My genetics were getting the better of me. Like my father before me, and his before him, I was storing dangerously high levels of fat around my waistline. I knew the key to keeping it down was eating vegetables and removing high calorie foods from my diet, but a life lived without grains and legumes seemed practically intolerable. It was hard enough abstaining from meats, dairy and candy. I needed somebody to remove the genes responsible, so I went to a fat specialist. “You realize that in order to do this we are going to have to subject you to a risky amount of radiation,” he said. “Do whatever you have to do,” I said. “Don’t you think you’re overreacting a little bit?” He said. “Could it be you just have a case of depression?” “That’s why I’m here. Put me under the gun,” I said. “We don’t treat depression at this facility. But I can refer you to someone who does,” he said. “If I wanted to be treated for depression I would have gone to a psychiatrist. I’m sad because I’m fat.” I said. “Being fat doesn’t make you sad,” he said. There’s no sad clown hiding in your fat cells that starts to cry.” “I don’t think I like your attitude sir,” I said. I stood up and got in his grill. “Sir, you’re going to have to calm down,” he said. He pushed a button on his pager, and a moment later this guy named Willy opened the door and came in. “What’s he for?” I said. “That’s my friend, Willy,” he said. “He helps me.” “Keep that animal away from me,” I said. The fat specialist reached into his pocket and pulled out a little yellow memo pad. “Here’s the name of a friend who’s been very successful with cases such as yours,” he said, tearing a page off and handing it to me. I ate it immediately. “Now, why did you go ahead and do that?” He said. “Willy.” Willy got around behind me and put me in a sleeper. “Who in the hell are you people?” I said. “We’re the guys who were put on this earth to help people like you,” the fat specialist said. “People like me?” I said. “Do you have some sort of messiah complex?” “Willy, would you be so kind as to give our friend here one mark,” he said. I felt a sharp pain on my belly. Willy had cut me with his fingernail. It was brown and yellow and pointed, like a burrowing animal’s. “What did you just do to me?” I said. “For someone who just ate a piece of paper you seem to think you are deserving of a few logical answers,” he said. I broke free from Willy with a bear hug break, and ran out into the parking lot. I got in my car and drove to California. I’d never been before and a friend of mine told me there was a lot of desert, but all I could see was water. “You don’t do so well with boats,” a man said. “Where did you come from?” I said. “I’ve always wanted to go to Nova Scotia.” He said. “What brings you to the ferry? I picked him up and threw him over the rail. I saw a large metal drum behind me so I hid in it. A woman screamed and tried to tell somebody her husband had been thrown overboard. “Get out of here. This is my drum,” a voice said. I looked down and saw a cricket on my leg. “Where am I supposed to go? They are going to torture me.” I said. “Are they going to pull your legs off and light you on fire?” It said. I thought it might know something. “Why, is that what they do?” I said. “Oh, you can be sure of it,” it said. “Thanks for the intel,” I said. “What are friends for?” It said. “Indeed,” I said.