I opened my underwear drawer and shrieked. “Terry! Somebody’s staring at me from beneath my boxers!”
“Shh. You’ll wake the baby,” my wife whispered.
“The baby’s 32 years old and lives 10 miles away,” I shouted.
Terry patted my forearm. “What has you so worked up?”
I slowly backed away from the chest of drawers. “There’s a pair of smoldering eyes peeking from beneath my Fruit of the Looms.”
Terry reached into the open drawer. “This?” A cologne ad torn from a magazine flapped in her fingers.
And there he was. Staring at me again. A ruggedly muscled guy with disheveled blond hair. An unbuttoned cotton shirt. Puppy dog eyes probably intended to make female hearts flutter.
My heart didn’t, but my nostrils twitched and my throat cinched in the waves of scratch-and-sniff fumes rolling off the magazine page.
“I did not put that in my underwear drawer,” I declared between fits of coughing.
“You wouldn’t think of such a thing,” she said.
“Of course I wouldn’t,” I snapped.
Terry dropped the page back into the open drawer. “That’s why I had to do it. I always have to do everything.”
I tried to shake cobwebs and reek from my head. “Why would I fill my chest of drawers with pictures of male models? To teach my T-shirts to bulge in different places?”
“You act like you’ve never used a sachet.”
I pointed at the picture. “Mr. Smoky Eyes can sashay right on out of there.”
“No, a sachet,” she said.
“Stop talking in riddles.”
She sighed. (She sighs a lot. I don’t know why.) “A sachet is a scented pouch to keep your unmentionables smelling fresh.”
“Nobody mentioned that.” I rubbed my chin. “I’m getting gloves and a trash bag. Everything in that drawer needs to be sanitized. Or thrown away.”
Terry slammed the drawer. “Sachets keep laundry smelling fresh. Isn’t your day so much brighter when bouquets of heavenly scents caress you in the morning?”
I sensed a trick question. “Um, well, I suppose sachets could have improved the atmosphere of the junior high locker room.”
Terry nodded. “I heard boys’ locker rooms stank of moldy towels and dirty socks.”
“No, you barely noticed normal scents like that. I mean the cologne. Junior high was when most of us started using it. Only we didn’t know how many gallons to pour on.”
Terry cringed. “A little squirt goes a long way.”
“Clear into next Tuesday, usually,” I said. “You had to crawl out of boys’ locker rooms to stay below the cloud level. Anyone who didn’t passed out. That’s what happened to Stinky Robinson.”
“Did he use the most cologne.”
“No, Stinky didn’t use any,” I said. “One day, Stinky stood up in the locker room. But only for seven seconds. We had to call the ambulance.”
“Did the paramedics have to go in and revive him?” Terry asked.
“No adult dared go into the boys’ locker room. We had to tie a rope around his ankle and the paramedics dragged him out,” I said.
“You’re making that up.” Terry rolled her eyes. “How would sachets have helped?”
“It would have been less toxic to rub one of these magazine ads across our necks.”
“So you’ll put scented papers among your own drawers now?” she asked.
“Absolutely not,” I said. I clawed through the other drawers to find every last one of those nasty things. “Where do we keep the envelopes?”
“Why?” she asked.
“I’m mailing these things to the junior high school. Ol’ Steamy Eyes gives me indigestion, but maybe he can save Stinky’s grandson.”
SNIFF OUT COLE at firstname.lastname@example.org, on the Burton W. Cole page on Facebook or @BurtonWCole on Twitter