tagNon-EroticWhat Good Are You To Anyone?

What Good Are You To Anyone?


It really started with a look. She was a just a young girl that I hardly knew. But it all began with that one look from her.

Ten years ago I was 33, the registrar at a small midwestern college. In most ways I was your average guy. Almost six feet tall, fairly good-looking, intelligent and well read. But I weighted 295 pounds, and we're not talking about muscle here. I'd always been a bit heavy, and since my wife Rebecca had left me three years earlier, had gained well over a hundred pounds. All it took was a steady diet of junk food, beer, and self-pity. Take my word for it.

Visits to my doctor usually ruined his day. Bad cholesterol, high blood pressure, I had the total package. "I have a cocker spaniel that's going to outlive you," he dourly predicted. Late in the spring of that year, my friend Dave, head of our college chemistry department, invited me over to his house for swimming and a cookout. I was reluctant to go, for 295 reasons, but he persisted. I bought a pair of swim trunks about the size of a pup tent and put in an appearance.

It wasn't too bad at first. I swam a little; then, relaxed on the far side of the pool making small talk with Dave's wife Gina. Soon she went to get some more wine. So I sat there alone, like a big pink hippo.

Dave's stepdaughter Melissa was in the pool tossing around a beach ball with the other kids. The ball was knocked over near me, and she came to get it. Melissa was 16, in the first bloom of womanhood. She was pretty in the wholesome midwestern way, with strawberry blonde hair and a light spray of freckles on her cheeks.

I reached down and tossed the beach ball to her, about six feet away. "Isn't your name Jeff?" she asked.

"Uh huh."

"My step dad says you used to be an great athlete. Led your high school to the state baseball championship."

"That's right."

She looked me over in silence for a few seconds. "So what happened to you?"

I shrugged. "That was then, this is now."

"Well, now you're a big tub of lard, y'know." Then she gave me The Look. It was a look of pity, of contempt and repulsion, one that made clear just how worthless I was. "What good are you to anyone?" she murmured, twisting the knife. Then with a waggle of her behind she ran and jumped back into the pool.

I had hoped to detect a bit of teasing in her voice. But no, Melissa meant every word of it. Again I sat there, and as the moments passed I seemed to swell, to grow even larger. Would I soon explode, scattering blubber all over the lawn? Utterly humiliated, I left the party with my tail between my legs. My enormous flabby legs.

That night I made spaghetti. Filling a platter with it, I poured a big glass of Coke, and settled in front of the TV for my typical supper. But then the most bizarre thing happened. Just before the first bite, there was Melissa's face, suspended in mid-air in front of me, once again giving me The Look. It was like a vision or something, you see. I stared back at her, unsure of what to make of it. But there she was.

Not realizing the full import of what I was doing, I idly took my fork and separated the spaghetti into two equal parts. One half I slid to the edge of the platter. When I finished eating the other half, I realized that I was full. The rest of my meal went into the garbage disposal, along with half of my Coke.

And that's how it started. The next day at lunch, I was all set to devour my usual double cheeseburger with large order of fries. Again came Melissa and her Look, as plain as day. This time I even heard her lilting teen voice as well: "What good are you to anyone?"

Taking the tiny plastic knife that they give you in my enormous hand, I cut the cheeseburger in half, and split the fries into two parts. As with the spaghetti, half the meal never passed my lips.

That night I dusted off some scales that had been in the closet and weighed myself. Yes, 295 hefty pounds. Cutting back for one day hadn't helped. But it's funny how something can easily become a habit. Before long I was doing it all the time. At restaurants, where everything is super sized, I'd split the meal in half, and leave half on the plate. At home, it soon became easy to take just half a serving of lasagna or whatever that night's fare was.

Whenever I began to overwork my fork, Melissa was there to stop me. Soon I was able to see her, in my mind's eye giving me The Look, at will. Sometimes, when desperate, I could even recall her voice.

Nights were tough. I would lie in bed, and, honest to God, see visions of fried chicken and coconut cream pie dance across in front of my eyes. Then maybe a beef burrito covered in melted cheese, followed by a nice pork roast with gravy and mashed potatoes. During the worst of it, I even imagined I could smell their delicious aromas, as if there was a full buffet at the foot of my bed, just waiting for me to dig in. But Melissa was always there to help me through: "What good are you to anyone?" she would ask.

There was a small park nearby, lots of tall oaks and maples. As the days became longer that summer I would walk once around it, later twice, each day. Then came swimming, an hour every other day, and eventually the gym. But I wasn't a fanatic about any of this, you see. One thing somehow led to another.

After a year I was down to 240 pounds. In another year my weight stood at 205, then the year after at 180 pounds. When I reached 170 my doctor declared that's it, you've lost enough weight. I agreed.

My family at first was appalled at all my loose wrinkled skin, especially around my face. They said that it made me look ill, too old, or both. Some asked if I had cancer or maybe AIDS. But with time and exercise everything smoothed out. I was now 36, trim and fit.

As I recall, the first admiring look from a woman came when I passed the 220-pound mark. By the time I was down to 200 pounds I'd rack up maybe several a week. When I stopped at 170 pounds, the looks from women who had known me at my heaviest were sometimes embarrassing.


It's odd, isn't it, how people come into your life at just the right time. First it was Melissa, whose image I now rarely saw. Just about the time I hit 170 pounds, I attended a Christmas party, and there was Shannon. We had gone to college together. She had been a bridesmaid when I made the mistake of marrying Rebecca.

Shannon was talking with a group of women when our eyes met. She looked at me curiously for a moment. Then her hazel eyes grew large, her jaw dropped a bit, and I knew that she had finally recognized me. That happened a lot in those days.

She quickly came over. "Omigod, is it really you, Jeff?" she gushed, automatically grasping my arm, you know, the way women do.

"It is. How are you, Shannon?"

"But you look so...so fit. My lord, you look better than you did ten years ago."

"So do you," I lied.

Over drinks I told her my story, as usual leaving out the part about Melissa. She wouldn't have understood anyway. Soon we were arranging a date, dinner at a local seafood place.

There we got to know each other again. Shannon was twice divorced, no children, and was one of the best free-lance fashion designers in the city. That was a natural career for her. She was an inveterate fixer-upper. Her compulsion to remake people had cost her at least one husband, but it made no difference. She couldn't help herself.

It soon became clear that I would be her next project. "You know, Jeff," she said, taking a sip of chardonnay, "now that you're down to your proper weight, I'll bet you could use a new wardrobe, couldn't you?"

"Yeah, I've bought a few new things, but...sure."

That Saturday Shannon and I met at the best mall in town. Four hours and several thousand dollars later we walked out laden with men's clothing, everything from boxer shorts to double-breasted suits. Deciding that I had a rugged, '40s style face, William Holden with a dash of Gary Cooper, Shannon chose the retro look in my clothing. After our shopping spree we went to a hair stylist, where she had my sandy brown hair cut in a way that recalled that era: short on the sides and back, full and wavy on top.

Back at my apartment, she picked out an outfit for me. "Now," she said, "go into the bedroom and put these on. Let's see how well we've done."

I emerged a few moments later in full regalia: dark tweed jacket, burgundy suede vest, silk club tie, the works. Shannon placed her hand to her mouth, uttering "Oh my..oh my."

We stared at each other for a few seconds. Her eyes glowing, she finally said, "I think maybe you're overdressed, Jeff. Let's see how you look without the jacket." I removed it.

"Now the vest," she murmured, brushing the auburn hair from her face. It went, followed by another command. "And the wing-tips."

I couldn't suppress a chuckle as she issued orders until I was finally down to nothing but the new boxers. "What are you giggling about?" she grinned.

"The idea that a woman might want to see my body. You realize that's a new concept for me."

"Oh hon," she smiled, now embracing me, "there are lots of women who'll want to do more than just look at that body."

"Including you?"

"Especially me," she murmured as she gave me a long deep french kiss. We continued to kiss as I undressed her, finally cupping her pendulous breasts in my hand and sucking her remarkably long dark nipples. Shannon was no less interested in sucking, and gave me a slow easy blowjob, skillfully draining me dry.

For the rest of that evening and into the wee hours, Shannon played my body like a violin, each of us climaxing time after time. She gladly offered and I gladly enjoyed all of her womanly pleasures. Still looking to improve me, she bade me find her clitoris, and gave instruction on what to do when I got there. Later came tutoring on her G-spot. I thought I was a fast learner, but Shannon insisted that I keep working on my technique. Practice makes perfect, she said.


So that's how I became the local pussy hound. After my night with Shannon, I began to think about all the women in their late 20s and thirties who are not interested in marriage, just an intelligent, good looking man to go out with, maybe spend a vacation. During the next few years my cock and I cut a wide swathe through the local population of just those ladies.

I had only two rules, no students and no married women. But who needed them, with all the fine bachelorettes and divorcees to service. From blacks to Latinas to Asian, from cute slim blondes to rubenesque redheads, I dined frequently at the carnal buffet. I never went hungry.

With Tonya and her large coffee-colored breasts I learned to scuba in the Caribbean. Redheaded Julie taught me to snow ski, although I think I spent as much energy satisfying her voracious appetite for sex as I did on the slopes. The flawless Mika loved modern art, sushi, and sucking cock, not necessarily in that order. Oh, the mouth-watering dishes from which I could choose!

Time flies when you're having fun. One evening last autumn Kristin, a blonde real estate agent, invited me to her house for dinner. Dessert was her marvelous round ass and firm pussy. I had several helpings. I left about midnight, but not yet ready to turn in, dropped by The Yardarm, a local tavern. It was a rainy night, and few others were in the bar. Nathan the bartender served me a scotch and soda. For a while we chatted and played Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon.

A ruckus broke out between the couple in the back booth. After a few moments of yelling and cursing, the guy rose and with a "Ah, to hell with you!" walked past the bar toward the entrance. The woman remained slumped in the booth, eyes half closed.

"Hey, c'mon, man!" said Nathan to the guy, "you can't just leave her here!"

"Oh yeah! Watch me!" With that he was out the door.

"Well, this is just great!" swore Nathan. "Now I gotta figure out who she is, and probably pay her taxi fare home." He looked back at the booth. "You wanna help me get her up and outta here, Jeff?"

"Sure, no problem."

We approached the booth, where the woman was now passed out, her mouth agape. "Look in her purse, man," Nathan said. "See who she is. And see if she's got money for cab fare."

But a cold shiver of recognition had passed through me. Although her hair was darker, the spray of freckles remained. It was Melissa. She was now in her mid-twenties. And she looked like hell.

"Nathan," I said in a low voice, "I think I know this woman. She's the stepdaughter of a guy at my college. Her name's Melissa."

"Good!" he replied. " Can you take her home?"

I found her driver's license and checked the address, an apartment in the low rent part of town. "Yeah, I'll see she gets home."

But Melissa spent the night in my guest bedroom. I had first taken her to her apartment, however her key did not fit the door. From outside a nearby convenience store I called her stepfather Dave. His "Hello?" came after about four rings.

"Dave, it's me, Jeff. Sorry to call so late."

"Oh, no problem, buddy! I'd just turned in myself."

"Look, I've got your girl Melissa here with me. She was in a bar, and the guy she was with walked out on her. I hate to tell you this, but she's really wasted, and passed out too."

Dave's voice was now coated with ice. "That's nothing new. Why are you calling me?"

"For starters, her apartment key doesn't fit. I can't get her in."

"That's because they changed the lock for non-payment of rent. They're holding her furniture for auction. The landlord called me a day or two ago."

"Well, can I bring her over to your place tonight?"


"C'mon, Dave, she's your stepdaughter for Chrissakes. She needs some help!"

"Jeff, we washed our hands of Melissa several years ago. God knows we tried to help her every way we could for a really long time. Gina and I went through hell with her and we don't want to start it all again. I know that sounds cold, but that's the way it is."

"But what am I supposed to do with her?"

"It doesn't really matter, Jeff. That's the saddest part of all. It doesn't really matter." With that he hung up.


The next morning was dark and drizzling rain. I got up, made coffee, and sat at the breakfast table, working the crossword puzzle. Eight, then nine o'clock came and went. Just a few minutes before ten, Melissa emerged from the guest bedroom, still wearing her sweater and jeans from the night before. I had removed only her shoes.

We looked at each other for a few seconds. I wondered if she might know me, but no glimmer of recognition crossed her face. But why should it? Our paths had only crossed that one time at the swimming party.

"I suppose you'll eventually tell me who you are and where I am," she said through ashen lips.

"I'm Jeff," I said quietly. "I'm a friend of your father. By chance I was in the bar last night when your boyfriend stormed out. I ended up bringing you to my place."

"Is there any of that coffee left?" she asked.

"Yes, I made a new pot just a while ago. Help yourself."

She poured some into a mug that I had put on the counter, added a heaping spoonful of sugar, and sat down across the table from me. In the pale morning light Melissa looked worse than ever. She was thin, even emaciated. And were age lines already appearing around her eyes? While I had been re-building my life, what had she been doing with hers?

"You know my father? Did you talk to him?"

"Uh huh."

"Wouldn't take me in even for one night, would he?"


"That son of a bitch."

"I got the impression he's taken you in many times before."

"He has. But he's still a son of a bitch." After another sip of coffee she went on, "Look, I'll call my friend Angie, or maybe Justin. He's my ex. One of them should be able to take me off your hands."

I handed her my cell phone. She went into the living room where I could faintly hear conversations, during which Melissa raised her voice several times. Finally she returned to the kitchen. Laying the cell phone on the table, she took a deep breath and murmured, "Looks like I have fewer friends than I thought."

I said nothing. Melissa went to the window, where she broke into tears, dissolving into sobs that continued for several minutes. Finally she turned back to me.

"Look, I don't know what you think of me, and really don't give a damn. But times like this, just a little bit of something helps get the blood flowing, wakes me up, you know what I mean? Please?"

I took a shot glass from the cabinet and brought a bottle of bourbon to the table. With no hesitation she sat down, filled the shot glass half full, and emptied it in two swallows. "Thanks," she murmured, taking more deep breaths. "That's much better."

"Are you hungry?" I asked.

"Good God no!" Melissa took another hit from the bourbon; then, pushed it away. We sat staring at each other for several seconds.

Finally I spoke. "You're trying to find someone to take you off my hands. What if I told you that I don't want anyone to take you off my hands."

She gave me a puzzled look. "I'm not following you."

"Here's the deal. I have a guest bedroom that you're welcome to use as long as you need. I'll provide all your food, even spending money and some new clothes if you like."

"Then what, in return I fuck you?"


"Who then, your friends?"

"You don't have to fuck anyone. There are no strings attached."

"I don't have to swear that I'll stay clean and sober?"

"No. I don't think you could even if you wanted to."

"But I gotta get a job, right? Straighten up and go to church every Sunday?"

"No. I'm not asking you to do anything except stay with me. I'll even keep liquor here. I'd rather have you drinking here than in some of the places around town."

Melissa got up and poured herself another cup of coffee. Standing at the counter, she eyed me again. "Look, have we ever met before? Something about you, I dunno, seems vaguely familiar."

I stiffened in surprise. Could she possibly remember that one day? "No, I don't think we've ever met."

For now, I decided, I would not tell her that, in a perverse way, I owed her so much. Later perhaps, but not now. "I'm just trying to be a Good Samaritan here. You seem to need a friend."


The past few years had been heaven, and now came hell. It's hard to say who suffers more, the drunks or the ones who must be around them. What can I tell you about the next three months? Should I describe the shouting matches between us? The times I cleaned Melissa's vomit off the carpet? The money and my belongings that she stole? The drunken boyfriends that she brought to her bed, who I summarily tossed out? I could tell many stories.

More than once I reflected on how capricious is fate. Ten years ago Melissa's words, though cruel and judgmental, had changed my life. If I had an ounce of humanity in me, I must give her the same chance that she unknowingly gave me. She was the one person toward whom I must show compassion. I owed her that, even if she didn't know it. So I bore it all stoically. Ironic, wouldn't you say?

But the night that I hoped for finally came. We walked together into the shabby room and sat in folding chairs, over near one side. About twenty other people were there, all ages and from all walks of life. Soon a man of about 50, his face a roadmap of hard times and misery, came in and stood before us.

"Well, I'm Robert, and I want to welcome you all here tonight. If you haven't gotten some coffee yet, help yourself. Jeanine will be glad to make more."

"So, let's get started. I recognize most of you, but I am happy to see several new faces. Would you please introduce yourselves to our group? Who will go first?"

To my surprise it was Melissa who stood up. Grasping my hand firmly, tears streaming down her cheeks, she said in a trembling voice, "My name is Melissa, and I'm an alcoholic." Had she looked down, she would have seen tears in my eyes as well.

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