I love the sense of smell. But I don’t, for it is horrible.
There is nothing like the olfactory sensory human toolkit with which to test the ingenuity of descriptive prose. To describe odor and smell well means you must garner analogy and metaphor fully, and also manipulate it in order to plant a description in the head of the reader that would be lost if the description of smell was lacking or dully incapable of rousing familiarity with which they can fill in the blanks of an experience not participated in.
Smell is the ultimate test your authorial mettle.
And smells are plentiful when taking public transportation in Los Angeles, and I would presume, most other large cities in this country.
Smells come at you from all directions, and sometimes, when least expected.
Yesterday morning, climbing the next to the last flight of stairs before turning the final stretch before walking out the station, I ran into it. I collided with a wall, a smell so immensely revolting and putrid that it was as if a physical barrier had suddenly risen in front of me, one I could not help but to collide with so surprising was its erection.
This smell was mysterious due to its unknown origin.
There were no puddles or biological detritus that would explain it. I could not find a source, nor did I really want to find a source, but I was curious. What could emanate such a foul, deathly odor?
How do I describe it?
I’ve thought about what a nearly indescribable sensory monstrosity yesterday’s smell was. It was inhuman beyond our reckoning.
Let’s say it was like
ebolaized, liquified intestinal run-off stewing in a simmering cauldron of black vomit and orphaned fetal limbs with a fine seasoning of blackened sole dust of barefoot homeless black man (topped with a liberal layer of shaved Muenster cheese)
That was it.