He was setting up across the street as I was leaving work: a card table filled with blocks of cheese and a hotplate. A sign hanging off the front read: Fortunes Told!
“Excuse me, sir! Can I tell your fortune?” he called as I tried to hurry past. I was the only one on the street, so it was hard to be inconspicuous.
“I don’t need my fortune told,” I said. Still, the cheese was making me curious. “So, how does it work?”
“With cheese. I’m a tyromancer,” he said, quite proudly.
“Uh, okay, how much is it?”
“It depends on how detailed you want it. $5 for regular, $10 for an extra detailed fortune. It takes more cheese that way,” he added.
I was intrigued and the cheese was making me hungry. “Okay, I’ll take a fiver. Can I eat the cheese afterwards?”
He seemed shocked at the idea. “Eat the cheese? Eat the cheese? Do you eat the X-ray film when the doctor is finished? Or the mechanics tools when he’s finished fixing your car?”
“What do you have to do with the cheese?”
“I just melt it. I’m a progressive tyromancer. Now, what kind do you want? I’ve got cheddar, mozzarella, gouda, gorgonzola—”
“Is there a difference?” I asked, as he looked prepared to list off his entire stock. “Surely if it’s a fortune, it’ll be the same either way.”
He shrugged. “Different cheeses emphasis different things. It’s like when you go to the doctor: different doctors will tell you slightly different things, although your condition will be the same. So, which one do you want?”
“I’ll take the Swiss, I guess,” I said. I knew immediately by his face that this was the wrong choice.
“I’d stay away from the Swiss at first,” he said. “We in the business call that the Widowmaker. The best fortune I’ve ever seen come out of a piece of Swiss was a divorce.”
“What was the worst?”
“Double decapitation,” he said. “Don’t ask—it’s not pretty.
“Fine . . . I’ll take the Gorgonzola. Is that okay?” He was looking at me with a small smile.
“Yeah, that’s fine. Perfectly. Let me just add a slice of Edam, just because I like you.”
He cut off slices of the cheese and put it in a frying pan on the hotplate. Then we both got close and peered at it.
“What’s that mean?” I asked.
“That’s just grease on top. That doesn’t mean anything.” The cheese started to melt and bubble.
“Ah ha!” the tyromancer said suddenly. “Do you know anyone by the name of . . . Bob?”
“Really? I’m pretty sure you do.”
“Well, I have a second cousin named Bob, but—”
“I knew it! Never lie to the cheese. Bob is going to call you in the next five minutes.”
“Oh come on!” I said. “I only met him once when I was ten. He doesn’t even have my phone number.”
“The cheese doesn’t lie.” The tyromancer was staring at the bubbling cheese closely. “It looks like he has a business venture opportunity for you. It’s going to fail horribly in less than six months. You’re going to lose a lot of money.”
“Well, I guess that’s good to know. I’ll be sure to turn down any business ideas my cousin Bob gives me.”
Sarcasm was obviously not the tyromancer’s strong point. “Oh, you have to though,” he said. “It’s your future; you don’t have a choice.”
My phone rang and his eyes lit up like Christmas morning. “Ha, there’s Bob now. What did I tell you?”
I took the phone out and showed him the caller ID. “It’s my mom.” I put it up to my ear. “Hey, what’s up?”
“Hi, you probably don’t remember me, but I’m your cousin Bob. I’m over at your mom’s house right now; she gave me your number. Listen, I got this great idea I think you might interested in: Chia Cars. It’s like the Chia Pets, but with cars. All I need is a bit of start-up cash—”
I ended the call and pulled out a $10 bill. “Okay, give me a sharp cheddar with a sprinkling of gouda. Let’s see what else you got.”
June 8th, 2013 at 3:38 pm
I wonder what would happen if he melted double gloucester with a mild drop of liquid havarti…
June 8th, 2013 at 8:29 pm
You are so twisted lol loved it
June 8th, 2013 at 10:10 pm
🙂 It’s nice to know people that appreciate a good twisted story.
June 8th, 2013 at 9:34 pm
very creative. His comparing the cheese to the mechanic tools:) entertaining story. Hope there is a sequel..
June 8th, 2013 at 10:11 pm
Hmm, I hadn’t considered it, but that’s a thought. Maybe he meets the Motivational Drill Sergeant? 😉
June 9th, 2013 at 3:25 pm
would like to see more of the sergeant and also the pigeon driving the taxi:))
June 9th, 2013 at 7:24 pm
So, the tyromancer and the motivational drill sergeant take a ride in the pigeon’s taxi…and Klista and Edward “the Squid” come too. There could be a big convention of all the characters in my stories. 🙂
June 9th, 2013 at 5:13 am
This is so cool!
I’ll come back and comment again when I don’t drop a ‘cool’ in every sentence. But: twisted. And really cool.
June 9th, 2013 at 11:11 am
Hey, “cool” is cool. 🙂 yes, a bit twisted, but that’s me.
June 9th, 2013 at 11:51 am
Enjoyed the read…:) this is such fun, isnt it!
June 9th, 2013 at 7:25 pm
Glad you liked it. It’s fun for me to write too.
June 10th, 2013 at 9:20 am
That’s freakin’ brilliant. I’ve never heard of a such a thing. Very imaginative. Now I’m wondering what a fortune told with pepperjack cheese would be like.
June 10th, 2013 at 7:53 pm
I was actually going to put in pepperjack cheese too, but I forgot. Maybe some spicy developments in the future. I saw tyromancy on a list of obsolete words we need to still used and was intrigued by the idea of it.
June 11th, 2013 at 12:31 am
I think I will look for words like that and see if I find some story ideas.
June 10th, 2013 at 2:09 pm
I don’t believe in fortune tellers at all but loved, loved the story! ha!! five dollars well used for sure
June 10th, 2013 at 7:50 pm
I don’t believe in them either, but I found the idea of someone telling fortunes from cheese to be very funny. It was a real thing, apparently.
June 13th, 2013 at 3:17 am
This is great. I wonder how much money and cheese he’ll have got through before he’s happy to leave.
June 13th, 2013 at 8:58 am
$400 and three wheels of cheese later…:)
June 13th, 2013 at 10:32 pm
Kind of a drag you can’t eat the cheese afterwards, ’cause fried cheese is delicious. (Also, does this mean Italian grannies with all their bubbling provolone know something we don’t?)
June 13th, 2013 at 11:09 pm
Hmm, maybe they do. I’m sure it would take training. I could stare at a block of cheese for weeks and all I could predict was that there was mold in my future.