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July 19, 2002

Annoying the Wife - Chapter 8

A Dish Served Cold

Mystery odors had been following me around all day long. I’m reading the paper, riding the bus into work, and I get a quick whiff of reek, like a sack of drowned puppies that’s been left out in the hot sun for a week. Obviously it’s the bus, all sorts of freaks ride of the bus. I file it as a factoid to use in my ongoing quest to convince the accountant I married that paying seventy bucks a month to park the SUV in one of the downtown lots makes more fiscal sense than parking in a free remote lot and riding the free bus into town.

But it’s not the bus. Little zephyrs of eau de mort greet me at inopportune times all day long. In a meeting with the boss and the boss’s boss, at lunch with an ex-gf and her husband, or at the comic book store. In the comic book store at least it doesn’t seem out of place. Comic book stores that don’t have weird smells don’t have patrons. And this is an old, well-established comic book store, where the comic literati come to discuss the pressing events of the day, vehemently and at length. It smells like Usenet, of sweat and anger and dried spooge. I’m getting really, really paranoid though, because I can’t place or locate this odor. It’s a hot day, and the stench comes and goes, sometimes vanishing for an hour, then hitting me square in the olfactory nerve, like a hatpin up the nostril.

I’ve performed the surreptitious double-pit quick sniff maneuver, more than once, till it was neither surreptitious nor quick. I looked like a Speed-Stick addict desperately trying to ward off the d.t’s. Nothing. Did I step in something? No. Did I sit in something? Negative. My clothes were clean. I’d pulled clothes that probably shouldn’t have been worn out of the hamper before in my life, but I was single then. I hadn’t done that in three years, minimum. These clothes had been hung in the closet, where they were regularly placed by the clean clothes fairy a short time after I tossed them into the pile of dirty laundry.

I’d cupped my hand in front of my mouth and exhaled, not that I’d ever been able to smell anything that way. I could smoke dung cigarettes and eat garlic possum haggis five times a day and not detect anything. I just don’t have much of a sense of smell. What this meant to me was, if I’m getting reliable whiffs of….whatever the demon wind was, then god only knows what other people were getting. And I would never know. I live in the south, where as a people we are nice to your face so we have more to say behind your back.

I started seeing things. Did that person sitting there just shift away, ever so slightly? Was that an exaggerated sniff, or do they have a summer cold? Did she roll her eyes just after? Each new hint of my hellish new aroma caused me to jerk my head up and sniff violently several times in a vain attempt to triangulate the cursed scent, that sulphuric gust of…of…..god it was familiar. Try as I might, I could not place it.

Until I got home, wet with the sweat of paranoid stress, smelling nothing because my nose had shut down in protest an hour ago. Ngnat ran, ran across the floor as fast as she could for our “Daddy’s home!” hug. Oh, how I needed this! She stopped dead two feet from me, and wrinkled her face.

“Daddy! Poopy diaper!”

Now this was just the last damn straw. All my fears had been realized. I was a smelly man, one of the weirdos that sat next to you when you lost the bus lottery. Effing day. Effing world.

The wife walks in. “What’s wrong with you?”

“I’ve been smelling something all day, and it’s horrible, and it won’t go away and I don’t what it is.”

She leaned in, sniffed. “You smell like vomit.”

Of course! Vomit. That’s what it is! Praise Jesus, I smell like vomit! One mystery down.

“Oh thank god, that’s been driving me nuts all day!” Sniff. Snnnnnniiiiiiiiiffff. “Can’t figure out where it’s coming from, though.”

“Smell the bottom of your shirt.”

Sniff. Cough. “Ooo, yea, that’s it.” Alarm bells start to shriek in my head. “How do you know that?”

“That’s the shirt you had on when Taylor threw up all over me last week.”

“Well, yea. It caught a few chunks, but I threw it….in….the....Oh my God! You just hung it back up!”

“After I read your little story, yes.” Her eyes were gleaming, gleaming with pleasure!

This was not the woman I married. This was some sort of demon. Flabbergasted doesn’t begin to describe my condition.

“That…That….That was the …” Most evil? Viciously horrible? Think man, think! “…..coolest thing you have ever done to me in my life!”

“What are you talking about, crazy man?”

“You got me back! You never get me back! This Rocks! I feel so close to you right now!” I spread my arms wide and advanced upon her. “I…..I want to give you a hug.”

“Ahhh! Stay away from me! You stink!” She vanished up the stairs at warp speed.

She could run, but she couldn’t hide. The house is just too small, to start off with. Also, she kept leaking little snorts of delight. Clever girl. Clever, clever girl.

And then I took a shower.

Posted by Bigwig at July 19, 2002 01:17 PM | TrackBack
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