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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Smell (the sense of smell) (07/29/10)

TITLE: Stinky Thinking
By Betty Farrow


“No Scooter! Run!” I screamed as I dropped the pry stick and scrambled up the slight embankment trying to get away from the inevitable. As soon as I saw the tip of the black and white tail I knew we were in trouble. Someone had dumped an old water heater by the creek that ran through the woods. Scooter, my pot-licker hound, had cornered something under that heater and I had pried it up thinking we’d have a squirrel or rabbit to chase. No such luck.

I knew from Scooter’s howl of agony that he had not gotten away. A green odorous fog settled throughout the creek bottom and blew its foul breath outward to claim everything within reach of its stinky presence. I had not gotten away either. The smell was sickening and it permeated every inch of my skin and clothes. I turned to check on Scooter. He was whimpering and rubbing his nose with his feet and paws. He vomited. He rolled in the mud and down into the water. He stood up and shook and vomited again.

We were saturated with skunk smell. I finally managed to get Scooter up the hill but the smell followed us wherever we went. I rubbed us off with leaves and grass the best I could but we still stank. I had no choice but to put Scooter in the car and head toward home. After a few miles with the wind blowing through the windows, I thought maybe we didn’t smell too badly. Stinky thinking!

My wife’s eager greeting at the back door quickly turned to shrieks of “Ugh!, Phew-ee!” followed quickly by “oh no, you’re not coming in here!” She threw some soap, a towel and a change of clothes out the door and suggested that I try the water hose—on both Scooter and myself. “Oh yes, throw those clothes in the trash,” she shouted as she shut the door in my face.

Water did not take the stench away. By shedding my clothes and washing as much of me as possible from a cold water hose, I was able to convince her to let me in for a hot shower. Scooter was another matter. For the first time since he was a puppy, he was banned to the back yard.

Even the clothes I had changed into smelled. My wife threw them into the garbage while I was lingering in the hot shower soaping down with every fragrant shampoo I could find in the cabinet. “At least you can spend the night in the house,” she finally laughed when I emerged from the shower. “You smell like sweet skunk.”

The next day I tried every home remedy I knew to get the smell off of Scooter. Nothing, absolutely nothing, cut through the odor that was embedded in every hair on his body. The best I could do was to mask it as long as you stood downwind from him. Home, but not out of the woods yet, I thought things were improving. Stinky thinking!

My wife needed to run to the store for more vinegar and tomato juice for the dog. She only had to open the door of the car to be blasted with the smell. I don’t think she has ever been that mad before or since. She didn’t even scream as she moved back into the house. She just slammed the door behind her. On my way home from having the car detailed, I stopped by the florist and picked up two dozen roses. I hoped the sweet fragrance of the roses would overpower the not so sweet smell of Skunk Le Pew.

Too often we think that we can dabble in sin and it won’t matter. After all, who’s to know if we look at a porno site on our own computer? What harm is there in taking those office supplies from work? So what if I gossip just a little? If I smoke pot who will it hurt? That’s stinky thinking! Sin is like that odorous fog blowing its foul breath outward covering us with its stinky presence, embedding itself into our very character; until people can no longer hear what we say. They can only smell us. “And it shall come to pass, that instead of sweet smell there shall be stink.” (Isaiah 3:24).

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Member Comments
Member Date
Catrina Bradley 08/05/10
Very well written! I like the voice - very natural and comfortable. The double meaning of the title is clever, and the use of the title throughout was effective and not over-done. Your message at the end is also excellent, but some sort of segue would make the transition less abrupt and jarring. I really like this piece, and I'm glad I followed your "stinky" title. ;)
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 08/05/10
There's nothing worse than the smell of a skunk unless of course it's a wet dog who has been sprayed by a skunk. Your message at the end was a good one.
Verna Mull 08/08/10
We both had "stinky thinking" this week. See "A Parent Has Many Challenges" You did an exceptional job of description. I could almost smell the skunk, and, I've seen a dog react to that situation. The very best part was the ending. Really a great challenge of thought. Great job.