The mobster stopped at a pet store and bought a sausage-shitting puppy in the hopes that it would help Gertrude feed her kids. A gigantic goon carried Tony and the whimpering puppy into the worst part of town and dropped them in front of a dilapidated building.

Tony climbed up to Gertrude’s apartment and knocked on the door. Receiving no response, the mobster kicked the door in. When he entered, Tony found Gertrude mumbling to herself on the floor. The woman was bleeding from a few places in her arms, face and shoulders where growths had apparently been removed by considerable force.

The hungry, heartbroken woman had the twins in her arms. The three other kids were lying dead near her. On Big Timmy’s huge, toothless mouth as well as on Franklin’s twitching tentacles, Tony could see the chewed, bloody remnants of what could only be a few of Gertrude’s bulbous growths. Overcoming his nausea, Tony walked over to the mother and offered her the puppy and the few slim sausages it had crapped on the way there. With tears in her eyes, Gertrude shook her head and said:

“For earthly food have we no longer any desire. The Devil has already satisfied the hunger of three of us, and he will hearken to our supplications likewise. I have found that these growths are filled we a honey-like substance that’s very poisonous. I know it’s the Devil’s nectar.”

Scarcely had Gertrude uttered these words than the two little ones bit down on the round things in their mouths and immediately drew their last breath, whereupon Gertrude’s heart broke, and she sank down dead.