Page 3. The old cheese
Stories

Page 3. The old cheese

J circled the old town centre three times before deciding to stop and order a glass of whisky at a small restaurant, close to the lower end of Crooked Street. Walking was a form of meditation and one thing that helped him clear his thoughts.  Another one was whisky.

The place was packed. People were pouring out of through the small door like ants from a nest. He liked it. And in the second he sat on a high chair, at the bar, he hated it. The place smelled like feet. For a second J thought he must be imagining things. How could all these people not realise the place stinks? The place was clean, all the furniture seemed new and expensive. The bar was a mix of a French coffee shop and English pub,  with small, round, 2-people tables in the middle and a heavy, dark and tall bar table that encircled them. Tall stools were facing the walls. None of them empty, except 1- right at the bar.  Before making a decision whether to stay or leave, a short, stocky bartender, proud owner of an amazing set of dreadlocks, magnificently balanced by an equally long and bushy beard, plonked himself in J’s face ready to take his order.

I wonder…” J thought, slowly sniffing the air.

“Can I have a double Jack, please? No ice.”

It was definitely not the wholly fellow! And so, the quest remained.  Luckily, the issue of finding the source of the remarkable aroma that filled the place and seemed to bother him and him alone wasn’t a herculean task. The source, as J was about to find right after the bartender’s return, was a huge glass cupboard filled with what appeared to be dozens of types of cheeses.

From time to time, one of the waiters would open the door and cut a slice or two, put it on a wooden plate and disappear with it somewhere inside the bar. A rejuvenated stench followed.

More people were charging through the doors, the majority of them tourists, laughing, all looking for an empty table. For the next 5 minutes, J carefully analysed each and everyone’s face for any sign of discomfort. Not one sign of repulsion was visible. Clearly, something was amiss. He finished the whisky in one big gulp, paid and squeezed his way out, to fresh air.

The bar was facing several other similar establishments, so J decided the risk is too high. Taking a right turn, he started walking toward the city main gates, leaving behind hordes of half-drunk, cheese-smelling tourists.

It’s said that the strong smells have the power to bring back long-forgotten memories. There was no french cheese festival he remembered though, but an equally reeking moment that seemed to bother no one: the abominable presidency of Donald Trump. J (and anyone else in the world today for that matter) couldn’t believe that a moment like that actually existed. The biggest democracy on the planet had, for a short while, a leader that competed in idiocy, depravity and lewdness with the worst politician in Romania  – the country was well known back then for its remarkably corrupt leaders.

Luckily for everyone, after one and a half years, in an amazing series of events which started with his son admitting to meeting a Russian official, Trump was brought down by the same entity who gave him the White House: the American people. In an amazing and unexpected series of nation-wide protests, with over 100  million US citizens asking for his resignation, Trump stepped down, on 15 June 2018. It was one of the greatest moments in the entirety of the human history. And totally unexpected. 3 months before no one would have predicted it as Trump had plenty of popular support among Americans despite numerous scandals regarding his Russian affair. But in April the same year, a light breeze started to blow from the rust states that voted for Trump. With it, the smell of burned cloth. Suddenly, people started to burn the famous red hats in a sign of protest.  First in Wisconsin, then in PennsylvaniaOhio and Michigan. The breeze turned into powerful gales that soon reached the Western Coast. People were marching through the streets in perfect silence, burning hats, posters and flags from last year’s campaign. There was no chanting, no slogans were being shouted. People barely talked to each other. No cars were burned, no stores vandalised. 

In three months a hurricane reached the Capital and with it, the biggest protests in human history. The Silent Revolt gathered over 10 million people in Washington alone. Millions more in all the US states. No one yelled, no one sang. Millions of people stood together in silence. There were no speakers, no one made a list of demands. No one raised above the other or pretended to speak in their name. Americans acted like one for the first time in a century. The only demand was drawn on Trump’s ex-campaign posters.  Just one word actually, that left no doubt about what people wanted: LEAVE!

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