Thursday, May 16, 2013

Senseless Challenge: Smell

I'm proud of myself. I've managed to write a #fridayflash for the third week running, thanks to am harte and her #flashsense challenge. This week's sense is smell.

Private Nose

Floyd poured the last of the coffee into his mug. I love my job, it's the work I hate. Behind him, Barry told Elaine, "It's going to rain today, mark my words. I can smell it."

"You can smell rain?" Elaine asked. "What's it smell like?" Elaine's tone implied she thought Barry was king shit. Floyd smiled to himself. Shit alright. Barry had suffered a bit of intestinal discomfort earlier this morning, but Floyd wasn't sure if it was from yesterday's fried-onion-and-sauerkraut street dog, or from conscience twinges plaguing Barry after balling the boss's wife—lingering whiffs of her blu mediterraneo arancia left an aura around Barry, even though he'd used every product from the Axe Dark Temptation line. Floyd smelled even more than that, but he was paid just to sniff out who was sleeping with Mr. Thompson's wife. Maybe it was time to buy a new coffee mug. Floyd did like the work.

"It's difficult to describe," Barry said. "A freshness in the air, but a heaviness as well. Kind of like a filled pool with a hint of ozone." He smiled expansively at Elaine. She twirled a coppery strand and blinked coyly. Floyd hoped Barry avoided her—she lived with three cats, a parakeet and had a pickling hobby, which she tried to mask by burning raspberry-pomegranate candles. Even her Obsession didn't eradicate those odors; they were melded into every fiber of her clothes. 

But Floyd wasn't here to advise Barry and his lust choices, though if he'd met Barry a few weeks earlier...nah. Floyd actually appreciated Barry's poor judgment. Right now, he owed Barry's libido a big fat thank you.  

Floyd took the empty chair next to Barry. "Maybe your next job could be at Ion Television, the new weatherman."

Barry shot Floyd a look. "What's that supposed to mean?" A bead of sweat popped above Barry's brow. Floyd sniffed. Maybe Barry had an acute sense of his own; he sure was scared.  

"Nothing, buddy. Nothing at all." Floyd sipped to mask his spreading smile. He bet Barry used more than three squares this morning during his bathroom break. Poor Barry, he didn't have a chance. But man, ten grand for two weeks undercover. Within three hours on the job, Floyd had learned that Mrs. Thompson was a bit of a cougar, preyed on the young executives. She was the bosses wife, but she was a VP in the company too. Hard to ignore for the likes of Barry.

His report was on Mr. Thompson's desk. Floyd would set up shop in the empty office two floors down. Floyd Webber, Private Nose. Not as romantic as Private Eye, but it beat working for perfume companies. He sniffed, letting the heady scent of ink from the one and four zeroes drying on the check in his shirt pocket erase the memory-smell of whale puke. Thank god that was behind him. He drained his mug. And this god-awful scorched coffee.

Floyd clapped Barry on the back, nodded at Elaine. "Have a good one." He got to the break room door when he heard Barry shout, "Hey Floyd!"

Floyd turned around. Barry sniffed. "Don't forget your umbrella. It's going to storm."

Floyd nodded and thought, it sure is buddy. It sure is.

19 comments:

Larry Kollar said...

Yes, I can smell rain coming. It's like dust and ozone.

Interesting premise, a private dick (pun intended) using sense of smell to do his job!

Sulci Collective said...

top pun Private Nose for Private Eye!

marc nash

John Wiswell said...

Weather is something I primarily feel, weighing on my syndrome pains and such. Eventually it reminds me to breathe deep and contemplate.

Helen said...

Very often I've heard it say rain is in the air! I liked the idea of a Private Eye that uses his nose - a sort of secret weapon!

Deanna Schrayer said...

Super fun story Peggy with excellent dialogue. Poor Barry....

amharte.com said...

I haven't been writing friday flash this regularly in ages either!

I really love this character; what a clever idea. You could start a new genre of mystery series with Floyd sniffing out the culprits!

Icy Sedgwick said...

I can smell rain coming too, as well as thunderstorms. It's kind of funny! I tend to experience life through smell quite a lot as well so this flash really appealed to me.

Kevin Michaels said...

Nice gritty, noir feel to this one. Well done!
KM

Danielle La Paglia said...

Private Nose, I love that. A great use of the prompt, Peggy!

Timothy P. Remp said...

Great read. Your coming out swinging with these.

-Tim

Eric J. Krause said...

Good story! Quite an interesting concept. I love the double meaning of the last line.

Li said...

Love reading stories with a new twist. My son used to smell my clothes when I came home from work and be able to tell whether I'd stopped at the convenience store on the way - and be VERY upset if I didn't have candy or gum for him!

Tim VanSant Writes said...

Nice bit of wordplay and a fun twist on the private eye genre.

Brinda said...

Nice one Pegjet - Loved all the various smells our hero can find :) and the twist of a private nose is great-- just not sure if Mr Thompson's wrath might land on the private nose's head!

Shelli said...

I love the play on words, Private Nose instead of Private Eye.

Chuck Allen said...

Ha! I love the concept of a Private Nose. You could turn this into a fun series.

Lee-Ann said...

Love the new take on the private investigator. And who needs romance, Floyd can probably carve out a nice niche for himself in that industry. ;)

David Gullen said...

This is great - a whole story, self-contained, and set in a wider word. Very entertaining and skilfull, fun writing! Love it.

Kelly Stapleton said...

Nice description of the smell of rain. I love the concept of a private nose! Great story.