Red Winged Black Bird on a fence post in a field.

Kill It Before It Kills You


Category: prose

"So, what's it like?" Joe asked before taking another bite of his burger.

"It's like a giant leach wrapped around my belly," Herman answered.

The waitress stepped up to their table. "More coffee?" she asked Joe.

"Sure thing, Mattie." He held up his cup and she topped him up. She meandered off to her other tables.

"A giant leach, huh?"

The other people in the diner clanked flatware against plates and talked in low voices. The cold rain beat irregularly against the diner's windows.

Herman swallowed his mouthful of salad. "Yea, like a leach. It feeds off me to get bigger and it'll kill me if it keeps going."

Joe pulled hard on his chocolate shake, shrinking his face with the strain. "Can't the doctors do anything about it?"

Herman studied the bit of cucumber on the end of his fork. With a sense of conviction, he put it in his mouth and chewed dutifully before swallowing. "I talked to the doctor about that. He said they could cut out part of it, but the only way to be sure was to become a bad host for it. If I keep up the bad host routine long enough, it'll go away on its own."

"At least you can stop then, right?"

"No, I can't stop then. If I become a good host again..."

"That's a real bummer, dude." Joe shoved a handful of fries into his mouth.

Herman moved bits of salad around on his plate. "It'll be worth it though. Already I can feel my energy increasing and I feel better. They say when I get rid of it altogether I'll really start to feel great."

"I don't know if I could feel good if I had to eat that much vegetation." Joe took another big bite of his burger.

Herman nodded a bit. "It's been tough, but I'll do anything to get rid of this thing. I have to kill it before it kills me. The doctor says I'll still crave stuff but the longer I do it, the weaker the cravings will be. I have to take in only enough food to keep me alive and then make sure I use all of it and more to starve this thing down."

Joe snorted a small laugh. "If I had to eat what you eat, I'd starve too."

Herman smiled. "Yea, it's pretty tough sometimes, but I hate this thing and I hate what it did to my life. It's going away and that's thirty pounds I'll be glad to stop carrying around."

Joe took another pull off his shake. "I still think you're crazy. Did you tell your doctor that you still treat your weight like some kind of alien invader? He's probably think you're nuts too."

"Actually, he said it's an interesting way to approach my weight loss goals. As long as I never actually start really believing that it's an alien and am just using it as a motivational tool, it is fine." He held up another forkful of greens. "Die you alien bastard." He put the salad in his mouth.

Joe shook his head and smiled. "You're completely insane." He took another bite of burger.

"I'd remove this line."

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