I was fine until that virtual wine tasting. The host suggested we all put together a tray of plain, unseasoned crackers, some type of charcuterie, several imported cheeses and baked Cheetos. I thought Cheetos seemed an odd addition to a cheese platter, but I was delighted. To be honest, Cheetos used to be my favorite snack, surpassing potato chips and popcorn. Cheesy, greasy and always leaving that tell-tale orange gunk on your lips and fingers. Still, I snuck them into the house whenever I could. I munched on them to and from my job in Vermont. And wondered why I was gaining weight.

Weight Watchers ended my blissful ignorance when I realized the point value of a cup nearly exceeded my entire dinner allotment. I bid adieu to Cheetos and said “hello” to rice cakes. So, when I saw the “requirement” for Cheetos, I was overjoyed. Our host had specified the “Baked” version, which was even better. It seems, Cheetos, the “Baked” version, enhances the flavor of certain wines. I didn’t care what the reason was. It was an actual, bona fide reason to buy my favorite snack and not feel quite so guilty. Glory Hallelujah. Life, even during the pandemic, was looking up.

The wine tasting went well and I could see from the bags of Baked Cheetos on everyone’s table, we had all followed the host’s instructions. Good pupils as we were. Crackers, charcuterie, cheese and Cheetos. The holy “C” of a wine and cheese party.

The bag of Cheetos (and no, I didn’t opt for the “snack” size) lasted for over two weeks. I took only a few at a time, measuring out the allowed portion size, as I was, still on Weight Watchers.

One day I reached into the bag and discovered, to my shock, the Cheetos were nearly gone. How could this be? But they were. As much as I wanted to order more from Instacart, I restrained myself.

But last week, I returned to the grocery store. Now armed with my mask and the knowledge of having two vaccines under my belt. I felt energized. I decided it was time to treat myself to a snack. And yeah, I imagine you all know which one that was.

I rounded the corner of the aisle and headed to the Snack section. And there, in a bright yellow and red pouch, my cheesy friend awaited. Ready to jump into my cart. I reached out to pull it off the shelf. But as I did, I saw a hand reach for the same bag. I looked to see who wanted this but it wasn’t the face of a stranger. It was my face. My face, but fuller, with puffy cheeks and cheese covered lips and little squinty eyes. A little pig’s face, smiling back at me. It was grotesque. I nearly squealed, I mean, screamed. I quickly withdrew my hand, praying no one saw this bizarre episode. I grabbed my cart and scurried back down the aisle and headed straight to the checkout lines.

The cashier looked at me. “Are you alright?” she asked. “You look like you’ve just seen a ghost.”

I nodded. “I think I did. And it could have been me.”

2 thoughts on “Cheetos, the Pig and I by Linda Freedland

  1. You had me at the Cheetos!! Great, vivid description! And the four “c’s” of wine tasting- sounds like a great party! That ending, though… reality at its best! Nice job! I enjoyed your story.

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