Friday, March 26, 2010

Stink, Stank, Stunk

Whenever life tosses an inconvenient grenade your way, try using it in your writing. The more bizarre or uncomfortable, the better fodder for interesting story-telling. I'm already thinking about where I can use the following to perk up one of my novels:

At the office where I work as a dental hygienist, I showed up on Tuesday as usual. Nothing out of the ordinary as I walked up to the building. Opening the front door, however, was another story. My head snapped back as an extremely unpleasant stench wafted to my nostrils. Skunk! The receptionist told me she thought the little bugger had let off a stink bomb right below our front porch sometime during the night. When the assistants arrived, they were covering the lower part of their faces with their hands. The dentist we work for entered the door ten minutes later. He encountered the same snapped-head reaction I had. "This can't be happening," he said, "I'm not sure I can even concentrate, the smell is so bad!"

I didn't say so out loud, but secretly hoped we'd close up shop until the rodent under the building left the premises. And took his unwelcome smell with him. But it was not to be. We saw patients all day long. Everyone who came in the door had the same reaction. Heads snapping back, eyes watering, holding their noses. Now let's face it, even on the best of days, going to the dentist isn't most people's idea of Mardi-Gras. But having to lay there with their mouths open, having their teeth poked at, and having to smell that stench? Not fun. My boss, determined to win the war against pungent crimes, went outside with a sprayer filled with water and bleach. The skunk smell remained, but now had an April-fresh scent.

It seemed to be better by the time we left for lunch. But when we returned nearly an hour later, the smell hadn't lessened. We just had to adjust all over again. By the time we ended for the day, the staff, and probably all the patients too, had a collective headache the size of Montana.

The next day, I hoped against tiny hope that the skunk smell would be gone. Amazingly, it was.  However, a new odor had jumped in to replace it. My boss came up with a different solution to get rid of Mr Skunky. He put something under the building to scare him away. The only drawback was, the solution had a smell all its own...

Ever try to work in a building all day with the strong stench of moth balls?

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