The Zookeeper’s Guide to Wild Americans
He who says the state is God, deifies arms and prisons. The worship of the state is the worship of force. There is no more dangerous menace to civilization than a government of incompetent, corrupt, or vile men. The worst evils that mankind ever had to endure were inflicted by bad governments. The state can be and has often been in the course of history the main source of mischief and disaster.
— Ludwig von Mises
Marshall Kruk sits bewildered on the cold wood planks of the rear staging area of the production studios in Manhattan, New York. His leather collar irritates his fourth chin which rests atop his massive drooping mammaries.
Not far behind he can hear the gentle voice of his trusted handler Mademoiselle Dufaure who strokes her fingers through the hair of his nervous children with a maternal flair that wife Judy is incapable of both emotionally and physically.
With one hand on each child’s head, she peppers their ears with calming whispers, “C’est tranquille mes petite géants. C’est tranquille.”
Marshall considers assisting in the security of his children, but his mobility is impeded by his own sheer girth and limited to a few degrees of turn in either direction. Even that motion requires an effort and energy of which he is not fond. So he gazes ahead through a small opening in the curtains and scans curious faces in the studio audience. His wet lips hang loose from his pudgy, colorless face. Production assistants and grips scurry past, the odd worker stopping to witness the spectacle that is the Kruk family.
Indifferent to the outburst of activity around him, Marshall clenches his teeth, leans his mass to his left, and releases a steady stream of silent gas that quickly envelopes a three-meter radius with a peculiar and heavy odoriferous cocktail. A passing assistant gasps with agony before fleeing the affected area. Mademoiselle Dufaure notes the suffering of the poor worker and knows at once the culprit of his misfortune.
“Marshall my dear, are you anxious too?”
She enters the stench zone without hesitation having suffered through much worse after his consumption of lactose products, particularly heavy creams, and deep-fried buttermilk. Much of the family’s diet is in the deep fried order and consumed in astonishing quantities. It is hard to imagine any food in such copious amounts not resulting in constant putrid gases.
“What did you feed him?” Questions another passing victim in a nasal tone as he gasps to suspend his breathing.
“Corn beef sandwiches and a bowl of deep-fried peanut butter,” replies Dufaure in a blasé manner. “I’m sorry about this, didn’t Dr. Lecomte mention this would likely happen?”
The victim shakes his head side-to-side, winces, and vanishes in one motion.
She begins to pat Marshall’s back with the base of her open palm. He jolts his head and leans forward to shun her attempts at comfort like a horse brushing away a pesky fly with its tail.
The rolls of fat on his upper back send a massive tsunami of skin folds rippling down toward his diapers and rebounding back upwards, and downwards, and upwards like an artificial wave tank.
“Don’t be difficult Marshall. Not today. I want you on your best behavior. You must be strong and set an example for your family. Can you do that for me? Hmm?”
Mademoiselle has been entrusted as their primary caretaker while her mentor and superior Dr. Lecomte prepares for the most important publicity stop on his latest book tour. Marshall growls at her behavioral request, dropping his lower lip in a grumpy show of discontent.
“What’s wrong Marshall?”
“I’m tired,” he moans like a giant adolescent in need of more attention from impervious parents.
“You’re tired?” Dufaure motions to a nearby subordinate to wheel over two metal cylinders attached with clear tubing. She reaches for a mask and slides it over Marshall’s watermelon-sized head.
His shoulders rise steadily as he takes fresh oxygen.
“Good. Take another.” He does as instructed and takes five more.
“Is that better?”
He nods approvingly, taking even more oxygen. His wide frame settles into a relaxed slouch. The makings of a grin appear on the fleshy layers of his pudding face.
“If everything goes well today, I have a special treat waiting in your cage. Your favorite treat Marshall, so please be on your best behavior and you can have the whole thing.”
He nods again, excited at the thought of digging into a five-liter bucket of butter pecan ice cream. A reservoir of drool forms at the edge of his cheek, gradually oozing from the cover of the oxygen mask. Mademoiselle wipes the leakage with a rag.
“I thought you’d like that,” she coos into his ear.
“Everybody quiet. We’re on in ten seconds,” announces an eager producer rushing past the Kruk family and their handlers.
Dr. Jean-Paul Lecomte appears fresh from his hair and make-up session and stands beside the Kruk children Royale and Dilly.
“On your feet. Come now, up-up. On your feet mes petite géants.” Several handlers assist Lecomte and Dufaure with the heavy lifting.
Superstar host LaShondra Jones clears her throat and adjusts her posture. The show’s supervising producer calls out, “three, two, one…” and points to Jones emphatically.
“Welcome back. As promised we have a very special guest here to promote his latest book, The Zookeeper’s Guide to Wild Americans. Please give a warm welcome to Zoologist, Doctor Jean-Paul Lecomte.”
The audience applauds as Lecomte emerges from the tiny gap in the velvet curtains where Marshall still peeps through. He struts across a row of cameras toward LaShondra Jones. They embrace in the manner of old friends. Jones waits for the applause to subside and for Lecomte to sit before settling into the host’s chair opposite her guest.
“Welcome back to the show Dr. Lecomte.”
“Thank you LaShondra. A pleasure to be here again.” His French accent is as thick as his subjects.
“You’ve written an interesting book that is part journal, part diary combined with your scientific research of Wild Americans. For those not familiar with your work, tell us about how you started in this field.”
Lecomte tells the story of his first sighting of a morbidly obese man as a child on a family holiday to California and how this event piqued a curiosity that never subsided.
“I think LaShondra, it is important that people learn about zee history of zis field, because most people I meet are ignorant of zis.”
“Very good point Doctor, why don’t you give us a brief history lesson,” Jones insists.
“For most scholars zee important year is 2027 when zee United Nations introduced zee Consumption Treaty in order to deal with famine, drought, and complications from zee overpopulation. By sree years later every nation on zee planet signed zis treaty but zer were some states in old America that did not enforce zis treaty.”
Lecomte pauses to admire the chuckles of the audience with a sly grin.
“In zee years after zis treaty, many nations passed strict laws on individual body mass, or zee body mass index. Here in New York we know zee limit is surty-sree percent for zee man and surty-five percent for zee woman and we now have zee methodologies for zee state can monitor all of zee citizens wis biologics, implants, zee vaccines. Yes, of course you all have.”
“Yes, I’m well aware of that number Doctor and the state’s BMI monitoring board. I’ve paid a king’s ransom in fines for violating this law but…” she rises from her chair and shimmies her hips like a clumsy belly dancer, “I’ve finally beat it and I’m proud to say that I am now even below thirty percent!” The intonation of her voice peaks with the excitement of her loyal followers.
Jones admires the cheers of the many lonely women in attendance as she twirls with her hands on her hips.
“Congratulations LaShondra, you look very good,” extols Lecomte reluctantly.
Jones accepts the compliment with a pompous grin and sits down to let her guest continue.
“And so for a decade people have been getting smaller and maintaining a healthy weight, wis zee exception of zeez American independence states where ninety percentages of zer population is obese and over seventy percentages are morbidly obese as most refuse to have zee medical interventions. Zerfore most of zeez Americans are not allowed safe travel outside zer own borders and zose daring enough to violate zis sanctions are considered Wild Americans and considered fair game for international researchers.”
“They are referred to as MOWAs correct?” LaShondra feels the need to prove she read his work.
“Yes, Morbidly Obese Wild Americans, correct.”
“And you hunt these Wild Americans?”
“Not anymore,” replies Lecomte. “I started as a tracker and acquisition agent, but now I specialize more in behavioral research of Wild Americans. Personally, I have captured or acquired by purchase over sree sousand Wild Americans.”
“And then you sell them to Zoos around the world.”
“It depends. I observe zem first and determine zer worrs.”
“Their worst traits?” Jones inquires confused by his accent.
“Yes, zer worrs…how much money etcetera,” he clarifies.
“Oh, their worth!” LaShandra tries not to laugh.
“Yes, as I say, zer worrs, but most are eventually sold and end up in Zoos around zee world.” Lecomte reaches for his mug of water and moistens his dry lips.
“Not to delay the show any longer. Today you’ve brought some special guests with you, are we ready to bring them out?” Jones looks back toward the curtains.
Her supervising producer nods from between the cameras.
“Yes, okay, tell us Doctor who we have first.”
“Today we have, all zee way from zee city Zoo in my hometown of Lyon, some Wild Americans captured from your old country, one of zee most fascinating families, zee Kruk family. First is zee father, Marshall.”
Mademoiselle Dufaure parts the curtains with her right hand and pulls Marshall by a chain attached to his leather neck collar. Marshall offers an expected gaze toward LaShondra Jones who greets her massive visitor.
“Well hello there big guy. Don’t be shy. Wow, he is enormous Doctor.”
“Yes, he is one of zee biggest ever held in captivity. He weighs about four hundred forty kilos or nearly one ton.”
Dufaure escorts Marshall past Dr. Lecomte to an open area with padded and scented floor mats cleared for the Kruk family.
“Wow, you must have quite the appetite there Marshall.”
“He will not answer,” insists Lecomte. “He is trained not to speak to strangers.”
“Oh well we wouldn’t want to upset him would we?” Laughs Jones.
“Zer is nothing to fear, zey are very docile creatures and highly immobile,” assures Lecomte. “You can see it is two meters around his waist and one meter around his chest. But you are right LaShondra, in order to maintain zis mass we use a combination of intravenous and trough feeding or binging techniques also called C.F.C. or Continuous Feeding Cycles which are between twelve and eighteen per day.”
“What would one cycle consist of?” Asks Jones.
“It depends. Donuts, fried cookie dough, fried cheeses, pastries, intravenous ice creams, and so forse. Any-sing high calorie, high sugar, high sodium, high addictive properties, high processed.”
Marshall stands timorously aside chewing the corners of his inflated lips.
“Some say what you do actually defeats the purpose of the consumption treaty by capturing these Wild Americans and feeding them exorbitant amounts of food, and keeping them alive and on display only encourages their capture and the demands of this market, to say nothing of their methane footprint-” Lecomte has heard enough.
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