Size 36

A tale of despair, dictated from the floor of a bedroom.

By Phill Giliver


This — this right here — this is probably the end. Hopefully Lillian finds me. She probably won’t, though. Honestly, I thought it would be a bit more glamorous. As a kid you’d probably want to go out robbing a bank or jumping a monster truck over Def Leppard or something. I know I sure did. But nope, here I am, on the floor, collapsed, gasping for air, crying. Crying? Crying. And my back hurts a lot. Like, a lot a lot. The rug was a nice choice, Lillian. When you’re just ambling through Homegoods™, the rugs all look the same, but this one rug is quite nice in isolation. I don’t think I would like owning a Homegoods™-worth of rugs. One rug is probably nicer than having a store’s-worth of rugs. It’s like having a leper rug or a rug that no one wants to be friends with because it’s really thoughtful and misunderstood and smokes cigarettes and wears black turtlenecks.

Hey, the phone’s right there … Maybe if I just — OW OW OW no no no no nope no no, the back hurts way too much OW.

Well, I guess we’re stuck here, on the floor, until Lillian gets back from work.

What if I … what if I do a worm thing so that I sort of spin — oooh yeah, that’s totally working. Alrighty, phone, here I come. Almost there. Here we areeee anddddd got you. Heh. Nice. Okay, I guess 9–1–1 is what I should call, right? Wait a second. What if they laugh? The operator’s probably going to ask, “What is your emergency?” and then I’ll have to tell them. You know what? I’m gonna do it. I’m going to call up the police dispatcher, take a deep breath, and just say it. I got this. It’s just gonna come out, like, like, like any other phrase I’ve ever said. I can hear it now: “I, uh, tried to put on a new belt, but I’m a size 36, and, well, the belt only goes up to size 32. And it is crushing my inside parts.” Shit, no, that’s way too unconfident. I need to sell them on my emergency. This is an emergency, right? Fuck, my BACK. Yep yep yep, this is an emergency OW.

I mean, realistically, the chance of death here is hovering around 45%, so I shouldn’t even feel bad about calling the police. Also, what’s to say that the police can even help? I imagine that the police department only has like ONE Jaws of Life — what if some dumb car crash is already using it? They should really have planned ahead for this. Get a back-up Jaws of Life.

Alright. I’m doing it.

I’m calling the police.

I’m dialing now.

It’s ringing.

I’m doing this for real.

Damn you, Fine Italian Leather™ belt. I knew that I shouldn’t have gotten you, even though you were on sale at Homegoods™, the store that is my favorite.

Okay it answered. “UH, HELLO. I, uh, AM STUCK ON THE FLOOR AND IT IS BAD DOWN HERE AND, UH — ” Fuck, no, I need to hang up. This is embarrassing. Okay. I hung up. FUCK.

I can’t feel my legs anymore. Blood isn’t circulating to my legs.

I’m going to lose my legs. I liked my legs.

Should not have hung up. Nope, I definitely should not have done that. Well, you know what? I’m just gonna call again and actually say, uh, “Hey, I’m … trapped.” The word “trapped” is good. I should definitely say that word. I just have to make sure that I don’t mention that I’m trapped in a belt. You know, ’cause it’s embarrassing. Alright, I’m calling 9–1–1 again.

It’s ringing.

Still ringing.


Wait … Is this the voicemail? Since when does 9–1–1 go to voicemail? I’ll leave a message, I guess. “Hi, you’ve reached 9–1–1. Please leave your message after the beep.” Okay, there’s the beep. I’m going to talk now: “I am trapped. Please come help.”

Nice, that should do it.

I guess I’m just going to have to wait for them to listen to their messages. In the meantime, I can try to crawl over to the nightstand and grab the TV remote. I can keep doing that wiggle-crawl I was doing earlier. Maybe I’ll catch the tail-end of some HGTV show. Okay. It’s 3 feet away. I’m going towigggggleeee. Okay. It’s 2 feet away. Another wigggggllllllleeeee. Okay, 12 more measly inches. One. Last. WIIIIIIGGGGLLEE.


I’m at the foot of the nightstand. I’ll just reach up and try to feel for the remote that I put there after watching HGTV last nigh — EWWW. What the hell is that stuff all over my finger? What the hell did I just put my hand in? Is that …

It’s Lillian’s face cream. The $90-a-jar jar she buys at Homegoods™. It says that it’s “avocado extract that revitalizes …” — Wait, this stuff is kinda…slippery. THIS STUFF’S SLIPPERY. THIS. STUFF. IS. SLIPPERY.

I could … I could probably slather my hand in this and then slip it underneath the belt. That way I could fit some scissors in there and boom, back to normal. It’d be a tight fit, but I don’t think I have any other choices.

Alrighty, face cream, you’re becoming hand/forearm/elbow cream today. Sorry you had to find out this way, bud. Let’s just scoop a little bit of AHHHHHHHHH OH MY GOD JESUS.

It’s cold.

But nice. It’s definitely nice. Maybe not $90 nice, but … Eh, maybe it is worth the full 90, I don’t know.

Arm, time to shine (in the metaphorical sense; you’re already shiny from the avocado face cream! haha). Arm, try to get underneath. This. Stupid. Freaking. Italian. Leather™. BELT.

Okay. My arm is under the belt, so that means … Wait, what was I doing here? My arm’s stuck in the belt, so that means that … wait a second. Did I just … Did I …

So, my arm is stuck. I look like a one-armed bandit that tried to wear a girdle.

And, I just remembered that I don’t have any scissors. I’ve never had any scissors. Who the hell owns scissors? What am I, a Staples®? Hah, I don’t think so. Anyway, I don’t have any scissors and now my arm is stuck in my belt. It’s like I just handcuffed myself, except with fine Leather™ and skin lotion. Do you think they’ll make a movie about me? Like that James Franco one, where he uses a little Swiss army knife to cut off his own arm? I think that was called 127 Hours. Lillian liked it.

The movie would be called 0.2 Hours. That’s pretty catchy. Except in this one I die, and Lillian comes home from work, and she hugs my slippery, well moisturized, belt-constricted corpse, and she whispers — no, she cries — she cries in my ear, “Why Daniel, WHY,” and she looks up at the sky and screams “Daniel, you wretched soul!” And I will be lifeless on the ground, looking like a recently tied sausage casing, accepting my fate. I can already see my funeral

Wait. Is that…

Is that HGTV playing downstairs? I think I can hear the faint sound of a newly-wed couple renovating their reclaimed-wood porch.

Wait a second … Why would the TV downstairs be turned on?

Is today … Is it …

Okay, so my phone says it’s Saturday. Alright, well, that would mean that Lillian’s been home all day; meanwhile her only husband (me) is upstairs, suffering, dying, his life being slowly snuffed out by fine Italian Leather™ craftsmanship.

I’ll just ask her to cut this thing off for me. And then we’ll go to Homegoods™. And I’ll get a different belt. This time I think I’ll go with the size 34.

Phill Giliver ’17 is West’s humor editor. You can follow him on Twitter@ill_giver.

Art by Ali Vaughan ‘19.