The Deal

Sidda wasn’t happy with her body. Despite the fact that it worked and played, ate and slept and woke exactly as she asked it to, she was hung up on how it looked. She used to joke with her girlfriends that she needed one day, one hour, even one minute, in which she could rearrange it. Take a little from here, put it there. Smooth out that, perk up this. No tiresome year-long diets, no sweaty work-outs at the gym, no liposuction, no Spanx.

Sidda toyed with the idea. She’d make a deal with the devil. For sixty seconds, let her flesh become like Play-Doh which could be pushed and pulled and shoved until she got the shape she wanted. She couldn’t lose any of it; only rearrange it. Reconstruction would last exactly one year, and then there’d be another one-minute opportunity.

Like planning what you’d do if you won the lottery, it was just idle speculation. The devil never showed up when wanted, that was part of his devilishness. But one day, as she stood disconsolately contemplating her nude body in a full-length mirror, a shadow appeared in the upper right corner. It spoke.

“You want to look better?”

“Sure. But I don’t want to do all that diet and exercise stuff.”

“So how’d you like to move things around, reconfigure a bit? You know, like you’ve been wanting.”


“Okay. You’ve got sixty seconds. Ready, set, go!”

It was abrupt, but Sidda was mentally prepared. She grabbed her suddenly malleable pot belly and pushed it up, up, up to her left breast. It took longer than she’d anticipated. Fat turned out to be not so much like Play-Doh as Jello – slippery and hard to handle. The result was lumpy, but the clock was ticking. She pushed up again to the right breast, which didn’t look quite the same size as its sister. A good bra would hide that, though. Okay, now the hips. But where to put those pounds? She couldn’t get rid of them, that was the deal, and her top half was pretty well at capacity. Maybe slide some down to the calves? Oops, slippage to the ankle. She’d come back to it. The thighs! Only time to push them in at the sides. Frantically, she grabbed at her double chin, but as she pinched it between thumb and forefinger, a celestial chime rang and her flesh became solid again.

Fearfully, she gazed in the mirror and took inventory of her new look: one cankle, one large calf, a slimmer left hip, but she hadn’t had time to get to the right one. The chest was certainly larger, though asymmetrical and lumpy. Her stomach was flat, but so tautly stretched she could hardly stand upright. She hadn’t even touched the bags under her eyes, and oh, dear, her chin. What had been a slightly soft profile now looked like the wattles on a turkey.

The shadow was still lurking in the mirror. Sidda thought she discerned a mean grin on its wispy face.

“All set for the year?” it said.

“No! I can’t go around for a whole year looking like this.”

“Afraid your time’s up. Sixty seconds – that was the deal, wasn’t it?”

“Well, yes, but it wasn’t enough time after all. I look like a freak. What am I going to do?” Sidda wailed.

“Diet. Exercise. Plastic surgery. Spanx,” said the shadow. “See you next year.”


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