KYSO Flash
Knock-Your-Socks-Off Art and Literature
Issue 9: Spring 2018
Micro-Fiction: 253 words

The End Smells Like Gasoline

by Lynn Mundell

Late at night he climbs into bed next to her with just the barest trace of their neighbor Pamela’s honeysuckle perfume.

Underneath that is gin. She imagines years of smells, like rings within a redwood. His favorite curry. Sea salt from the honeymoon. Their doldrums: unscented, like an airplane cabin.

She lies awake, listing her favorite smells. Newborns. Her mother’s coffee cake. Bleach from swimming pools and clean houses. His sweat. Was there a scent for hope? Yes. She smells just-cut grass.

In the morning, he takes extra-long in the shower, humming. Making her late for work. He finally appears, surrounded by steam. Instead of evaporating, it thickens into clouds, trailing him to the kitchen, with her behind.

“Where were you last night?” She whispers, afraid of his answer, either way.

“Beer with the boys. You know that.”

The clouds turn gold, like an IPA, before beginning to sprinkle him with honeysuckle perfume.

“I don’t think so. It was Pamela.”

“Oh, for...”

“Just tell me the truth. For once.”

When she begins to cry, the clouds darken. Sheets of rain drench the newspaper he hurries to hold over his head.

“Pamela is just a friend. Okay, last night I helped her with her car...”

The clouds turn black and dump what looks like motor oil on him before abruptly crowding out the open window.

Faintly, she smells grass, replaced by gasoline—corrosive and sweet. Like from an old lawnmower that stalls and splutters. One that finally gives up.


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