Congratulations to Julie Barker, a Thoughttree Writing Workshops regular, for her success in the

Hull City of Culture Tale Spinners competition!








Gloria helped herself to another chocolate praline and bit into it, savouring its exquisite, velvety taste as she did so. She had already munched her way through two boxes of Milk Tray but she still wasn’t satisfied and continued to shovel them into her mouth at an alarming rate.


Dennis stared at his wife in disgust. She reminded him of a hideous beached whale as her numerous chins wobbled around as she chewed. Great folds of flesh hung over her waistband and her breasts heaved under the strain of fat they were carrying. She was a size twenty and she wore massive tent like dresses and skirts in a multitude of repulsive colours.


Dennis had long since stopped loving Gloria. He wanted a slim wife and as all his attempts to wean her off chocolate had failed, he had only one course of action left. He wondered how long it would be before her heart failed and he would be free to marry Bettina. Bettina worked at the Gym and as he pumped iron he marvelled at his Lycra clad goddess as she worked her magic on the aerobics class. If only there was no Gloria and he had Bettina waiting for him at the end of a long day. He thought of her long limbs stretched out on his leather sofa and he imagined her to be reclining in the satin underwear he had purchased for her. If only there was no Gloria. Her love of chocolate had given him the idea. If she was going to die, why not help her along by letting her have her favourite food?


Dennis bought Gloria chocolate every day. She was suspicious at first and it took a long time to persuade her to eat it.


‘ I hope its proper chocolate’ she said sniffing it until she was able to breathe its rich aroma. ‘Not that low fat rubbish you eat at the Gym’.


It didn’t take long to convince her. Over the next few months she devoured bars of fruit and nut and family sized boxes of Maltesers. She never tired of it and the more she ate the more she craved her next fix. Her girth increased and so did her lethargy as she lacked the strength to lift herself off the sofa.


As Dennis worked hard to kill his wife with kindness the lovely Bettina honed her body to perfection. Every smile was effortless as she worked her size eight figure in time to the music on the plasma screens. Tiny beads of perspiration formed little pearls on her smooth forehead and her blonde ponytail swayed back and forth with a gentle swishing sound.


After a year Gloria died from morbid obesity and heart failure. Dennis made all the arrangements for her funeral, happy in the knowledge that he would soon have a slimmer model in his bed. Bettina agreed to marry him and she worked hard to please him by her efforts to make herself into the fairytale princess of his dreams. She looked ravishing in her ivory silk wedding dress and Dennis rejoiced in the admiring glances of his friends. He bragged about his trophy wife and Bettina went to the Gym twice a day and poured herself into size eight mini-skirts.


Bettina became pregnant after a year and gave birth to a son called Kieran. Pregnancy did strange things to her body and her previously flat stomach developed a roll of fat which no amount of diet or exercise could shift. Bored by the endless drudgery of full time childcare Bettina turned to chocolate. Each little taste of forbidden pleasure left her wanting more and more. By the time she went to bed she had devoured seven Mars bars and six crème eggs.


Dennis watched in horror as his size eight wife ballooned into a size eighteen monster. He couldn’t bear to look at her and he began to spend more and more time away from the house. Locked in a cycle of loneliness Bettina had only chocolate to keep her company. Dennis called her a fat, ugly bitch and destroyed her self-esteem.


Dennis met Olivia at work. She was the new office manager and she was attractive with her flowing red hair and her executive business suits. Better still, she was a size twelve with a pert bust and a nipped in waist. Over the next few months Dennis wined and dined his new love and dreamt up ways he could get rid of Bettina. He bought her endless bars of Galaxy and watched as she munched through half-pound boxes of Dairy Milk and giant slabs of Bournville. Bettina grew more and more depressed and when she discovered a text message that Olivia had sent to her husband declaring her undying love she ate even more to compensate for her feelings of rejection and isolation.


When Bettina grew stronger she decided that she was going to make herself into the fairytale bride that Dennis had fallen in love with. She signed up to Weight Watchers and started going to the Gym again. She found a low fat alternative to drinking chocolate, which tasted just like the real thing with only half the number of calories. As the weight dropped off her confidence grew and she met a man called Ralph and she started seeing him on a regular basis. He made her feel cherished and she began to look forward to the future. If only she could get rid of Dennis.


Dennis ended his affair with Olivia when he saw how attractive Bettina was becoming. Unfortunately Bettina had decided that he had to go. Dennis had developed a taste for her low fat drinking chocolate and as he made his way to bed one evening Bettina offered to make him a drink.


‘ I’m just making you a drink darling’ she called up the stairs. ‘I’ll be up in a minute’.


Bettina poured the boiling water into the mug of brown sediment and gave it a long stir. She grimaced as she saw another ant scurrying across the worktop. The pest control people hadn’t quite got rid of all of the little blighters she thought crossly. Well, she smiled at her new slim reflection on the landing. Sometimes if you want a job doing well, you have to do it yourself.


1,062 words