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He stocked the pantry with bulgur wheat, yogurt, and whole soy. He’d already bid farewell to his brownies, scraped the crumbs from the corners of his mouth. Carl was prepared for a life of responsibility and health, fueled by hunger, not by cravings. Fueled by fuel, which, he’d been reminded on countless occasions by Liz, was what she wished food could be. 

Carl told her she was just being weak. Giving up taste couldn’t be that hard. Liz told Carl his head was hard. Some people just can’t stand to be wrong.

Carl had considered every possibility. A diet of raw foods would not be possible because he wasn’t giving up his sense of touch. He considered unquenchable cravings for steak tips and burritos, but he figured conditioning would teach his body to know better.

There were, of course, those first few slips, raiding the discount candy bin at the drug store, desperate digging for any remaining crumbs under his nails. But when the taste of corn syrup still did not spread across his tongue, Carl knew he’d mastered his body.


The change was almost immediate. He felt his blood pump louder. He swallowed farm stand beets without any concern for earthiness. He felt strange but encouraging pricks in his skin as sprouted wheat went down clear. Everything tasted clear. When he went for walks, when he taught a successful class, he’d say to the stop sign, to the chalkboard, “Oh, it’s my new diet.” He’d smile about his fridge full of fiber, the brown-sacked fuel waiting for him in his office, waiting only for when he was hungry. “See,” he’d say to Liz at the breakfast table. “Not as hard as you said it would be.” But, of course, Liz was not there.

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