The magic pill finally came on the market. It was a little red capsule to be taken three times a day on an empty stomach. When it was launched, thousands of people queued at ungodly hours, braving sub-zero temperatures, leaving a trail of junk food packaging along side-streets, getting into brawls with fellow dieters, disturbing the locals, just in order to get their grubby mitts on the product. It was a failsafe medication, no side effects, no gimmicks. The inventor, Wallace Agg was hailed as one of the great minds of the century. He'd invented new forms of green energy and the cure for type 2 diabetes but the red pill was considered his real triumph.
It seemed as if the whole country was knocking them back. People began to let loose with their diet, scoffing more carbs, spending all their money on Belgian chocolate, as they expected to lose weight no matter what they consumed. Yet everyone continued to swell. It was then rumours circulated that the pill was defective. It was said the pill made you short-tempered, unpredictable and in some cases psychotic. The masses suddenly began to turn on each other. Fights broke out in bars, shopping centres and sports arenas. Suicide rates soared as people gathered by bridges, clutching hotdogs, taking turns to jump, complaining to reporters at the scene that the pill had destroyed their mind, that life wasn't worth living, and their girdles were too tight.
At the height of the chaos Agg gave a televised interview. 'The diet pill is a placebo,' he said plainly, staring into the camera. 'It's a sugar pill.'
'How is this possible?' the daytime TV presenter, sporting a snazzy suit, asked.
'I did it. On purpose.'
'I'll tell you why, because people are sick, demented and cruel and I wanted to show them as they truly are. Animals!'
'By tricking them into the belief they might lose weight? I don't understand.'
'No, you idiot, by convincing everyone of the terrible side effects. I knew I could reveal their unconscious natures by creating the belief their minds were compromised. I've proved once and for all the masses are nothing but beasts on two legs at the mercy of their base instincts. You know I've almost single-handedly solved climate change and in twenty years I will have conquered cancer. No one cares. No one cares.'
'You know you're a little unpleasant yourself, I must say.'
'Is it? Because although you seem to want to expose the dark underbelly of the nation's psyche you are completely unaware of your own sick personality, treating people like lab rats without a shred of concern for their wellbeing. You are no better than the public you seek to unmask. What do you say to that?'
Agg thought carefully and said, 'Fuck you.' He stormed off the set. Reporters, paparazzi and the general public converged on him as he climbed into his black Mini convertible. Three hours later, after the crowd had dispersed, he emerged from his car, his Mini totalled, soft top ruined, body battered and bruised, and his mind fried. The animals. So, he went back to his workroom to invent a way of living on one of Jupiter's moons. Alone.