Unexpected Tales from the Ends of the Earth
Lust, greed, jealousy, vanity and fear are alive and well as motives in Candy Korman’s seven short stories about small murders and quiet crimes. The characters stray outside the safety zone of their comfortable lives and dangerous things happen, because once you decide to commit a crime you are walking on the dark side.
The Final Diet
Jeff rolled out of bed. Leah snored softly. Her left foot dangled outside the covers. It twitched, but it was a movement from a dream. She was down for the count. She always denied snoring and took any suggestion that she was anything but an elegant sleeper as a dig. Jeff closed the bedroom door and slipped out into the living room and headed on to the kitchen. It was Leah’s place but he was there so often that he’d left his mark. His Earl Grey tea was on the counter, his toothpaste was by the bathroom sink and his laptop sat poised on the coffee table waiting for him.
Still, it wasn’t his place.
A case of Leah’s loathsome diet soda was stored under the kitchen sink and the refrigerator was filled with virtually every diet product that ever made it to a supermarket shelf. Leah was always on a quest to find the perfect balance between low calorie count and taste. Most of the products she tried were virtually inedible, riddled with potentially lethal chemicals or were falsely marketed as reduced calorie products.
Jeff checked the freezer—diet ice cream, sugar free pound cake, frozen ‘low fat’ macaroni and cheese dinners and a bottle of good vodka. The only thing that would find a home in his freezer was the vodka. He poured himself an icy shot and went into the living room. He’d had a stressful day at work, and sleep was out of the question. He flipped on the laptop and the TV, figuring that between the Internet, late-night television and vodka, he’d find a distraction from his lousy day.
He knew he wasn’t getting any younger, and it was getting harder and harder to keep his weight down.
“At least you’re not going bald.” Leah had said to him the last time he’d griped about feeling old and fat. “And you don’t have to chase the grey away, like I do.”
He knew that the ‘aging process’ was harder on women, but it still stung him. The young guys seemed to get all the choice assignments and he was worried that when his contract came up, he’d find that he’d been put out to pasture. It was time to consolidate his position. It was time to lose twenty pounds. But how? With all of Leah’s strenuous dieting and exercise, she was always five pounds away from her ‘goal weight.’ He didn’t want to eat those diet frozen dinners or drink her loathsome, artificially sweetened soda.
He was perusing weight-loss web sites, looking for diets designed for men while the last part of an old movie hummed on the TV.
This could be your last diet. It’s 100% natural and it works. Think about it. No more diets—this will be your final weight loss plan.
The announcer’s voice cut through Jeff’s late night fog.