Smells Like Teen Syrup

On Thursday, I went out shopping. Thrift store shopping because this month is ‘Cabin Fever’ month at the antique market, which means most of the booths, including mine, are on discount to encourage people to come out even when the weather is crappy. Sales have been good—or I should say, stock has been moving, because between the commission the market already takes combined with the discount of 20% that I agreed to, I needed to do a little buying. So I headed into town to Goodwill. It was absolutely pouring rain, in keeping with the ‘weather is crappy in February’ theme (three days before it was a blizzard), and I ran into the store, soaking wet. After taking a turn around the metalware section, I headed for vases. A few months ago, I found a vase at a different thrift store, and recognized it as something I’d seen at the market before—turned out it was a Chinese vase from the late 1800s and I resold it for $300—not bad considering I’d paid $5 for it—AND had a coupon. So I’m convinced that the same thing will happen one day, just like I’m convinced every time I play the lottery that I’m going to win, but I never do and I’m always disappointed. And on Thursday, I was not only disappointed but also disgusted. Why? Because I was looking through the vases and turning them over to see it there were any interesting makers marks, as one does, when I picked up a small urn that looked like it might be satin glass. As I flipped it over, suddenly my hand felt…wet. Something had dripped out of the vase and onto ME. And it wasn’t water. No, it was some kind of weird oil. AND IT SMELLED. I immediately went to the cashier, holding my hand in the air:

Me: Do you have any paper towels? Something just dripped onto my hand from that vase over there.
Cashier: No, sorry.
Me: Nothing? Like Kleenex or wet wipes? Seriously? It’s BURNING.

He grabbed me a couple of tissues and passed me a pump bottle full of hand sanitizer. And as I cleaned myself off, I realized that the smell was kind of perfume-y, but not the good kind of perfume. The smell was more like if you said to an AI, “Design me a perfume that smells like maple syrup and gingerbread” and it gave you a bizarre approximation of what it THOUGHT that was. Or like when you walk past the Yankee Candle store in the mall, and the mixture of scents is initially sweet then REALLY off-putting. And I had to keep shopping with this weird, expired candle/moldy syrup smell on me until I got home.

Once I was home, I washed my hand very vigorously with soap. I dried off and checked but it was still really pungent. I took off my rings and washed them too, but it didn’t help. That night, I had a long bath, and when I got into bed, I shoved my hand in Ken’s face.

Ken: What are you doing?!
Ken: Yes, it does. Please get your hand away from me. It’s like a candle that no one wants burning in their house.
Me: I KNOW!!

On Friday, the scent was still very strong, despite me having washed my hands several times and soaking my hand in wine, which is totally something that normal people do. And then I had a bath again on Friday night, but every time I waved my hand near my face, I could still smell the combination of old gingerbread and expired maple syrup. Sure, it was getting fainter, but how the f*ck was it still lingering?! Was it the cockroach of smells? On Saturday afternoon, Ken and I were out, and I held my hand up to his nose:

Me: It’s still there!
Ken: Get it away from me!
Me: You are SO mean. “Meh, don’t make me smell you!” What a baby.
Ken: Is this going to be a forever thing? Like, you will always smell this way? Because…
Me: That’s not very nice.
Ken: And neither is the way your hand smells.

I have scrubbed it and scrubbed it, and even as I write this, if I put my hand up close to my nose, I still get a faint whiff of that oil. But I don’t feel quite so bad tonight though, because Ken just made coffee and it smells even worse. Maybe if I rub the grounds into my fingers…

Here’s a picture of Ilana in a box because a picture of my hand is nowhere near as cute:

In other news, my new short story collection At The End Of It All came out last Tuesday, as you might have read, and I was completely floored when I saw that it debuted at Number 1 on Amazon’s Hot New Releases Chart. And it stayed at Number 1 for most of the day before being supplanted, so despite reeking like the corpse of a gingerbread man who has been embalmed in maple syrup, I was pretty excited. I know a few of you have started reading it—I hope that if you like it, you can give it quick review. It would mean a lot.

47 thoughts on “Smells Like Teen Syrup

  1. So you never found out what it was that seeped onto your hand? It might have been some rare oil that one of the brand giants like Procter and Gamble or Unilever would have paid a fortune for! I know we sell scented canldes that smell worse than what you describe…. so who knows how popular it would have been. Ilana will have to teach Ody the time honored art of sitting in a box, because in 13 years I’ve never caught Ody in one before. Box sitting must be beneath him….

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Ah, I hate it when I get SHS (Stinky Hand Syndrome). But normally it only lasts a few hours – I hope it wasn’t toxic in any way. You haven’t been having headaches, passing out, waking up with a bloody knife in your hand, any of those usual things?
    Congrats on the new book – it’s on my wishlist; I also want to buy your other books first but they’re always dead expensive on Amazon over £19 each for The Dome & 7th Devil – the 2 collections of short stories are a tenner cheaper! (I know you’re absolutely worth it but if I can source them a tad cheaper elsewhere that’d be great). That Jeff Bezos, eh? Tsk. 😉

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  3. Yes, it’s like some perfumes fabricated in France, (I think? Or Newark,) from diesel fuel left over from WWII and still sold in America in ceramic 5 gallon jugs to matrons who in their dotage want, when they enter a room, to own all the air in it. To claim it as their own. You can taste it on your tongue and sometimes, when the light is just right, you can SEE it out of the corner of your eye. I smell your pain.

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  4. Unfortunately, I too have gotten unknown stinky substances on my hands that seem to linger for days on end no matter how much scrubbing, soaking, or holding my hand out the window as I drive home (not recommended). Perhaps there is a military application for stinky oil as a deterrent because nobody wants to get an unknown smell attached to them. It’s one of those situations where you wonder what the smell is, but it smells bad. You’re curious to figure it out despite the fact that it smells so bad that you’re all set.

    As far as the lottery goes, Amelia and I only play it when it’s above a billion dollars. I told Amelia that if we win the lottery, I’m buying a fire truck if nothing more than to have something cool to drive back and forth to the grocery store every week. If you see me driving in a fire truck, either I won the lottery or I needed something to occupy space in our garage. 😉

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  5. How does something end up on a shelf at Goodwill with smelly liquid in it? Or any liquid? Although I’m more disturbed by the idea of AI inventing scents. Some people are afraid AI will take away their jobs. I’m afraid of what AI will come up with considering how weird the pictures it makes look. Computers seem to think we all have seven or eight fingers on each hand.
    Also I’m sorry for not ordering your book yet. If I had it might have stayed at the top on Amazon a little longer. But special congratulations go to Ilana for achieving the rank of Toastmaster.

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  6. Oh man, I hope the “smell” has faded some. If not try squeezing a lemon with your hand, or vinegar and water. Or a stainless steel spoon, rub it all over your hand where it still has that odor. As you can tell since I have three boys, I’ve had to get rid of tons of weird smells in my lifetime, lol. I’m so looking forward to reading your new book, I should get it next Thursday!

    Liked by 3 people

  7. It’s probably too late and I’m not sure how it would work on your skin, but I’ve found diatomaceous earth to be a great odor remover including skunk smell and most recently the gasoline my husband spilled on his shoes.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. I’m surprised you didn’t try tomato juice, Suzanne. Isn’t that the goto for skunk spray? Or vinegar, which I think gets rid of every smell (although you end us smelling like a salad. And I will finish your book today, I think! So far so good. Great stories.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. It’s probably too late and I’m not sure how it would work on your skin, but I’ve found diatomaceous earth to be a great odor remover including skunk smell and most recently the gasoline my husband spilled on his shoes.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. That sis my Goodwill worse nightmare! What toxic waste gingerbread man died in that vase…wait…could it be you are now in charge of said gingerbread man for all eternity??? 😂

    Congrats on your story debuting at number one. How awesome! ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Your book debuted at #1!! Yahoo! That’s great news!

    The gingerbread/maple smell, however, would be quite annoying. I don’t think I’ve had an experience quite like that…but I have made a Note To Self when perusing vases in thrift stores.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Whatever it was that dripped out of that vase reminds me of Paul Rudd’s cologne in Anchorman: “sex panther,” illegal in nine countries. Ron Burgandy takes one whiff and remarks, “It’s a formidable scent! It stings the nostrils.”

    Liked by 1 person

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