Thursday, March 31, 2011

Smell, Not See

This day was no different than most other workdays. He watched the ships, went out on the boat and towed those who were stranded back to port. Hell, he even ferried a few of his friends across the channel to Bassin's Beach, a small island. The beauty of this party spot was that if the police decided to come investigate, they would be seen with plenty of time to escape before he would transport them over. He could remember the days when he too would have been over there, drinking the day away in the sun, smoking pot and passing the time in this tiny seaside town. Now he was the boatman, the harbormaster. Those days were gone, but when he gazed over at the party from the window of the tiny one room office, he could see himself in the crowd. Shotgunning a beer, jumping the bonfire, eating a freshly cooked burger.

Now his Bassin's Beach was his cellar. Empties filled a large trashcan in the corner, the benchpress was gathering dust, coolers and beach chairs, an old lawnmower and yard tools surrounded the work bench. The oriental rug that had at one time been in the house underneath the fine dining table, used only on holidays was stained and moldy. The garbage cans smelled strongly, it was Friday after all. He would have to go to the Dump tomorrow.

He took a bong rip and opened another Coor's light. Something smelled off, even with the scent of marijuana and garbage in the air, this was a new unfamiliar odor. He checked the rat traps, but they were empty. The little bastards had got the peanut butter again. He smiled as he recalled taking one down with the little B.B. gun he’d recovered from the boutique at the Dump years ago. But that smell offended his nose and in his less than sober state he became a detective. Looking for clues, he began to move some of the clutter out of the way. The lawnmower and garbage cans were placed outside, and the smell of the cannabis was fading. Now he could follow his nose. The old cellar was never finished when the house had been renovated, so there was a sizeable gap in the foundation he could fit into. What he found in what he had always assumed to be an empty space was something he would never expect.

A large Nazi flag hung from the ceiling, above a shrine. Candles surrounded an open box. The scent was stronger now. The only other people who used the cellar were his younger brother and his father, and he knew the old man was too fat to fit in the space he managed to squeeze through. A knife adorned with a swastika on the hilt lay beside the box, but what lay in the box was the real horror.

A human ear. There was a rotting human ear, severed from some poor soul's skull inside the box. His stomach lurched and he swallowed back the vomit that rushed into his mouth. What the fuck was Timmy involved in?! He didn't have a close relationship with his younger brother, but he never expected his brother'
s interest in World War Two was indicative of anything serious. They both loved playing videogames set in that time period. Suddenly he remembered a comment Tim had made offhand during one such occasion.

"Mark, I wish just once they made a game where you could play as the Germans. Imagine how many copies it would sell! Plus, it would be a totally different game. Defending the beaches of Normandy, preventing prison breaks and shit like that. Wouldn't that be cool?"

It hadn't seemed that odd at the time, but now he was beginning to understand that Timothy was not the younger brother he remembered beating up when they were younger. He would make him cry, then tickle him when Mom and Dad came to see what was going on so that Tim’s laughter would assure them everything was fine.

He stared at the ear for he didn'
t know how long. He couldn't bring himself to close the box, despite the smell. That was when he heard the cellar door creak, and his eyes opened wide in surprise. Dad usually worked late, and the only time Mom ever came down here was to tell him it "reeked of pot." He held his breath, and closed his eyes when he heard Timmy's voice call out for him.

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