It was about midway through the morning when Barney smelled it.
He reached his hands across to his opposite shoulders, one at a time, pretending to scratch and/or rub his shoulders so he could do some furtive armpit sniffing.
It was him. And it was definitely B.O.
He sat at his desk the rest of the day trying not to sweat and keeping his arms at his side as best he could in order to contain the stench.
He rushed home after work, trying to think of what was causing the smell.
It was disturbing. He had taken a shower that morning. He hadn’t exerted himself all day–he hadn’t even perspired that much from the heat. There was no reason for him to be smelling that bad. He had definitely remembered to put on deodorant; he had even bought a new, extra-strength kind and–
As soon as he entered his apartment, he went straight to the bathroom, threw open the medicine cabinet, and grabbed the deodorant.
And there it was, right on the label:
EXTREME FRESH B.O. Scent
48 hrs. of STANK!
He remembered being at the store, being in a hurry and only reading as far as “EXTREME FRESH” on the label, thought that sounded good enough, and bought it without a second thought. He thought he remembered the cashier giving him a weird look when she rung it up, but maybe he had created that memory after the fact; he wasn’t sure.
He looked for and found a customer service number on the stick’s label. He was going to call the number and have a lengthy conversation with someone about the following: What the heck “Fresh B.O.” is, and why deodorant of all things would come in that scent.
And he was going to stay on the line until he got answers. After all, he had time to kill–it was going to be about another thirty-six hours before the STANK wore off, and he certainly wasn’t going to go back out in public until it did.