He doesn’t like cheese. Can’t stand the smell of it, he says. Can’t stand the smell so won’t like the taste. I’ll be honest, it’s a struggle knowing how to move forward from that. I need to accomplish certain things whilst I’m here, and this isn’t a great start.
But do I want to know.
So I ask about the smell. What is it he doesn’t like?
There’s a pause. Like his dead dog had just come back with a stick in its mouth. He stands to his full height then stretches some more, showing his great belly to me without a single care. He knows I’m not who I say I am.
It’s the smell of cheese frying, he tells me. That’s what puts him off. It’s what stops me too. Frying? Who fries cheese? Everyone fries cheese, he tells me. His wife saw it on the telly and now won’t stop doing it. With milk, he adds. Cheese fried in milk.
I’m losing it. I know I am. The situation is getting out of hand. But you can’t fry cheese in milk. You just can’t. That’s not what frying is. I think I’m right. Doesn’t matter to him though. Frying’s what he wants it to be. Always has been. In his world, everything is what he wants it to be. And this is, most certainly, his world.
I should shut up and finish this. I should. But if you don’t like cheese because your wife fries it, in milk, then your real problem is her. I offer this as an observation.
His eyes twist deep into me. Not once have they looked down at the box I’m carrying.
He doesn’t like cheese. So he won’t like pizza. And if he doesn’t like pizza, then why would he order one?
I find myself more upset at the knowledge I won’t be getting paid for this one than whether or not I can reach my knife in time.