Author’s note: The following two very-short stories are in response to two simple thoughts. The first story, Richard Reeks, is from me sitting around and suddenly thinking I should write something about cats. The second story, School Days, came from listening to my daughter describe — in detail — her dislike of the stupid names companies give to air fresheners.
Despite the number of times Juliana insisted and despite the increasing volume of her voice as she did the insisting, Debbie simply could not agree with Juliana’s statement. “No, I’m serious!” Juliana insisted once again. “Richard smells like cat farts!”
“No,” said Debbie, pensively, as she refilled her cup from the water cooler while watching Richard walk back to his cubicle. “It’s not cat farts. Trust me! Fluffy has exposed me to many more of those than I’d like to admit. It’s more like… motor oil… or diesel fuel… mixed with that smell that surrounds buildings when they put the fresh mulch out. You know what I mean, right?”
“Yeah, well… whatever,” said Juliana dismissively as they walked down the hall toward their cubicles. “He needs to get a new brand of cologne because whatever that one is, it reeks.”
“I agree with you on that, Jules,” laughed Debbie. “A new wardrobe, too! Maybe we should draft a memo to remind him that the white leisure suit went out of style a long time ago!”
“H.R. might have a problem with that,” said Juliana.
“You’re right,” said Debbie. “H.R. stinks even more than Richard… and probably even more than Fluffy’s farts!”
The shoes were dirty and old. And boy, did they smell. They didn’t smell like you might expect them to smell. Alas, they smelled like crisp linen. Or maybe it was wrinkled linen. The girl looked at the tall metal can of Lysol in her hand and wrinkled her nose. “Who really thinks this stuff smells like laundry, anyway? I think I preferred the scent of stink du jour of my brother’s feet over this ‘laundry scent’.” She made air quotes as she said “laundry scent”, partially for emphasis and partly just because she liked making air quotes.
She liked making that weird “L” shape with her right hand against her forehead, too, but that really wasn’t at issue at this time.
The issue for now was that her little brother was screaming at her for spraying Lysol in his shoes. “Now it smells like funky, wrinkled foot laundry. I can’t go to school with this!”
So, she smiled and handed her brother the new pair of Mary Jane’s. “Your choice, little man… foot laundry or Mary Jane’s…”
The boy took the smelly shoes and headed off to school. There was a little blonde girl in kindergarten who would really appreciate his uniquely odored sneakers. The fact that she happened to be his next door neighbor was an additional benefit.