I had to clean the fridge. Well I’m actually getting ahead of myself. A savage aroma had been wafting throughout the house for a few days. An unusual one. Something warm, sweet and deeply unpleasant. Days of investigating, well, walking around musing over the very nature of the smell, and smells in particular, followed. Books were moved, drawers opened, and trash ejected from the premises in a fruitless attempt to uncover the culprit.
I put it to the back of my mind, but ever alert I managed to marry the onset of the smell with the making of tea. Sleuthing alerted me to the fact that one of the optional ingredients in tea, was kept in the fridge. It was no coincidence.
I opened the fridge and the room wept. Pictures melted in their frames and teared down the walls. The neighbor’s dogs barked. Stray cats wailed. Car and house alarms spontaneously groaned. I could see the air, and it seemed wet.
I was now almost positive that the smell lived in the fridge. As I reconstructed the wilting objects in the room I decided that action was needed. The fridge needed to be “taken care of”.
Cleaning the fridge would be easy. There had to have been something truly awful in there. Something unruly, ripe and overwhelming. If I found it, and disposed of it, life could go back to normal. Friends might even deign to come over for the occasional soireé, as was their wont during the glory days, pre fridge rot.
The chicken was the first to be vetted. The idea was to go with my gut instincts. Labels will lie, they always lie. I was going to bypass packaging and use memory and smell. Smells good was good, smells bad was killed, outside.”Don’t remember buying that” was given a soldier’s death, and buried.
The chicken tried to kill me. I held it close to smell, a bad idea as if I’m honest I did not remember where it had come from, and the pungent evil it emitted could not be described as smell alone.
Chicken really goes to town if left by itself for a few days. It swans about in the fridge and makes friends with some bacteria. They have some cocktails, lose their inhibitions, and then everyone at the party drink themselves to death. All the while it sits there, flaccid and calm, seeming a danger to neither itself nor others. It could even be sleeping.
The fumes emanating from the flesh were visible. Each strand of malodorous air was piloted by a bug eyed Manga villain. They screamed past me, spiraling around the kitchen, seeing how far from home their gas tanks would take them. The living room? The bedroom?! The smell was very much alive.
The chicken had been where the smell had originated, but as it grew powerful, it demanded more room. So pungent was the stench that the other food had been corrupted. The butter waved a white flag. The cheese sobbed. The bacon, shrink wrapped, just stared at me, chewing gum, with hands on hips, as if to say “but your still gonna eat me though, right?”
The bacon was right, he would be eaten. Immediately. As for the rest of the inhabitants of the fridge? There could be no witnesses. No survivors. Fridge genocide.
The chicken and its cohorts were escorted off the premises and sealed in an infinite number of plastic bags, then placed in an ornate box upon which I engraved a large “P” and a picture of a girl. The box was then laid out in a park under a tree, for curious children to find.
The violent force was gone but its legacy remained. On went the gloves, and a scrubber I became. There were no obvious places to clean. There were no visible clues. The chicken had not, for example, forgotten to wipe its feet when it came home from work and stamped stank marks hither and thither. The surfaces were shiny and new looking. I was transported into one of those ads where even though you can’t see them, germs are all over the floor and tables. Worse, my germs appeared to have vomited on everything.
Scrubbing did no more than make me feel weak. All I managed to do was make the inside of the fridge wet. Opening the door was still likely to yield the same results as asking a vagabond to belch in your face.
Well, unlike the movies, in the real world there is no happy ending. I didn’t slip and accidentally kiss the fridge and turn it into a pile of money. Nor did the fridge meet a fine lady fridge and settle down and have a litter of healthy magnets.
As I sit here today, I still fear the fridge. It has been corrupted, violated even, on a subatomic level. I can’t make tea for any brave guests, as the opening of the fridge is now deemed an offense against the State.
To put this dilemma into perspective, aside from fire, my most recent idea to combat the smell was to put one of those air fresheners you see hanging off rear view mirrors where the chicken used to be.
I’ll probably just sell the house.