Spearhead from Walnutport

by January 3rd, 2008 - Creative » Writing »

Today, for some reason, I had to wear a shirt. This caused great concern initially, but eventually I picked one of the many that littered the floor. I would have been squarely knocked on my ass if the wall hadn’t been directly behind me. The chosen one smelled exactly like Walnutport. But this shirt lives 2 – 3 hours away from there, has certainly not visited recently and, to the best of my recollection, has never felt the grey sun of Walnutport on its grey cotton.

Let me explain why this is important…by way of an olfactory adventure. It is the same type of alarm that causes one to ask “Why does my hand smell like my ass?!” even in mixed company.

This particular stink is the stink of your family gathered for the holidays…true heart-felt love amongst kin…but it smells…unavoidably. Pigskin hands, dirtied by a compost heap gridiron, feverishly sweating over cheap beer cans nearly finished, thrown in the frozen dew of an early Spring frost, left to cook through three seasons of varying suns and set to chill on a Winter morning with a wind that carries their stench just so. Just so, so that it sits amongst the onion-grass and skunk cabbage in the side woods, plotting its revenge for the next holiday. It sits there, gathering in strength and scale for just the right moment. The dog, locked in the cage adjacent, barks uncontrollably and the reason for its barking is now obvious.

We are gathered once more, and as your grandfather threatens to beat everyone with his belt – again – the family is already drunk on eight different kinds of dough, including a tasteful little dough salad, the Manischewitz is passed around…a kosher wine for a very non-kosher family gathering…and I would presume – I’m not sure of the actual qualifications for this particular classification – a very non-kosher assaulting odor.

Grace having been given, the only religious ordeal left to endure is the too-firm embrace of Nana. The rotten potatoes in the potato cellar stir in anticipation and come to share in the affront, combining with the perfect amount of grandmotherly BO…love aged to infective infraction. This is the moment.

Ancient particles trapped inside its vents are given freedom once more with the first hearty squeeze of an accordion. A suitable battle cry confuses and combines the senses, and this is the final spark of life for the odorous swirl that has been steadily advancing, unnoticed. As you are sat playing with a barn door toy that entertains just as you’d expect, the nearly perfected stench mixes with the same people who were its original source and picks up remnants of its past holiday conquests buried in the shag carpet. Everyone is hit at the same time…with the same intensity…and with the same result, passing out as the game on TV becomes even more irrelevant.

This is a unique smell.

And it stresses once more the concern over why this smell inexplicably comes from my shirt. The only explanation could be a wormhole that sprang up between here and there, then and now. But who could be behind such a thing…and why? I have no alternative but to suspect Davros and his semi-loyal horde of Daleks…but just what could be their aim…this time?

I continue to wear the shirt…expecting the worst…but it was…in the end…my cleanest option.

I’m Thomas K…and I’m not.

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