a whiff of strong-smelling soap
A whiff of strong smelling soap hit her as she entered the apartment. When he hadn’t shown up for work, three days in a row, and no one mentioned his calling in, she thought a welfare check was the only decent thing to do. It might have been beyond the point of appropriate behavior if they were friends, but since they were basically strangers, she figured it wasn’t WEIRD in a creepy or overstepping way to check on him. She was just a human worrying about another human for the sake of their shared humanity.
When she got there, the door was ajar. She called out, but he didn’t answer, a gentle nudge with her toe let out that stench of soap. Overpowering. She wondered, if this was what he bathed in, what must he smell like if he didn’t bathe. Did an awful underneath smell cancel out this awful floral scent to leave him smelling like a nondescript person smell?
But stepping inside his apartment… she wasn’t sure when it became trespassing and when it was still just a wellness check. Welfare check.
Too late, she was across the threshold. The source of the smell was a barrel filled with suds. An old-timey, fall over Niagara barrel, churning via some unseen mechanism, slopping suds out. Somewhere water was filling the tub endlessly, and so was soap.
The floor was a mess.
This was not what she was expecting. A body, maybe. Or an angry man. Or a sick man.
But not a… laundryless surrealistic washing barrel.