The Scent of Disaster

“What is that peculiar smell?” Roger asked.

“Smell? What smell?” Brenda sniffed. “Perhaps you mean ‘scent’, dear, like perfume maybe?”

She moved closer, flirtatiously, but Roger took no notice. He was too busy sniffing the breeze.

“No, no. It’s definitely odiferous. Sort of a mix between the last rotting bit of carrion and the stinky Stapelia* your Aunt Irma insists on rolling in just before she comes to visit.”


Brenda stiffened. “You never really liked my Aunt Irma, did you? For that matter, you never really liked my family. I don’t know why when all they’ve ever done is welcome you with open arms and ….”

“You mean open armed warfare, don’t you?” Roger inquired. “Oh, let’s not get started again. Look we’ve wandered off the subject. That smell. We were talking about that smell. It’s the stuff of nightmares, of putrid, sulfurous depths of hellish ….”

But Brenda had disappeared into their hole.

Perplexed, Roger turned to find his buddy, Daniel, by his side, nodding sympathetically.

“Told her what you thought of her new perfume, did you? Candace came home reeking, too. Let’s go see if we can find a mudhole to get wasted in shall we?”

*The genus Stapelia is native to South Africa and falls into that class of flowers known to emit a corpse-like odor. See wikipedia, for more.


(This was my story for Roger’s Flash Fiction for the Purposeful Practitioner. Thanks, Roger! This week’s sentence or topic prompt – “What is that peculiar smell?” – is accompanied by a photo of meerkats (cute!) along with the  challenge to keep it under 200 words. Image credit: click on photo)

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