Sunday, 19 April 2015

CLEANER II: Chapter Three - Part Five


The personal trainer, Ambrus, leaned back in the seat opposite me and gave me a speculative look. “What you need to decide before we start making you thinner is exactly what you want to achieve.”


“Don’t be hasty,” he said, raising his hand. “These are important matters and I want you to be sure you’ve thought this through properly. I see people come here every year, men and women, who half some half-hearted desire to lose weight. They are feeling guilty about all the food and wine and think the odd hour here and there of exercise will make it all okay.” He shook his head, smiling. “Are you one of those people?”

My cheeks coloured a little. It all sounded so serious and he was applying a certain amount of pressure. “No. I’m not one of those.”

“Then tell me.” He relaxed, leaning against the arm of his chair. “What do you want to achieve here. I’m told you are staying here at the hotel long term.”

“Yes. For at least a couple of months,” I said. “Which gives me a good long time to get started on losing weight.”

“How much weight do you hope to lose?” he asked.

I thought about the question, picturing Dahlia, then I looked at him very earnestly and said, “All of it.”

He laughed. “Ambitious eh?”

“Yes. Really. I want to be thin.”

He was still chuckling.

“Can you help me or not?” The question was blunt enough to knock the humour from his lips.

He gave me another one of those speculative looks and I actually got the impression that I had impressed him. He might even have been goading me to see how I would react. Despite the spark of irritation I’d felt I found myself warming to him.

“I can help you achieve what you want if you are prepared to put the time and effort in,” he said. “Losing weight is simple. It requires the determined application of concentrated effort. If you put the discipline in then you will achieve results. How great those results are will be proportional to how much discipline. If you plan to do a bit of exercise here and there and then spend your evenings getting drunk and eating large then I am here to tell you that you will be wasting your time. Yes, you won’t put on as much weight as you might otherwise have done but you’re unlikely to lose any.”

“That’s fine,” I replied, feeling an icy determination start to form. This had been a good idea. This was what I needed. This guy was going to challenge me and keep on challenging me. I think I liked it. I am determined. I do want to lose a lot of weight.”

“All of it,” he said, smiling wryly.

“Yes,” I replied, equally bluntly. “All of it. Is that possible?”

“Anything is possible if enough time and, er... money is available.”

“I want to do it quickly,” I said.

“How quickly?”

“As quickly as possible. And money is no object.”

He frowned, trying, I guessed, to work out exactly how serious I was and what my expectations were. My guess was that people didn’t come to this kind of resort to enter a high level fitness regime. He must have been trying to decide if I was for real.

“I suppose, if you were serious about it...”

“I am.”

“... then it would be possible to work to a strict regime of diet and exercise. We could get you shaping up quite quickly if you remain committed.”

“I’ve been thinking about liposuction,” I said. “What if I combined the exercise and dieting with that to enhance the results. Money really is no object. I want to get somewhere quickly.”

He seemed doubtful and possibly suspicious. I was being intense but I was also clearly honest and driven, maybe even potentially obsessional.

“Let me ask you a question,” he said. He paused, trying to find the best words to frame it. His English was outstanding but it wasn’t perfect. “What is your motivation? What makes you think that you can be as driven as you are suggesting. You are telling me you want to make your life about getting to the shape you want to be. What are you going to hold in your mind to make that happen. When I’m shouting at you and making you work harder than you ever have before, what will you picture in your mind to keep yourself going?”

I put the last piece of fruit in my mouth off my bowl and looked out over the pool, trying to find the answer to that. It came to me quickly and as it entered my mind I smiled grimly.

In the lounge at Summertop, Dahlia’s mansion back home in Nockton Vale, on the high wall was a bigger than life portrait of Dahlia. She was at the height of her modelling career and she looked slim and beautiful in a way that had always been impossibly out of my reach. Picturing it evoked a flash of all the bitterness and envy I had felt all the years I’d worked for her. It filled my mind with anger and... yes, hatred. I hadn’t realised until now. It hadn’t been clear to me just how much I hated her.

I wanted to be that slim. I wanted to be that beautiful. I wanted to do anything I could to hurl her into the life I had led, to encourage her to be every bit as fat as I was, and I wanted to take the shape she had had.

I wanted this more than I’d ever wanted anything. I wanted to beat her. I wanted to humiliate her. I wanted to posses everything she had and leave her with the pitiful things I had had.

I looked at Ambrus. He looked back at me.  

“I have my picture,” I said.

“What is it?” he asked.

I smiled. “My little secret. But you can believe me when I tell you that it will give me all the motivation I need to go all the way on this.”


  1. don't every underestimate the power of obsession.

    1. I don't. How do you thinkI manage to publish a new book every month?

      (Grins broadly)

  2. Ironically I'm guessing that that hatred will only grow as they both change.

    1. I think you're right and I think the hatred is necessary. In the original story we didn't delve into Melissa's reasons for making the change but we are now and it's interesting to do so.

  3. Wonderful, Melissa is back! That is a very ambitious program, even with liposuction. Wondering what will happen faster - Dahlia gaining fat or Melissa losing it? As an idea, perhaps there is a way to save the fat from Melissa's future liposuction and inject it into Dahlia as part of a fat transfer or "reverse liposuction" surgery? After all, relying on Dahlia's appetite to get to Melissa's original size may take way too long.

    1. Hmmm. Yeah. The realism of the weight gain and loss is something that may be controversial at times but we may need to not think too hard about it.

      Certainly I know that it's possible to put quite a bit of weight on over the course of a week or two (think Christmas) and that's when someone isn't actively trying - just exposed to a lot of available food.

      I think if one were actively trying to put on weight and had all you can eat buffets for breakfast, dinner and tea then things would progress pretty swiftly.

  4. Hurray! Back on track for now!

    I like Camille's idea for reverse liposuction (lipoinflation?) for a faster result. I suspect the return trip in a few month's time will have to be with each other's passports and with the new Dahlia in first class with the former one cramming her bulk into tourist.

    Thanks Emma

    Robyn H

    1. Yeah. I like the idea of the reverse liposuction but I think it's pushing the believability (which is already somewhat stretched).

      This story is all about the social and physical change and the altyeration of self-esteem. That has to be the leading factor. The actual practicalities of gaining and losing weight won't be the main focus - though will be referred to regularly.

    2. This is not about practicalities at all! As a matter of fact, just eating a lot of food is far more practical than undergoing a potentially life-threatening surgical procedure. The reason why I find this scenario interesting is precisely because it fits your idea of "alteration of self-esteem" very strongly as Dahlia will literally be taking all the "pitiful things" from Melissa, including her own fat. The idea suggested by someone earlier of Melissa using Dahlia's cut-off hair as hair extensions is somewhat similar. That's the closest they can get to body swap without using magic.

      That is why the whole idea of Dahlia destroying her eyesight is so powerful. To take this even further, she may even deliberately develop an embarrassing or just annoying decease or health condition that Melissa has (but will now completely get rid of it because she can now afford it financially and is starting a new life). Could be anything from some veneral decease like moniliasis to something as banal as really bad teeth - in either case it will be a constant reminder to Dahlia of her new status in life. A milder version of that could be getting an exact copy of an indecent tattoo that Melissa got as a teenager (and will now remove, of course, as not fitting her new life).

    3. Hmmm. Yes. I like the idea of taking on health issues.

      The next thing we need to think about is background information though.

    4. one of the things I like is how "close" they are to each other. when you think about it there are only a few differences in choices and actions that are repeated to great cumulative effect, but that initial start is as small as the proverbial fork in the road.

    5. Yeah. Both are becoming fascinated by a trade for their different reasons. The reason I like this expanded version is the idea of trying to understand why two women would really want to do that.

  5. Hi Emma,
    I personally have never considered the amount of weight that Dahlia gains as that important especially given that she now has a manual job and is burning calories in the process.
    More important to me is the psychological aspect of the ruined eyesight and the way she is perceived and treated by others intensifying her low self esteem.
    Great work by the way, I love the way you`re expanding Melissa`s view and I`m looking forward to the time when she starts to "turn the screw" by pushing Dahlia`s masochistic buttons.


    1. I am also looking forward to that. I'm finding it a delicate balance to juggle.

    2. You`re doing fine so far Emma,
      I think you may find it easier when Melisa`s new found confidence and Dahlia`s growing insecurity become apparent.


    3. Thanks Bill. I think you're right!

  6. The writing i, as always first rate. I like the way you are using Meliisa's hayred as a powerful movvation.

    1. Thanks Eric! Hatred is a strong motivator unfortunately.

  7. This particular episode inspired lots of comments, Glad we are back in track here.
    I also think that the psychological aspect is quite important.
    Dahlia's morale will drop continuously from now on and Melissa's will shoot up. When they meet again will be a very interesting encounter.
    Monica G.

    1. Well they may be meeting sooner than you think but their relationship will already have change dramatically.

  8. I suppose there is also an inevitability about the plastic surgery too. I mean we got our first mention of it here in the form of liposuction. For them to swap when back home, that will be necessary. That is an extremely powerful tool and to wield it, I guess further changes in both character's psychology are necessary for that massive step to take place - Mike W

    1. Yeah. That is an almost preposterous step. For it to be justified psychologically I'm going to have to work hard!

  9. In re=reading this pivot chap I think one thing you might want to add hear whenyou prepare he final book is have the trainer & others address M as MISS WESTON & how much M enjoys being sp address & treated with deference.