The Smell by Hank Shepherd

Helen stands up with a quizzical look on her face.

“Do you smell that?” She takes one whiff. Two. “I smell something.”

The turkey sandwich’s dry. Needs something. “What?”

“There’s–” She flares her nostrils. “Something that stinks in here.”

Mustard, that’s it. That’s what it needs “Where’s it coming from?”

Helen’s face crinkles further as she walks around the sofa. She gives the grandfather clock a smell and then heads to the mantle. She glances at the wedding photo, Aunt Sally’s urn, god rest her, and ducks her head into the fireplace.

On second thought, mayo, not mustard. That’s what’s wrong here. Needs a smear of Helman’s. “I don’t smell anything.”

My missus pulls her head out of the hearth, puzzled. “It stinks, whatever it is.”

I was trying to cut back on mayo, doctor’s orders. Figured the oven roasted turkey was fine without it. Usually was pretty moist, but for whatever reason, I was getting no love from this sandwich. Just a dry mess. “Are you sure you’re not just imagining it?”

“I’m positive, Stan. I can smell it.” She flutters that big schnoz of hers. “There could be a gas leak.”

“There’s no leak.” I take another bite and focus on the Monk rerun on the TV.

She starts back to her armchair and knitting needles when she stops midstride and gives me a look.

One whiff. Two.

Helen frowns and gives me that pitying look I couldn’t stand. “Stan. Have you checked your bag?”

Wish I had a steak instead of a bland, dry turkey sandwich. Big fat ribeye, rare. With mashed potatoes. And scotch.

“Stan. Is it leaking again?”

Stupid doctor. Stupid colostomy.

Hank Shepherd is just a queer writer from the suburbs of Chicago who likes to write about food, sex and nihilism. His work has previously been featured in (b)OINK. @Shepherd_Writes