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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Smell (the sense of smell) (07/29/10)

TITLE: Mama Nose Best
By Virgil Youngblood


Pinto Poindexter waited in the deep shade of the backyard hedgerow. When his dad’s truck turned into the driveway, Pinto burst forth startling three squawking Blue Jays into flight. He raced across the manicured lawn as fast as his twelve year old long legs would carry him. Reaching the pick-up he yanked the driver’s door open before the vehicle stopped.

“Dad! Dad! You’ve got to do something. That wife of yours --- I can’t take it anymore.”

“Are you talking about your mother?”

“She can’t be my mother. I must be adopted. You gotta help, Dad.”

Big P reached for his lunch pail and thermos, and shut the door. “Carry that sack of dog food. I’ll get the other stuff. We’ll take it to the shed and you can tell me what’s going on.” He pointed to the bags in the back of the pick-up, and then tousled Pinto’s curly red hair before putting an arm around him and giving him a hug.

“Dad, do you remember last year when Mamma blamed me for that smell in the living room? I left my tennis shoes on the porch for a week straight and she still stayed on my case. It wasn’t me, remember?”

His dad chuckled. “Yeah. That dead mouse under the sofa was a real surprise.”

“Well, she’s after me again. She said it’s my shoes for sure; nothing’s under the sofa. I have to sleep outside in a tent.”


“Really. Dad, I don’t want to do it. There might be rabid skunks. Larry’s dog caught distemper from something – I don’t want to be out there. It’s not my fault. The smell is coming from the ceiling but she doesn’t believe me.”

“I’ll tell you what. You disappear for a while and I’ll figure something out. If you have to spend a night in the tent, it won’t kill you. Man, up. You can put Buster and Dolly in there with you for protection” his dad said, laughing.

“No way, Dad. I’m not sleeping with those tooting bird-dogs.”

“Hmmmmm. You got a point. I remember the time I took ‘em in the station wagon to go quail hunting. After that trip, your mother insisted I either sell the dogs or buy a dog trailer.” Pinto’s dad was quite for a minute. “Maybe you can find a friend to camp with you tonight. See if you can. I’ll grill some cheeseburgers and we’ll eat on the patio.” Big P looked at his watch. “Be back in an hour.”

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The next evening Pinto was sitting in a lawn chair in the shade of the red oak overhanging the driveway. He was sucking on a frozen fruit-pop when his dad came home. He waved and stood to greet his father.

“Dad, the pest control man came and checked things out.”


“After he crawled up in the attic he told Mama, ‘I have good news and bad news.’

“’What’s the good news? Mama asked’

“’There’s a dead squirrel under the eaves above your bedroom. The bad news is, there’s no way to get it out. You’ll have to wait for worms and maggots to putrefy him. In this heat it takes about two weeks before the smell is gone.’

“He handed Mama a $40 service-call bill and she lit in to him like she was talking to me.

“’$40 and you didn’t even remove it? Are you crazy?’

“’You see that sweat dripping off my nose?’ he asked. ‘That’s what you’re paying for. If you don’t want a squirrel graveyard up there, you better make that skinny-legged boy or your husband find out where that varmint got in.’”

“Wow. I’ll bet that excited your Mother. He said two weeks before the smell is gone?”

“Uh huh. Mama’s gone to Aunt Sue’s. You can camp in the tent with me, I guess. And, she said, if your dad doesn’t have a ladder, tell him to buy one.”

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This article has been read 516 times
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Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 08/05/10
This was a fun read. I chuckled out loud many times. Although the picture of the decaying squirrel was too vivid for my fear of maggots mind-it actually was perfect and all of the details even the maggot filled ones were spectacular.
Edy T Johnson 08/05/10
Oh my! A cute too-true story! [We've had a squirrel get in the attic, a mama racoon have babies under the overhang over the front porch, and pigeon nests that made our entry smell like a chicken coop---at least nothing died (all gone after tearing out all the aluminum fascia and soffits I'm sorry I ever had installed)! But, what a mess.] I wonder why wild critters find some of us so appealing they want to move in!
Sarah Heywood08/05/10
This was charming! As a mom of 4 boys and being blessed with the most sensitive nose in the family, I can relate to the mama in your story. Your mc reminded me of my own boys. Good writing!
stanley Bednarz08/05/10
Wow! This was so much fun to read. How do you compete against something so entertaining as this.
Lollie Hofer08/06/10
Everyone is in a good mood this week...LOTS of funny stories...including this one. I too hav a super-sensitive nose which drives my family crazy. Thanks for sharing of funny story...with all the laughter we should be a healthy bunch by next week. Your dialogue, especially, was well done and believable.
AnneRene' Capp08/06/10
Not having met Mama...was kinda glad to see her leave :)

This had a very genuine, relatable,and down-home feel. Enjoyably entertaining as well!
Tina Leonard08/06/10
I did enjoy the read, just caught the word quite instead of quiet other than that it reminded me of several encounters we have had with animals. I will take the dead squirrel over skunk spray any day!!! :)
Kate Oliver Webb 08/08/10
Yes I agree: a really fun and well-written story. Reality just explodes in it. I'm sure we all have our critter stories (I won't bore you with the mouse in the dryer vent)--but yours revealed so much about the family life as well, and I'm really glad I read it. Thanks for sharing with us.
Joan Campbell08/09/10
I agree with all the comments - this was an extremely fun article to read. Obviously spot on topic, creative, well written - hope you do really well with this one Virgil!