Stan was a fat man and everyone knew it. He knew it. His wife knew it, but didn’t complain. His coworkers knew it and showed him that they knew with their snickers and sidelong looks. Jerry, his boss, knew it and reminded him constantly of it: “Stan, beauty sells.”
Jerry was right. In the world of pharmaceutical sales, he was an anomaly. Jerry, and hell, all of Stan’s coworkers, looked like they stepped out of a fashion magazine. He knew his high sales rate was the only thing keeping him employed. But no matter how much he sold, the snide comments didn’t stop.
Stan was feeling all of his 270 pounds as he wrestled his suitcase up the stairs to his third floor hotel room. What kind of hotel takes their one elevator offline for maintenance? Stan knew Jerry booked him in this shithole just to take another little stab at the fat man.
The Jaws theme blasted from his pants pocket. Stan took the phone call as a chance to have a breather on the second floor landing. Maybe it’s time to do something about my weight. Through his heavy breaths, he caught a faint whiff of urine. Damn, he thought, this place is a dump.
Jaws was insistent. Stan checked the phone and the caller ID read CALLER OUT OF RANGE. Being winded and not thinking straight, Stan didn’t wonder why he’d never seen a message like that before. He was just happy for an interruption from his embarrassing climb.
He lifted the phone to his ear and was met with a brain-splitting screech of buzzes and beeps he vaguely recognized as an old modem or fax machine when you dialed the wrong number.
Stan jerked the phone from his ear. “Son of a bitch!” he exclaimed a little louder than he’d wanted.

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Chris Keaton

Chris Keaton

Chris Keaton is an Air Force veteran living with his family in sunny Arizona. He has produced several short films and currently has a thriller in production. But filmmaking isn’t his only passion. He has recently started to wet his appetite for telling stories by writing prose. He also has a book undergoing final edits.
Chris Keaton

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