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The Cheese stands alone

It’s warming up here in the great white north, although not so white and not so great these days. The little lilac bush outside my front door has green buds, the hint of bees and lawn sprinklers and ripe strawberries to come. I have been craving watermelon these days, although a perfectly taut watermelon is not to be found. They are all anemic and bruised, wan jaundiced carapaces of mealy nothingness the color of diseased gums plagued by gingivitis. Even though there is no hope in the produce aisles, it is all I want, just some sweet turgor exploding in my mouth. Oh, Dr. Freud, how you flatter me.

I took a drive down my thinking road along the Bay, just to see how the water was, or if it was water rather than ice. It’s mostly open water now, although there are a few ice floats out there, despite the 60 degree days and obscene amounts of sunshine. Whenever I see such ice floats in the water, I always imagine a little reindeer and a little dentist floating away to colder climes. Hard to believe that five weeks ago we were standing in snow past our ankles in the quiet of a starless night, watching a man fall to his knee amongst a cathedral of trees.

Regardless, spring has begun to creep in with the time fuckery (yes, still bitter, but working on it) and I can’t say that I’m not happy to see it come. Each day, I drive around during my lunch hour with the sunroof open, exhausting my CD collection, driving aimlessly through my travel ruts, sometimes two or three times in an hour down a very banal street flanked by tire shops and strangely named banks. There’s one that is so generic I have proposed to Esteban that it should be renamed Bank Bank and see if anyone notices. They won’t, as long as they get free checking, really free, we mean it, free free free, oh will you shut up and take down your frayed banner because who doesn’t give free checking these days?

Along with spring means Esteban’s travel schedule gets all sorts of crazy. This week, Esteban was in Virginia, staying near Quantico (Chantico?) although half the time that people asked me where he was, I said he was in Boston, because I was mixing up last week with this week. Gah. Three trips in about as many weeks. He has a few weeks at home and then he’s off again for the fourth and fifth leg. During part of his schmoozing, he promised to get a foam cheesehead for a colleague in Amsterdam, who, in turn, promised to smuggle something into the country for him.

I, naturally, was very intrigued at this possibility. Smuggling? From Amsterdam?

Esteban was thinking Absinthe. I was envisioning, well, let’s not talk about it, but visions of women who could smoke cigars with their princesses came to mind. At very least, maybe some of that chocolate with the booze inside of it. I do love that boozy chocolate. So when Esteban got home, he unveiled the contraband.


Or more specifically, Dutch Cupboard Cheese. Which sounds like something you’d get if you didn’t practice adequate cupboard cleanliness. Or a euphemism for a sexually transmitted disease stemming from improper cigar smoking (yes, I know, I can’t get past it either). Esteban unwrapped it with a flourish and announced that it had made his hotel room smell like cheese. He held it out for me to take a whiff, but I went in very close and inhaled and was hit by a board upside the head. A board made of feet. Ah yes, the famous feet cheese of Amsterdam.

Esteban regaled me with the set of serious instructions that came with the Dutch Cupboard Cheese. One must not refrigerate the Dutch Cupboard Cheese. Also, you have thirty days from the point which you breach the seal (Breach! I am not making that up!) to consume the cheese. After thirty days, I do not know what happens. I assume that it breaks down into a gelatinous globule, or perhaps it grows tiny cheese legs and hops out of the cupboard and then swims upstream, looking to spawn with other Dutch Cupboard Cheeses. Also, we were warned that the cheese may ‘start to sweat a little’ and that this should not alarm us. Start to sweat a little? Yummy.

Also, we should place the Dutch Cupboard Cheese in a cool dark cupboard and also store it under glass, ‘so that the bugs don’t get on it’. Yes. Direct quote. I especially like the term ‘the bugs’ as if there are specific bugs associated with the cupboard cheese. Dutch Cupboard Cheese bugs. Although I also envision a bluebottle fly lazily ambling toward a steaming pile of cow feces some five miles away from here in the country, when the fly stops in midair, falls to the ground (as that is what a fly does when it stops ambling) and says ‘Hullo’ what is this I smell? What is this piquant aroma of feet? I think I’m going to check this out!’ And in three days, he arrives to find the cheese, unguarded and perfect, glistening with perspiration, just ripe for the plunder, but he is foiled by the glass dome and then stands just on the other side, smushed up against the barrier, begging for just a minute, even three seconds, alone with that glorious funky fetid mass undulating before him.

We’re taking the Dutch Cupboard Cheese to Ward and June’s house tomorrow. They are interested in trying it. We will breach the seal there. If we all survive, then the countdown will have begun. I assure you that we will not be able to finish what is very likely five pounds of footy cheese in 30 days. If you don’t hear from me after Day 31, you’ll know what happened. The cheese crept out of its cupboard and slit my throat. And then made innappropriate overtures toward one of Esteban’s dirty socks.

Someone nominated this diary for a Diarist.Net award in the category of Best Writing and it was selected as a Finalist, in fabulous company along with Witt and Wisdom and Paul Davidson. The votes have been tallied and I am very honored. It is so much better than any glossy magazine or Glimmer Train. Thank you!

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