Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The Ultimate Diet

First published at MicroHorror (2007)

Her knees hurt from kneeling on the kitchen floor, but what choice did she have? She had to keep eating. It was the only way she could think of to counteract the pills. The company's ad had promised she would see the inches fall off after taking just two of their once-a-week pills. The ad hadn't lied.

The beginning was easy. She swallowed a tablet with eight ounces of  water on Monday morning and then ate whatever she wanted. By the end of the second week, she'd lost five pounds. At the end of the first month it was twenty. She was elated. All of the other diets  had failed her, but it wasn't her fault. Many of those damn diets didn't let her eat anything.

She stopped taking the pills after three months and forty-seven pounds. She'd reached her goal. But something was wrong. She continued to lose weight. In fact, the more she ate, the more she lost.

Her friends accused her of being anorexic. “How else could she drop from 167 to 98 pounds?” she'd heard them say behind her back. She couldn't tell them that for the past two weeks she'd spent her days on the floor eating as much as she could, as fast as she could. They would think she was crazy.

She paused to rest her jaw, sat back on her heels and looked at her body—taut skin stretched over jutting bones, breasts no more than two nipples, arteries pulsing. She'd stopped looking in the mirror. Her face reminded her of a character in a John Carpenter movie.

She hadn't slept in three days, she was afraid to stop eating. She saw ten more fall off her naked torso and watched them squirm away.  She needed to consume them before they died and lost their potency, she'd told herself.  She tried her best, but the inches were falling off faster than she could retrieve them.

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