“Thanks, man!” JP shouted as he lunged to intercept the red disk that was hurtled at him by the passing bicyclist. It bounced along the road and jumped the curb like a flying hubcap and hit him square in the gut.
“Happy Thanksgiving,” the bicyclist said, his response trailing off in foggy puffs as he sped away in the chilly morning.
Frank, who was perched atop his bedroll against the closed storefront, looked up from the cigarette he was rolling. “What the hell is that?” he said. His raspy voice echoed through the corridor of the empty street.
JP examined the red wheel. He turned it over in his hands and shook it. It was heavy, and at least 12 inches in diameter. He turned to Frank, his eyes lit up with excitement. “Do you know what this is?”
“No,” Frank said, continuing to roll his cigarette.
“I think its gouda.”
“Gouda? What the hell is that?”
JP rolled his eyes. “You Southern fried mo’fo’. Gouda is only one of the best cheeses on the planet.” JP walked over and sat on his bedroll next to Frank’s. His youthful stature next to the old man exposed the years between them. He held the disk up to the sun, examining its curvature.
“Don’t look like no cheese to me,” Frank said, spitting out the strands of tobacco that caught in his mouth as he lit his cigarette. They landed in his beard. “Looks like one of them candles they sell down at the dollar store. All wax and no wick.”
“That’s the rind,” JP said as he flipped the wheel over again. “Doesn’t look like there’s any cracks.”
“So you’re sayin’ there’s cheese in there? Well let’s cut it open!” Frank said, rummaging in his duffle bag.
“What are you crazy!” JP clutched the wheel tight. “This is for a special occasion.”
“What’s up vagrants?” Al said as he walked up with a piping hot cup of coffee in his hand. He was without his usual bedroll and duffle bag clinging to the side of him. He looked like someone just walking down the sidewalk, admiring the stillness that is Thanksgiving morning on the streets.
JP and Frank both turned. “Where the hell did you get that coffee,” Frank said.
“The church down the road is serving breakfast. Then they gonna serve Thanksgiving dinner at two. We gonna eat good today boys!”
JP was back to examining his disk. He gazed at it like a crystal ball.
“What the hell is that?” Al said. “Yo momma fall on a bowling ball or somethin’?”
JP stood up. “It’s gouda.”
Al looked at him sideways, “Gouda? Like that little fat Chinese guy?”
JP slit his eyes and huffed. “I’m gonna get some breakfast.” He stuffed the wheel of cheese in his bag and picked it up with his bedroll.
“What’s up his ass,” Al said.
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