via Daily Prompt: Scent

The Unpredictable Adventures of Inspector J.R. Pinkerton, Volume 1, Issue 1

He perceived the world just like anyone else, through his senses.  His burden, though, was in his lack of both vision and hearing due to an injury sustained in southwest Asia when he was nineteen years old.  Now in his thirties, he had become the first blind and deaf occupational health and safety inspector to work for the Hydrocarbon Inspection and Compliance Company of Upper Pennsylvania State [HICCUPS].

He had been unemployed for fifteen years until one day at a therapy session where he had been learning to read braille with his left hand and write what he was reading with his right hand, his unique talent for sensing odors was discovered.  His therapists had been using sweet aromas when he wrote the correct words, and bitter aromas when he wrote the wrong words.  Suddenly, he smelled something unusual.

He wrote, “You’ve been somewhere unusual.  You smell like polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons.  Also, go to your doctor for a cancer screening sooner than later.”

The therapist to whom he was speaking instantly knew he was talking to her.  She had taken lunch with her fiancée who was recently hired as an inspector for HICCUPS.  She wrote a note back to him through his braille reader, tapping his hand to indicate there was something for him to read, and broke down in tears.

The note said, “You are all too perceptive, my fiancée and I just had lunch together, and she told me of her recent diagnosis.”

He replied, “I can’t smell her over the faint petroleum scent on you, but I smell the cancer on you. Go.”

That was the day that he, and his therapists, realized that there was a place for him in the working world.  He took a position as an inspector at HICCUPS shortly thereafter.


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