It’s 2027 and obesity is pandemic. The world’s governing bodies are constantly creating new regulations and imposing increasingly draconian fines, but the food corporations make such vast profits that the fiscal penalties are considered a mere trading expense. While Governments pay lip-service to ending Food Crime and Calorie Laundering they reap the benefits of them through taxes and the ‘good-will’ of the all-powerful conglomerates. Meanwhile, those employed in ending Food Crime and Calorie Laundering, begin to suspect that no-one is overly interested in seeing them succeed.
… June 2027 and the UK’s gripped by an upcoming Royal wedding but… the Prince had gained weight.
The spectre of the Prince being unable to fit into his suit loomed large. The press-release relating to his stay in the Old Rectory claimed ‘stress’. One generated by the incessant badgering of the world’s media. The gutter-press had been unmerciful over the extra half stone he carried prior to entering the facility but miraculously, remained oblivious to the weight gained since. The Royal family though, were not and the notion of 80% of the world’s population gathered around their flat-screens sniggering at him waddling down the aisle, was too much. Fearing a brand tarnishing of epic and unparalleled magnitude, the Royal family summoned the heavy artillery. The presence of the Regulators ensured that heads, were going to roll.
Jane Banks, the Old Rectory’s thirty-something director, turned from her desk and the three reports on it, to stare out at the facility’s lush, rolling grounds. Her tranquillity however, was disrupted by the mental image of a red-top’s front-page headline-
‘Prince Porky- Five Grand A Day – To Get Fatter!’
That wasn’t the first headline Jane’s mind had summoned that morning and on realising her hands were clasped as though in prayer, she shoved them firmly into the pockets of her Agnes B slacks. Again, Jane’s gaze fell on the three reports, causing her to sigh… heavily.
Her job was as good as gone but the cause of the prince’s weight gain remained a mystery, and solving that, could salvage her career.
Jane’s only chance rested on the findings of ICX4. She’d discovered them years earlier when they had uncovered trace elements of gluten, in a ‘gluten- free’ loaf. Through her window, Jane watched ICX4’s data analysts, strolling through the grounds. It was then that she noticed the hostility emanating towards them, from the regulators…
Boulder and Tully also noted the groups of suited men, each huddled in conspiratorial conversation. The agencies they represented all had three worded titles that fitted, rather niftily, into acronyms. There was the NCA (National Calorie Agency). The SFO (Serious Fat Office) and, the AOA (Anti-Obesity Agency). Keeping track of who worked where was difficult as not only did agency personnel change but acronyms too, departments were disbanded only to be re-branded a few months later.
From Boulder and Tully’s perspective, the only constant about the G-men was their unified distrust of ICX4 and its methods. Mind you, this mistrust didn’t extend beyond working hours, as numerous agents had made unwelcome advances to Tully. It’s doubtful her rebuffals were discussed when the subject of ICX4 arose. The focus there, would be sneering the company’s scientific approach to Food Crime & Calorie Laundering. Despite their sniggers, the agents, all armed with sweeping legal powers, firearms and snazzy bulletproof vests, had failed to uncover why the prince was gaining weight.
In truth, they hadn’t even come close. Their reports, as shown below, were a wealth of information otherwise though…
NCA (National Calorie Office) –
A wire-tap had enabled the NCA to uncover a sophisticated network involving the Head Groundsman, an organic soil producer and a couple of porters. Calorific goods were loaded at source and sealed inside the soil producer’s (bio-degradable) plastic bags. Once undetected at the security gate, the Groundsman would open the bags, extract the plunder and wheel it, covered by flowers and plants, up to the main building. Melton Mowbray pork-pies, various flavours of posh chips and high-end chocolate bars were uncovered. The Groundsman was also charged under the Proceeds of Crime Act and the three vintage BMWs, discovered in his extensive home garage, promptly impounded.
SFO (Serious Fat Office) Unearthed-
A doughnut smuggling ring, comprising of a local baker, a kitchen porter and two hospital orderlies. The merchandise was ghosted in, stuffed inside loafs of seeded wholemeal bread and auctioned to the highest bidders. These, according to the smugglers, who all sang like canaries, consisted of a French pop star, a TV chef (famed for healthy cooking), an Australian author and, an Iranian diplomat.
AOA (Anti-Obesity Office) Uncovered-
A conspiracy between the Rectory’s security and its cleaning staff. The night cleaners would commandeer the kitchen and spend a chunk of their shift baking cakes, frying steaks and stewing dumplings. The hot food was then ferried to select patients on various wards. These activities took place during the wee hours and were not recorded by the security cameras, because the night security, turned them off…
It was all very damming, no one could argue otherwise but it was pre-existent to Jane’s stewardship. As a single mother and long-time recovering addict (it was food, and 20 years), Jane valued her privacy and dreaded her life being splashed across the tabloids. She feared for her children. The family’s salvation lay with ICX4. If they could discover the cause of the prince’s weight gain, she could address it and get him to the church in good shape. That might lead to the press being muzzled. If she failed however, it was open-season and that, could become very unpleasant.
The Old Rec
Neither the Prince nor his diet were directly affected by anything in the reports but the mere fact of him being a patient ensured that once the story broke, the country’s oldest, most exclusive Treatment Centre, was in for a very public annihilation. Staring at the media gathered at the security gates, Jane understood why she had got the post over more qualified candidates. The exploits exposed in the reports had been rumoured of for years. Jane had intended to put a stop to them, but the Royal arrival threw her. It was only now that Jane realised, all she had been to The Old Rectory… was a patsy.
She had hired ICX4 with her own money and it turned out to be the best she ever spent. While most barely read the ingredients list, ICX4 analysed it. Testing ingredients both individually and in combination. They say that the devil’s in the detail and it was while reading ICX4’s breakdown of a fat-free yoghurt’s ingredients that Jane Banks understood why. To warrant a ‘fat-free’ label, a product must have no more than 0.5 gram of fat per serving.
Manufacturers of ‘fat-free’ products use a lot of sugar which ramps up the calorie content and renders any weight loss negligible but the type of sugar becomes relevant in ‘organic’ produce and ICX4’s in-depth break-down, revealed 0.5% of fructose corn syrup… Bingo!
FCS has no place in a product being sold as organic. Its presence is an embarrassment for any company but for one owned by the Prince’s grandfather, the King of England? It was an unmitigated disaster…
After an hour, Jane finally found herself speaking to an Executive capable of making an executive decision and he made his- instantly.
The Organic Yogurt Company’s appreciation of her reporting the matter directly and her promise that it would remain private, was evidenced moments later. The Rectory’s CEO called to assure Jane her position was safe and would remain so, for as long as she desired.
Jane Banks had a month to knock the Prince into shape and now, armed with the knowledge of why he’d been gaining, all she had to do was stop him eating his grandfather’s yoghurt each night. Seeing her hands clasped, as though, in prayer. She said a quick one, for ICX4.
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