Future Smell

by Steve Mitchell

Then there was good old Fred, Fred Jergens – Olfactory Psychic.

He worked in my office and he could literally smell the future.  We’d be sitting around, brainstorming and running the numbers, and he’d look up and say something like, “Tandoori chicken” and he’d sniff the air.  We’d all sniff too, but there wouldn’t be any tandoori chicken smell – not right away.  Fred was usually at least three minutes in the future.  When he’d say “tandoori chicken,” my stomach would growl because I knew at that moment some delivery boy was in the lobby, reading the directory, holding a bag of tandoori chicken.

Now, some guys figured Fred just had a really good sense of smell and could smell the food coming even when it was far away, but I knew different.

I once heard Fred say “Phewee!” a full two minutes before Scott Becker ripped the loudest, nastiest fart known to man.  Whenever Fred said “pheweee!” I’d duck and cover, because I knew something foul was on the way – sometimes it was even from me.  I also once heard him say, “Ooh la LA” to Wilson, 20 minutes before Wilson snuck off to the supply closet with Amanda Crowe and came back smelling like Chanel #5 and hot love.  The worst was when Fred would sniff and not say anything.  I’d get all tense, wondering what smell was wafting my way.

Anyhow, I don’t think old Fred even knew he was doing it.  It was sort of automatic, which is good, I guess, because that day when he sniffed and said, “OH!  The Stink of Death,” he didn’t seem the least worried.  All the rest of us were sweating in our neckties, no doubt throwing off the stink of fear, right up until Fred dropped dead.

Poor old Fred.  He smelled it coming, but he never saw it.

© Steve Mitchell 2010