A Weighty Problem
By Maz McCoy
The author comes to Kid’s rescue when he faces a hefty challenge. Just the usual nonsense.
Kid Curry had his back to Heyes as he put on his gun belt.
“Something wrong?” Heyes enquired as he picked up his hat from where it lay on the bed.
“Well come on then let’s go get breakfast.”
“I think I’ll skip it.”
Heyes stopped dead in his tracks. Slowly he turned around. Kid stood facing him.
Heyes walked toward his friend and placed a hand carefully on his forehead. Kid sighed.
“Your temperature’s normal, but you’re clearly sickening for something.”
“I’m just not hungry.”
“Exactly. You’re obviously sick.”
Kid picked up his own hat and settled it on his head.
“Heyes, I’m fine. Just had a lot to eat yesterday. Let’s go grab a cup of coffee.”
Heyes stepped in front of Kid.
“We hardly ate yesterday.”
“Then that meal the day before musta been real filling.” Kid stepped around Heyes and opened the door. He looked over his shoulder. “You comin’?”
“Well I am full!” Kid pushed away his plate and leaned back in his chair, patting his stomach contentedly as he did so.
Heyes lowered his fork and look at the food still on Kid’s plate. They were the only two customers in the cafeteria. He swallowed his mouthful of stew, then placed the fork on his plate and looked at his partner.
“All right, what’s wrong?”
“There’s still food on your plate.”
“I know, I can see it.”
“So why aren’t you eating it?”
“No you’re not. The Kid Curry I know could eat that plateful twice over and still not be full. So what’s wrong?”
“I guess my appetite is changing.”
Brown eyes narrowed, peering at Kid suspiciously.
“What’s going on?”
“Nothing is going on.”
“You only had coffee for breakfast. Took two bites of that sandwich at lunchtime and claimed you’d had enough and now…” Heyes waved his hand at Kid’s half full plate. “So what is it?” Heyes shoved another forkful of stew into his mouth and waited.
Kid let out a heavy sigh.
“I’m getting fat.”
Stew and gravy shot across the table and Heyes began to choke. Kid leapt to his feet and pounded on his partner’s back until Heyes waved him away. He took a gulp of coffee. Kid sat down, watching his friend.
“You all right?”
Heyes suppressed a smile and failed.
“Kid, you are not getting fat.”
“You ARE fat!” Heyes laughed at his own joke. Kid gave him his gunfighter’s stare. Heyes stopped laughing and waved his hand in the air. “All right, all right. You’re not that fat!”
The stare remained.
“You’re a little chunky, but not fat,” Heyes clarified failing to make the situation better. “Got some muffin tops there but a lot of ladies like a little more flesh on a man.”
“I knew I shouldn’ta told ya.”
“No, Kid, you should. I mean that’s what friends are for, right?”
“I’ve put on a bit of weight, okay. Had difficulty doing up my gun belt this morning. So, I’m gonna eat less and work it off.”
“Well that’s real commendable, Kid. But you can’t just cut out food, that’s not healthy. You gotta make sure you get all the right stuff or you could suffer from one of them diseases.”
“Them diseases? From not eating?”
“No! Not those diseases. Different diseases. They call ’em…de…”
“I know, diseases.”
“No, there’s a type. Deficiency diseases, that’s it. You could get a deficiency disease. Now you don’t want that, do ya?”
“I guess not.”
“So you gotta do this the right way and I know just the person to help.”
“Fruit. You can have a lot of fruit,” Heyes informed Kid. He lay on the bed, legs crossed at the ankles, his head resting on a comfy pillow as he read through the booklet their friend had provided.
“Lean ham and chicken is good too.”
“We’re gonna need to weigh the amounts you eat.”
“That’s gonna be real easy on the trail.”
Heyes lowered the booklet.
“Kid, I detect a severe lack of enthusiasm for this weight loss programme.”
“Whatever gave you that idea? S *!%” Kid sucked his thumb, having just stabbed it with a needle as he attempted to put another hole in his belt.
“You know if you lose weight you won’t need to add anymore holes to that belt. And there’s another benefit. Your wanted poster will be wrong. You’ll weight less than they claim!”
“Heyes, d’you really think our weight’s the first thing people notice about us?”
“No, but it’s something to think about.”
“So, we need to get some fruit, lean cuts of meat and…Wow!”
“It says beer’s six points. So if you’re only having twenty nine points a day, that’s gonna limit what you can drink. Of course black coffee is zero points so you can drink as much of that as you want.”
“Terrific, then I’ll be awake all night thinking about all the food I can’t have!”
“Kid, you gotta stay positive. Maz said this programme works. Heck have you taken a good look at her lately?”
“Heyes!” Kid blushed, casting a glance skywards over his shoulder.
“I mean she’s lost a lot of weight and it was all by counting points. If she can do it, you can too.” Heyes looked up. “By the way, you know we’re both real proud of you don’tcha? I mean you are looking so much fitter. Not that you didn’t look… Before, I mean, you were just…”
Heyes silver tongue appeared to have failed him for a moment. Fortunately Maz continued to type.
“Okay, so for breakfast you can have an egg, that’s three points and then of course we hafta know what they fry it in.”
“I’d hazard a guess at a frying pan.”
“I’m talking oil!”
“You’re talking something that’s for sure.”
“One egg, maybe some bacon.” Brown eyes narrowed. “Hmm. One rasher could be two points but those Brits call our gammon bacon so…” Heyes flicked through the booklet “This could be harder than I thought. A gammon steak is six points. You could have eaten your daily ration by lunchtime.”
“So what? I eat fruit all day? Or maybe I should share the horses’ oats?” Kid stood up, placing his gun belt around his waist, he tightened it, using the new hole. “Heyes, I think I just found the solution to the problem. What d’you say we go and get something to eat? I’m starving.”
“That’s not a good idea. I think we need to devise an exercise programme for you too.”
“I agree. I’ll walk along the boardwalk to the cafeteria. That should burn off some fat.”
“You need to…”
Kid held up his hand to cut him off.
“I’ve fixed my gun belt and I am sure…” He gazed up at the author giving her a dazzling smile. “I’m sure by the next story we’re in I’ll be back to my usual lithe, muscular, athletic self. Ain’t that right, Maz?”