“So, let’s go and get a döner kebab,” says my friend.
“Oh, I can’t,” I say.
“You can’t?” he says. “Why not?”
“I’m on a diet,” I say.
“You’re on a diet?”
“Yes,” I say.
“What diet are you on?” He asks.
“It’s a ‘two-pronged attack’,” I say. “That’s what it’s called. That’s the name of the diet. ‘Jacinta Nandi’s two-pronged attack.’”
“And what are, like, the two prongs?”
“Well, the first prong is: no carbohydrates. I’m not gonna eat any carbohydrates. You know what carbohydrates are?” I look at him worryingly – he is very skinny, he might’ve made it through the 40 years of his life without ever having had to know what carbohydrates are.
“Jacinta,” he says, slightly insulted, “I know what carbohydrates are.”
“No pasta, no rice, no bread, no pizza… no chocolates and no ice cream.”
“Jacinta,” he says, even more slightly insulted, “I’ve already told you that I know what carbohydrates are.”
“No biscuits,” I add.
“What’s the other prong?”
“The other prong is: don’t eat after four o’clock. That’s my two-pronged attack. I’ll be 50 kilos again in no time.”
“But, erm, Jacinta. I don’t want to upset you but you’ve already had three White Russians tonight.”
“White Russians are allowed as part of the plan.”
“White Russians are full of cream and vodka. I’m sure they’re not allowed.”
“It’s my fucking diet plan. It’s called Jacinta Nandi’s two-pronged attack. And they’re allowed. They’re in the allowed category.”
“Your plan is destined to fail.”
“Well,” I say. “If my plan fails, I have a third prong I’m gonna instigate. That’ll be, like, Plan B.”
“And what’s your third prong?”
“Sit-ups. I’m gonna do 10 sit-ups before I go to sleep each night.”
My friend looks at me with pity and slight contempt in his eyes.
“I’ve got a fourth prong,” he says.
“What?” I say.
“You could go to the toilet and make yourself throw up after you eat. That could be the fourth prong.”
I look at him and shake my head, all haughty and superior.
“I’ve got far too much self-esteem,” I say, “to ever indulge in actual eating disorder-type behaviour. The two-pronged attack will do me fine. You wait and see. In a few months’ time I’ll be 50 kilos, and then I’ll sell my diet plan to Brigitte, and I’ll be a millionaire. Next time you see me, I will basically be a thin millionaire. I am feeling a bit hungry, though. Can we order another White Russian for me? To take the edge off of my hunger a bit. I can’t wait to be thin and rich. I think I basically have the personality of a thin, rich person.”
“Okay,” he says. “If you say so.”