by Kaye George
The Fat Guru was first published in Writers’ Post Journal, July 2005. While not really a mystery story it does have just a bit of a mystery type twist to it and it is written by mystery writer Kaye George.
Avery opened the copy of Missy’s Magazine she had grabbed at the grocery store.
“Wow!” It sounded too good to be true. She whirled around and waved the magazine. “This is the best diet ever.”
Avery and her roommate, Alexa, were just returning to the apartment after their monthly shopping expedition. Avery flipped over to page three and scanned as Alexa started emptying the bags. After a short perusal she shoved the magazine in front of Alexa.
Alexa set down the frozen peas, read the short article and agreed, her eyes growing big. “Nothing but chocolate. Yeah, that’s got to be great. But can you actually lose weight this way?”
“Look at the pictures. Pictures don’t lie. And look at us. What do you say?”
Alexa contemplated her own waist and Avery’s derriere and said, “Let’s go.”
Dr. Edwin’s book, The Chocolate Diet, the Fat Guru’s Way to Health, was prominently displayed at the front of the book store. Soon they owned every one of the five books he had written, the basic diet book and four more packed with recipes.
It was the best diet ever – chocolate, and only chocolate. Dark chocolate “steaks,” milk chocolate “bread,” white chocolate “peas, beans, and corn.” And, of course, sixty ways to fix hot and cold chocolate drinks.
They joined several thousand women that month who all but depleted the national supply of candy bars, baking chocolate, and even powdered cocoa. Manufacturers stepped up production as the craze coated the land. Meat rotted in deli cases, fruit and vegetables wilted in produce sections, boxes of soda stacked up in storerooms, and pounds melted away.
Chocolate factories all over the world put pressure on their cacao suppliers and added extra shifts. Futures traders reaped millions while citrus growers and farmers trudged to the bank to try and take out yet another loan.
Websites sprang up praising the effects of the Chocolate Diet and now-trim but formerly heavy women appeared on afternoon and late evening talk shows. But Dr. Edwin made no appearances, preferring, he said in press releases, to let the happy dieters speak for him. An Official Fat Guru Fan Club was formed and members met in local, regional, and national meetings, all touting The Diet, as they called it.
Two months passed after publication of the first book by Dr. Edwin, the Fat Guru. A few websites began to appear that had negative things to say about him, but were mostly ignored.
One Friday afternoon Avery, shaving her legs as part of readying her beautiful new svelte self for an extremely hot date, noticed her limbs were covered with little red spots. She swore aloud and Alexa poked her head into the bathroom.
“What’s the matter now? You are SO crabby lately.”
“I’M crabby? YOU say I’M crabby?”
Alexa slammed the door and left. Avery finished lotioning her legs and then groaned as she got to her feet. She felt sore all over. And look at those disgusting ankles. Her legs were slim and pretty, but her ankles puffed out so badly she’d have to wear slacks tonight. Luckily all the good restaurants had added chocolate entrees to their menus.
Alexa, dateless for the first Friday in a month, watched Avery leave and switched the television on. Nothing looked interesting. Was it her or the programming? She’d felt listless all week. She reached for her chocolate “pretzels” and flipped channels, finally alighting on CNN where the female reporter was in tears. Alexa hardly ever watched the news, but was intrigued by the tragedy evident in the announcer’s face.
Alexa held her breath as the urgent news bulletin aired.
“The CDC in Atlanta has confirmed eighty thousand new cases of beri beri and a million point three of scurvy in the wake of the Chocolate Diet disaster. New cases of gout and kidney stones are being reported daily in unprecedented numbers. Deaths from heart attack have risen seven thousand percent in women who were followers of Dr. Edwin, the Fat Guru. Attempts to contact Dr. Edwin at his home in Dallas have been unsuccessful. The CDC has issued a warning to immediately discontinue eating all forms of chocolate.”
Words scrolled across the bottom of the screen: Five thousand two hundred dead so far. Followed by: Dangerously low levels of vitamins C and B1 seen in many.
Alexa examined her bruises with numb and tingling fingers, flexed her swollen ankles, pushed her tongue against her loose teeth, then went to the computer to look up symptoms and see if she could tell whether or not a heart attack was imminent.
When Avery got in early from her date – she’d been too tired to stay out any later – Alexa filled her in on the news. Anger replaced their feelings of depression and, rallying their sore, stiff joints into action, they flew to Dallas the next day and joined the throngs gathered outside the opulent home of Dr. Edwin. They had no trouble finding it. They just followed the line of taxi cabs filled with irate women streaming in from DFW Airport.
It would only be a matter of a short time before authorities whisked him away for official prosecution. Thousands of angry women wanted their own form of justice first. They had been told to eat chocolate and were now being denied! An elderly woman looked out the window in the front door, shrank in fear and disappeared as the crowd forced its way in.
Avery, the first one in, spotted an ancient, obese man in a wheelchair, breathing with an oxygen tank, and asked, “Who are you?”
The scrawny woman standing behind him, her body hunched in pain, answered. “He’s Dr. Edwin. I’m his wife. What do you want?”
“He’s the Fat Guru? How can he be Dr. Edwin? Isn’t he on the Chocolate Diet?”
“He never ate a bite of it in his life. He hates chocolate. He created that diet for me. And look what it’s done.” Her hair was mostly gone and the splotches on her scalp matched the rest of her skin.
The women gave out anguished cries, started sobbing, slowly left the Fat Guru, the truly FAT guru, to his punishment, and went to buy vegetables.
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