Post That Which Should Not Be

Any of you who haven’t already had your faith in humanity crushed might have assumed that I would be a caring, compassionate, all-around swell guy by the sole virtue of our shared humanity. At the risk of shattering that image, I have a statement to make.

I hate fat people.

I mean, that statement is only true in the sense that I hate some people who are fat, but… you know.

Anyway, here’s why.

A pair of creatures – I call them creatures because I’m forced to assume that they aren’t human for a number of reasons – wandered into the place I work a while ago. From their interaction with each other, I guessed that they were a mother and son – however, seeing as I’m not too familiar with the appearance or behavior of their species, I can’t be very sure. With a considerable amount of effort, they brought a computer monitor to the counter and expressed, via a series of primitive grunts, that they wished to test said monitor. Though the fact that they could only speak between gasps of air registered somewhere in my brain as disgusting, the first thing that hit me – actually a few seconds before they even made it to the counter – was their stench.

Sweet Mary mother of Cheesus, this was bad. I can’t even begin to accurately describe the aura of repulsion that surrounded them. However, I’m going to try just to see if writing about it lessens the emotional trauma it caused me. I have never in my life experienced anything like it, and I hope to never again – though I most likely will repeatedly in my worst nightmares.

Imagine, if you will, the strongest BO you have ever had the misfortune of smelling. Now, think about taking that odor’s owner’s sweatiest clothing, stuffing it into a sleeping bag, and letting it marinate in a fungi infested pool next to the river during the salmon run. For those of you who aren’t fortunate enough to live near a river with a salmon run, it should be noted that it’s a wonderful time of year in which the salmon-leaders command their loyal followers to throw themselves upon the riverbanks in order to drive the humans away with the stench of their rotting corpses. Legend has it that it was this selfless giving up of one’s life for a cause that inspired the first suicide bombers, actually.

Continuing on, imagine taking this sleeping bag into a sauna with you, sitting down, and promptly being sandwiched between two sweaty, bearded viking men. Now, put the sleeping bag on over your head, and then have someone force you to sell them a computer monitor. Even then you wouldn’t be anywhere near the level of intense stink that these two emitted – there was a certain thickening of the air around them that literally made it a challenge to breathe, which possibly explained why whenever they tried to breathe it sounded like they were being strangled.

My friend who had been behind the counter with me had acted quicker than I and had already fled the scene at this point, leaving me with no choice but to help the beasts. Not having anything handy to test their monitor with, I disconnected the monitor from the cash register and plugged in theirs. Thankfully, the screen came up and worked fine, and for a quick second I hoped I could quickly make the sale, causing them to leave and thereby ending my suffering.

I was wrong.

First, the creature that I assumed to be female approached the monitor as if to inspect it. She, and I use that term loosely, was shorter than me; however, she more than made up the difference in girth. With her somewhat loose, yellow-stained-armpit shirt that met and tucked in to her hot pink sweatpants somewhere around what I took to be her breasts, she made quite the fashion statement. I was thankful, though, that her shirt was tucked in, despite the sight of her impressive gut that this afforded; this was because her breasts sagged over her pants to the point that I could only assume they would have dangled into plain view if her waistband had been loose enough to let them. Her topmost area, which I assumed was a face, threatened to be engulfed by the flab surrounding it. Most of her features, actually, already had fallen victim to her chub, save for a vague semblance of a nose, nostrils, a mouth, and huge, bespectacled eyes that were magnified to an incredible size by lenses thicker than the bottom of a beer bottle. Topping all this off was a patch of unruly hair that strangely resembled a brown dust bunny.

Anyways, the fashionista positioned her face no more than three inches away from the monitor before declaring that there was too much light coming from the window so she couldn’t tell if the monitor was good. The only natural light in that store comes in through one wall that was nowhere near there and through a door that is mostly covered by closing announcements. So, I called her bluff and responded, “Bullshit! I just disconnected the register for you, it’s fine! Look at it!” Unfortunately, this only came out as “Should I move it over there for you?” Which I proceeded to do.

So, I reconnected one register and disconnected another, this time farther away from any sources of natural light. I guess her aversion to sunlight is understandable seeing as her kind are generally indoor types. This time she nearly smashed her face into the monitor trying to inspect it – I’m glad she didn’t, as I really didn’t want to clean up the resulting goop – and then just stood there.

And stood there.

And stood there.

And didn’t move.

And stood there.

I took the opportunity to leave for a while since my eyes had begun to tear up, my hands had begun to shake, and I had started to taste vomit as my stomach threated to send some up. I found my friend Peter laughing at my suffering from afar, as I would have done had we switched places, and enjoyed the relatively fresh air until I got yet another whiff of gross that could only mean one thing.

Their stench was spreading.

This ominous news sent Peter running as I, with an act of will worthy of a Spartan, took a deep breath and headed back into the fumes. I knew now that it was only a matter of time before their self-secreted perfume spread throughout the whole shop, and only I could stop it. Short of murdering the pair on the spot, which only would have meant more of a mess to clean, I only had one option left – to make the sale.

“The gray looks gray, not purple, that’s good,” I heard the female comment for at least the eighth time. “I hope it won’t give me migraines.”

Jumping at the opportunity to lead them to a decision, I offered up a bit of geekly advice and mentioned that “it’s usually the refresh rate that bothers people or causes headaches; you can adjust that through Windows.”

“No, it’s the colors, they’re too sharp on mine,” she said, after which the male commented that “The doctor said it was something about how fast it blinks.”

Not knowing which to answer, I chose to repeat what someone had told me and addressed the male by informing him that “Yeah, that’s called the refresh rate. Most monitors will support at least 85 hz, while yours is probably set on the default 60, which maybe could cause some problems.” The female, however, insisted that the colors were the source of her pain, so I wasted even more valuable fresh air attempting to explain the monitor controls through which you could alter the colors. She wouldn’t let me, however. She affirmed that the colors should be changed through Windows, not through the monitor. Ignoring the fact that it was the monitor that she was buying, not Windows, I brought up the display menu for her to adjust to her liking.

Naturally, she ignored all this and continued squinting with intense effort at the screen which was now within an inch of her face. I figured that explained the migraines. All the while, the male seemed content to stand there and stare in a manner strongly suggesting a very well-fed zombie. I assumed that he was comfortable where he was and was simply happy to not be required to move. Since he seemed content and wasn’t drooling on anything, I continued to try and work with the female.

“That’s definitely gray,” I responded as she repeated her astute observation that the gray was indeed gray and not purple. “So does it look good to you?” I asked in an attempt to move in for the kill – or sale, rather.

“Well I don’t know. Maybe,” she replied with certainty, after which she continued to stand there. I left again. By this point I had already decided that I badly needed a shower and wouldn’t be able to sleep very easy that night no matter what I did. I wanted evidence of my heroic tale, so I borrowed Peter’s camera phone and eventually summoned up the courage to return.

“The monitor’s $17 dollars, right?” the male inquired as I pretended to text while taking pictures. The price sounded a little low, so I took the opportunity to leave to ask the manager about the price seeing as it wasn’t labeled. The store apparently has a dollar an inch policy on CRTs, so I let him know that it was indeed $17 while I mentioned that they would be hard pressed to find it cheaper anywhere else. They asked about the return policy; I explained it. They asked about other stores; I explained the prices. They asked about compatibility; I affirmed that it would indeed work with their machine.

By now, I was considering just making a run for it. I never thought that someone’s odor alone could trigger my fight-or-flight response. Not only that, but I was inclined to choose flight over trying to fight against something that overwhelming. It was only then that the best thing I had heard that day graced my ears, which I was surprised had not attempted to seal up themselves against the foul air to which I was subjecting them; “We’ll take it,” they said.

I sighed with relief, sent the purchase that I had already typed up, and then was presented with a credit card. The credit card machine has never taken longer. Finally I got the required signature and held the door as they left, free at last from their stench for what I could only hope would be forever. I returned to the store, avoided the register I used to allow the remaining stench – of which there was plenty – to dissipate, and then finished up my day without once thinking that I did not earn my pay that day.

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