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Spadina Literary Review  —  edition 19 page 19


Six p.m., the doorbell.

“Why Willie, you look absolutely wonderful.”

Willie smiled and followed me through to the lounge.

“Sit down old chap, take a pew.”

Willie looked at me in all his thinnery, smiling, his fat face now thin, his fat hands and fingers now thin. His arms and legs, once beautifully fat, were now hideously distorted and thin.

I tried to raise a big fat smile but alas I could only manage a thin sneer.

I brought out the Housekeepers Cake. Willie looked at it and smiled. I cut a large wedge for him.

Willie shook his head. “Not for me, old bean.”

What? Was I hearing properly? Willie refusing sweetness! Oh my, my!

“Come on Wills, just a little corner?”

Again he refused. I went through to the kitchen in a state of shock. Ah! The Brandy Snaps. But again Willie smiled and refused. He would taste nothing. Disaster!

“Nothing for me, old biscuit,” he said. “I’m watching the waistline these days.”

“But a little corner won’t do you any harm, Will.”

“No, no, must keep off the goodies. The missus likes the new slender Willie. But listen old cock, you dig right in. You look as though you could do with putting on a few pounds.”

“Do you think so?”

“Definitely! You’re looking positively deficient in the calories department. In fact, old man, you look as though you could use a tonic of some kind. Are you unwell? Working too hard recently?”

“Now that you mention it, Willie, I have been awfully busy these last few days. I may have missed the odd meal here and there.”

And you know what? Suddenly I did feel weak, I felt the very lifeblood drain from my exhausted frame.

“Try a slice of this,” said Willie, offering me the Housekeepers Cake. “It's irresistible.”

“Thank-you,” I said as I tucked into the cake. “Willie, you are such a good friend.”

After I finished that slice, Willie cut me another. “It’s absolutely delicious,” he said.

“It’s absolutely delicious,” I agreed.

“That’s the game, old fellow. Eat it all up.”

I ate the cake, all of the cake! Then Willie convinced me that I simply had to try the brandy snaps, and I did. They were absolutely delicious too.

Willie disappeared into the kitchen. I heard a whoop of joy as he discovered the rest of my kitchen stash. He returned laughing with a tray full of tarts, yum-yums, empire biscuits and doughnuts.

“Someone’s been busy in the old kitchen department,” he said, placing the tray in front of me. “You tuck into that lot, we’ll soon have you back up to your old fighting weight!”

I began with the lemon tarts. They were absolutely delicious. Without a doubt, I was a more fabulous cook than I had ever imagined.

I managed to eat everything I’d made the night before. Willie swore that I had never looked fitter and healthier and happier than I did at that very moment. I tried to smile but I was feeling quite full now. In fact, I felt sick. When I tried to get up, I fell off my chair.

Willie dragged me by the ankles through to the living room. He went next door and with the aid of Pamela, my neighbour’s portly teenage daughter, he managed to lift me onto the sofa. I felt terrible.

“You’ll be all right old chap, I‘ve called for the doctor, he’ll be here soon. Lie back and take it easy.”

Willie left with a curious smile on his face, and as I lay groaning on the sofa and waited for the doctor I couldn’t help but feel that something had gone frightfully wrong with my plan.

Next time, I’ll tell you about the time Willie gave up smoking. Like any true friend I tried everything in my power to get him back on the ‘baccy. I now smoke thirty a day!