Kelvin Gastelum: 170 at Dana's Door

Kelvin Gastelum spoke of how he was going to show that Dana that he could hit 170 lbs by showing up on his doorstep at the weight. This story represents one potential look at what could have happened. A tale of courage, and temptation, and ultimately... of downfall.

Kelvin Gastelum jogs on the spot, trying to keep warm in the February chill. He presses the bell again, rubs his hands together again, blows on them again, and checks his watch again.

A small and traitorous voice tells him that maybe he's feeling the cold more than usual because he doesn't have the layers. He crushes it. He's beaten the voice back a lot lately; recognized that it's not his friend, and gotten used to the gnawing feeling in his gut that comes along with denying it. Hell, he's proud of that feeling. It's a sign of discipline, a mark of honor, because right now, right now, Kelvin Gastelum is one seventy pounds. On the dot. And he's here to show it.

As soon as the Dana answers the door. Gastelum stamps his feet, exhales condensation.

"Hey, there!"

Gastelum turns. A man wearing the padded black armor of a biker climbs the steps to the porch. The visor of his helmet is open, his pockmarked face is friendly. He carries broad, flat cardboard boxes under one arm.

"Waiting for Mr White?" the man says. Gastelum nods. The biker sighs, shakes his head. "Let me tell you, that man straight up sucks at answering his door. He's got a special audio setup in there, some Beats by Dre or Bose bespoke thing." The biker has the amiable bemusement of a man for whom the extravagances of the rich will always be a mystery. "Sometimes he blasts that new metal stuff and, well, he's just gone to the outside world for a while. Makes it tough if you've got to deliver pies." The man raises the boxes, and with a small, almost undetectable shock Gastelum sees the Domino's pizza logo on the top. "I've been stuck out on this porch more than once." The biker sighs. "Might be a long one again. Still, nice to have some company, I guess."

Poor guy, thinks Gastelum. At least I only have to do this the once. Then, as if from a distance he hears someone speaking.

"So... I've got to wait to talk to Mr. White myself. Why don't I stay here with those pizzas? I can pay for them, then pick up the money from him."

The biker's face brightens. "Hey, you'd do that? Sure would appreciate it." He steps towards Gastelum, and Kelvin finds himself digging in his pocket, coming out with a fistful of bills.

"Yeah... that'll be... 50 dollars," the biker says. "I know it's a bit much for two, but one of these is a bit special, you know?" He winks.

"Yes," Gastelum hears someone say, and he is holding out the money. The biker takes it with a grateful smile, and pushes the pizza boxes into his arms.

"You might need the receipt," he says, yanking it out of the machine and stuffing it into Gastelum's hand. "Thanks again, man. Really appreciate it," Then he is gone.

Gastelum can feel the warmth of the pizza through the bottom of the box, slightly damp and almost alive. He gets a slight smell of something alien, but indescribably delicious and he leans down... and then suddenly jolts upright. What is he doing?

He quickly puts the boxes down, backs away. Sweat has sprung out on his forehead, despite the chill air. He didn't come for this. He didn't. He looks around desperately for something to distract himself, and he finds the receipt, still clutched in his fist. Sure, he thinks, dizzy from that smell. Might as well look at what kind of pizzas we're talking about here.

He glances down the list. One pepperoni, sure, but the lion's share of the price is being taken up by that other pie. $35 for a pizza? He looks at the name, and almost drops the receipt before tightening his grip until his knuckles turn white.

It's not a name, or even a word.

He looks again.

It's still there. "DLFTTDP".

Gastelum knows that acronym. Every real fan of junk food knows it. He just never thought he'd see it.

It can't be true. It can't be. But he thinks of that smell, so strange and so wonderful, and he knows that it must be.

He remembers the urban legends traded on the boards of and r/eatingtrash. They talked of how the titans of the fast food industry came together in secret, with a single purpose: to make the greatest American food ever created.

The Doritos Locos Fish Taco-Topped Domino's Pizza.

There were whispers of the labyrinthine legal deals which ensued; of the quiet armies of blank-faced lawyers; of dances of engagement and disengagement of such subtle intricacy that they would have brought corporate experts to tears, if they'd been able to see them, and able to cry.

Connoisseurs had been dismissive of the idea. Legendary junk food pundit Bubba "GuzzleLord" MacDonald posted a watertight case about how it could simply never be done on a technical level. No method existed that could preserve the curved Doritos half-shell under the pincer assaults of hot cheese grease and spiced fish sludge, while simultaneously avoiding making the pizza dough soggy.

For a while, it had seemed like Bubba was right. The project had stalled... until Nobel Prize-winning culinary chemist Nikolai Karkovsky had taken the job. Karkovsky had reportedly locked himself away for months before coming up with a revolutionary new multi-stage process, one which no one man apart from him could comprehend in its entirety. They say that it broke him, and that he took the knowledge with him to the asylum. The process survives in its constituent parts, but when he dies, his masterpiece dies with him.

Now the DLFTTDP lives in limbo; its wider production lines suspended until those involved believe it can be sustainable. The corporate giants are watching one another to see who blinks. The only people who get to sample this pizza are those at the highest rung of society, sworn to secrecy. Politicians. Heads of industry. And, apparently, the president of the UFC.

Gastelum finds he has been slowly, haltingly walking towards the boxes. His mouth is awash with hot saliva. A gentle, soothing voice is in his ears. This is probably the only time you'll get the chance to see this. It's like the holy grail. Why not take a look?

He kneels down, and his hands shake slightly as he pushes the cardboard tab. Just... smell it again. What harm could it do to just smell it? And maybe... The voice sounds like his best friend in the whole world.

The lid opens. A puff of steam leaves the box, rises slowly into the air, and melts away, like dreams.

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