Alarian Diet

Everyone who really knew Chef Benoit, the Amberville Manor’s cook-in-service, knew him to be overweight. As a man who ate one slice and assimilated the whole bread, Chef Benoit’s digestive track was an unsolved mystery of quantum science. Most people needed to ingest food to get fat; Chef Benoit merely needed to think about food.

As a dweller of two separate realities, Vivian had subjected the Chef to every diet in Existence. What she never attempted was a diet from Non-Existence.

‘Just mix this in your food,’ she presented Chef Benoit with a mysterious flagon of bright green liquid. ‘And you’ll be able to eat anything you want, without getting fat!’

Chef Benoit unstoppered the flagon and gave it a good sniff. It smelled like unwashed socks and stale cabbages. ‘And you’re sure this will help slim me down a notch?’

‘Positive,’ promised Vivian. ‘They say Alarians use it all the time. In fact, I am yet to meet a chubby Alarian.’

Chef Benoit accepted Vivian’s flagon. Alarian diet aside, his waistline couldn’t get much larger than it already was without developing its own gravity or ripping apart the space-time continuum.

As soon as he began mixing the potion in his daily food, Chef Benoit felt the difference. Not only did he feel considerably lighter every time he put food in his mouth, but he could physically feel the weight floating away from his body. In fact, he felt as weightless as a lunar explorer.

It was culinary bliss! Finally Chef Benoit could taste all his prepared dishes without the fear of obesity. His body, though as large as ever, felt suddenly insubstantial, like his enormous weight had decided to break up with his lifetime mistress, Miss Gravity.

For months on end, he continued mixing the Alarian potion in his everyday meals, taking wonderful notice of how his once firm-pressing steps were now as light as bubble-bath foam. Gone were the days of heavy, miserable “fat Ben”. Chef Benoit was nowadays a mere leaf on the wind; a sheer feather adrift.

One morning, Chef Benoit sat before his bacon and egg breakfast, only to realize he depleted his miraculous potion that dissolved weight in an instant. Afraid of what it entailed for his diet, Chef Benoit refused his breakfast and went about his day without as much as a cup of herbal tea.

All the same, throughout the day, weight began filling back into the frame of his body – one gram every second – until his body became the heaviest body in the observable universe. He tried checking his weight, but his weighing scales refused to cooperate by raising its metallic arms in defeat and kicking the empirical bucket.

‘The Alarian diet made me three times heavier than before!’ said Benoit in terror, pushing the empty flagon into Vivian’s hand. ‘Have I been taking it wrong?’

‘Says here you need to mix it with food and— oh-huh!’ said Vivian, checking the ingredients list on the flagon. ‘Mama Vadda, that old hag, sold me the wrong potion!’

The light of a nearby lamp began circling Benoit’s waistline, confused about the sudden shift in celestial gravity. Some lonely photons seemed undecided about becoming a wave or a particle.

‘Why? What was in the bottle?’ asked Benoit.

Vivian’s eyes got veiled by an old memory. ‘Highly concentrated Featherweight Philtre!’

- Louise Blackwick

Advent 2017