I was waiting in the checkout line at my local Walgreens store after work tonight, a bag of York peppermint patties clenched tightly in my hand as a familiar stench invaded my nostrils. The guy in front of me reeked of cigarette smoke, so much that it made me wonder if the guy had bathed in a bottle of Eau de Foulness all day. Perhaps it was a nicotine induced hallucination, but I swear that the guy’s cigarette B.O. cloud had gathered in the shape of a hand and was giving me the half peace sign. It was all I could do to keep from gagging into the magazine stand next to me, my hand raised casually in front of my nose in an attempt to divert the smell, my breath held. I turned a little to see if anyone behind me was suffering along with me, only to get whacked by the same stench coming from the woman behind me. In utter resignation, I turned and pinched my nose, my mind cursing the woman at the front of the line who was quibbling with the cashier over a few coupons.
Hurry hurry hurry, my mind begged in its oxygen deprived state. There was no way that I was leaving. Those peppermint patties are important to my condo’s décor, their cheery foil packages bring joyful sparkle to the crystal bowl on my dining room table. They are a necessity, a need, not a want. They might also be my favorite snack. Maybe.
Finally, the cashier managed to appease the penny pincher at the front of the line, Mister Smells of Camels paid for his purchases and left. It was my turn to pay, with only Marlboro Momma’s odor left to deal with. The cashier greeted me with a smile and asked how I was doing.
“Ibe obe kayb”, I replied while attempting to continue to hold my breath, no longer able to hold my nose while digging my debit card out of my wallet. She frowned and wrinkled her nose at me, obviously blaming me for the unfriendly air quality. Winking, I turned towards the door and thumbed behind me in an attempt to implicate Marlboro Momma. Honestly, I am not sure that the cashier believed me, but she probably did when M.M. ordered a pack of cigs as I walked away with my well earned peppermint pattie prize. I staggered to my car, reeling from cigarette B.O. overdose, climbed in, closed the door, started the car and turned on the air conditioning.
Was Mister Smells of Camels hiding in my back seat? In horror, I realized that my two fellow customer’s had successfully managed to permeate my clothing and person with their odor. Lovely. Not to waste my years of watching MacGyver, I devised the perfect fix.
It took the whole bag of Yorks….