When I was a student, I lived in a house full of leechers.
There was this girl, who everyone thought was so pretty and petite that they couldn't imagine what a conniving moocher she really was. If I said anything against her, they'd give me sideways glances and think I was the one who had a problem.
There were too many incidents to go into here, but I'll describe one of her favourites. Because we lived in a house together, some of us took turns cooking meals. I wasn't a grastonome, by any means, but I did go out of my way to get premium ingredients, because I liked to spend the time to pamper myself and anyone else who wished to partake.
Out of courtesy, I'd ask everyone in the house who wanted to dine with me. Invariably, she would say 'no'. Her excuse was that she wasn't hungry when, in fact, she was dieting. Inevitably, when the meal was laid out on the table, she would change her mind and gannet most of it down.
After awhile, this became irritating to me. She always said 'no' and she always ate most of the food. I confronted her a few times, but I didn't enjoy confrontation, so my attempts were half-hearted. She would beguile me with some apology or other and promise not to do it again. Then, like Lucy and Charlie Brown's football, I fell right into the trap.
She didn't limit her practice to mealtimes, either. She would also ransack our cupboards. We had all taken individual cupboards to delineate our stash, but she would ignore this and go on a raiding spree. Some of us began locking their cupboards down with padlocks, which pissed off the landlord, who didn't like us poking holes in his kitchen cabinetry. I didn't lock mine out of consideration, but wished I had when she hoovered my Belgian chocolates one afternoon.
I didn't understand why she was dieting, either, because she was so skinny - despite the fact that she ate anything in sight. Maybe, she had starved herself half the time?
As I said, I wasn't one for confrontation, so I had mastered the art of passive-aggressive behaviour. I decided to cook a meal that was too spicy for her. My plan backfired when she said she like spicy food. So, I upped the ante the next time and made it hotter. It proved a bit too hot for me, but she ate less of it that time. Yes! That was a win. The Cold War had begun.
With each meal, I made it progressively hotter and spicier - pushing my own boundaries. As each meal became more challenging, I found myself growing more immune, until the day that she actually spat the food out and said her mouth was on fire. She ran to the refrigerator and took some juice - not mine, mind you, but, of course, someone else's than hers - and doused her scalding palate.
"What the hell is that?" She asked.
"Firecracker Chicken," I said, making something up.
She nodded, knowingly, then retreated to the living room.
From that day on, she never ate my food again.
She did, however, taste it on occasion, so I couldn't ever let down my guard. I ate fiery foods all summer and paid for it afterwards. But it was worth it.