the smelly kid

17 Sep

For the past several weeks, I have noticed a disturbing smell blossoming in our little half of the duplex. It started out as sweetly rotten, which could be easily explained, I thought, by the dishes I needed to clean in the sink. So I did the dishes.

The smell remained.

It began to evolve into something more sinister, retaining the rot while the sweetness vanished into a bouquet of dog shit.  Ah, I thought.  It’s  the empty chicken container in the trash, I’ll bet.  I took the trash out.

The smell remained.

It continued to morph into something great and terrible.  It was like a truck stop bathroom that  had molded over, or a million cat farts compressed into tupperware with a single peach that has seen better days.  It was blistering, scathing, but only when I caught it.

See, the smell wasn’t pervasive.  It wasn’t everywhere.  I would catch it suddenly when I turned my head in the living room, or when I bent down in the office.  When I stretched in the kitchen sometimes, or lay down on the couch to watch Pokemon 4Ever. In all of these cases, I would catch the briefest stinging whiff of the smell, and then it would be gone.

Now, Taylor and aren’t neat freaks, but we aren’t living in squalor over here.  I felt like I had exhausted my options by doing the dishes and taking out the garbage, but that smell was still there.  I had to do something, so I did what any logical person would do and I went on an Anakin Skywalker style cleaning spree.  Like a Sith Lord on a rampage, I attacked the refrigerator and scrubbed out the sticky places.  I took out the trash again and again and again.  I swept every where I could sweep, and in the absence of a new Swiffer mop pad I went at any crusted over bits with soap and a paper towel.  I cleaned the top of the stove and opened all the cupboards, one by one, inhaling deeply to find The Source.

The smell remained.

By that time, I was nervous that maybe something had died in our apartment.  A mouse under the couches, maybe.  Or there was some kind of mass hobo grave in the basement.  Or maybe…oh no.

Maybe it was me. Maybe I was the source of the wretched smell.  Maybe everywhere I went, people were whispering to each other, “What stinks?” Maybe my friends were too polite to tell me that I smelled like sweaty socks and old bananas.  Oh God.  Oh God.

This lead to another furious spate of cleaning, but this time it was with new shampoo and conditioner, a fresh bar of soap, exfoliating body and facial wash and a pumice stone to cleave off anything offensive.  By the time I finished that shower, I was red raw and sparkling vampirically, having scrubbed away a good seventy five percent of my original skin.

The smell remained.

By this point I was a broken soul.  My house would stink forever.  I was going to be the smelly kid.  For the rest of my life.  I would schlump around the street with hordes of flies as my only friends, and they would refuse me service at Starbucks because I was curdling the milk.  Because really, whether I was The Source or not, you can’t live somewhere that smells like pigs bathed in bad milk and not have it seep onto your person, at least a little bit.

And so, on Friday morning, I heaved myself out of bed.  I didn’t shower.  What was the point?  I was the smelly kid.  Smelly kids don’t get to shower.  They just accumulate filth, until they’re hidden underneath it all, like The Thing, or maybe Clayface.  That was my life now.  Doomed to live stinky and showerless.

I got dressed and went into the living room to find my purse.  I had dumped it unceremoniously on the floor the night before, so I bent over to pick it up.

The smell, stronger than ever before, punched me in the face.  I reeled.

Whatever it was, it was close.  I could find it.  I could end this olfactory nightmare.  Like a deranged bloodhound, I began sniffing around, half crouched, my hands fanning air towards my face.  Hotter.  Hotter.  Colder.  Colder.  Ice cold.  Warmer.  Warmer.  WARMER.  WAAARMER.  HOT.  HOT.  HOT.  RED HOT.  ON FIRE.  THE SUN.  SUPERNOVA.

Suddenly, I found myself nose to nose with a wall of plastic bags.

See, Taylor and I have a heap of old shopping bags.  We aren’t going to throw them away, because we are good little recyclers (most of the time) but we just haven’t gotten around to taking them to any of the stores that accept them yet.  For a while they were contained neatly in a paper bag, but they’ve since spilled over, completely obscuring a corner of our dining area, right by our pantry shelf.

The smell around those plastic bags was utterly horrifying.  Beneath them, I could barely make out the end of a brown sack.  Potatoes.  Oh, god.  Potatoes.  I prepared to probe forward, into that Cave Of Terrors.

“WHO DISTURBS MY SLUMBERRRR?” the bags roared as I began tossing them to the side.

“It is I…Jessica.”

The bags considered.


As I cleared the last bag to the side, the smell became nearly overpowering.  On the bottom of our pantry shelf was a limp sack of potatoes.  When had we last bought potatoes in a sack like that?  Had we ever?  I reached forward to pick up the sack, which woogled like jello and sent a sigh of stench up into the air.

Whatever was in that bag was entirely liquid.

In a single swoop I grabbed the sack, darted backwards (plastic bags tumbling down around my ankles) and lunged for the trash can.  Fruit flies followed in my wake, buzzing in my ears.  I clicked the trash can open and with a murderous slosh, the sack of erstwhile potatoes dropped in.  The flies dissipated, disappointed.

I took a gulp of air.  Beautiful, fresh air.

I was free.



Although I still have to take out the potato-trash.



Posted by on September 17, 2010 in Uncategorized


7 responses to “the smelly kid

  1. Sally

    September 17, 2010 at 11:59 am

    Would someone PLEASE give this woman a book deal?

  2. Terri

    September 17, 2010 at 7:52 pm

    too funny!!!

  3. Rebekah

    September 18, 2010 at 10:09 am

    Such suspense!

  4. sarah

    September 18, 2010 at 10:58 am

    omg. potatoes are the worst smell, seriously. seriously. it is awful. if any potato juice got anywhere, btw, it will continue to smell. like, in the garbage can. if you got any potato juice in it you will need to maybe throw away the garbage can. and on the floor, it will take awhile to clean it up. maybe you will need to clean it and then do it again later. and again. and again. and be careful about what you use to clean it up with, seriously. i used 409 to clean up rotten potato once, and it never quite worked, but now even fresh, straight-out-of-the-sprayer 409 smells just a little like rotten potatoes to me. this is the insanity of this smell – it is the worst smell AND it is an incredibly sticky, pervasive smell. so yeah – use a cleaner that you never use, maybe a weirdly scented one so there’s no chance that you will associate the rotten-potato smell with anything else. because, oh man. holy shit. since i had potatoes go rotten the first time, i have stopped buying bags of potatoes, and i never keep potatoes in drawers or anything anymore, always right out on the counter or a shelf where i can check them periodically to make sure they’re not going too soft. oh man. i feel so strongly about this, jess. i feel your pain. it is so bad, the smell.

    • Jessica

      September 19, 2010 at 11:26 am

      I think this is probably my most favorite comment ever.

  5. supesukauboi

    September 23, 2010 at 1:52 am

    Yeah, Jon and I had potatoes go bad once in a cupboard in the HPs. Not this bad, though. Ours were still semi-solid, but the black pitch they wept out of the holes in the bag permanently disfigured that shelf.

  6. Krista

    September 30, 2010 at 12:20 pm

    Potatoes-gone-bad is the worstest stench in the world. Ever. Even worse? When they have maggots in them. Whodathunk that potatoes and meat would have so much in common?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: