Warning: this short story contains references to overeating and gluttony, gay male sexuality, mature themes, and allusions to unequal distribution of resources. DO NOT READ if you may be offended by these topics!
THE TEMPLE OF GLUTTONY
A glimpse into a privileged life by Keithski79
"Dinner, Your Majesty," the servant announced as he placed the heavily loaded platter on the table and backed out of the room. It was the fourth platter of the evening, each piled high enough for a large family and each one announced, in compliance with palace protocol, as if it were the first one, or the only one. At platter number four, Jonah was close to the halfway point of the king's meal service, but lately, number four had slipped a bit and was more likely to be short of halfway than beyond it.
King Philip did not wait for his servant to reach the door before he began to tear into the pile of succulent braised meats; the swelling of his belly had aroused him and he was eager to feel it intensify. He was still standing, rather than sitting, at his dinner table by the window, a practice he enjoyed both for the breathtaking views it offered him over the rooftops of the palace, and for the feeling of the cool marble on the underside of his heavy belly as he filled it fuller and fuller and fuller.
The platter had been set off to Philip's right instead of in front of him - a practice necessitated by the size and depth of the king-sized belly that had been grown and nurtured at this table during the months of his reign. Philip noted this with satisfaction, remembering how he'd been encouraged to stand at this table and eat as his predecessors had done - as an aid to royal breathing and digestion, his advisors had suggested - but, like the kings who had gone before him, he found that the real benefit of standing for the first half of a meal was that it greatly increased the amount that could be stuffed into the royal gut before the necessity of sitting began to send even the most determined overeater into a dazed, gluttonous stupor. The table against which his muscular thighs had pressed while he ate from the platters placed in front of him as a newly crowned king had become an important source of support for the massively swollen gut he now sported in his second year of rule. It had been this way with his predecessors, too, although it had generally taken them longer to achieve the mass he currently flaunted - a fact relayed to him with relish by his advisors and a source of personal pride for the king. For although it was true enough that he would happily have eaten himself into a daze every night simply for the pleasure of it, only as king could he actually do so, especially in these times. It was not simply his pleasure, but the good of the country, that depended upon his nightly gorging that ended only when he could bear no more.
'If One can eat without limit, All can eat,' the inscriptions in the temple confidently proclaimed. If only it were true, Philip thought. He knew perfectly well that there hadn't really been enough for anyone - let alone everyone - in a very long time, and yet the idea persisted that a king selected by a series of athletic trials, lavishly overfed to the end of his endurance, would portend plenty for all. The ancestors who had ingrained these ideas into this culture had their blind spots, surely, but there were also some things they had gotten right - very right indeed, Philip mused. For instance, the finely developed musculature that had allowed Philip to triumph over his competition had served him well as he'd grown fat and then fatter, and he'd been encouraged to continue his strength training as his burgeoning belly made new and ever greater demands on his physique. Wise, too, was the long-established practice of having the king regularly paraded through the streets on a low, regally upholstered cart, being fed at every opportunity along the way as the masses lined the streets in adoration to watch their king swell with the land's seeming abundance before returning to their barren kitchens to face reality. Seeing someone do what they could not dream of doing played a part in calming the common people; satisfying them somehow. They just need to feel as though they're participating in some small way, Philip thought as he looked around for the next course. Besides, his own enjoyment as he was paraded about displaying his growing bulk was a matter of general knowledge, as evidenced by the swelling of another nicely developed feature of his royal anatomy...
His thoughts were interrupted by a sudden awareness that the heavily sauced meats he had just wolfed down had brought him to the end of the standing portion of his meal. Stunned by the sudden increase in the tightness of his belly, he was stepping back from the table, soothed slightly by the feeling of his massive gut sliding across the cool marble surface, as Jonah entered with the next course.
"Dinner, Your Majesty," Jonah dutifully intoned as he presented the dish, inadvertently catching his master's eye as he surveyed the results of the previous course. "Is Your Majesty... all right?"
Philip was clutching his heavy belly in both hands now, blinking hard and breathing through his mouth. Jonah, as usual, took the cue to continue the conversation alone, a regular enough occurrence, but usually not this early into the evening meal.
"Something new, Your Majesty. A bit... denser; more... filling, Your Majesty. But Your Majesty needs to rest a bit, surely," he said as he pulled the armchair out from the head of the table and brought it around behind the engorged king.
Philip could tell that his servant was impressed by the slight smile that played across his lips, and the king finally gained control of his breathing as he sat on the front edge of the seat and leaned back into the luxuriously padded backrest of the massive chair. Here, too, the elders had done things right; in this chair, fifty-six kings before him had sat and gorged themselves senseless for the glory and prosperity of their people; one could tell by counting the gold nailheads studded across the frame of the wide leather seat, another added as each new king took the throne. Philip looked forward to visiting the former kings, his predecessors, in the palace to which they retired after their brief reigns - he hoped they'd still be enormous, like him; that the heavy feedings to which he'd now grown accustomed would continue in retirement. He tried not to think about whether or not such luxury was deserved; after all, it was arguable as one looked around the kingdom that almost no one but the kings themselves had benefitted from their dedicated over-indulgence, but at moments like this the king's thoughts were ruled by his gut rather than his head. What his gut told him in moments like this, as he sat back patting the high crest of his blissfully overloaded belly, was that it would be a shame to waste food by parceling it out in small bits to many, when concentrating it all in one place rendered such a virile and regal result. He figured he'd know soon enough about what came next, and was enjoying his reign very much, but he had heard often about how perfectly suited the retirement palace was to the kings it accommodated, located where the kingdom's two rivers joined before they flowed into the sea. It sounded so nice... He felt his servant's eyes on him and arched his back, thrusting his overfilled belly up and out over his widespread thighs in a powerful display of kingly gluttony. Something seemed to be moving under the servant's tunic, Philip noted with amusement. His own royal dress code was another stroke of the elders' genius; he wore only a low-slung wrap that rode well below his immensely swollen ball-shaped gut, cut short enough to display his powerful thighs. Heavy gold cuffs on his wrists and leather sandals laced up around his bulbous calves completed the effect of underdressed, over-accessorized luxury. Suddenly, he felt hungry again and began to eat greedily from the alluringly heaped and piled fifth platter beside him on the table.
"Dinner, Your Majesty," Jonah informed his master over the smacking and groaning sounds that soon filled the room. Another gut-bomb, like platter number four had been, the dish left Philip gasping for breath as his tireless servant approached with the next course.
"Dinner, Your Majesty. But surely, Your Majesty would be more comfortable on the bed." Philip was glad for his servant's strength as he helped him up out of the chair and over to the curtained state bed, a walk of just twenty feet or so that felt more like a mile to the spectacularly overfed kings who made the journey. Not that he wanted it to be over quickly; it felt good to throw his arm over the smaller man's shoulders and to feel a wiry arm supporting his lower back while the other found a place on the underside of his overloaded belly and hefted gently. Feeling himself nearly engulf another man with his size, and needing that other man's strength just to cross the room aroused Philip intensely and felt like the ultimate affirmation of his gluttonous accomplishment. They paused at the edge of the bed, as they often did, Jonah's hand seemingly unable to relinquish its position on the underside of the overloaded royal gut, hefting it gently to their mutual groans of pleasure. The king caught his servant's eye as they stood there, each wondering if there was to be an interruption in the royal dinner, but another servant appeared with the next course and seemed determined to serve it. Not that it took much convincing. Jonah slunk away as if hoping to conceal from the other servant the distinctly altered drape of his tunic as Philip plopped down onto the bed with a loud groan, slapping his belly as he leaned back, out of breath now, against a pile of pillows. He gulped the rich creamy soup eagerly, feeling his belly expand and tighten further. Just in time for Jonah's return with the next course, with a rich, room-filling aroma that had his mouth watering even as he struggled to get comfortable with what he'd already stuffed into his overtaxed stomach.
"Dinner, Your Majesty. But surely, Your Majesty would be more comfortable with fewer pillows, lying back further." Once again, Philip found that the slight change in posture eased his breathing enough that he somehow packed in another massive course before collapsing against the headboard, groaning loudly as he held the sides of his painfully swollen belly as if trying to keep it from bursting as the smell of the newly arrived next course goaded him on.
"Dinner, Your Majesty. But surely... " Philip waited for the next comfort-enhancing idea, but it seemed to dry up in his servant's throat. Nearly delirious with overfeeding, Philip knew there was only the comfort of sleep - and perhaps a bit more to drink. He eyed his cup back on the table, waiting for his servant to take the hint, and drank greedily as Jonah filled it over and over and over again for him. True, the heavy beer made him fuller, but the fullness was somehow dulled as he slipped into unconsciousness.
He opened his eyes as he felt the bed move next to him. Why had he been awakened?! The delicious pain of his grotesquely overloaded belly overwhelmed him as he focused on the shape next to him - Jonah, holding another platter.
"One more course, Philip - you're so close! So very close!" Another course? And had his servant called him by his given name? It felt like it hadn't been the first time, somehow. He felt strong hands on his monstrously over-stufffed belly, kneading gently but persuasively, as he popped the tarts into his mouth, moaning and gurgling in ecstasy.
Dinner and a show
It wasn't his imagination, Philip insisted to himself. Something had changed.
It wasn't so much that the servant clearing last night's dishes and freshening up his chamber was behaving so differently; there was just something different about the pace at which he worked; a sense of urgency that was uncalled for - even unnecessary - early in the morning in the room of someone who had gorged himself into oblivion just hours earlier and was unlikely to be going anywhere fast any time soon. And while Philip's head was spinning with the endorphin rush associated with his system's attempts to process last night's massive caloric intake, he felt like he'd had enough excitement for one day by the time Jonah pulled open the bed-curtains and announced, "They'll be here very soon, Your Majesty. May I assist?"
Philip noticed that a strong arm wasn't the only thing the servant extended in his direction as the massively engorged king stood in place, weaving slightly as he tried to figure out where last night's overfeeding had moved his center of gravity to... Then Jonah was at his side as they left the chamber and proceeded down the hall to the bath, Philip waddling and out of breath, Jonah taking baby steps beside him. Philip felt the heavy bump of Jonah's erection through the thin tunic and smiled. When at last they had reached the bath, Philip stood under the stream of water, flexing his arms and slapping his massive gut as Jonah laughed and stroked, finally prompting his master that it was time for the advisors' visit. Philip couldn't remember having discussed this, but then, that was the sort of thing for which one had attendants, wasn't it...
Clean and refreshed, but out of breath again from the walk down the hall, Philip stood in his chamber to receive his advisors. Now that he thought about it, he did have some questions. For one, he didn't see why he should have to retire after just a few years. He was having the time of his life, and handling the peoples' need for representing plenty very well. He had also won his qualifying games by a much wider margin that had been done in a very long time, and he didn't see why -
His thoughts were interrupted by the sudden opening of the door and the procession of advisors into his chamber. He knew he made a kingly image, his pumped up, royally overfed belly shining slightly with its fullness as he stood proudly in his gold bracelets and laced sandals, but the men's faces as they saw him surpassed even his own need to impress. One by one as they approached him, their eyes grew wide, and some clapped hands over their mouths lest they gape openly. Philip threw his shoulders back and smiled as he enjoyed their reactions. Most of them seemed to want to reach out and touch him, which he invited with a nod, arching his back proudly as they patted or stroked the royal gut. Clearly they were impressed with his progress since they'd last seen him. He knew he would get what he wanted from them. As he was about to address them, however, a line of servants entered, each of them carrying a lavishly overloaded platter.
"Breakfast, Your Majesty," the first helpfully offered as he extended his platter in Philip's direction.
"Breakfast, Your Majesty," said the next, offering up his platter in turn.
"Breakfast, Your Majesty," prompted a grinning, curly-haired redhead, holding out his platter of soft-scrambled eggs with creamed lobster as Philip groaned lustfully, slapping the underside of his heavily swollen belly as if to settle the load for more. Maintaining eye contact with the youth between mouthfuls, Philip made a mental note to find out who this angel of temptation was who so obviously enjoyed his work and admired his king.
"Breakfast, Your Majesty," whispered a solemn brunet, offering up pastries that oozed creamy filling from both ends, putting a nasty smile on the king's face as he greedily shoveled them in.
"Breakfast, Your Majesty," the next course's presenter announced as the king clutched his engorged royal belly in near-delirium. A hand on his shoulder seemed to invite him to sit down. It was not his usual chair, however, that had been pulled up behind him, but what appeared to be a bench of some sort, and the cool metal surface was at first a shock rather than a relief. He remained seated only because he knew that attempting to stand again was out of the question with his belly so immensely over-packed, with more platters to come. Fortunately, there were pillows piled up as a back-rest, and Philip leaned back against them as the next servant approached with his platter.
"Breakfast, Your Majesty," came the refrain as the king leaned back to make more room in his overburdened belly as a flurry of hands came at him with more food, waiting, but just barely, for him to chew and swallow before pushing in the next mouthful.
"Breakfast, Your Majesty," said a familiar voice as Philip felt Jonah remove some of the pillows behind him, allowing him to lean further back for the next offering of food.
"Breakfast, Your Majesty," a sleepy-eyed blond coaxed as he pushed his heaping platter toward the king, smiling slightly now as Philip moaned and clutched his enormous gut, chewing and swallowing as fast as he could. And then, just as he was sure he could chew no more, ladle-fuls of honey were poured down his gullet as more pillows were removed from behind him and firm hands on his shoulders encouraged him to lean back still further. This time, it was bare metal beneath him; as cold as the first contact with the seat had been, and then he saw the wheels begin to turn as the cart on which he was now lying was wheeled toward the door of his chamber and out into the hall. Philip felt his cock swell at the thought of being paraded through the town in his current state; unable even to sit up any more, he was completely at the mercy of his overloaded belly and his advisors, who had dutifully taken his over-feeding right to the edge. He only wished they had taken the nicely upholstered cart they usually used for parades; this cold metal one was warming up a little but was not up to proper standards for displaying a magnificently engorged king to his people.
It wasn't until they reached the ceremonial hall, crowded with the palace's inhabitants, that Philip realized that something else entirely had been planned; a feast perhaps, although he couldn't imagine eating even more just yet. As he was wheeled through the door on the creaking cart, he noticed that the underside of the entrance's lintel was inscribed in a way that looked like a decorative pattern to a man walking into the room, but was plainly readable now, to a man lying on his back: 'The Temple and the Offering are One' it read. Philip had heard his advisors and servants say it, often during the last courses of one of his endless meals, nodding approvingly as he displayed for them the results of his royal gluttony. And here they all were - his advisors, his magistrates, the palace staff - everyone seemed to have shown up for whatever this was going to be. Well, maybe he could pack in just a little more, he reconsidered, as a group of cooks ran up to the cart with bottles and bowls. He tried to rise to be fed, but could barely raise his head up off the deck of the cart as the cooks emptied the bottles of olive oil and the bowls of crushed, fragrant herbs onto his giant belly and began to massage them into a paste. He threw his head back against the metal cart as the manhandling of his enormous gut continued, covering his magnificent royal belly in an aromatic herbal paste and rendering him breathless with arousal as the cart was rolled toward the fire-pit in the middle of the floor.
As Philip looked around the room and saw his subjects' eyes glued to him, he smiled broadly and arched his powerful back, thrusting his massive belly upwards as he slapped the swollen sides of it, a virile display greeted with whoops and cheers from throughout the room - a royal show for this loyal and attentive crowd. He would show them what a fine king they had - a man among men, a perfect specimen of muscle and bulk. He would eat for them until he could eat no more, and then he would be rolled back to his chamber with his royal belly obscenely overstuffed while they trudged home, hungry but inspired. He scanned the room as best he could without lifting his head, ready for the next platter as he slapped the firm sides of his giant, swollen gut in greedy anticipation. The cooks stepped forward again with more oils and herbs, which again went onto him rather than into him. He moaned with pleasure as they repeated their energetic herbal rubdown, more aggressively this time. This was new. He didn't know whose idea it had been, but he liked it. Then he smelled the warming olive oil as he felt the heat begin to warm the cart beneath him, and he suddenly realized what they were all so excited about. The knives they held in their hands gleamed in the fire's dancing light; their faces were animated and bright. King Philip, 57th ruler of the Gluttonians, clutched his herb-rubbed monstrously over-stuffed belly with both hands and began to wail as his hungry subjects pounded the handles of their cutlery rhythmically on the tabletops, louder and louder and louder.
He knew the palace would be quiet again on this day, and savored the idea of having nothing much to do. The halls were mostly empty as he made his way to the toilets. The big feast had been the day before last, but he was still enjoying the feeling of having had the largest meal he'd had in a very long time. A royal feast, indeed... This, surely, was part of that experience. Jonah smiled as he squatted, preparing for a bigger event than usual.Their neighboring kingdom to the south, he knew, was a couple of generations behind in this area of domestic life. They had nothing like the system of tapped aquifers and underground streams that brought fresh water into the city, and certainly nothing to compare to the system of piping and underground sewers that carried waste away, following the routes of the kingdom's two rivers to where they met the sea.
From where he squatted, he could almost glimpse through the small window the terrace off the royal bedchamber, perched high at the top of the palace. After the feast, Jonah had scrubbed the ash and oil off of the king's gold bracelets and set them on the marble table near the window where the next king would stand and eat, looking out over the city. As Jonah had stood there, surveying the rooftops of the palace, he had thought about Philip, at first stomping proudly through the palace like a young god, then lumbering about like an over-fattened farm animal, and finally unable even to get up and waddle away as his fate was revealed to him. He wondered if these men would do it again if they knew where it would lead. He had felt his tunic tenting as he'd caught sight of the banners fluttering in the wind high above the festival grounds, where the competitions for those who would be king would be held next week. The generally agreed-upon favorite was a surprisingly burly youth from the country, a handsome young man with a healthy appetite and, apparently, the means to satisfy it. Soon, there'd be another king to serve.