CHEESE • by Shelley Lerea

Maddie hummed to herself as she carefully chopped up tomatoes, sauteed eggplant, diced garlic and minced onion. As she arranged the ingredients for her homemade pizza she thought about Larry. She’d been dating Larry  for two months and this was her first time cooking him dinner.  He loved to eat, so her plan was to create the perfect pizza.

“Everything looks splendid,” she said out loud as she opened the refrigerator to get the mozzarella cheese. She searched all over but there was no cheese! She remembered buying it that week. The checkout girl was a goth-looking teenager with a ton of piercings who looked like she hated her job. She must have forgotten to pack it. Larry was going to be over in two hours. She quickly threw on a jacket, slipped on her sneakers, and ran five blocks to the grocery store, while cursing herself for not taking better care of her car. If she’d changed the oil on a regular basis it wouldn’t be at the mechanic’s right now.

Maddie almost knocked over a frail-looking woman of about 90 as she rushed through the store to get to the cheese aisle. She found the mozzarella and was ecstatic to see it was on sale.  There were only four packages left. This was her lucky day. She ran to the checkout and couldn’t believe how crowded the lines were on a Friday evening .

She impatiently tapped her feet and checked her phone . She pulled out a mirror and saw a very attractive 35-year-old woman with sparkling green eyes. She blushed as she remembered Larry’s words last week: “You have the most intense bedroom eyes.”

“Miss, it’s your turn,” the checkout girl said. She quickly put away the mirror and paid for her cheese. She ran home giddy with excitement, opened the cheese , and was about to start grating it when she realized she had to pee. She left  the cheese on the counter and went to the bathroom. When she came back she saw Cocoa, her brown lab, happily eating the cheese that Isabella, her cat, knocked off the counter.

“Cocoa, no!” she screamed.

She ran back to the store, to be greeted by more long lines. “This night is going to be a disaster,” she thought.

As she got to the cheese aisle her eyes darted everywhere but there was no mozzarella cheese.

“Mommy, I want to go home!” yelled a kid. Maddie turned and saw a stern-faced woman wiping the snot from the nose of a red faced six-year-old boy. Maddie noticed a package of mozzarella cheese in her cart. The woman was so entranced by the snot cleaning that Maddie quickly grabbed the cheese from the cart and ran like a greyhound in a dog race. She heard the boy scream, “Mommy, that lady stole our cheese.”

She ran out of the store without paying and realized she was now a criminal who could never set foot in that store again. Larry had better appreciate this since he would probably be visiting her in prison. As she ran  it started to rain. She had no umbrella or hooded jacket.  By the time she got home she was soaked and her hair was a frizzy mess. She looked at the clock; Larry was going to be there in an hour, and she hadn’t finished the pizza yet.

She completed everything in record time. She carried the pizza to the oven like a proud momma when Cocoa started chasing Isabella. They ran in front of her and she tripped over them and the whole pie crashed to the ground. She looked in disbelief and then remembered the five-second rule. She didn’t care: she quickly gathered the toppings, picked out some dog and cat hairs, put it back together and into the oven.

As she finished redoing her hair and make-up, the doorbell rang. Larry entered with a bottle of wine and flowers. She realized everything was going to be all right.

Shelley Lerea has enjoyed writing her entire life. She took a long hiatus from writing to pursue other things, but is now back doing what she loves. She recently completed three writing courses while working full time at a health club. She also started a blog to showcase some of her stories. Writing is a serious hobby that she is happy to be pursuing again.

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Every Day Fiction