It had begun as a regular day out.
You know the kind. Shopping. I was excited as I headed through town on the auto walk-rail. The day was sunny, the sky was clear. I was even wearing my new tight outfit and kept my hair long and loose. While others stood around sedately gazing at the passing marvels of our city surrounded by trees and plants reflecting lights from the morning rays, I pounded on the walkway in my high heels keen to reach my friends. Unused to such vigorous activity, many glanced my way wondering what the emergency was. All they saw was cleavage and long legs. I grinned. As my left arm swung up I noticed my bling wristband flashing a reminder. I was due for my check up this very morning. My stomach then rumbled. On the way to the glass encased clinic I gave in to the sudden craving and grabbed myself a cream bun at a nearby bakery. When I arrived at the clinic I was duly weighed. Then, within the cold and glassy building, the embarrassing words echoed around. Everyone turned to stare at me with my mouth full and a cream spot on my chin.
‘You are three kilos overweight.’
I looked down at the cream bun as if it were some kind of miscreant. The nurse just looked at me. A siren sounded from somewhere and before I could swallow the bulging mouthful a white coated team emerged from the bowels of the building and manhandled me out of the general clinic. One orderly in particular looked particularly threatening. If I hadn’t been so humiliated I would have found it all quite amusing because my mouth had opened in protest exposing half chewed cream bun. I’d caught the whole episode in the mirror. Nasty, I know but there you go.
Under further vocal protest, because amidst spitting bun pieces at them I’d eventually managed to swallow the rest, they had wrestled the remainder of the bun from my hands and quite rudely checked the inside of my mouth. I was sure they would have yanked out any remaining food with their bare fingers if they had the chance. As it was they made me rinse my mouth. I’d never felt so disgraced. My face felt hot and I tried to push the roving hands away which they considered an obstruction of justice tying my hands behind my back.
‘Settle down’, the rough orderly said as I squirmed in discomfort while my boob and butt cheek were patted at the same time. I noticed his eyes settling upon my cleavage. Apparently, the Laws of Inappropriate Handling and Inappropriate Flirting didn’t apply in here. I had no real experience to draw on except hushed stories told by others who ‘knew someone who knew someone who had put on weight’. Would my story become one of those? My friends couldn’t deny their relationships with me but they might Divorce themselves from me.
After a rather insulting thorough search I was prodded, probed and jabbed and then abandoned in a white cell. What did they think? That I had cream buns stashed in my obviously expensive outfit? I sat on the hard bed and rubbed my now free arms. What was I going to tell my friends? I had to tell them the truth because they would all get reports on my illegal weight gain. It would act as a warning to them and as a way to help me avoid any future misconduct.
Thankfully, I hadn’t put on five kilos. It would have been broadcast across the globe and shamed my family and I’d have had to pay a six thousand credit penalty. My shopping days would have been over for some time. Ugh, I’d be stuck in this hole for a couple of weeks while they made me exercise, sit through hours and hours of ‘why I should look after myself’, they’d make me eat healthy meals and then my registered friends and family would have to visit and undergo a shortened rehabilitation course. I was going to miss all the stock take sales.
I groaned out loud. My groan was no doubt recorded and analyzed.
With my new outfit in slight disarray, my knees together and feet apart, I put my elbows on my knees and head in my hands. I reviewed what I’d eaten. I’d kept to the routine, hadn’t I? Why then was it I just noticed my boobs squeezing out from my top? Was it some glitch in my programmed menu? Had there been a Food Terrorist violation? I knew they would check all my belongings, my virtual world, my programs, my cupboards, my outings and my exercise routines. If nothing was found out of the ordinary it would be back to me and my diet regime. Well, regardless of why I put on three kilos I’d have to remain here. The big question was: would I lose my job over this? It was possible and it lay heavily on my mind. ‘Heavily’, that wasn’t a good word choice. No wonder my new outfit was ‘tight’. It had been a few weeks since I’d bought it so I hadn’t given it much thought. I’d just felt extra sexy in it. From sexy to mortified now.
After an hour of pacing around the small cell, my heels making a gratifying noise on the floor, the door opened. The menacing orderly beckoned me out and I was directed back to the main clinic. I stared hard at the scales which had ruined my few weeks of shopping.
‘You are free to go,’ a clinic advisor said behind the black marble desk which almost ran the entire length of the room’s corner. ‘There’ll be no further action taken against you about the weight gain and this particular misunderstanding will go no further than this clinic.’
I didn’t dare speak. Was the misunderstanding due to a calibration error? I was about to tell them off. They should keep their equipment maintained! Instead, I quickly signed the document and approached the waiting orderly. He smiled now, no longer the threatening figure.
‘So, I can go shopping now?’ I asked elated. The outside beckoned me. The shops awaited.
‘Yes, and I suggest you go to the Baby Mall and congratulations.’
My mouth hung open.
‘Before you go, we’ve booked you into the maternity clinic where they will upgrade your menu and exercise programs. You’ll have to attend classes at the Baby Training School but we’ve already organized all the times. Oh, we’ve notified your place of work, the father and registered friends and family. Have a good day.’
I stood there, dazed.
‘Excuse me, Miss?’
I turned. It was a young fresh faced patrol officer.
‘You’ll have to move on, Miss. Or I’ll have to book you for loitering.’
I wandered away and was met somewhere at sometime by my concerned and excited babbling friends who dragged me past the glorious dress and shoe shops to the Baby Mall and Maternity Wear.
My life was no longer my own.