Merle described his donut eating as slow, and with relish.
Many were confused by this. Some asked, some didn’t. When they did ask, he clarified that, no, he didn’t put relish on a donut. He always laughed at this suggestion, at the idea of a condiment on a sweet treat. He then clarified for them that he meant he savoured the donut, eating it slowly, a small bite at a time, holding the confectionary in his mouth, letting it dissolve, maybe chewing it once or twice, then swallowing.
His favourite donut was the sugar-coated, lemon custard-filled kind. It was just the right mix of sweet and sweeter, with a hint of tang on a good day, and on bad day a delicious hint of more sweetness.
Merle would eat his donut piece by piece, and when it was finished, would decide on whether another was needed, or whether he was finished. Always, though, after fully completing his gustatory foray, he would find someone – anyone, really – to tell about it. He would describe to them, in exquisite detail, the flavour of the particular donut he had eaten. He would tell them how sweet it was, notes of custard or chocolate or maple, the if the dough was puffy enough. He would rate each donut on a scale of one to ten, and tell his interlocutor – whoever he happened to rope in – exactly why he had given it that score. Often, he resorted to decimals in his scoring.
Merle’s donuts were the stuff of legend in his small city, and people would ask him for reviews. New shops invited him in for testing, and at one point, he even had a column in the newspaper, when newspapers were still viable.
Merle was a true donut king.