I’ve been a model citizen … until now. There is a chance I may end up in jail and my marriage teeters on shaky ground.
This fiasco started over almost a year ago. One morning, I stumbled into the kitchen and couldn’t smell the coffee or anything else. I sniffed cut-up onions. My eyes watered, but no strong pungent aroma.
As months passed, I couldn’t tell if my deodorant was working, or if my tennis shoes smelled like funky mushrooms.
“Pamela,” my husband, Mort, said, as I sat down at the table. “Something smells.” He sniffed like a dog at dishes on the table and ended up hovering over me. “It’s you,” he said, in disbelief.
Overcompensating, I began to spritz myself during the day with strong perfume. Now, Mort complained about that too.
“Did you just douse yourself with the whole bottle?”
My taste buds suffered as well. I only ate to keep my strength up. I had no idea when to throw out left-overs.
“Good grief, Pamela, are you trying to poison me,” Mort complained, after spitting out an overdue fish filet.
My roses bloomed in brilliant shades of red, yellow, and coral, but without their delicate perfume, they lost luster.
There were a few advantages. If Mort passed gas, all I could hear was the sound effects. I could scoop cat litter without gagging, when the sewer line broke, or the garbage truck drove by, I was unfazed. Still, I became obsessed with regaining this sense I had taken for granted.
When I saw a report on the Internet about an experimental procedure for restoring your nose’s proper function, I scrolled down quickly. Yes, it was pricey. But what were high interest credit cards for if not for impulse buying. I skimmed the possible side effects. I thought I could put up with occasional tickling nose hairs, and a more aggressive personality. I even thought I could benefit from becoming more assertive. Without needed hesitation, I foolishly forged ahead.
Driving with Mort to Dr. Brinegar’s office, I sang. Finally, my problems were over. When I arrived and met the physician, I hoped for the best. Dr. Brinegar, a short, round man sported a toupee which looked like a feral animal perched on his head. He wore a Hawaiian shirt under his white lab coat, as if he would sprint off to the airport on vacation after he collected my money.
“Mrs. Kniss, when this inpatient procedure is finished, I guarantee your sense of smell will be restored, likely even enhanced,” he promised, as he strapped a device resembling a gas mask over my face.
When I awoke, the hairs inside of my nose twitched uncontrollably. The itchiness made me pinch my nostrils together to control the prickly sensation.
“Doctor Brinigar,” I hollered in a nasal tone. “Come here this instant.”
He didn’t come right away.
Letting go of my nose, my voice took on a shrill, threatening tone, “Are you coming, or do I have to come get you?”
He hustled in, his toupee askew. “Mrs. Kniss, whatever is the matter?”
“The hairs in my nose are driving me crazy. Do something about it.”
“Don’t worry, my dear, this aftereffect is only temporary. I’ll send home some nostril hair tamer spray. Hopefully, your hostile attitude will temper in time as well.”
“Of all the nerve, I’m not your dear and I’m not hostile.”
Mort came to pick me up.
“You’re late,” I snapped.
He glanced at his phone. “Only five minutes later than what I said, there was traffic and …”
“Still, being late is inconsiderate,” I interrupted. “You should have left earlier.”
As he helped me walk out the clinic’s door, I became acutely aware that some dog had peed on the bushes on either side of the stairs. Mort escorted my wobbly post anesthesia self to our Dodge.
As soon as I settled into the front seat, Mort asked, “Well, did it work?”
I inhaled old car smell. “Yes, I believe it did.”
But as we drove home, the air conditioning siphoned in exhaust from nearby cars, and I coughed and choked.
As I slowly made my way up our walk, the overpoweringly sweet fragrance of the rose bushes overwhelmed me. When I stepped in the front door of our house, the foul stench of kitty litter made me grab a hanky from my purse. I clamped my hand over my mouth. My super-stellar-smeller nightmare had begun.
I attempted to make dinner. The spice rack reeked. Imagine garlic salt mingling with nutmeg, and oregano and marjoram mixed with cinnamon.
“You’ll have to fix your own dinner, Mort,” I yelled. I ran into our bedroom and slammed the door. The hamper which contained last night’s PJ’s, BVD’s and yesterday’s gym clothes emitted a musky skunk-like odor. Our bedcovers, when I laid down on them, gave clear proof that our cat, Muffin, had barfed on it, even though I’d washed them weeks ago.
Mort does all the shopping now. I can no longer go much of anywhere. I fell prone in the laundry-dish washing soap aisle assailed by chemicals. Some well-meaning Samaritan called 911.
At Costco, I attacked a man with an especially potent aftershave. His wife did not appreciate me passionately kissing him and neither did Mort.
I threw out all my cleaning products, so you have an idea what our house looks like now. Cosmetics and creams are out of the question, so I am not looking great myself.
All sweet-smelling desserts call my name. I cannot go to the gym to work off these thirty pounds I have gained. The stench of the locker room reminds of the two weeks the garbage men went on strike.
I went back to Dr. Brinegar’s office to see if the process could be reversed. A sign on the door said, Notice: Dr. Brinegar has closed his practice as of 8/1/2021.
That was two days before I arrived. I looked up his home address The expensive nasal spray has lessened the effect of the tickly nose cilia. However, the aggressiveness has only gone down slightly. You probably saw the headlines in our town’s newspaper. Local Doctor Finds Alligator in his Swimming Pool.
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Your story was a fun read.
Ramoma, thank you for sharing your tale that reiterates the age old axiom of "beware what you wish for!" Very imaginative and very well written!