“Clean your plate or you can’t get down,” His mum used to say to him. Now it was so deep-set in his psyche that not only did he not find it possible to leave a morsel of food on his own plate, but he also helped clear up any leftovers on others’.
Vincent was now just thirty three years old, and his weight in Stones had overtaken his age by five. He now weighed over thirty eight stone, or as they might say over the pond five hundred and thirty five pounds, or on the continent two hundred and forty three kilos. Whichever way Vincent thought of it he wasn’t happy.
“If only I could just leave a little at the end of every meal,” He bemoaned his lot to his Doctor, “I know I could start losing it. It’s all my mum’s fault for making me feel so guilty about leaving anything.”
“We’ve been through this before, Vince,” Doctor Vazana began, “You need to do a lot more than that. Exercise would be good, but at your current weight exercise is almost impossible, and not snacking between meals would help too. We have a new diet plan here for you to try”
“But I hardly eat anything between meals,” Vincent almost whined, “And I already eat so healthily.”
Doctor Vazana wasn’t convinced, but could do little more to help Vince if he wasn’t prepared to face the hard and fast reality that he would have to cut down severely on his food intake to lose any weight. Vincent’s health was already suffering. He had high blood pressure, poor circulation, and was looking at the onset of type two diabetes.
“Denial,” said Doctor Vazana “And we’re not talking the river in Egypt.” He laughed lightly at his joke, whilst Vincent just looked bemused. “It’s time you faced facts. If you don’t do something soon you’ll not see forty.”
Vincent looked hurt and upset. “It’s just so unfair…” he started, “… some people get to eat anything and not put on weight. But I eat just a little more than normal and I grow huge. It’s my genes Doc.”
“It may well be hereditary, but you aren’t helping.” Doctor Vazana handed over a new proposed diet to Vincent..”This has to be it, Vince,” He said. “Last chance saloon. To even get any chance at a stomach band, or any kind of intervention you must lose weight!”
Vincent left the Doctor’s surgery feeling fed up and dejected. He jumped, or more properly, lumbered, into the car, and reached across the dashboard to grab himself a Mars bar. That would make him feel better he thought.
When he got home he threw the diet plan on the table without a further glance, then ambled into the kitchen to make himself a quick snack. After all his wife wouldn’t be home for a couple of hours yet to prepare dinner and he didn’t want to starve. ‘I don’t want to fade away completely’ he mumbled to himself with a gentle laugh.
Settling down on the sofa as best he could he grabbed the remote control and pointing it at the television he selected one of his favourite afternoon cookery programmes. Beside him he noticed a magazine that he hadn’t seen before. He picked it up and flipped through the pages as he ate his double-decker cheese and jam sandwiches and family size packet of cheese and onion crisps.
He wasn’t really concentrating on either the television programme, or the magazine, but all of a sudden he noticed an advert for instant weight-loss. ‘Synchronicity,’ he thought as he read the advert. It sounded perfect. Thee was no mention of exercise, promised you could eat all you want and yet still lose weight. He re-read the advert three or four times, eventually deciding that it would be perfect for him. Leaning over the side of the sofa he grabbed his laptop, fired the machine up, logged on and found the site as listed in the advert. Within moments he had ordered and paid for his very own ‘sprite’ and was looking forward to starting the new miracle weight loss plan.
Ten days later a package arrived, marked ‘handle with extra care’, and addressed to Vincent. There was no return address and no other markings. Taking it off the post-woman he remarked that it was his ticket to weight-loss. The post-woman smiled politely and nodded her head. She had heard Vincent say something similar many times.
Slumping back down on the sofa Vincent turned the packet over and over trying to find the best way to open it. As he did so he was sure he heard a noise inside much like a voice. Digging between the cushions on the sofa Vincent found a knife that was just sharp enough to cut through the tape that was tightly wound round the package. Pulling back the cardboard a strange cage-like structure was revealed. On this a note was attached. The note read:
‘To make best use of this sprite for weight loss be very careful how you address it. Open the inner package with care so as not to damage the sprite. We at Souhait Products wish you luck and success in your timely venture.‘
“Address it?” Vincent wondered aloud. He pulled the note off and dropped it back into the outer box beside him. Then he carefully opened the inner packaging. Suddenly there was an incredibly bright flash causing Vincent to cover his eyes and dramatically drop the inner packaging. When he opened his eyes again there was a strange little being sitting beside him on the arm of the sofa. “whoa..” Vincent said blinking several times. Had he been able to jump backwards he would have done.
“Whoa,” the strange little creature repeated back at him. “Whoa?”
“You can talk too?” Vincent said. He was beginning to wonder if the cheese, or ham that he had had in his elevenses toasted sandwich had been out of date, or perhaps it was the pickled onions.
“Of course I can talk, what did you think I would do? Did you think I would sit here mute and how then would I be able to help you?” The sprite said.
“You’re here to help me?” Vincent questioned.
“You ordered a sprite to make a wish come true did you not?” the Sprite stated. “I am said sprite, and I shall grant your wish, but only your very first one.”
“What kind of joke is this?” Vincent asked. “Are you some kind of robot toy?”
“Robot Toy, enough with the insults. I am a sprite, a granter of wishes, a fellow of the magical order. Now if you’d like to tell me what you truly want I will get on with conjuring up your desire and be on my way.” The sprite was losing patience with Vincent.
“OK, So I want to be able to eat anything I want and still to lose weight, in fact I want whatever I eat to make me lose weight, No … wait a minute…”Vincent said.
“Too late I’ve heard your wish and it is in order and processed and done.” Having said this there was another flash. Vincent covered his eyes again and when he opened them the sprite had disappeared.
“Another money grabbing, swindling piece of rubbish,” Vincent said to himself. “Now , where’s that magazine? I’m going to get straight back to that company and complain. Try to make a fool out of me will they?” He shouted angrily as he leaned over the side of the sofa to find the magazine. Grabbing a pile of papers he found a half eaten chocolate bar in the middle and instead of looking any further he settled down to eat that instead.
Over the next few days Vincent carried on eating as normal without further thought of the sprite incident. He didn’t dare tell his wife about it, as she would have moaned at him for wasting the little spare money they had, and he didn’t tell anyone else about it because firstly he didn’t see anyone else and secondly he was embarrassed at his gullibility.
By the third day Vincent was sure that his trousers were loser than normal and checking in the mirror was convinced he had lost some weight. By the end of the week he knew he had lost weight, and his wife even congratulated him on keeping to his recent diet regime.
Day by day the pounds were dropping away, yet he could still eat what he liked when he liked. Within a month he had lost so much weight that he decided to go and see the doctor, partly for his regular check up, and partly to show the doctor that he could do it. Doctor Vazana was duly impressed. IN fact he was quite amazed at how much Vincent had been able to lose in such a short time and insisted on doing some tests. As Vincent left he told him to keep up the good work.
Within another month Vincent was a shadow of his former self, and yet whatever he ate the weight still fell away. His wife was impressed with his weight loss and told him so. She even showed him how much she liked the now svelte Vincent much more regularly than ever before.
By Christmas Vincent had lost so much weight he was well below the BMI weight for a man of his height. He spent Christmas stuffing himself full of turkey , stuffing , mince pies and all the traditional fare, and still he lost weight.
Early in the New Year Vincent was looking unwell, he had lost so much weight, and no matter what he ate he could not maintain, or regain it. Eating just didn’t work and he was becoming frail and in danger of literally fading away.
On the sixth of January he was tidying the house and in the pile of wrapping paper and boxes he came across the box the sprite had arrived in. He pulled up a chair in the kitchen and re-read the note that was attached to the inner packaging. He wondered if he should have asked differently for his weight-loss wish, but before pondering too much he spotted the turkey remains on the worktop and decided to make himself a couple of sandwiches with cranberry jelly, and a side order of extra-rich-coleslaw.
Halfway through his second turkey sandwich there was another incredibly bright flash as Vincent swallowed a huge mouthful of coleslaw. Accompanying the flash there was also a loud pop. After the flash and popping sound the kitchen was empty. Vincent was no longer on the chair, although his clothes were. Vincent had finally left the table before his plate was clean!