The next day, I wake up to the noise coming from the street. It sounds like quite a big commotion, so I go to the window to look outside. People are running about. And almost everyone is carrying at least one wheel of cheese. I can even see someone carrying at least half a dozen around with their pushcart. That’s odd… I open the window.
“Yawn! What’s up with the ruckus? Is there a cheese festival today?”, I sleepily ask. I recall hearing of some cheese rolling competition in my previous life. Was it on the big island to the north? I don’t remember.
“A cheese festival? I like the sound of that. No, if there were one, I don’t think they’d dare to have one right now,” a passerby stops and answers, “Haven’t you heard? The supply of cheese is dwindling. Starting with the elderly, many are stocking up on cheese before it runs out. So now it runs out even faster!”
He walks closer and starts talking in a low voice, “some even say the Mad Cow Disease is coming back!”
“Mad Cow Disease? Wasn’t there a vaccine against it?”
“Yes, but according to a rumour, the villagers of the village to the south haven’t been using it. I believe they say it’s a ploy to weaken the common people. It’s said they haven’t been taking it for so long the disease is about to break out.
But it’s just a rumour. I mean if something like that happens, wouldn’t there be an oracle by the gods?”
“I see, thanks for your time. Weren’t you about to go buying some cheese too?”
“Me? Don’t worry about it! I make cheese myself. I don’t like the prospect of buying cheese made by others. With people like that guy over there…” he points to the shop across the street.
“No, sir, you’ve already gotten two loaves of cheese today! I won’t be selling you any more of it! Other people have a need for cheese, too!” I can hear someone yelling angrily from that store. Wow, that cheese situation seems quite severe…
“I just sell the seconds,” he continues, “it’s a win-win situation for me. He shuts up and I get rid of the pushy customer. Plus, I get to sell the seconds! This cheese panic is so nonsensical… I don’t get why everyone is buying ready-to-eat cheese… If they’re going to hoard it, anyway. Why not just get young ones and let them ripen?”
“I agree. So young cheese isn’t that sought after?”
“Not really. Anyway, I need to go. Bye!”
“Thanks for your time. Have a nice day. Bye!” I close the windows again and look around.
I see Matt sitting on his bed. He’s wide awake.
“Good morning, Swift!” Matt greets me, “What’s the matter outside?”
“Nothing much,” I answer, “just some excessive hoarding of cheese has broken out. It’d be better not to try and get cheese for our provisions. And it seems there are some rumours of an impending outbreak of the Mad Cow Disease.”
“Yes, just rumours, it’s not a real panic yet. I know we originally wanted to leave as soon as possible, but I think we should get breakfast before leaving.”
“I agree. We should act calmly.”
We get dressed and go downstairs. The others are already there. No one has brought their stuff yet.
“It seems we all got the same idea,” Kat smiles upon seeing us, “Landlady, we’d like to have breakfast after all.”
“You do?! Thank the gods! Everyone has been cancelling breakfast due to these damn rumours… It feels so bad to waste food! Here, have your breakfast on the house.”
She brings us our breakfast. It’s fried eggs sunny side up with bread. I take a bite, the egg yolk is barely still runny. Yes, this is perfect!
“Usually I’d offer you some cheese too, but…”
“Don’t worry, munch, about it,” Sobe swallows his bite.
“He’s right,” I back up Sobe’s claim.
“Thanks, I’m very happy you think so,” the Landlady answers, “feel free to get seconds.”
An offer I’m not going to decline… After eating, we pack up and get ready to leave towards Cogen.