Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Blowout (04/28/11)
By Joe Moreland
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“Yes,” Bob answered. “What can I do for you?”
“Bob Sanders of 417 Elm Street?”
Bob very slowly leaned out his door and turned his head to face the outer door frame. He looked very carefully at the large black numbers tacked there. Four. One. Seven. Bob looked at those numbers long and hard. Then, as though reaching some complicated calculation, he nodded his head and turned back to the man standing patiently in front of him.
“I am agent Flowby of the Food and Drug Administration.”
Agent Flowby paused, as though expecting some sort of response. Bob, though, had no idea how to respond, other than to giggle inside his head at the name Flowby.
“Mr. Sanders, did you have a doctor’s appointment scheduled for this morning?”
Bob was so confused a the question that he didn’t think to answer “None of your business” as he probably should have. Instead, he said “I guess. Why?”
“Let me ask the questions, Mr. Sanders. Please.”
“Why?” Bob couldn’t resist. His second grade teacher once told him he had no respect for authority. He had always taken that advice to heart.
Agent Flowby pretended, badly, not to notice. “You missed that appointment, is that correct?”
Now Bob did think of the appropriate answer. “Exactly what business is that of yours?”
“You were scheduled for a weighing this morning, Mr. Sanders. An FDA mandated weighing.” Agent Flowby’s voice was very, very grave - trying to impart by his mere tone the severity of the offense.
Exasperation spread throughout every fiber of Agent Flowby’s body. “So? So?!? Mr. Sanders do you have no respect for the law whatsoever? You have been steadily gaining weight for the past six months!”
“And again I say, ‘So?’”
“Mr. Sanders! I am sure you are aware of the ramifications of being in violation of the newly enacted Preservation Of Our Food bill?”
“No. I can’t say I’m aware of the penalty for violating POOF.” This was really getting silly.
“Mr. Sanders, it’s getting late. It’s 2038 and in five more years our world population will be at more than nine billion people. We have to start saving our food. Overweight people, who eat more than their fair share, will no longer be tolerated.”
“I could start smoking again, if that would help. Hey, maybe I’ll get cancer and die and someone else can have my food.” Bob said enthusiastically.
“This is not a joking matter, Mr. Sanders.”
“Please, Agent Flowby. Call me Bob. Mr. Sanders is so…weighty.”
In answer, agent Flowby reached into the bag that sat next to his feet and pulled out a scale. The dour faced FDA man very carefully placed the scale at Bob’s feet. Then he stood up and gestured towards the device.
“If you would be so kind as to step on the scale?”
Bob sighed. Seeing as how the severely humorless man was not going to lighten up, Bob, for once, did as he was asked.
“Hmmm. Just as we suspected. You have gained another three pounds since your last weighing, Mr. Sanders.”
“So sue me.”
“Oh, you’ll be going to court all right. But not as a defendant in a lawsuit, but as a person being prosecuted in a criminal case.”
“Since when is it illegal to gain weight?” Bob protested.
“Since POOF came into law, that’s when. Tell me, Bob,” Agent Flowby laid the sarcasm heavy on Bob’s name, “how many seat pants have you blown out recently while bending over to tie your shoes?”
“I wear slip-ons.” But the fire had gone out of Bob’s rejoinder as he realized he did remember something in the news about them criminalizing weight gain.
“Well, you might want to slip them on now. We’re going for a ride.”
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