Day 3 ~ Nugatory
I Hear They’re Magic
As Diane watched her husband pull out of the driveway, she felt positive about the coming day. She was going to change her unhealthy habits. So far, she had done pretty well. Breakfast consisted of toast with thinly spread peanut butter. She had avoided cookies altogether.
Once the dishwasher was loaded, she grabbed her car keys and headed out. The morning sun warmed her face, and the azure sky stretched out in front of her, reminding her of childhood summers spent playing with her sister at the beach. She reached out to unlock her car but stopped short, reminding herself it would be healthier to walk. For the first time in years, she wanted to take some exercise.
So she strolled straight past her car and headed toward town. One foot in front of the other. Oh yeah, she was power walking; feeling the burn. It didn’t take long before she had to stop to rub her heel. It occurred to her she should have changed into her sneakers.
She made a mental note to buy plasters in the pharmacy, but her attention was stolen by the building that lay ahead. Branning Brothers Bakery. Her mouth watered as she read the sign. She closed her eyes, trying to dispel the images of doughnuts and Chelsea buns that floated behind them. With a deep breath, she speeded up her walk and trotted past the open door as quickly as her legs would take her. She didn’t dare breathe in the heady scent of fresh bread, sticky buns, and coffee.
As soon as her sweet nemesis was safely behind her, Diane sighed with relief. Smiling, she noted how she had overcome her first hurdle. This healthy lark was easier than she anticipated.
Inside the pharmacy, Diane grabbed a basket and threw in some plasters. She was about to pay when a shimmering, purple light caught her eye. She turned to face it and read the gaudy sign: “Health Foods”. Hmm. She wasn’t someone who normally went in for all that health food lark. Nevertheless, it was as though invisible strings were pulling her toward that unknown territory.
It came as a surprise when she discovered there really was no health food at all. The shelves were full of supplements and all manner of tablets to help all manner of bodily functions. Running her finger along the edge of the top shelf, she stopped when she came upon the answer to her prayers. “No Diet” diet pills. How could this be? She lifted the precious bottle and read the reverse.
The words swirled and mingled as she tried, in vain, to comprehend their meaning. All she could take from it was that one of these pills a day would ensure she could eat whatever she wanted and still lose up to seven pounds in a week. Wow. She liked the sound of that. It even specified that chocolate was encouraged. These magical tablets had surely been tailor made for her.
With the medicine purchased, Diane went straight to the supermarket. She strode through the front doors with wide eyes. Everything looked so inviting. First stop, the sweets section. Peanut M&Ms on special offer. Three packets for the price of two. So she bought nine. She grinned as she thought how she wouldn’t even have to hide them.
What could she cook for tea that night? So much to choose from. With no need to keep it healthy by cooking those nasty vegetables, she grabbed a couple of large rib eye steaks, then some frozen chips. Whilst she was in the frozen section, she, of course, had to add some ice cream to her basket. It would have been foolish not to. She was so pleased with herself. Guilt free food shopping was the best feeling.
Diane could hardly contain her excitement at her discovery of the magic pills. She took one the moment she got home and waited to feel herself begin to shrink. After an hour, she figured maybe it wouldn’t work quite that quickly.
With the chips in the oven and steak under the grill, she heard her front door open. “Ooh, something smells mouthwatering, honey.” Good, Nick sounded cheerful.
“In here,” she said, shifting from foot to foot. Her fingers were twitching, her heart racing. When Nick kissed her she felt giddy with anticipation. “Tea is almost ready,” she said.
Watching her husband glance from the grill to the oven, she refused to acknowledge the sinking feeling in her stomach.
“Oh, steak. Red meat . . . and chips. Oh.”
Diane took his hand. “No. It’s okay.” She spun around to the counter top and lifted the magic bottle. “Look.”
She waited as Nick shook his head. “What? Diet pills? Seriously?”
“Not just any diet pills. These ones have—oh, I don’t know—collagen, or gold, or something magical in them. You can eat whatever you want with them, Nick. Anything.”
“Pass them here.” Not quite the response she had hoped for. Nick lifted his glasses and read the label. “Oh, Diane. You haven’t taken any of these, have you?”
“Yes.” She couldn’t quite meet his eyes. “That was the point of buying them.”
Nick sighed and shook his head. “These are nugatory, Di. They’re barely any better than the old amphetamine based diet pills. And did you read the side effects?”
Diane took a step back, her eyes fixed on the floor. “No.”
“Number one: palpitations. Then, dizziness, nausea, upset stomach. Oh, these sound like they will be great for your IBS.” Lifting her chin, Nick spoke with condescension. “Honey, these pills are not a quick fix. There is no quick fix. Eating healthily and exercising is the only answer. Surely you know that?”
Her chin wobbled. She hated it when her husband was right. Especially when he made her feel like a fool.
“Okay. But let’s not waste this gorgeous food. At least, let me go out in style.”
Nick chuckled. “Okay. But tomorrow, we’ll take a trip to the gym.”
Nugatory – of no real value; trifling; worthless