Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Dropout (05/12/11)
TITLE: A Pound of Flesh
By Linda Germain
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My name is June. Our mother, ever the comic, thought it would be so cute to name us after months. April is the oldest and I am the youngest. It’s not too difficult to figure out who’s in the middle.
So, there we were at the first meeting of the Loser Research Project. The head guy, Dr. something-or-other, was very thin, so we figured he knew whereof he spoke. It was obvious he didn’t have much sense of humor. We signed in one after the other and the fact that April, May, and June were sitting side by side didn’t seem to faze him one bit.
“Ladies and gentlemen,” he began in a rather abrupt manner, “after you put your signature on the contract regarding any untoward results incurred from your particular diet, I will explain how this works."
We were all anxious to get on with whatever magic potion he had up his sleeve, and scribbled our names without reading every dot and tittle of the fine print. Then, he handed out the strict protocol. The bottom line was: 1) Stay on the diet and 2) Do NOT cheat. His implication was that somehow he would know if we strayed and we wouldn’t get our hefty “bonus” money at the end.
He stared at us as if we had just arrived from planet dumb.
“Now pay attention, people. This may be the most unusual weight-loss scenario any of you has ever encountered.”
Hah! He didn’t know the sisters-three.
April and May and I smiled, smug in our shallow knowledge of all things dietary. Among the three of us we had tried every eat-to-lose plan ever devised, taken every kind of appetite suppressant or fat burner, and wore countless stupid contraptions to sweat it out or melt it off. He was not dealing with amateurs.
He pointed his finger for emphasis and raised his voice.
“Here’s the premise. Each one of you will be on a different diet from any of the other participants.”
What? We always entered the same weight loss regime together. Bewilderment must have bounced off of our pudgy, but pretty, faces as we shifted our rather sturdy frames in the small metal chairs and waited for the rest.
“You will reach into this container and retrieve a slip of paper with a number on it. My assistants will explain the diet corresponding to that number. PLEASE, do not swap diets.”
We decided to keep our specific menu plans a secret. After more explanatory rhetoric that fell on our self-absorbed ears, we parted with promises to meet at April’s house in a week. We met all right…but not at my sister’s home.
June’s diet consisted of all chocolate every other day and celery in between. She got so sick she passed out and broke her left leg in three places. April was consigned to eat okra soup and sunflower seeds. She fainted in the middle of the emergency room after rushing to see about June. She tried to catch her portly self and hit her arm on a wheelchair and her head on the floor. The concussion caused temporary amnesia. The fracture in her wrist required surgery.
As I hurried to see about my pitiful sisters, I slipped on a banana peel dropped from my own diet-fixings that consisted of two kinds of fruit and water. There were several side effects from that nasty concoction. Malnourishment was one of them. The fall seriously injured my lumbar spine and I was hauled off to the same hospital. I’m sure our ridiculous predicaments, as well as our silly names, were the butt of more than one joke.
We were assigned to the same three-bed ward. June was too weak to speak. April didn’t know who she was. All I could do was lie still, hoisted in traction, take pain medication, and sleep. Our diets consisted of I.V. Glucose doctored with vitamins and minerals. The weight fell off lickety-split.
In five weeks, upright again on our now slender limbs, we did what any justice-seeking ex-dieters would do. After all, we needed that bonus money to pay medical bills.
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