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by Bill Tope

"I gained four pounds last month," Lori
said bleakly, reading the awful news
on the bathroom scale at her feet.   Her
husband of nine years, Bruce, was
unsympathetic:  "What did you expect,
you've been eating like a horse!"  She
frowned unhappily. "Like a horse!" she
"Well," he went on, "I don't want
to put too fine a point on it, but when
you pass away, you're looking at a trip to
the glue factory, not the funeral home!"
He chuckled unpleasantly.
Lori bit her lip. Why was Bruce being so
harsh, so unforgiving? she wondered.
Lori had been a lissome 115 pounds when
they married, and now tipped the scales
at 130--133 as of today--and he was
always on her case.  She stared at him,
shaving before the mirror above the
sink.  Though an inch shorter than she,
he had broad shoulders.
Bruce was still handsome, she
thought.  And he hadn't gained so much
as an ounce, in the decade she had
known him.  And he had a voracious
appetite, ate whatever he wanted,
she thought enviously. Yet, he still
weighed a hunky 350 pounds.  
Men were expected to experience a
"middle-age spread," she knew; her
mother had taught her that. Women, on
the other hand, were responsible for
maintaining a pert, sexy figure.
Bruce thought no differently:  you're not
the girl I married, he'd say.  She sighed.
"What do you want for breakfast, Hon'?"
she asked.  "Six eggs, over easy, bacon,
sausage, American fries.  And give me
some grapefruit juice--fresh squeezed,
of course." The usual.
"Of course," she assented. "And Lori,"
he continued in a disapproving voice. 
She turned to face him, watching his
reflection in the mirror.  "I think you'd
better just skip breakfast.  And maybe
lunch, as well."  She turned toward the
kitchen, replied meekly, "Yes, Bruce."