Cannoli Friday

Jesse Stein

          When Manchego Reginald Beemster rose to power, his first act as President was to ban all cheese consumption. It was an Executive Order, and there was nothing the Dairy Lobby could do. The Dairy Lobby was old monied and aristocratic, monocled with hidden illegitimate children. Certainly this bastion of influence, solidified and compounded across many generations, would have at least ushered some variation of a compromise; a rationing campaign perhaps. But no, they were deflated and dismantled by Mr. Beemster, who as a sentient wheel of cheese in a $3000 suit, found our human addiction to his flesh untoward. Violation of this decree meant certain death, death by grating in fact, and so the American public felt their once cherished independence evaporate, though collectively they were less gassy.

          President Beemster surrounded himself with lactose-intolerant sycophants, men and women who he knew wouldn’t objectify or patronize him as a consumable. He soon found that all of his ideas were quite brilliant, no matter the audacity or impracticality. It started off small, like moving the White House to a cave in the outskirts of Madison, Wisconsin, where the temperature kept him fresh. But as he hoarded more and more of those allergic to dairy, and as he watched them tirelessly appease his every whim, he soon understood that he was, indeed, special. Not only special, but better. Someone deserving of more than what he had. So naturally, the next step was world domination.

          Mexico crumbled like a moldy Stilton. Beemster was sending a message to the world, and it was curdling. He paid particular devastating attention to the regions of Oaxaca and Chihuahua, in an endless series of night-bombings by his new G-0UD4 stealth bombers. From there he moved south with little resistance, offering the countries that joined him willingly clemency, given of course, that they gave up their dairy consumption. 

          This is not to say that the rest of the world was idle, that they were able to envision a reality sans dairy. Europe in particular, became a hotbed of Pro-Dairy propaganda, plastering their brick-lined streets and gothic city squares with nutritional value tables. Leaders gave uplifting and impassioned speeches on the benefits of calcium and vitamin D. In an unprecedented move, England, France, and Italy, who have historically clashed over religion, empire, and cuisine for thousands of years, forged a new alliance, Fromage Ou Mort (FOM). Thousands of ships carrying Cheesemongers and Sheep Herders poured into their docks, volunteers for the FOM International Defenders of Cheese (FOMIDC) swelled, and soon, they had a force that could stand up to Beemster’s Plug the Udder Brigade (PUB). 

          Beemster was swollen and sweating and filled with rage at these Old-World upstarts. He saw himself as a savior, one who was halting the industrialized genocide of his people, and he swore to make the insatiable gluttons pay for their violent appetites. President Beemster wasted no time in rallying his troops

for his next move, the annihilation of France. He saw this backwards country as the center of the revolutionary movement, and therefore vowed to spit on the ruins of Notre Dame before Christmas. The stage was set, the pieces were moving, it would be a World War to end all World Wars.

          The fighting lasted months. Cannoli Friday, the bloodiest battle in all of human history, claimed the lives of over 4 million Defenders of Cheese, and just under 7 Million Plug the Udders. The fearsome and dashing Frenchman, Général Par Majean, was able to use the secret and oft-forgotten underground caverns that stretch underneath all of Europe to his advantage, and turned the tide of the battle, routing Beemster’s forces.

          When the dust settled, it was clear that Beemster wasn’t the demi-god that he presented himself as. He was fallible, he was after all, a wheel of cheese. Discord blemished throughout his fast-won empire, even his own cabinet members, those who trusted and worshipped him the most, began to whisper when he left the room. President Manchego Reginald Beemster fled the Old-World and attempted to regroup in his cave outside of Madison. The FOD sent agents into America, to sow discord and foster a coup, CIA style. A Ten-Story high Cheese Grater was raised, and marched to Madison, where Beemster sat, drunk on wine with a pistol pressed into his temple. He couldn’t grasp what all of the fuss was about. What was it about cheese that humans loved so much? Why were they willing to die over glorified mold? Could it really taste that good?

          The mob bled into his cave, drooling and lusting after his innards. But all they could find was a $3000 dollar suit, dusted with crumbs of cheese, soaked in red wine. Further investigation revealed a single line, hastily scratched into the cave wall.



                      Mon vie, c’est dommage. Parce-que maintenant, je veux seulement manger fromage

Jesse Stein is a MFA student studying Creative Writing at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Every Friday, he orders a cannoli, for survival, and decided to write a story that would mirror the weight of this ritual. He has been previously published in 34th Parallel Indie Lit Mag, as well as F Newsmagazine.