Double or Pop

Inflation Types:
Date Written: 

I'd been so excited when I got the letter to appear on 'Extreme Bad Girls Club', my favourite TV game show. It was basically a general knowledge quiz but with forfeits in each round which were invented anew every episode, so you never knew what it had in store for you. These afternoon broadcasts were a secret vice of mine, but sitting there on the sofa at home I found I could answer every single question correctly. I'd got through the auditions fine and at last I'd been called up to appear live.

So I'm standing here, knees knocking, before a live studio audience of several hundred people, in my white dress with black polka dots, loose-fitting, no belt or fasteners, as requested in the letter, not knowing what they have in store for me.

“Come on out Tina, and give us a twirl!”

I step out from behind the podium to applause and spin on my heels, allowing my skirt to flare out around me.

The question master is a bit irritating to be honest. I think of him as the quintessential southerner and he has catch-phrases rather than a personality. Or, maybe he does have a personality but keeps it well-hidden on screen. I've heard that he's a closet intellectual, but if that's so, he doesn't get to show it. Sad for him I suppose.

“Wheel on the Device!”

This was a regular, well, device on the show. Each week a mysterious shrouded mechanical contrivance would be produced from off-stage on a trolley with which the contestant was expected to interact. It might be an imponderable mini-computer with blinking lights which the guest was expected to learn to program, but which would produce increasingly powerful electric shocks for each answer she got wrong, or a literal wheel onto which she would be strapped and spun ever faster depending on her answers to the questions. And of course, “wheel on the device” was one of the standard things Keith would say every week to thunderous applause. What will it be this week?

“How's your general knowledge Tina?” Keith hands me the mike. I nervously manage to get it tangled round my leg and almost trip over it. It's a very different prospect to be in front of the hot, dazzling studio lights, hundreds of people here and hundreds of times as many as that out there in “TV Land” as the phrase has it.

“F-f-fine!” I manage to stutter. My voice echoes loudly round the auditorium and I feel my face get hot.

“Look a bit closer at the mike if you would please.”

I peer down at the cable and notice it seems to be double. A second flexible tube is zip-tied to the flex but snakes under the sparkly sheet on the trolley. It's ribbed and black.

“Is that a hose?”

“Got it in one Tina”, replies Keith. “Now if you would please, pull at that hose and put it in your mouth.”

“Er, okay”. The hypnotic effect of being on television and not wanting to show myself up in front of millions of people persuades me that this is a good idea. It tastes rubbery and I get the urge to chew it, but it's quite firm.

Keith whips away the sheet to reveal a hefty slide control with a scale next to it. The hose in my mouth emerges from its right hand side. To its left stands a gauge and a gas tank.

“Can you still talk clearly?” I'm asked.

“Er, I think so,” I reply, sounding like I'm talking while munching a piece of licorice.

“That's clear enough. Right then, Tina. This week's game is called 'Double Or Pop'. What's going to happen is this. I'm going to ask you a total of eight general knowledge questions. Each one you get right earns you a hundred pounds. Each one you get wrong, this machine will pump some air into you through the hose, and every time you give an incorrect answer the amount that goes in will double.

I rub the hose with my tongue to find I can no longer shift it. Keith chuckles briefly.

“Oh yes, I'm afraid there's a quick acting glue on the hose and it's stuck inside your mouth now. I have a bottle of the glue dissolver here but we won't be using that yet, okay?”

I nod, feeling rather daunted.

“We'll start with one gallon of air, which is this setting.” He slides the lever down to the bottom, next to the number one. I notice that each number is double the last. The top number is 128.

“Let's hope we don't have to set it to the highest number, but then you're in control of that aren't you? Okay, so here we go. First question...”

I take a deep breath, hoping fervently that my general knowledge won't let me down.

“Your first question, Tina, is this. In Japan, there is a fish which is both highly poisonous and highly prized as a delicacy. The Japanese name for it is fugu. What is its English name?”

Such an easy question. And yet – bright lights, expectant audience, pressure. Can I get it right? He holds the microphone to me, and I rack my brains.

“Er, is it koi carp?” My voice is a little muffled and distorted.

Keith shakes his head and sighs with a slight smile.

“Is it koi carp? Well, I'm sorry to have to tell you this Tina but that is not the right answer. The correct answer is puffer fish. Not a good start. Time for a gallon from the air cylinder I'm afraid.”

He turns the tap at the top and I feel a breeze blowing into my mouth, down my throat and ultimately into my stomach. Keith holds the mike to my stomach and broadcasts the loud gurgles to the nation of viewers. I feel a slight sense of fullness and pressure but it's bearable. I try to burp it back out surreptitiously but I seem to be a bit tense and get nowhere. Ah well, if that's all I have to fear it's fine. Nothing to worry about.

“A gallon of air inside you Tina, now let's hope that's all shall we? Question number two: What was the fate of Violet Beauregarde in the recent summer children's blockbuster 'Willy Wonka And The Chocolate Factory'?”

I cast my mind back to the time a couple of years back when I took my nieces to see the film. What was there? What happened to all the children? I remembered a girl singing a song and disappearing down a chute because she wanted a golden egg. But there were two girls. Was that the right one?

Keith holds the mike to my mouth again.

“Was it, did she – fall down the golden egg chute?” Just as I finish answering I remember that girl had a red dress and the other one had a blue one. Wasn't she more likely to be the girl in question. Quickly I say, “no, wait a minute, she was the one who-”

Keith interrupts me.

“Oh, I'm terribly sorry but I have to take your first answer I'm afraid. No, you're thinking of Veruca Salt. Violet Beauregarde was turned into a giant blueberry when she ate Willy Wonka's experimental gum. Two gallons this time.”

He slides the lever into the “2” position and opens the tap again. Once again he holds the microphone to my stomach and the air rushes in twice as fast. I feel and hear my belly filling up, past my stomach deep into my guts, swelling my belly, making me feel gassy and farty, but once again my tension stops me from farting.

“Dearie me, look at the state of you now”, he says, smoothing the fabric over my now somewhat bloated belly. “It's making the most extraordinary noises you know.” Again the sound of the gurgling of air inside me resounds through the massive television studio.

“That's three gallons of air inside you now, Tina. Let's not have to add any more, eh?”

I nod in agreement.

“Question number three. Tina, can you tell me this then, with your considerable general knowledge? What...”, he pauses for effect, “...was the surname...”

Which is the surname? I always get that mixed up. The Christian name and the surname? Which is which? It's not helping that my stomach is aching and I'm feeling rather bilious. Surname? Ah yes, that's the first name isn't it? Okay.

“Of the inventors of the hot air balloon? Take your time, take your time. Get it right in your head first. We're all with you.”

All I can remember is the name Charles Montgolfier. Presumably they both had the same name or he wouldn't be asking. I smile confidently at him for once.”

“Charles of course!”

“Charles Montgolfier! That is the-”


“WRONG answer I'm afraid. Charles is the Christian name of one of the Montgolfier brothers and they both invented it together. O-kay then, sorry about this.”

He slides the control to the next position, 4 and turns the tap. A huge surge of air “gulps” its way down into me and my belly convulses. I feel my organs swell up inside me relentlessly and painfully, like a particularly bad case of indigestion, and feel myself break out in a sweat. Alarmed, I look down at my rapidly bloating belly and place my hands on it to feel them pushed out by the pressure. This is horrible! Finally it stops and I stand there with a really obviously round, bloated pot belly.

“When's your baby due?”

Everyone laughs. I feel cramps all over my distended abdomen and it's affecting my thoughts. I can't string two ideas together and there's a feeling like a heavy cold in my head. I feel myself swaying from side to side.

“Whoops, looks like you're gonna topple over there. Ed, get the lady a chair so she can continue.”

A stage hand appears from nowhere with a chair on casters. It reminds me a bit of the Mastermind one.

“Er no, not that one because of the arms.”

Ed says something to Keith and he nods and says.

“Ah, okay then, well we'll cross that bridge when we come to it.”

I slump into the chair, carefully putting my hand under my belly button where I can feel the strain of my bulging innards. My front is powerfully stretched under the pressure inside me. I slump into the chair, feeling the arms brushing against my flanks.

“A lady in your condition deserves a seat. Well, well, well! Only three questions gone and just look at the state of you! Five to go. You're really going to have to up your game you know if you're going to win anything at all.

“Question four: another film question. Hope you're a film buff Tina, I really do. Do you like action movies?”

“Er, I dunno, I've-” I pause to take a breath, which is a little scary what with the tightness of my skin – I feel like I'm about to split open.

“I've – seen a few with my boyfriend.” To be honest I've never really concentrated on them. I just go along to keep him company really, like I go to the footie with him.

“Is he a James Bond fan?”

Aha! Things are looking up. I smile, feeling slightly more confident.


“Well there may be hope for you yet. Maybe, just maybe, you won't be getting any bigger from now on. Question number four then, is about this year's Bond movie with the signature tune by – ah, who was it again?”

Such an easy question! One of the Fab Four of course. Joyfully I answer with confidence.

“Paul McCartney and Wings!”

“Looking at you now, I don't think you're going to need wings to fly. You are of course correct.”

The audience cheers and I am just so relieved.

“Un-fortune-ate-ly,” Keith continues, “that was not the question. The question is – how did the villain Doctor Kananga die?”

I cast my mind back. What had happened? Well, one thing that happened was what was happening now. My bladder felt really full and I couldn't hang on any longer, so I'd been to the loo towards the end. But, but, but, hold on. There was a scene in a train with a guy with an artificial arm. Bond had killed him and hidden the arm from his girl. Right, yes!

“Bond threw him off a train.”

“Yes, there was indeed a death at the end of the film where a character was thrown off a train. Sadly, however, that was not Doctor Kananga. No. Do you not remember the gas pellet used to shoot the shark? Well, our hero shot Kananga with it and he inflated, floated up through his base and popped like a balloon. Really Tina, I would've thought you'd have remembered that of all things.”

I'm choking back tears. Can I really take any more air? What's going to become of me? I stare at my swollen midriff with the arms of the chair cutting into them.

Keith has gone over to the controls again. He cranks the slider up to eight, then pauses.

“Er, Ed, can we get the arms out of the way please? Our lady's going to need some more room.”

Ed approaches me and lifts the arms up. Oh God, how much more inflated am I going to get now?

Keith opens the tap for the fourth time, and the air rushes into me like a gale. Eight gallons in five seconds! It's just surging and surging, pouring incessantly into me and I have no choice but to take it. I can see my stomach visibly inflating, fast, to the size of a large fully-blown up beach ball. Oh please make it stop! Why am I not farting or burping? Oh God help me! I feel so full, so huge. Where will it all end?

Finally it stops. The weight of my upper body is making my beachball belly squish out sideways. I've got double vision and there's a roaring in my ears. It's hard to hear the people around me and my attention is being utterly absorbed in the unbelievable experience of actually being blown up like a balloon. I don't even know if I'm going to be able to hear Keith at all now. And this is only half way through the ordeal. Someone please help me!

Keith is saying something. He's a kind of blurred shape.

“Woo Tina, if you were a cartoon now it looks like you'd have dicky birds flying round your head. Your eyes would be spirals. Let's give you a hand. Ed, can you adjust the chair please?”

I'm faintly aware of Ed fiddling with a lever and he slides the back of the chair down and raises the footrest so I'm lying on my back. My head clears slightly and I'm once again able to concentrate. Who'd have thought being blown up like a balloon would make me go all woozy like this?

“Question five. Please get this right Tina or it's sixteen gallons this time. That's a hundred and twenty-eight additional pints of air. Seriously, you need to get yourself together or you'll – well – literally not be physically together at all if things carry on like this.”

I look down at my vastly rounded abdomen, the dots on my dress stretched out and big like the spots on a football. I'm really huge, but my insides aren't hurting any more and I don't even feel sick. It's like all my insides are compressed into a thin, composite layer between me and the outside world. I abstractly wonder why I'm feeling kind of like I've drunk sixteen pints. It's okay, in the circumstances, to feel this woozy and out of it.

I miss what Keith says. What was that again? Something about the volume of a sphere? Some kind of maths question. I realise that it could be a good idea to answer that correctly. Yeah, probably should. I'll ask him to say it again.

My lips and tongue are swollen and thick. Come to think of it my eyes are bulging too. I vaguely press my mouth together and manage to get the words “say...again” out. He repeats the question but I can't really hear it or understand it. Being inflated has done something weird to me and so I just sort of try to think, then, fully aware that if I get this wrong he'll try to cram even more gas into me, but I can't seem to string two thoughts together.


He's speaking again, looking sadly at me, going over to the machine and sliding it again. In it comes, again.

You know that feeling when you've eaten too much and you just want to lie down and sleep? Well that's sort of what I'm feeling right now. I watch, as if from a great distance, as the spots on my dress stretch out and wonder vaguely if my skirt will ride up and expose my knickers.

I wish I'd listened to my mother when I was small. She warned me that I shouldn't eat the watermelon pips, didn't she? I'm rather surprised to find it's true. Or maybe I had that dream of eating the giant marshmallow and waking up to find the pillow gone. I'm definitely stuffed with something. The room is swaying and diving like a ship in a heavy sea around me.

That man, don't know, he seems familiar. I may have seen him off the telly. He's asking me a question about some element on the sun or something, and it being discovered on the sun. Yeah, there was something. Suddenly it becomes clear to me. Yes, I can answer that! Helium!

I manage to get my mouth to move and I'm pretty sure I say something, but what is it? There's a long peal of laughter from the audience.

“Er no Tina, it's not 'balloonium'”. They laugh again. He's going over to the controls again, moving it again, turning the tap on again. Something goes bang inside me and I get really puffy and big all over. My skin everywhere is getting tight. There's a TV monitor nearby showing a huge spotty balloon with a head on top of it, a sort of big round space hopper or something inside it with egg-shaped limbs. I start to wonder if it'll pop. It's clearly been seriously overinflated. I almost feel sorry for it for some reason. Then it stops swelling. What a relief!

What's this again? What's happening? There's a big rubbery stretched thing right next to my chin. Don't know what that is. My head seems to be in the middle of some kind of cushion of something. A big, spotty cushion. There's a series of sausagy balloons on one side which moves when I try to move my arm. Can't understand that either.

What's that he's saying? Something about money and Hungary. No, I don't think I'm hungry. I had a really big meal of something, didn't I? More like a year's food in one go.

Someone's going to pop, he says. People don't pop do they? Mind you, if anyone did pop I'd love to do that. It'd make it all go away.

There's a loud hiss. I can't hear anything else. The cushion around my head is getting bigger all the time and my head is sinking into it. I can see the spotty cloth of my dress all around me. How is that possible?

What's that squeaking, creaking noise? Why am I being pinched everywhere? How can I be pinched everywhere?

Suddenly I feel a brief moment of vividness. The balloon is me! I'm going to pop any second! I screw up my eyes and face and steel myself for the -


Average: 4.1 (16 votes)
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Pennsylvania Ki...
Pennsylvania Kite Weather's picture
Great story!

I liked the concept of this story, the injections of humor and the pop (ha!) culture references. The way the narrator sees and breaks down the world for readers is also done well - the way the details get more... ferocious as the air intake increases. Solid stuff.

If there's one thing I'd bring up, it's that the story kind of derails once the narrator gets out of that "aware and thinking" mindset. Observations go all over the place and are interjected with the contestant's clueless thoughts. They're believable and they make sense though - this is how a person stuffed and delirious should be gaping at the world. The payoff just arrives quicker than expected upon a flurry of wrong answers and inside an inflatee that can't care anymore how she feels. Basically, while we see things in a new, clever perspective, there's something I believe that gets lost in the mixture of impressions. Regardless there's a ton of credit due for the consistency of this piece that makes it very rooted in reality and yet plays with typical sensations from beginning to end.

Thanks.  It did get a bit

Thanks.  It did get a bit vague as time went by, yes, which was a pity.  I was trying to explore my idea that inflation would cause the victim to become delirious and "out of it" as they were blown up bigger.  The problem is that first person perspective is needed to convey the delirium, but to do that realistically the inflatee needs to become vague in her description of what's physically happening to her.  This is an experiment at this stage.

Incidentally, the idea behind this is from a long-lost comic strip called 'Nelly And Her Telly' where the heroine, in a polka dot dress, takes part in an eating competition.  She's eventually given a plate of spaghetti the same size as her which consists of a single strand, which she swallows in one go and eventually pops.  I'm not into food "inflation" so I decided to change it.

Incidentally, it occurs to me that the series of questions could be incorporated into a roleplay too.


Thanks for your comments, really appreciate the feedback xx.


darth_clone19's picture
I found this story brilliant.

I found this story brilliant. The idea of her getting all kind of drunk was well worked out. I personally understood what everything she was talking about when ahe described what she saw or felt. Really clever idea. Aside from that, I always like how being inflated may cause some damage nobody can quite place, like a point of no return. Not mane stories do that and I certainly appreciated it here.

My only critique would be that I would have like to read more about the audience reacting.

 -   Read my stories: 

Thanks darth-clone19, I'm

Thanks darth-clone19, I'm flattered!  Did you see my post on the main forum about the idea of inflation making the inflatee delirious and intoxicated?  This is based on that.

I agree with you about the audience interaction.  The problem is the first person perspective.  However, I can totally see that there could be a kind of vividness to the experience in the same way as someone who was on drugs might have heightened perception, so I will take that, digest it, and see what I can do with it.

The irony of this story, incidentally, is that it was written as displacement activity when I was in danger of missing the deadline for a book I have an actual publishing contract for!  It flowed much more easily, and luckily that flow spilled over into the novel.


Beautiful and educative

Thanks for the story, Amanda! It's great to see you writing.

My personal favourite part is that at first I've found your story disturbing. When I realised why - I liked it even more.

A lady expects something in a rather relevant matter, but then gets something entirely different. All right, she thinks, lets keep going, it might get better with time. And the more such warnings she ignores, the worse it becomes until she is no more.

It's a beautiful and very useful lesson that if you think the matter is relevant and you see something goes wrong, then you should not continue until you diagnose what's really happening and fix it right. It's entertaining to read about it in a fiction story, and I don't wish anybody to learn this lesson in real life ^_^

Thanks Lopni, I could maybe

Thanks Lopni, I could maybe capitalise on that aspect of it as well.  It looks like I could have another go at this theme.  

What I want to do now, though, is explore the taste and smell aspect discussed on the main forum, although this too could take away from the main aspects of inflation so it can't be too prominent.  Maybe the two could form a good story together.


ЦшддшфьРуддьфт's picture
Good, but my sense of law is

Good, but my sense of law is getting in the way of enjoyment