Retro-Blog: The Parliament of Cheese and Curds

Reposting this June 2015 fable about cheese (and the first appearance of a talking cat). With apologies to John C Wright’s Parliament of Beasts and Birds.

The dairy products gathered, one by one, outside the final city of People, furtive, curious, and slightly odd smelling.

All was dark. In the west was a blood-red sunset and in the east was a blood-red moonrise of a waning moon. Which, incidentally, confused a particularly pedantic ball of Edam which had taken the sentence “all was dark” a bit too literally. No lamps shined in the towers and minarets, and all the windows of the palaces, mansions, townhouses, semidetached project homes, terraces and those really big ranch-style bungalows that have a name but which I’ve forgotten, were empty as the eyes of skulls. Well, the eye-sockets of skulls. The skulls didn’t have eyes – although a mischievous small ball of mozzarella had taken to sitting in the eye holes of a skull and frightening passersby. That, as other cheeses noted, was no surprise given its upbringing.

All about the walls of the city (it had walls this city) were the fields and houses and the fanes which I had forgotten to mention earlier. Rather like the skull’s eye sockets, these were all empty.

Above the fortresses and barracks, black pillars upheld statues of golden cows, beaks open, unmoving and still because they were statues – with beaks.

Above the amphitheatres and stadiums in which things associated with these places had occurred on a regular basis, particularly at weekends, huge video screens stood inert and unwatchable.

Above the boulevards and paved squares where merchants once bought and sold soft cheeses and flavoured yoghurts and blue-veined Gorgonzolas from Italy, squishy wheels of brie from France and aerosol cans of cheese flavoured products from the far-flung lands of the Americas and…wait I don’t actually have anything to go above this bunch of stuff. Never mind – something was above all that. I don’t know, maybe a talking cat or something. And there were wine bars where princes and stockbrokers would drink the liquid of Bacchus and consume cheeses with crackers or maybe tapas on reflection. Above that lot, there was probably also a talking cat.

And higher on the high hilly hill in the centre of the city were the libraries and learned places and the palaces that we mentioned earlier (the ones with the empty windows) where emperors were adored as gods. But no history was read in the halls of learning and no laws were debated in the halls of power – because everybody was dead. Yes, they were all dead. Just pointing that out now, in case you hadn’t spotted it. Everyone was dead except for sentient dairy products and a talking cat called Timothy.

Not far outside of the city was a mountain that had been cut in two, crown to root by some great supernatural force with a grudge against geology. On the slopes of the dark mountain (see I had said all was dark), which was now really two distinct mountains with a great big cleft in the middle (which created a visual impression that Timothy the Talking cat found a little unsettling), in a dell
overgrown and wild, two dark (all is dark) creatures met, peering cautiously at the city which they couldn’t see because all was dark.

A black wrapped processed cheese addressed a black-rinded artisanal cheese in the black darkness on the dark mountain. “What is the news? And has anybody got some sort of illumination? I can’t see a bloody thing around here.”

The artisanal cheese shrugged indifferently – a shrug which was distinctly different from the shrug he used when he was not trying to show indifference. “I thought it unwise to intrude on the city of Man (and by ‘man’ I mean the generic sense which applies to both sexes of human) what with it being so dark and all and what with mountains getting great big bloody clefts in them. What’s the world coming to, I ask you?”

“Who, then, will go into the city,” asked the processed cheese.
“Not I,” said the ball of Edam I had mentioned earlier.
“Me neither,” said a sad tub of grated Parmesan
“Not bloody likely,” said a half-eaten tub of Greek yoghurt.

Double-Gloucester turned to Monterrey-Jack “Nor you nor I shall enter the empty city, and discover the cause of this mystery, shall we not? For we are in awe of Man and have always been his foes and inclined to inflict indigestion upon him – and I’m referring specifically to ‘man’ in the gendered sense for verily I am want to only make the digestive tract of men an unholy ruin because I am one of those feminist cheeses that Timothy the talking cat is always moaning about”
“That is true – she is!” said Timothy the Talking Cat “and I’m tired of your man-hate!”
“Be quiet Timothy!” spoke the distinguished Stilton “ you are derailing the whole discussion”
“Well Double-Gloucester started it” blustered Timothy angrily
And with the inevitability of a blog comment section the assembled dairy products (and one talking cat) began bickering amongst themselves even though it was still very dark and somewhat unsafe due to the great big cleft in the mountain(s).

But Lo! A soggy tub of cottage cheese flew down from its perch and said unto the assembled lactation-related beings (plus cat).
“Yeah, well I just spoke to an angel and it is basically like god did it and we are all people now and we’ve got be, you know, like good and stuff. And one of you may get to be Jesus”.
“Can I be Jesus?” asked Timothy the talking cat.
“NO!” cried one and all and they all lived happily ever after – except for the pedantic Edam who never found out what a “fane” was.


12 responses to “Retro-Blog: The Parliament of Cheese and Curds”

  1. I don’t see why you should have to apologize to JCW for this, given that he’s never apologized to everyone else for making us have to read his story. 😀

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Re-reading para 2, the Final City of Man (by which I mean all humans, of all genders) seems to have been pretty prosperous, as I see no mention of towering blocks of flats, either squalid or luxury with those pools suspended up in the air to taunt the proles, nor even the 2-story sort with the parking spaces underneath, which they don’t build any more because of collapse risk.

    Now, if MY cat was in a city entirely inhabited by dairy products, the cheeses would have had no time for pontificating as they would have been eaten right quick, or at least ferociously licked. Yea, even unto the processed cheese product slices and the Cheez Whiz and the spray cheez, not to mention the small prankster mozzarella.

    But hark, from the bottom drawer of my refrigerator, a small chunk of Manchego seems to call unto me.

    Also, there is only one “r” in Monterey Jack, and sometimes peppers of the Capiscum genus, and sometimes it is in an unholy union with its cousin Colby.

    Like

      • This is just to say

        I have eaten
        the manchego
        that was in
        the icebox

        and which
        you were probably
        saving
        for a dairy-themed parody.

        Forgive me
        it was delicious
        and besides
        who needs a real cheese in order to write about a fake parody of a talking cheese anyway? It’s just a waste of perfectly good cheese that I deserve anyway for putting up with all of this nonsense.

        –Timmy Fellis Timmy

        Liked by 3 people

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