(Comprehensive Guide to Short Stories, Critical Edition)

Alexander Finch, gross and obese, walks out of a department store with bed sheets he has stolen, as well as with several cans of smoked oysters that fill the large pockets of his floppy trousers. Struggling through the revolving door, he reflects on the irony that, since the revolution, to be fat is to be an oppressor. Before the revolution, “most fat men were either Americans, stooges for the Americans, or wealthy supporters of the Americans.” However, with the collapse of the “old Danko regime,” everything has changed. Finch had once been a lovable blimp, a political cartoonist known as “Teddy,” but gradually after the revolution, the influence of the Central Committee of Seventy-five had turned the word “fat” into “a synonym for greedy, ugly, sleazy, lazy, obscene, evil, dirty, dishonest, untrustworthy.” So Finch, once the secretary of the Thirty-second District, has shifted sides to become the secretary of the underground organization “Fat Men Against the Revolution.”

Finch’s five housemates are an irregular lot. Milligan, who drives a taxi with iridescent blue and yellow stripes, is the only one of the six with a job. Glino is a vegetarian who plants radishes in the front yard. May, the only married man in the group, plays a scratched Sibelius record constantly while moping for “Dear Iris,” the wife to whom he writes many letters. Fantoni, at twenty-eight the youngest of the householders and an accomplished thief, is a...

(The entire section is 580 words.)