Every single soul who sampled it said that Fool’s Gold Cheddar was the best cheese they’d ever had. And Keith had created it all by himself, at home one rainy Sunday afternoon. He couldn’t be more proud of himself.
Now, it’s set to be stocked in delicatessens, farm shops and supermarkets right across the county. He takes in the audience that stands before him and beams. They’re looking at him like he’s a genius. He’s the hallowed cheese magician, creator of the smoothest, creamiest, tangiest cheddar that has ever passed their lips.
“Ladies and gentlemen,” he begins. “Thank you so much for coming to our launch party this evening. This is a huge deal for me. I went from a bored and boring old banker, stuck in a 9-to-5 job that I despised. And now I’m my own boss doing something I absolutely love. I couldn’t be more grateful for all the support you’ve given me over the past year.
“Now, lots of people ask me, ‘What’s the secret to Fool’s Gold Cheddar? How do you make it so tangy? What is it that gives it that unique, sharp flavour?’ Well, I’m going to reveal my secret to you tonight, ladies and gents.”
Appreciative murmurs go up through the audience.
Keith reaches into his inside pocket and pulls out a small, clear sandwich bag which contains a wodge of mysterious white flakes. “This is the Fool’s Gold. This is the secret ingredient. This is what sets my cheese above all the rest. Let me show you what it is.”
He returns the bag to his pocket, then he bends down and begins to untie his shoelaces. He slips his suede shoes off, places them to the side, and then he removes his socks.
The audience falls completely silent, wondering if the hallowed cheese magician has lost his mind.
A waft of intense, cheesy odour is unleashed from Keith’s feet and it soon spreads across the room and creeps up the nose of every single guest. The silence is broken, replaced by groans and grunts of disgust.
“Ladies and gentlemen, my whole life I have been plagued with untreatable fungal infections. I have spent hundreds of pounds on odour-busting sprays, scrubs and treatments. I thought myself cursed with an affliction that would prevent me from wearing flip-flops forever more. But now, I know it’s not an affliction at all. It’s a gift.
“Every single batch of Fool’s Gold Cheddar contains a few flakes of dried skin, courtesy of my trusty feet. And it is this which gives the cheese its distinctive tang.”
A collective shudder runs through the audience. Then madness.
Retching, vomiting, crying, wailing, furious shouts, and a stampede towards the exit.
Keith watches it all unfold with pure, innocent confusion. Just moments ago, these people adored him. What did he say? What did he do? He’s the hallowed cheese magician — why only now do they run from him?
As the final guests scurry out of the door, Keith looks forlornly about the room. Huge platters of cheese and crackers remain on each table, accompanied by bottles of red wine.
He shrugs. “More for me, I guess.”