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The Smell

Kristina England | Daniele Murtas

It started in the corner of the office, near Susie’s desk. Fifteen minutes later, the peculiar scent was wafting into the executive offices until everyone wished they had removal noses.

I had no choice but to go in and assess the situation. I am a fixer by nature. That’s why I’ve ended up with so many broken bones and a heart that’s lucky it hasn’t shattered.

The reek was arising from the Auditing area. That’s where I found Susie passed out, her arms stretched towards the opening of the cubicle as if to say, “I can make it.” But, alas, she didn’t, so I left her there in a half drool sleep, while protecting my face with a mouse pad.

The horse manure or bad cheese or perhaps naked feet was tear producing. It was like when you slam your fingers in a door and swear at yourself as if you could have prevented it.

I tried to climb over Frank’s desk, which met in the middle with Susie’s, but the scent grew fainter when I was knee-up in the chair, so instead, I descended to attempt the deepest angle.

But, just as I reached that region of unfathomable nullification, I saw colors I had never seen before (a mangtashible orange and oblitignarled green) and quickly, thumpingly, joined Susie on the floor.

Frank was away from his desk for a meeting, but stumbled in two seconds later with a paper clip securing his nostrils.

“Steve? Steve? Is that you?”

Of course it was and, frankly, if I can use the word frankly around a man with such a resemblance to the word, he should have known me. It wasn’t as if there was a smog. A reek, but clear vision, or maybe my vision had blurred the closer I got. But I was experiencing stenchnesia and it’s hard to really understand the moments between the moments of funkiness.

I mumbled incoherently and, with that clip secured nose, Frank dragged me from my current situation into the hall.

Our boss rounded the corner from the conference room and staggered back, whiffing the undesirable.

“Oh no,” the boss said, not out of concern, but out of what appeared to be embarrassment.

“What do you mean, ‘Oh no,’” Frank asked in a gasp as it was hard to breathe and talk through his mouth at the same time.

The boss opened his office door. There was his son, the blonde angel-eyed French Canadian six year old. Kids are always deceiving. The broke into a giggle, nose plugs firmly implanted in his little stuck up snout.

“What did I tell you about bringing your fart spray in here?”

The boy looked at his father, then began making fart noises with his armpit. He stopped and lifted the white container, pointing it at us as we all simultaneously recoiled. Okay, two of us recoiled.

Frank slammed the door shut as something emitted into the air. He held it closed as the boy tried to clamp hold of the knob and turn it. The spray must have stuck to the boy’s skin. It must have sunk in. It must have penetrated the recesses of his nose even though he was protected, because the shrieking grew loud and real.

I smiled as the boss turned around.

“Kids,” he said, trying to hold back a wave of nausea. “New game.”

“Indeed,” Frank said, walking over to his desk. He picked up his coat and laptop bag. “I’m working from home the rest of the day.”

“Good idea,” I gasped, having found a paper clip of my own. We both walked over to Susie’s desk, where she was now in a slumbering twitch.

We looked at the boss’s office. We could hear him arguing with his soon to be ex-wife on the cell phone. She was supposed to be the stay-at-home, but the boy was in the office more and more.

Frank and I shrugged at each other and began our escape. We threw the fasteners to the ground on our way out, the clasps clattering to the ground, winking under the fluorescent lights of a paneled ceiling.

About Kristina England

Kristina England resides in Worcester, Massachusetts. Her writing is published or forthcoming at Crack the Spine, Extract(s), Gargoyle, The Hessler Street Fair Anthology, The Quotable, Yellow Mama, and other magazines. Find her on her blog.

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