GRAINS

            I’m one of those lucky people who doesn’t have to worry about her weight – if I even look at a treadmill, I lose ten pounds.  My friends resented me for it and although they always saw the massive amounts of food I’d cram into my mouth, they’d tell me I was anorexic. 

            “You’re so skinny – have you even tasted anything other than a rice cake?”  My best friend Ashly would ask, cramming a load of burrito guts into her mouth.  A couple of stray tomatoes splattered onto the foil like rejected bits of organs and tissue. 

            I would simply respond with a pointed glare and gesture to my licked-clean foil which had once held a burrito the size of a healthy new-born baby.

            Karen, however, was a natural-born dieter.  She never went within two feet of carbs and was a devout calorie-counter.  In fact, her calorie-tracking app was used more frequently than her school books during finals.  Fast-food was her kryptonite. 

            “You’re going out to Burger King again?” She would whine.  Although we knew she would decline our invitations, we still would beg her to go with us.  She insisted on meeting us afterwards for a nice jog – something Ashly was severely allergic to.

            Taylor, the most outgoing chick in our little group, was also the chunky one.  She knew that and would use her weight as ammunition for jokes – I liked that.  Unfortunately, through the teasing and bullying in middle school and the early days of high school, she buckled under the ridicule and decided to diet.

            Sophomore year appeared to be the beginning of the diet apocalypse.  Fifteen and sixteen year-olds slowly caught the infection and by May, most of the girls – and some guys limped through the halls with blank, hungry eyes and a lust for something they just couldn’t have.

            That was also the year I’d loaded up on courses and didn’t take a lunch.

            It was the middle of the day – fifth period had just ended and my stomach growled through the entire class.  I could feel the infection spread through my head like a cloud of pesticides and smoke, choking any humane emotion and replacing it with – hunger. 

            I was able to walk out of the room, still moving faster than those infected.  Starving, I tore into a defenseless granola bar wrapper – a quick and painless death, I made sure of it.  A heard of carb-depraved students turned, wide-eyed, faces alive with food-lust. 

            “GRAAAAAIIIIIIINNNNNSSSSS!”  One shouted and I screamed, trying to run the other way – a dead end – all exits were blocked by starving teens, infected by images of airbrushed air-heads in magazines and bathing-suit diets.  I thought I was a goner. 

            “GRAINS!  GRAINS!”  They chanted, closing in on me.  I had to think fast, but the thickening, hungry haze slowed me down.  No teachers dared to cut in, too frightened of the ravenous, drooling, teenage beasts.

            Again, I screamed, but it wasn’t me they wanted – it was my food.  They closed in around me, locking me in a tight circle of at least fifty starved students.  I knew what I had to do; I threw the granola bar over their skeletal hands and watched them spin and race towards the food, leaving me in their dust.  As they herded around the mutilated bar I ran around them, living to see another class.

*2013 Humor Press Humor Column Honorable Mention

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