In conjunction with Qatar Sports Day 2021 —

Death Goes to The Circus – A Murder Mystery: 3.5 minute read by Farriz Mashudi 09/02/21

BISCUITS: All sugar-free. In a day I can put away a dozen between meals. Comfort eating’s the cause. To face the stress of new tasks, like a bell that goes off in my head I’m as habitual as Pavlov’s dog. Although sometimes—more not than often, if I’m honest—the snacking supresses hunger pangs. When the tummy rumbles it’s hard to ignore and not reach for one (OK, some). I say it’s gastritis though I have my doubts. I could just be kidding myself.

Photo credit: Golnar Sabzpoush Rashidi

MILK CHOCOLATE: “You’re lucky you’re tall,” the pint-sized woman says. As an afterthought she adds that when she puts on, her girth expands and spatially fills in her mind a voluminous sphere. Her eyes shift upwards and we follow her drift. It’s Dumbo. All ears, the baby elephant hovers.

            Not to put whole words into the mouths of others, “I LOOK LIKE A BALL,” was the exact declaration, un-edified and un-doctored … Rolling in flab, a roly-poly, a Mr Wobbly Man, in the flesh. —But that’s me again now, BISCUITS extrapolating, taking the demoralised, and truthfully, only slightly rotund frame of MILK CHOCOLATE a step further into that abyss where I, too, frequently find myself. Better known as the ‘I WISH THIS WASN’T ME’-place. Or phase. You may have visited sometime, yourself.

            Although I had to agree the bean-pole look would suit me, she accepted too, how my plight was worse. Those blessed with height are often large. So, when I gain, it’s not without repercussion and the results, dismally gargantuan.

            We laugh at this. It causes endorphins to be happily released into the night air that fills the lungs and rids the brain of thoughts of giving up.

            “Order! Order!” Drinks first then. We agree on water. Still, but cold.

            —Wouldn’t sparkling be better at that temperature?

            —The gas bloats.

            —It’s not like what we’re wearing isn’t baggy.

            —Heard about the one about the Type 1 diabetic who jabbed every day and guzzled himself to death on coca cola? No, not the diet drink. A genius, such a shame.

            —My super bubbly cousin had her leg cut off below the knee and her husband left her. She died a year later, from depression.

            —As a processed meat, sure, bacon is high in sodium and makes it unhealthy, but for those without high blood pressure I think it’s acceptable for variety. Breakfasts are so boring.

            —What’s wrong with cereal and milk everyday?

            —Uh, aren’t you diabetic?

For a laugh our WhatsApp group had been called the ‘Dorito’s Diet Club’. It was mainly to set up dining dates and confirm where to eat next with our Entertainer apps. Being social wasn’t the problem. It was what we did at home on our own that was doing us in. Serious now about taking our shapes into our own hands, taking otherwise marooned water-buffalos by the horns, and daring to dance with wolves (well, there would be hunger involved) —we’ve dared to bite the bullet … and wait for it! … We’ve rebranded. So, welcome one and all to ‘Snackers Anonymous’! Meet your ringmaster, Mr Big Top himself:

MIXED GRILL/OR ANYTHING TASTY SO LONG AS IT’S DOUBLE PLATTER: Yes, yes, reduce volume, control portions, I know all this and I should. But I want. So, I have it, so there. Accept my confession. I’m guilty, but I’ve not sinned, I don’t think. Not against God, nor against humanity. I’ve not hurt anyone. Well, no one but myself. Probably.

Our clique a three-ringed circus, the statements and retorts and tales of extreme cases flow unabated. Doubling up, repeating what we’d heard only to flow and circle back. Shared and chewed on, ruminated and regurgitated, no longer relegated to dark crevices in denial; the problem voiced, was mutual. Creeping into the conversation uninvited, our woes thrown up and voiced out loud began to project, injecting the air of a certain energy. Would we rise above?

Not a mere observer, more an unwilling audience— the fourth amongst us is a man as steady as the cows that come home like clockwork. He’d like to throw us off a cliff. Or we could jump. And his point wasn’t invalid. —Is it misadventure, or something else, when the answer to Death is at the tip of your tongue? … In your grasp, and gorging mouth, and overfilled belly. Lethal eventually, eating beyond bounds is self-harm or possibly suicide, only slower, isn’t it?

Go ahead, place your head between the lion’s jaws. Would it eat us up? Devour, or spit out our weak wills in disgust, not to mention the wasted innards, and the worry that we’re not nutritious. (What with the not very balanced diets, indigestion and occasional heartburn.)

Over here, I’m not a picky eater.

Leaving a bad taste even in leonine mouths … Huh.

Dangerously unhealthy thoughts. Woe is me, woe is us. Maybe baby … Running, only out of ways to spin this. Can we survive ourselves? Continue on this course, and we’re on one-way tickets. You only need to follow the hamour for more suspects.

Found your murderers yet?


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