In our local kingdom of stinky patrons, there are some royally fetid gems.
Naturally, the king of this empire is Mr. Stanky.
Second in line of succession, perhaps surprisingly, is Mr. Stankier who, while outranking Mr. Stanky in pure stank power, is still rated only second because, generously, he visits us only about a tenth as often.
Third up is The Sweatiest Woman in All the Land (ne, the Urineiest Woman in all the Land). I must say, though, that while she has been a more frequent visitor as of recent, I've found she no longer really smells sweaty or uriney at all. Maybe I'm catching her on good days, but let's hope this is a permanent change. However, even with her current diminished stank power, she's still third based on nasal-memory alone.
Fourth would be Bear Piss Man, who is no longer in the area, but ranks fourth all the same. He is so named not only because that's what he smelled like but also because we were pretty sure he had free access to such a substance in his line of work as a carny running an animal display at the local fair. Bear Piss Man became progressively more offensive as the days of the fair passed and progressively more insistent that the staff should come visit his booth at the fair. If we dropped his name, he said, we could get in for free. We had no desire to do this, however, because by the end of the week this guy could clear the computers of patrons within seconds of his arrival. We also learned we were wrong about the bear piss. By his own admission, late in the week, he actually ran the Freak Tent, which gave us all sorts of unsettling mental images to accompany his aroma.
Let us not forget Crusty the Patron, either, who I'll refrain from detailing as it is getting close to lunch time. (Okay, so it's only 9 a.m. here, but somewhere in the world it is indeed lunch time.)
And we've had an assortment of stinky drifters who smell of sweat, but who are often entertaining, so we don't mind so much.
Last week the stinky patron royal family saw a new and dangerous threat to their hierarchy amassing its armies on the horizon. I first noticed it shortly after arriving for my shift one day.
While shelving books near the computer area and comfy chair reading section, my nose detected the unmistakable odor of cat piss. I say unmistakable because, as the owner of a thankfully-retired former World Champion Cat-Piss-Distributor (the Official World-Champion Cat-Piss-Distributor of the 1996 Summer Olympics), I know it well. The smell seemed to be coming from a particular comfy chair, which disturbed me greatly. However, upon my next trip through the area, the smell had vanished from the chair. Moments later, though, as I was turning back to the desk, I caught it again, now coming from somewhere near the fireplace.
"Um... have we let a bunch of cats run free in the library recently?" I asked Mrs. C after returning to the desk.
Mrs. C shook her head. "It's him," she said, pointing back toward the fireplace. Sprawled there on one of our comfy sofas, practically on his back, his ass nearly completely off the front edge of the seat cushion, his legs jutting way the hell out in EVERYBODY's way, was the Coot.
Lord, beer me strength.
The Coot, it turns out, was wearing a winter jacket that has, evidently, been steeped in cat urine. It's quite foul and quite unholy and he seems to be either quite unaware of it or is quite aware of it but just doesn't quite give a damn. Frankly either of those options seems plausible.
So because of our stubborn lack of policy allowing us to point out to stinky patrons that they are making our very EYES BLEED with their stench, we had to sit in his cat piss fumes for most of the business day.
Two days later, the Coot returned, but no longer smelled like cat piss. Ah, very good, we collectively thought. He'd washed his coat or has otherwise been given a heads up.
A day later, he was back and pissy-smelling. Either he'd worn a different coat on the intervening day, or his cleaned coat had been given a fresh cat-spraying.
So far the War of the Stankites has not commenced in full, as no other members of the royal family have been present to defend their territory from this new aggressor. It's only a matter of time, though, before the battle for the throne commences and the valley runs yellow with the secretions of our enemies.