RETRIBUTION by Celeste Wilkinson

She hunched her shoulders, hating her imperfect body and praying that it would morph into the svelte, beautiful shape of the model selling the amazing weight loss product. She hated that model and herself, but mostly she hated her soon to be ex-husband. If this pill actually worked she imagined waltzing into the courtroom the day of her impending divorce and her husband lusting after her luscious hips as he watched her walk away from him. Let him think about what he threw away every day for the rest of his stinking miserable life. She hated him and at that moment she just wanted to wipe his face off the earth.

She refused to drown herself in alcohol. She had already been down that road and it just led to a bloated body and a mushy mind. She wanted a new start and for some reason the ad on TV was different. Of course it was not available in any stores. The spokesperson guaranteed results in one week plus a gift certificate of $500 credit with a prominent high-end department store. The commercial promised, “In one week we guarantee that none of your old clothes will fit. We hate to leave you with nothing to wear so we will provide you $500 credit for a new wardrobe. Once you try our fabulous product, you must never stop!”

What did they mean by that? The first 30 days were free, so why the hell not. For as long as she could remember she had felt fat and ugly. Her mother told her not to worry about it, that she had a pretty face and a good personality. Pretty faces and good personalities were worthless when none of the cute popular boys wanted to date her in school. She was their best friend, but not pretty enough to be considered a girlfriend. When she went to college, she met and began to date a young upcoming business major. He was handsome, attentive and seemed to be madly in love with her. They dated for several months and he accompanied her to her home to meet her parents. Of course they taken in by his confident charm and they were delighted that their daughter attracted such a fine specimen as a husband. With her parents’ total approval and blessing, the couple married. Her parents helped the new couple with their connections to society and her husband became a player in the world of high finance. A few months after their marriage, her parents died tragically in an accident and her husband’s attitude began to change. Suddenly she was a lousy cook, boring conversationalist and even worse he found her repulsive in bed. He found fault with any attempt by her to please him. During the first months of their marriage he tried to gained control of her inheritance from her parents. He promised that he would invest the money and they would be wealthy beyond her wildest dreams. She tried to explain to him that the money was tied up in a trust and she could not acquire the funds he needed. His insults grew more and more biting. She should have divorced him immediately, but he would apologize and they would make up.

His career finally began to take off and he was promoted to vice president of the company. He became even more vindictive and ugly. He would come home late demanding supper. When she served the meal, he would dump the food on the dining room floor and storm out of the house. She would clean up the mess and he would come back as if nothing had occurred. Sometimes he would apologize and other times he would bring back flowers or a half-pint of ice cream. She hated it when he brought back food, because the next day he would look at her with disgust.

My cow, come here. Moo for me.”

Please, don’t call me that. I am not a cow.”

Oh would you rather be a pig. Oink Oink.”

She burst into tears and fled the room. He chased her up the stairs.

I never should have married you. I only married you because your family had connections. Now that my career has taken off, I no longer need you or your money. I thank God that you never spawned any children to hold over my head.” She remembered his sneer as he looked upon her with disdain.

Dear girl, you are nothing but a cow. I felt sorry for you when I married you, but I thought I could help you reach your potential as a suitable wife for a up and coming businessman like myself, but you cannot be taught.”

She could have curled up into a ball and died at that moment. After he left, she did not go anywhere for days. She worked out feverishly and went on a Spartan diet and ended up losing sleep and her health. She was only about twenty pounds overweight. However her petite size magnified made those additional pounds. She had a pretty face with the features of a fashion model or so her mother told her, but she never saw those fine features. When she looked in the mirror, all she saw were creases, lumpy flesh and flab.

She wrote down the toll-free number and punched in the digits on her phone. The telemarketer took her credit and shipping information. The friendly voice promised that the MakeOver+ pills would be in her hands within twenty-four hours.

She disrobed for her shower and regarded herself in the mirror. The ugly lump of flesh that looked back at her would be gone in a week. She could not wait to see her soon to be ex-husband’s face when he saw her body’s transformation to swan-like perfection. Their divorce case was scheduled for next week. She did not miss him or his constant attacks. She did want him to miss her though. She could not put a bullet into his smug face. He was not worth going to jail, but she wanted him to pay. She did not know how yet, but he would pay. She did not want her husband back, but she wanted him to eat his words. The MakeOver+ cure was worth a try. The package arrived within twenty-four hours as promised. In bold letters, it warned her that after she takes the first pill, no doses must be skipped and the pills must be taken daily for the rest of her life. Desperate to see those unwanted pounds melt away, she threw caution to the wind swallowed the first pill along with a full glass of water per instructions.

She felt no change and feeling a little disappointed she got ready for bed thinking that she had wasted her money as she fell asleep. An hour later, she was awakened by a myriad of aches and pains. She writhed in torment as sweat poured from every pore in her body soaking her bedding and nightgown. Her bedclothes smelled like rancid grease. She got up and changed her sheets and gown. The soiled gown and bedding were covered with streaks of yellow greasy sweat. Frightened she reread the warning about side affects on the bottle’s label. It did mention some minor discomfort at night during the first week, but this was too gross.

She gathered the box and supply of pills intending to throw it out.

Passing by the hall mirror she glanced at herself and the reflection looking back at her was a stranger. The model qualities in her face that only her mother could see before were suddenly visible to her. She ran to the bathroom and weighed herself and she was ten pounds lighter. Her greasy sweaty sheets contained ten pounds of lost fat. Unable to stand the stench of her sweat soaked sheets, she stuffed them into the washer along with a large scoop of detergent and set it on the hot water cycle.

Exhausted she returned to her bed and slept peacefully until morning.

The next day she noticed that she felt more energetic. She could not help looking at the mirror several times a day admiring her new self. She ate a salad for supper and prepared for bed. Once again she swallowed the MakeOver+ pill. After she had drifted off to sleep, within the hour she again woke up in pain drenched in the same foul smelling greasy sweat. She changed the bedclothes and her pajama and washed another load of clothes.

Exhausted she fell back into bed and slept through the night. The next day she looked in the mirror stunned by the beautiful angles in her face. She weighed and the scales showed another ten pound loss. All the years of diets and exercise programs never fulfilled her expectations. Now in two nights her longtime goal to drop twenty pounds was realized. Now that she had lost the pounds and liked the way she looked, she was afraid of losing too much weight so she skipped the MakeOver+ pill. She ate small supper and went to bed.

Shortly after midnight, she woke up panting for air. Her chest was tight and her heart was hammering against her ribs. She felt bloated and her arms and legs were swollen. She looked and felt like she had gained all her weight twice over in one night. She dragged her puffy body into the kitchen and took the MakeOver+ pill hoping she was not going to die. In about fifteen minutes, the pill began to take effect and she spent the remainder of the night on the toilet drenched in greasy sweat while her kidneys worked overtime to rid her body of the buildup of fluid. By morning her body had shed all the excess fluid and she could breath easily again. Now that she knew the side effects and warnings were real; she had no choice but to take the pills. She feared that she would lose so much weight that soon she would be skin and bones. After three more days of faithfully taking the pills, her weight loss tapered off and the lose skin tightened and her muscles firmed without any physical workouts. This was too easy and she was sure that later on she would have to pay the piper.

Her court date arrived for her divorce. She dressed with care, making certain that her makeup was perfect and her hair was styled in a new stylish coiffure. She checked herself in the mirror and for the first time in her life, she liked what she saw. Her soon to be ex-husband would live to regret all the cruelties he had heaped on her during their brief marriage.

His parting words scorched her soul. As she looked in the mirror and saw the new improved reflection, she wanted only revenge. Her husband agreed to pay alimony to a “cow”, but now she was a hot babe who would soon be attracting the attention of men far superior to him. He was going to eat his words and she hoped he choked on them.

She arrived at the courthouse, walked to the front and sat next to her attorney all the while feeling her soon to be ex-husband’s lustful eyes staring at her in disbelief. The judge asked if all parties were in agreement. She nodded her assent to her lawyer. However her husband interrupted the judge and begged the court’s pardon. He suddenly withdrew his petition for divorce telling the judge he had made a terrible mistake. A month ago those words would have delighted her, now she felt nothing; just a cold pleasure in the fact that now she had the upper hand. She smiled at her estranged and agreed to postpone the divorce proceedings.

The stupid man began to court her. It was as if he was trying to go back in time to their college days when they first met. She smiled at him and laughed at his jokes and lured him in with her new found beauty and grace. She relished his attention and his devotion to her would make her revenge that much sweeter.

He was so different, so attentive, and it gave her a vicious delight that now he found her sexy and desirable. She prepared his favorite meal. The table was set to perfection. He arrived at her door with a bottle of wine and a bouquet of lovely flowers. She went into the kitchen to put the wine on ice and find a vase for her flowers. She was in control and she liked the feeling.

He kept staring at her and telling her how great she looked. She was almost convinced that maybe she would give him a second chance. His next remarks nixed that idea.

Why the hell didn’t you do something about yourself earlier? I certainly wouldn’t leave someone looking as fine as you look tonight and I would have saved court costs.” The fleeting hope that he had changed for the better was squashed; all the hurtful attacks he had made on her in the past played over again like a broken record and she knew that he was the same old bastard.

She kept her composure and smiled and told him that she would tell him the secret to her new good looks. She showed him the MakeOver+ pill, but she neglected to tell him about the side effects. True to form he told her that if only a week of pills produced such great results for her, all he really needed was just one or two pills if she was willing to share. She smiled as he fell into her trap and handed him the two pills that would make him her slave forever. She instructed him to take only one pill tonight and went to get a glass of water. She gave him the water and before she could stop him, he downed both pills. She should only have given him one pill. What such a high dosage would do to him she did not know. It was too late to worry about that now. Her exquisite dinner was ready. Her sort of ex helped her set the table and complimented her on the appearance of the meal without any sarcasm and they had a very nice dinner together. She could tell that he was confident that he was winning her back. She smiled at him basking in the fact that soon he would be totally at her mercy. He was so nice that she had to steel herself against falling for his brand of love again.

After dinner she beckoned him into the bedroom where they made mad passionate love. She felt deliciously sexy and aggressive and he told her that he had never been so satisfied. Her new power and confidence was intoxicating. She smiled, waited and watched him breath as he contentedly fell asleep. It was only a matter of time before his pain and her pleasure began. She did not plan to share any more pills with him.

If only she could be a fly on the wall to witness his pain when the withdrawals began to bloat his body and cut off his airway. That would not happen for another 24 hours and she would be long gone by then. Her bags were packed and she would never look back.

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