As he held her awkwardly in his arms, he breathed her in. This wasn’t just a scent in a bottle anymore, this was a scent from a real person who was in his arms…of all places.
Tresemme Moisture Rich Shampoo and Conditioner, Burberry London Perfume for Women, Lubriderm Daily Moisture Lotion , feline dander
And there was more. There was her UPS (Unique Personal Scent) which he had previously been unable to gather. She smelled of clover honey, apple wood, and tarnished silver. He felt light-headed and his heart thumped in his chest.
Then she pulled away, her crying having subsided. The machine, which had been humming away, gave a final clunk and ceased. She dabbed a little of #368 onto her mother’s sweater and then a little on her wrists, and held the sweater to her face to inhale long and deep.
“I thought I’d lost her forever, Jim. But you changed that. I don’t even know what to say,” she said, tilting her head to one side and narrowing her eyes at Jim.
He glanced over at his shelves of little glass bottles and especially and #1 – the library, and his only love – and then back at Marie. “My smells are my life…and Mother of course. I’m…glad…to help.”
She turned to the machine and examined it for a moment. “How does this work? Can you create any scent with it?” she asked.
“I’ve broken down most of the known natural and man-made scents into their basic chemical components. When mixed together, I can create any smell as long as I have sufficient data for it,” he said, without a hint of pride. “I can create a smell for any person, any place, and even some events, for example the Christmas morning I shared with you upon your last visit.”
Marie began to pace Jim’s lab, her eyes fixed on a point in the air in front of her. He watched her as she paced to the wall and back to the machine and once again. Then she stopped in front of the machine.
“Jim? Have you ever thought of putting this Automated Smell–”
“Yes…that. Have you ever thought of putting it to commercial use?”
He put his hands in his pockets and played with a bottle of smells. “No, I suppose not. This has always been just for me. This is my life.”
“Jim, this could be so much more than your life. This could effect millions of people. Do you realize what you’ve built? A company like Henri could create any scent in the world with this machine! Jim! You could be rich!”
“I care little for money, Marie.”
“But look what you’ve done. You helped me get my mother back. What if your machine could do the same for other people?”
Jim had never thought about anything remotely like this. In fact, in his whole life he’d never done anything to help anybody at all, save his mother. And he’d certainly never dreamed of being rich.
“Jim, you could devote as much time to your smells as you wanted without worrying about having a job.”
“And you? What about you, Marie? Will this help you?”
She looked down. Her cheeks flushed. “They’re going to fire me if I don’t come up with something.”
“Then the matter is settled. We shall prepare for a demonstration. But first, a few notes…” Jim found the folder marked #374 -Marie Bellman –, jotted down the final three smell components, and stamped it complete.