I’ve been neglectful of this project but here is the topic for this week: A man giving a speech to a crowd of thousands is suddenly caught in a bald-faced lie.

Stephen Green had built his health and fitness empire in a relatively short time. His book, Lose It Now, had been on the best-seller list for over two years. His health drinks and energy bars flew off the shelves. He spent most of his time travelling the country on a speaking tour. Tonight he would appear in Chicago to a crowd of just under 4,000 people.

He was an enthusiastic user of Twitter and had close to a million followers. As often as he could he tweeted health tips and encouragement for his followers to stay on track with their weight loss or fitness programs. He had just been interviewed by Vanity Fair and he was quite proud of the article; among other things his denouncement of all fast food came across loud and clear. Indeed one of his quotes from the article had been re-tweeted thousands of times: “I have never eaten fast food in my life and I never will. Why would I put toxic sludge in my body?” Understandably the fast food industry had immediately gone on the defensive, attacking his philosophies and highlighting their healthy menu items. He didn’t care; he stood by his comment. There was no room for fast food in one of his eating plans.

He was introduced by a local television personality and he walked to the stage with thunderous applause. The huge video screen behind him started his planned presentation, showing his book, his food products, and images of Stephen working out and cooking healthy meals.

About 20 minutes into his presentation he opened the floor to questions. He expertly fielded questions about maintaining your motivation and finding the time to exercise, and then made everyone laugh by telling the story of his first attempts in the kitchen cooking healthy meals. “Practice makes perfect,” he said with a smile.

Then a young fellow approached the microphone and said “Good morning, Mr. Green.”

“Please, call me Stephen.”

“Oh ok, Stephen, thank you. I was just wondering if it’s really true that you’ve never eaten fast food. I mean, not even a fry? Not even when you were a kid?”

“As hard to believe as it seems, I have never eaten fast food. When I was growing up I suffered from food allergies and sensitivities, so I was on a very strict diet from almost the instant I started eating solid food. As a teenager I was tempted, sure, because my friends would invite me……..”

He couldn’t go on because people were starting to point at the screen behind him and murmur among themselves. The murmurs grew louder as he looked from left to right at his audience and then he turned his head to look at the screen. And there were the pictures that he had paid so much money to destroy. Pictures of him eating a hamburger in a very recognizable chain fast-food restaurant. Pictures of him cheering the camera with a milkshake and a carton of fries. He couldn’t even claim these pictures were taken in a wild and crazy youthful rebellion; he looked exactly like he did in his presentation, running marathons and working out. It was obvious these pictures were taken in the last couple of years. There was no denying the evidence; his little secret was out, and in a very public way.

He didn’t turn back to the crowd. His hands shook as he reached for his briefcase. He slowly walked off the stage, amid the laughter and booing. If he had glanced at the fellow who had asked the final question he would have seen him smiling, triumphant.

Next week: What a character wearing something red is thinking.

This is the latest exercise in my 642 Things to Write About Project. Click on the link to find out more, or click on the category 642 Things to Write About Project to read past exercises.  🙂