the day my nose died

By Kayleen Ellis

The token smell of coffee and exotic spices took over the whole area as I approached Argo. The steamer ran with a frothy hiss; a worker had her hands on her hips in jumpy wait for the steamer to end. The air from outside still stood in here, superimposed with the heat the area was seeping out. I acknowledged that this did wonders to my pepper-flaked skin.

I walked further into the café seeing more workers shuffle around the narrow strip, back and forth, up and down, in and out. I wondered what drink I wanted. I needed coffee, but I wanted something calming; coffee would be too stiff.

A new flavor, strawberry vanilla crème green tea, it said on the electronic billboard, and it seemed tempting, but I needed my signature drink to complete me: Hazelnut chai. And it smelled like they were making more too.

I joined the line, stopping a few inches from the person in front of me. My boots crashed together in the joint of salty toes and muddy heels and soon another person joins the line: an Asian girl. Her phone was keeping her gaze down, texting, punching away at Korean characters on a Samsung Galaxy five. Bored, I counted: the click-clack of texting, the dirt prints on the floor, the yells of the steamer and the orders. The line moved slowly and people were being picked off one by one. I rubbed my hands together.

The air was still cold, my hands whitening at a devastating rate. Sigh. Only two people ahead of me. The cashier’s hat was tilted, her shirt wrinkled beyond comprehension, but she beamed at every customer facing her. Some customers responded with a smile of their own. I smiled because the smells were just too great.

I turned my head back and looked around. I scrunched up my nose. A rotten smell is traveling the air, and I grasped my red scarf. It defeated the spices, killed the coffee, setting fire to the dough. It’s destroying the world of beautiful smells.

The Asian girl farted.

The fart rushed inside and proceeded to shred my nose to pieces. I choked and gagged, tightly wrapped my scarf around my face. The cashier asked me what’s wrong and I squeezed out a nothing. She took my order: Hazelnut Chai with lots of spices.