Flash Fic Challenge – The Sensorians

So, this is a weird one. Chuck Wendig just issued a writing challenge centered around bizarre stock photos. And this just came to me as soon as I saw this photo. Make of it what you will.

The Sensorians

(Open on the Channel Eleven News, already in progress):

Blandly handsome anchor: – the puppy was saved. In spite of that, there were no survivors.

(Cuts to camera two)

Anchor: And now, onto our lifestyle report with Ladonna Merton. Today, she looks at a fad that’s sweeping the nation. Ladonna?

(Cut to camera three, and Ladonna Merton. She is acceptably, vaguely ethnic, although really she looks pretty white. She has her hair excruciatingly styled in a painful updo.)

Ladonna: Thanks, Tom. Do you remember the Zone Diet? What about the Paleo Diet? Now there’s a new diet that’s the rage of Hollywood, but some health experts denounce as a fad or even a cult. Join me as I look into The Sensorian Diet.

(Cut to the close up of a hardcover book, with The Sensorian Diet emblazoned on it in large bold letters. Ghostly images of food pass over as Ladonna speaks.)

Ladonna: Released over one year ago to little fanfare, The Sensorian Diet is the brainchild of holistic nutritionalist and hot yoga teacher Thad Cullen. Soon it caught on amongst Hollywood starlets, and from there it started zooming up the best seller list. But what is The Sensorian Diet?

(Smash cut to a close up of footage of a previous Thad Cullen interview. He looks gaunt and pale, with thinning dirty blonde hair pulled back in a ponytail and a patchy hipster beard. He’s in his early thirties, but could easily pass for over forty.)

Thad: The Sensorian Diet is about balance. We have five senses, and all are engaged when you eat, but we have forgotten all but taste. So instead of eating food, The Sensorian Diet engages all the neglected senses: smell, sight, hearing, touch, and deep, meditative breathing, to bring us more in synch with our food. We let the food nourish our souls before it nourishes our bodies.

Interviewer (off screen): But do you ever eat the food?

Thad: Some do, but if you follow my program correctly, there’s no need. Feed the soul, and you more than feed the person.

Ladonna (voice over): While many rising young actresses and models swear by the program, others have some reservations.

(Cut to Doctor Laura Springer, a handsome woman in her mid-forties. While her name appears beneath her on the screen, she seems to be staring at someone off screen in abject shock.)

Springer: You’re serious? This is a thing? That’s ridiculous. It’s asking people to starve to death. And starve to death while wasting food, which seems doubly insulting.

(Cut to footage of a woman on a talk show stage, throwing confetti while the caption beneath her reads Lost Fifty Pounds)

Ladonna (v.o.): But when talk show host Sherry Nightingale lost weight using the diet and began promoting it on her show, sales skyrocketed, and the program found a new, willing audience.

(Cut to a close up of a startling thin woman, her gaunt face framed by lank brown hair. Her eyes are wide and have a strange hollowness to them. Beneath her appears the caption Sensorian Diet Follower)

Woman: Ever since I’ve started the diet, my senses have been sharper, and not only do I feel lighter, but more engaged with the world. And I get a great deal of pleasure out of making a meal, chopping vegetables, peeling fruit, things I once took for granted but now see as great sensual delights.

Ladonna: Do you still eat?

Woman: There’s no need. Simply looking at food makes me feel full now.

(Cut back to Ladonna in studio, standing in front of a green screen, the book’s cover projected behind her.)

Ladonna: But the FDA has claimed this diet is irresponsible and lethal, and Thad Cullen’s estate is now being sued by the family of a Chicago teenager who allegedly starved to death while following the Sensorian Diet.

(Cut back to the previous Thad Cullen interview.)

Interviewer (v.o.): What do you say to detractors who say your program is nonsense and dangerous?

Thad: I’d say their minds have been clogged by carbohydrates and fats. If they followed my diet for just one day, they’d see the truth. There’s more to food than simply the eating of it.

(Cut to B roll footage of people in a reasonably fancy restaurant. While some people appear to be eating, others seem to have stuffed napkins in their mouths, or covered their faces with them)

Ladonna (v.o.): Dangerous or not, The Sensorian Diet seems to have struck a nerve with many people. Is it a fad, or is it a new way of living? Only time – and possibly the courts – will tell. This is Ladonna Merton, for Channel Eleven news.

(Cut to a smiling blandly handsome anchor.)

Anchor: Thanks for that report, Ladonna. Now I know how you lost all that weight. Coming up after the commercials, what hazardous chemical was found in the water supply of Kent, and how did it get there?

(Cut to outro theme)

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