A study published in the National Library of Medicine reports that cheese is addictive. A protein called casein, when digested, releases opiates call casomorphines. — Los Angeles Times, October 22, 2015


Hey, bro, what you need? I got stilton right here. Check it out—manchego. Try it on a cracker. That’s it, take a slice of that, my man. Yeah. All right. Twenty-five. No, no, no. Go see my homey over there. Hey, Chica! Asiago. You feeling me?

* * *

Bro, where you been? I ain’t seen you in a while. Hey, you don’t look so good. Looks like you been doing some of that south side soft Philly stuff. Cool it, cool it. I got what you need. Pepe’s gonna take care of you. Nah, thirty now. You ain’t heard? Don’t worry, bro. Extra sharp cheddar today. That real New Hampshire block. All right, we good, go see my man.

* * *

If there’s nothing to tell, Bill, then why were you going through my purse? To pick up cheese for the dinner party? The dinner party is two weeks from now. You know, I think it’s all adding up now. This isn’t the first time, is it? The Super Bowl. Mike’s dog didn’t eat the nachos. The constipation. The weight gain. The grape stems. The rinds the plumber found in the toilet tank. Right—you don’t know how those got there. What about France, Bill? I googled it—there was no hedge fund convention in Lausanne that weekend! Bill, you’re lying!

Bill? Is that—? Do I smell chevre? Open your mouth. I want to see the inside of your mouth.

Damnit, Bill.

* * *

Here it is, 80 pounds pure Dutch edam, straight off the boat. Ever seen a whole wheel like that? Hand-pressed. Cellar-aged. You know that shit is grass-fed! Ha ha ha! When you control cheese, you control the world, Bill! Mmmm, smell that! What a rush!

Whoah, whoah, Bill, put the cheese knife away. Oh, we’re gonna try it out, don’t worry. But first you’re going to do something for me. Say hello to my friend Gunther. Gunther, this is Bill. Bill, Gunther. Trust me, you don’t get pectorals like Gunther’s nibbling from a shaker of dried Romano.

Here’s the thing, Bill. See, Pepe’s done a lot for you, so it’s time that you do a little work for Pepe. You’re gonna take this wheel to one of your little money manager parties. Make some wedges, pass them around. I don’t care if you serve Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Noir. But you don’t come back until it’s gone. You give the money to Gunther. Gunther gives the money to me. Then you can have your own wedge. But only then.

* * *

My name is Bill and I’m a cheese addict.

[in unison] Hi, Bill.

Whew. This is hard. But it’s long overdue. I guess I knew I had to do something about it when my arteries clogged. I was keeping cans of E-Z Cheese in my desk drawer. Yeah, the aerosol stuff. I’ve been banned from the local fromagerie for a long time. I was going as far as Westchester for a Shop Rite where they didn’t know me. One weekend when my ex-wife was away, I saw myself in the mirror using a crème brulee torch on a block of Velveeta. That kind of tipped the scales.

Some colleagues got me to New York Presbyterian. There, they put me on a metho-casein drip. After a few days, when the DTs stopped, I got out of bed and looked out the window. There was my dealer, Pepe, outside, working his corner. For the first time, I didn’t want any cheese. The thought of even a Babybel made me sick.

All I really wanted was some ice cream.

* * *

Chapman-Giverny Agency

555 8th Avenue, 14th Floor

New York, NY

Dear Ms. Chapman:

Please find enclosed a sample chapter of Grated, my memoir of cheese addiction. I know the memoir market is tough right now, but my story, unlike McLaverty’s Shredded, and Dawson’s Nothing Fun About Fondue, I’m not a celebrity, which goes to show that cheese addiction can happen to anyone. Kids today need to know that what starts as mozzarella sticks can end with total helplessness.

* * *

Order, order. The jury is ready to read the verdict.

On the matter of William Rosengrant versus Kraft Foods, Inc., maker of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese, the courts finds the defendant…irresistible!