the smell contraption

i love trips to the hospital. the sites, the smells. the colours. i often pop in to see old people unannounced. strangers. they are always glad of company since nobody likes to be in hospitals. many are either so  drugged up or amnesious that they do not question who i am. if all else fails i say i am johns nephew. they'll say how is john? i say hes dead. their dry faces light up. old people are always glad when someone else is dead and not them. nothing makes you feel more alive than knowing someone else is dead. this is why old people love funerals. they are really a celebration for them that they are not dead. they beat someone else. anyway i kiss the old people. they love that. you get a lot more cold sores and skin eating bacteria but i like to make them happy so its a trade off. i rifle through their bags when they are asleep. under the mattress, in shoes. old people have money stashed everywhere. and random bits of food in tissues. they hate to offend nurses so lots of half eaten food in tissues. i eat their grapes, drink their barley water,sook their sweeties. i once seen an old lady bite through a glass. and not notice. i was both shocked and appaled that another human being could do such a thing. this is where i met my girlfriend. she was also a no-good grifter. she was going through an old ladies clothes and stealing the best jackets and handbags and hats and shoes. old people like to take their best jackets and shoes into hospital. they send relatives for jackets they had in the twenties. hand stitched. tailored. my girlfriend kept the jackets. she didnt often wear them. she just stole them. she liked the smell of old peoples clothing. not that piss smell or wet dog. the other smell. like fairgrounds, gingerbread men, carbolic soap, rubbing alchohol, a dry mossy forest, old books, remnants of perfumes,hot spice apple cidercinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, allspice mustard seeds, old mens clothes smelled of oiled metal. old cars, yacht varnish, wood shavings, cigarette butts, bitumen. the smell of a hardware store, hair oil. smoke, bonfires.diesel, black boot polish,vulcanised rubber,hot cement in the rain,old leather, cedar – bark mulch, old grass cuttings,paraffin……. she would keep all the clothes hanging in a room in her house spaced variously. they were all attached on bars that balanced on each other like a giant mobile all hanging from a large brass hook in the center of the room. she would wander through the room with her eyes shut and her arms out taking in all these smells one after the other. sometimes she would stop and hover in one place. maybe taking in the mix of smells or the sequence in which she came through them. after a while she would stop and rearrange where the clothes would hang and leave the room. she always kept the door shut and locked with a long key and taped up the tiny gaps around the door with brown parcel tape to keep in the smell. she never wore perfume while in the room. and i wasnt allowed in, in case i funked it up with my boy smell.

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6 Responses to the smell contraption

  1. [really, very good!]
    Glasgow Village. Local News. is still by far my favorite post of yours though.

  2. I lurve it!Ten bonus points awarded for the use of the statistically improbable phrase "yacht varnish."

  3. navelgazer says:

    ah, now. never expected you to go from no-good grifters to something so lovely and bittersweet. ain't writing grand.

  4. dewitte says:

    I too love hospitals – I'm surprised we never ran into each other while roaming the halls. I think because I like to hang out in the cafeteria. I'd go to see my mom and say "I'm going down to the cafeteria". She would say, okay, see if you see "DeWitte" down there. Oh, well. I never saw him. I think I'm under the impression that hospital food is good for you, but I'm not as sure. Any prepared food that doesn't need salt added probably has too much salt to start with. I suspect they hold back salt from the patients food and in order to keep their salt budget for next year, they dump it into the cafeteria food. I'm also horrible with nurses. some families bring nice things like flowers or cookies and they give them to the nurses and say "Thank you for watching my dad". I once took in some donuts, threw them on the counter and blurted out "I hope these keep you busy!" What does that mean? You'd think I had poured out a drink on the floor or something. I don't think they liked me after that.

  5. Lauri says:

    Wow, this is some wild wild stuff! I love it!

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