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The Big Cheese

A normal morning for Egbert Mullins was an uneventful one. He woke up alone in his apartment, brushed his thin brown hair over to hide his bald top, ate his cold cereal, and went off to work. On the freeway he was cut off by a white truck leaving a trail of grey smog and pollution. Everything was the usual, and life seemed to drone on. Arriving at the cheese factory, his place of work, he put on his name tag and grabbed the same clipboard he used every day. The black and blue pens he used to colour coordinate his notes sat neatly in his front shirt pocket. He grabbed his white lab coat and gently put it on, loving the ceremony of getting ready for his round. Egbert Mullins was a man that loved his routine, even the small bits. Life was boring, but also simple and enjoyable.



Egbert walked down the hallway to his lab. As he approached the second door to the right, he smoothed his hair and straightened his pens. The door slightly opened into the room, and as he walked by, he got a glimpse at the ray of sunshine that made every moment worth living. Kimberly, the only woman in the place, was also the most beautiful woman Egbert ever saw. Her curly brown hair, always in a messy bun, drove him mad, and her glasses constantly kept sliding down her face, giving her an innocent appeal. Egbert was most definitely in love with Kim. As he looked in, Kim saw him and smiled in a way that made him feel like a ton of bricks hit his heart. It was powerful, and took all of his strength from him. He continued down the hall to the very last laboratory, the one that he worked in all by himself. He let out a long sigh, and began his day with a feeling of bliss.



Pulling his ring of keys from his pockets, Egbert opened the door to his lab and flicked on the lights. When he first walked in, he was in a small office with a desk next to a heavy metal door. Egbert sat down at the desk and began filling out the day's forms. It was March 13th, a Friday. The cheese wheels Egbert would be assessing today were already past their expected maturity date, and would try every trick in the book to pass. Deep down Egbert knew that these wheels would never be approved, they simply came from a bad batch. He slowly stood up, stretching his legs to begin the rounds. Egbert had no clue how intense this round would end up.



As the door to the cheese lab opened, Egbert's eyes were hit by the bright fluorescent lights that always stayed on. Steel tables held the wheels, shining from the reflection of the lights. Egbert let out a loud cough, awakening the cheese. The wheel closest to him slowly opened its eyes and stretched its arms. "Oh hey, look, Egg-barf is here." The other cheeses all began to stir at this message, eager to add to the early risers harassment. "Nice one Pepper Jack, that's one x for you already. Anybody else care to chime in before we begin?" Egbert asked the five wheels in front of him. "I think you look lovely today Egbert, comme un scarabée écrasé au Printemps!" Bleu said to Egbert, giggling at his mysterious compliment. "You know I know French, Bleu. That's one x for comparing me to a squashed beetle in the spring. Now no more, let's begin."



The five cheeses lined up against a wall, bumping each other and making crude sounds. Egbert gave them a dirty look and started the test. "Mozzarella, what exactly is the function of a rubber duck?" He looked the cheese down hoping for a serious answer, "I don't know, what’s the function of your face?" He did not get one. Growing mad, he turned towards the next wheel, Swiss, the one that usually behaved the best. He looked for a question that the intelligent cheese answered correctly before, "Swiggity swag, what's in the bag?" He asked the cheese, holding his breath. The wheel looked up at him, and began to speak "The bag does not exist," Swiss began "nothing has ever existed." Egbert felt his heart sink, slowly scratching an x onto the clipboard. The answer had been “swiggity sweef, it’s a loaf of beef.” Only one cheese hadn't gotten an x yet, Feta, but there was no point in continuing. Four x's equals disqualification for the entire group. "I'm disappointed in you all as usual. I don't think you'll ever advance further than this level." Egbert turned around and headed towards the door that led back to his office. As he opened the door to see Kim waiting for him, the lights shut off.



Startled, Egbert turned back around and let the door shut. He could see nothing, nor hear anything. He shuffled around and slid his hand along the wall to find a switch. He felt it and flicked it up and down rapidly, but the lights failed to turn back on. A faint snapping sound began to get closer. Egbert backed up, but it continued. The snapping sounded like a 1950’s mob closing in on a lone victim in an alley. As the sound began to surround him, Egbert realized what was going on. The cheeses were beginning to gang up on him. He quickly turned on his heel and bolted towards the door. He tried to open the heavy metal barrier keeping him from safety but was unable to. A sharp pain went through his left calf, and he collapsed to the floor. More intense slashes went through his entire body, and he felt cool bite of metal press against his flesh. The last thing Egbert saw was a pair of glowing eyes looking at him. "Bonsoir homme de fromage," he heard whispered into his ear "longue fromage en direct!" Then nothing.



The lights turned back on, and the five wheels made their way out of the lab. They exited out an emergency door, and began their new lives. Bleu became a translator for tourists visiting the great state of Wisconsin. Mozzarella became a fashion designer for the stars, including Michael Cera. Swiss got involved in the mafia and nobody ever saw him again. Feta visited her's roots and started a hummus factory to bring the Mediterranean to America. Pepper Jack went on to do the most of all the wheels. His spice and agility got him into sports, but most importantly baseball. He signed on with the L.A Dodgers and now is know as Pepper "The Big Cheese" Jack. The only person who ever noticed Egbert's absence was Kimberly, but even she has forgotten him now. Legend says that Egbert's name tag (the only bit the cheeses didn't eat) still lays on the floor of that last lab in the cheese factory, and that on every Friday the 13th you can hear Bleu’s sinister voice whispering “Goodnight cheeseman,” and “long live cheese.”



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