Sunday, November 21, 2004

Mr. Not So Stanky

When I pulled into the parking lot Friday afternoon, I spied something I wished I hadn't: Mr. Stanky's Stankmobile.

Mother pussbucket!! That meant he was inside, stinking up the joint, about to ruin my lunch! And I'd brought a slice of my wife's ham & cheese quiche!!

However, as I walked in the door, I wasn't immediately pummelled to the floor and gobbed in the face by the stench. In fact, I couldn't smell it at all. Had I been wrong?


As I reached the computer hall in preparation on going upstairs to clock in, I saw Mr. Stanky himself, seated at the little computer by the stairs wearing his usual filthy cut-off denim shorts and a multi-stained brownish T-shirt. Still I didn't smell him, and I was mere inches away from him.

That's when I noticed that his hair—which usually resembles a half-dead, 17-year-old, salt & pepper colored Schitsu that's badly in need of a grooming—was trimmed neat and short. Could it be? Could our dreams and prayers have been realized? Had someone finally forced him to bathe and get a haircut? Glory be!!

"Is it just me or does Mr. Stanky not stank so much?" I whispered to Mrs. A once I was safely in her office.

"No, he smells much better today," she said. "We noticed that too. And his hair is shorter."

After Mr. Stanky left, Mrs. A came down and carpet bombed the area with Febreeze Air Essentials, just to be safe. I wish she hadn't done that. I know I've sung the praises of Air Essentials here before, but I can no longer sing that tune. Oh, it's still a great product, but I'm afraid Mr. Stanky has utterly ruined it for me by searing into my sense memory the unholy coupling of his stench and the Air Essentials "Fresh" scent. Any amount of it sprayed just brings that memory flooding back and I am instantly sickened. That will no doubt be his ultimate legacy.

The story continues, though.

Today I'm in for a rare Sunday shift. At around 1:30, the door opened and a tall girthful man wearing a suit and tie walked through it. By the time he reached the desk to ask if he could use a computer I was able to do the visual math and realize that this well-dressed person was none other than Mr. Stanky himself. He's still not nearly as stinky as he has been at his worst, but he's well on his way back toward that goal. Unfortunately, I didn't have a computer readily available, as Sunday Bob—a fairly new regular patron who only comes in on Sunday mornings and who often, though not today, has a violently stinky poo beforehand which he refuses to dilute with air-freshener—still had two minutes. So I had time to examine him as he clopped around the front room like Frankenstein after a year-long rancid custard bender.

The well-dressedness was only a surface impression due to his wearing a suit and tie. The charcoal gray suit coat itself was frayed and wrinkled. The black pants were equally unironed. However, his blue shirt and blue and red angle-striped tie seemed fairly stain-free.

I sure hope that suit isn't yet soaked through with his usual air, because the only computer we had for him was one of the ones with a cloth-covered chair.

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An employee of a small town "liberry" chronicles his quest to remain sane while dealing with patrons who could star in a short-lived David Lynch television series.