Mr. Thin dressed himself in fine woolen suits that seamed terrific down the round of his bum. He fancied a tailor, who had agreed to dressing Mr. Thin’s unusual sha­­pe. And the tailor worked fervently to conceal the swell of his gut and swollen limbs Mr. Thin had grown to despise.

At 11 lbs. 2 oz., Mr. Thin was born to parents who bobbed gleeful in the arrival of a son. Together, the three of them had grown ripe with love and affection, and when his parents moved north to plot better harvest, Mr. Thin was met with a sorrow that caused him to press his mirror and ask Why. Forlorn in gloom he sank in his doom, and remained in a town where his globular frame, unpopular, rendered him blue.

On a bright Sunday morning, long legs and swishing gloves stretched down the streets where storefronts drew open. Plants were fed and birds assumed their natural calls to rouse the day. Mr. Thin met the gaze of sun, and passed poodles and pooches who matched their owners, whose sport hats swished and haircuts shined.

“Morning, sir. I see you do well today,” a man in a uniform said.

“I do, I do. I do quite well,” Mr. Thin replied and tipped his hat.

He rolled loose like a balloon down the cobble, pressing a nose to a window before bouncing off to another.

“My, it is hot today,” he muttered and fanned nubs to his face.

He made his way to the French Kiss bakery where he often enjoyed his Sunday mornings. Entering excited he swirled with pleasure in the sweet crisping air, and exchanged a coin, where he received his plate, and moved to the corner pressing a pain au chocolat to his mouth.

“Mmm,” he hummed and melted with joy.

Closing his eyes, he envisioned a wild fantasy of a shrinking body, where each bite produced a more lithe and narrowing frame. The image of his slendering belly and peeking bones caused a smile to worm across his face, and he devoured the pastry. What lean arms I have. What fine a waist I see. He pulsed wild with thrill and reveled in the expanse of this handsome mirage. 

“Smaller,” he muttered. 

His plate grew white and with the drop of someone’s glass, his eyes welled open and returned to a bevy of passing cups and oval-shaped breads. His mirage dissolved. Looking to where his toes might be, merino burned in the crease of his thighs. He sighed. Moving to the street in a quiet depression, he passed blossoming shops with flowering pots.

The sun grew over and he looked to the sky.

“Mighty hot,” he huffed. “Mighty hot.”

Dabbing wet beads from his forehead, he contemplated the ease of townspeople floating linen and white skirts. The lightness breezed through his hair and imaginings, but his skin leaked a terrible perspiration and filled his shoes. Chafing and wincing at each step, ­­the wool rubbed at his rump and the sun boiled over.

He stopped to fix his hat over a pile of damp hair, and to his utter shock, a leaky substance fell from his sleeve. The glob of flesh hit the ground, and he grew euphoric upon his narrowing shoulders and melting frame. 

“Look, look! Look at me!” He stared at his hands. 

Onlookers gawked at the man in the street.

“Isn’t that Mr. Thin?” one of them whispered.

Whirling in delight, he danced under the sun, oblivious to the awful odor that tore through the air. With the removal of his cap, a burning sensation erupted his scalp. Vicious bubbles popped off his head and his eyes darted fear.

“Help!” he cried. “Help! I’m burning!”

Skin slid down the sides of his face and covered his eyes so that he could not see. He rattled forward in attempt to walk, but instead, cracked to his knees and split to the ground.

“Please,” he sizzled, “I don’t want to die!”

The suit dropped by itself and folded over a shapely bone sticking out from a sleeve. Flesh pooled in the cracks of gray cobble, and his cage rolled to the side of the street.

“My, it is sweltering today.” A gentleman turned to his wife. “People should be more careful in weather like this.”

The sun wound over and reached west.

Under the sky store windows closed and pink little heads retired with the day. Thatched roofs and tiny dandelions carpeted the town, and a sob of relief rustled the leaves. Behind the trees a new moon was born; sitting in the night, it swayed with the wind. The cool breeze washed over its body. Wisping gently, one could almost make out a smile. 

About the author:

Elana Kloss received a BFA in Fashion Design at Otis College of Art and Design and attended a short story writing class with Ron Darian at the UCLA Extension Program in 2021. She works designing and sketching for a small fashion company and is also a board member at Active-Plus, a nonprofit that provides wellness programming for children in underserved areas. Elana was born in Alaska and has a passion for figure drawing, backpacking, and classical music. Her work is forthcoming in Literally Stories and Sortes.

Feature image by 8machine _ on Unsplash