Mysterious Midnight Odor
I am hiding from Toby. It’s shortly after 5:00 am, still dark, Sam has left for work. He knows I’m in here, even with the light turned off, so he is stalking the front door, occasionally peering in the leaded glass window on tiptoe. My stomach flip flops. Nerves.
I should back up. I was awakened at exactly 1:00 am this morning, bolt upright by a pervasive chemical odor. I sat up in the dark and said, out loud, “What is that smell?” Not skunk, I know what that smells like, this was an inescapable, searing, poisonous odor that sent my pulse racing. Stumbling around the house, unable to determine the origin, I opened the kitchen door and reeled back, slamming it as quickly as I could. It was a hundred times worse outside.
Short of oxygen and gasping for breath, I called 9-1-1. This could be dangerous. Should we evacuate? I described the situation to the dispatcher and shortly two fire engines arrived with lights and sirens. It was 1:35 am. Sam, and possibly the neighbors, woke to red lights flashing in bedroom windows. How on earth did he sleep through all this, I want to know?
Flashlight beams crisscrossed our property and across the road, in search of noxious fumes, leaky gas lines, or chemical spill. The smell seemed concentrated in the yard between our house the cottage. In fact, it was nauseating directly outside the kitchen door, a fact I can certainly attest to. The firefighter in full gear had one word for me in my robe and bare feet at o’dark thirty: skunk.
Fast forward three and a half hours. Toby is skulking about the house. He catches my eye through the window and I can’t turn away from the misery in his eyes. Is that hair spray gluing his fur back from his face? No, it is not.
I am not sure which stings more. The stench or the humiliation. For both of us.