And so life was different for Jim now. He no longer needed to inspect #374 from a distance. He needed only to stop by her favorite table in the library and speak with her. The first time he tried to speak with her after their chance meeting at the nursing home, he was very hesitant. He rolled the book cart in her direction only to swerve away toward the non-fiction section. He did this four times before Marie finally motioned for him to come to her table. He asked her about her book, Jane Eyre, and she asked about his smell collecting. And while they spoke, he sniffed with as much subtlety as he was capable. As the weeks went by, he began to look forward to their visits. He had never felt this comfortable with a woman before; other than Mother of course.
Then one day, something quite unexpected occurred. Connor, Jim’s coworker, attempted to speak kindly to him.
“Hey Jim. So how’s it going?”
Is he talking to me? I will pretend that I don’t hear him just to be sure.
“Dude, I know you can hear me. Sooo, how’s it going?”
If he curses at me, I will be forced to report him.
“How is what going?” said Jim, as he shuffled books from the return bin onto the cart.
“I dunno…umm…with your books.”
“I’ve shelved 122 books today. 78 fiction. 44 non-fiction. I’ve also shelved 3 audio books,” said Jim.
“Oooo-kay. That’s great, Jim. That’s really great. Way to get freakishly precise with the books,” said Connor.
“Thank you,” said Jim.
“So listen. I’ve seen you talking with that redhead in the reference section.”
“Is that her name? Cool. So what is she like?”
Jim cleared his throat. “She has an exquisite smell.”
“Ok. That’s not exactly what I was going for, but ok. What does she smell like?”
Jim walked over to the hat tree by the door and reached into his coat pocket. He returned with a small, corked, glass bottle marked #374.
Connor looked on with astonishment as Jim dabbed a small amount of the liquid into a Kleenex and offered it to him.
Jim said, “Notice that under the stronger tones of Tresemme and Burberry, you will smell hints of Lubriderm and cedar.”
Connor held up both of his hands in horror and shook his head, backing away.
“Dude. I don’t know what the f— you are doing, but you stay the f— away from me.”
I KNEW he would curse at me. I have no choice but to report him.