Ineluctable Effluvium Essence #7

That’s quite an effluvium ya got there,” he whispered in her shapely little ear.

“What?” They were sitting side-by-side on the couch, not quite touching, but she drew away slightly  not sure whether to smile or slap him.

“I mean ya got those nice emanations,” he went on. “Like a bouquet of…”

“Say, are you sayin’ I smell?” She stared into his face. What was he up to, anyway?

“Naw, not like that. It’s a compliment, fer chrissakes. I’m just sayin’ I like yer perfume, that’s all.” He tried to run his hand through her hair, but her hardened beehive coiffure  possibly some demented hairdresser’s evocation of a 1957 diner waitress — resisted his most ardent pene­trations.

She pushed his hand away. “Say, what you talkin’ about? I ain’t even wearin’ no perfume. So I think yer givin’ me a line of bull or something. Besides, why can’t you just talk normal, instead of tryin’ to show off all them big words you got.”

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“Look, doll.” He spread out his hands palms upward  an honest man with nothing to hide  and fixed her with his best pained expression. “I admit I ain’t got much formal edication, but that don’t mean I can’t read the dictionary. Wibster’s. Which I do, most every night, and memorize a bunch. I’m tryin’ to better myself, see? Plus to make love in a high-toned way, not like those ignorant knuckle-draggers I gotta work with down at the garage.”

She stood up and walked slowly over to the mirror on the wall, balancing carefully on her spiked heels, adjusting a stray hair while struggling to think clearly. “Yeah, okay, that’s fine I guess, but if I ain’t wearin’ no perfume, then what the hell kind of boo-kay are you talkin’ about?”

“Why, that just makes my palaver even more compli­mentary. That means you don’t even need perfume, doll, you got a great natural reek. Say, why don’t we go commercial? We could decant it  your olfactory presence, I mean.”

“My what?”

He made exaggerated sniffing motions with his nose in the air, like a dog or rabbit. “Your olfactory presence.”

She stared at him blankly for a moment. “Ah, g’wan. I don’t own no factory, old nor otherwise, and if I did I sure wouldn’t give it to you as a present.”

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He forced a smile while trying to figure out whether she was joking or not. He guessed not. “No, I mean the perfume thing, doll. We could patent it or something, put it in them fancy little bottles and call it — oh, something sashay like, um, Gourmet Effluvium #7. We could sell it and make a fortune! Don’t that sound el grandé?”

She squinted at him across the room and decided to speak plainly. “The thing is, I can’t figure out if you’re too smart for me, or a total bullshit artist, or maybe just nuts. And my life is complicated enough without me takin’ on a nutso boyfriend.”

A practical girl, she ran the plusses and minuses through her head. He talked weird and seemed a little odd, but she had to admit he was interesting, and awfully masculine with those big hairy forearms all decorated and stuff. She especially admired his tattoo of a dragon doing wheelies on a motor­cycle while guzzling a quart of beer. That was real classy, like something from a movie or maybe the Bible or something. He certainly wouldn’t bore her, that was for sure.

She sat down beside him again and ran her fingers over his tattoo. “Look, honey, why don’t you cut the freaky jokes and just kiss me?”

He kissed her slowly and tenderly on the mouth  but then couldn’t restrain himself from commenting. “Dee-lish! That was some osculation! So, you wanna be my girlfriend and stuff?”

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“Well, maybe,” she said, “if you promise to cut out all that fancy talkin’ baloney.” A romantic phrase suddenly popped into her head; she tried to remember on which television show she had heard it. “Say, you think we were  made for each other?”

“Absolutely,” he said. “A match made in purgatory, if not higher. In fact, between my hirsute testosterism and your effeminate miasma, I’d say our relationship is  ineluctable.”