This is a side story about a woman who belonged to a group on the Other Side/USA closely related to FatLand: FatandProud.
All my life I was a pretty peaceful soul. I was a proofreader. I owned a modestly priced condo in Inwood, at the tip of Manhattan. I was considered reliable and competent, two attributes which arose out of my loving my work. I took one week vacations in various parts of New England and brought along my work. I walked in the park nearest to my condo in autumn. I had a few peaceful, modestly interesting romantic relationships that didn't last past a year. I was devoted to my parents and my cat. I had a few good friends and two with whom I met each week for some meal or other. In short, a contented and productive life.
Oh, yes. I was also a member of FatandProud because I am fat and read articles by and about several strong, proud, fat women who voiced what I had been thinking for a while, which was that diets do not work and that it is so much happier and easier to lead a life which does not involve hating yourself and your body.
We met monthly for a while. Then, when the Pro-Diet and Health Laws were passed in 2010 and then more of them in 2014, we began to be viewed as subversive. At first we thought it was humorous. Then, when several of us received calls from the FBI, we started to feel otherwise. And we started to meet weekly.
In 2014 we set up our Fat Underground Rescue Team. We were saving fat people from the Reeducation Centers, in which they were brainwashed and starved, often without their losing a pound. Sometimes we did manage to spring them, but more often we worked to help them escape to FatLand.
Early in 2015, I received my call.
"Ms. Pomeroy," it began, "I am Clarence Knightley from the FBI. We would consider it extremely helpful to our peacekeeping efforts if you could tell us the names of the people from FatandProud who are helping you maintain the Underground Railroad."
"Am I under arrest?" I asked.
"Then am I free to go?"
"If you tell us the names of people who are helping you in the Underground Railroad."
"Am I free to go?"
"I am sorry to say that your efforts have earmarked you for a Reeducation Center. So that question is basically moot."
"Thank you, Mr. Knightley," I said, and hung up.
How strange it still felt, to be considered "subversive" for being fat and helping to free fat people who were not causing trouble to anyone or anything but had been labeled undesirable citizens because they were fat and because many corporate entities found it convenient to scapegoat them. Insurance. Big Pharma. Diet Companies. Fitness Companies.
But in any case, I was now one of the targeted and had to move fast. I could not text those who had to know, but emailed them through a hidden network we maintained. I simply typed "420," our prearranged code, and they knew. Within minutes a car was sent for me and I got in with one bag and my cat, who would be taken in by sister FAP members. I kissed her goodbye as I transferred to a van with a back in which I was told to hide by lying down and covering with a blanket that matched the seats. They then took me to the Denver airport, where I boarded a flight to Canada under an assumed name with a different passport, made up for me and kept in my escape bag at all times. I then passed through their customs and blessedly then into the FatLand Air Section, rather new at the time, but still incredibly good to see.
The FatLand Air head sat me down and asked if I wanted to go to FatLand or work with FatAir, the FatLand airline, to get people out of the OtherSide/USA. I chose the latter. I knew that my FatandProud friends would need rescuing, and soon.
I missed them all. And I did end up taking a hand in rescuing them. But that is a story for another time.