June 22, 2011
Dateline: B-Hut K-3
From: George “What’s that smell?” Shreves
Subject: Feet and Ass
Smells are a funny thing. They can take you back to an exact time and place in your life. The smell of lilacs for instance, always makes me think of mushroom hunting with my Dad. Everybody has their favorite smells. I like the smell of babies, with fried onions a close second. People have different likes and dislikes. Some like the smell of restaurant exhaust - some don’t. I know there are perfumes that some people love and some people hate. There are certain smells that everybody agrees on though, and there are two in particular that I think I can safely say nobody likes: feet and ass. Unfortunately, here at Camp Phoenix, feet and ass are the featured “odors du jour” if there is such a term.
Nowhere are the twin odors of feet and ass more prevalent than in the B-Huts. Not to brag, but my B-hut, good old K-3, stands head and shoulders above the others when it comes to foul odors. In the first place, these B-huts have been here about 10 years, and have had about a million different people in and out, along with assorted rodent deaths, mildews, night sweats and spilled water bottles filled with urine by guys either too lazy to walk ¼ mile to the latrine or simply couldn’t make it. Secondly, the B-huts are for the lower level guys like me. Higher class folks stay in what’s called Lego land, which are these stackable huts that you get ALL TO YOURSELF. Lower level guys like me and Sar’ Gilmore get to stay in the B-Huts, “8 to the bar”.
Over the years, the smell of feet and ass has literally permeated the wood of these barracks. This is especially noticeable when the air conditioning conks out, which is most of the time. They try to keep the air real cold in the B-Huts, kind of how they keep the morgue super cold so the corpses don’t stink so bad. When the air IS on, and you’ve been inside for a while, you become accustomed to it, sort of like living over a Chinese restaurant. But, when the air goes off, oh boy! Generations of feet and ass smells come crawling out of the woodwork and greet each other like college buddies at a reunion in Vegas and mix with the dank humid air in the B-Hut. At that point, if it’s close to time to get up, get up and get out! If it’s not, then you have to employ some creativity, like opening your deodorant and setting it on the pillow in front of you, like the forensics guys on CSI put that shit under their noses.
The big problem that I have, in addition to the feet and ass, is my cellmates, er roommates. I call them Rip and Brock. I call them that because of the constant stream of farts and belches that come from either side. As I lay in my bunk, Brock is to my feet and Rip to my head. Just as I start to drift off, the party starts. RIIIIPPPPPP says the farter from the north. BRROOOCCCCKKKK comes the answering belch from the south. This goes on for about an hour, as they rid themselves of excess gas. They really get this thing going, kind of like coyotes calling to each other from ridge tops. Unfortunately, I’m in the valley. Sometimes they get a rhythm going, and in spite of myself, I find my toes tapping along.
In addition to the musical aspect of this nightly extravaganza, there is also the olfactory component. As the Rips and Brocks increase in frequency and intensity (almost as if they’re building to a massive – wait, even I’m not going there), the odor starts to pool and swirl. So now, in addition to the feet and ass, I have fresh farts and belches added to the mix. This unholy amalgam of fumes, if distilled, could be put to good use in several practical applications. Riot control and pest management come immediately to mind.
After a while, say, 60 consecutive nights, this can get on a guys last nerve. Last week, Sunday in fact, Father’s Day, they served lobster tail as a special treat. (Actually, the menu said lobster; I would describe them more as a large crawdad. They also have an interesting way of cooking them, which is to boil them for about 2 weeks, until the meat has the consistency of a Super Ball). But, still, it was lobster, and I ate along with everybody else.
That night as I lay in bed, those lobsters started working on me. Not to be crude, but before long, a small ‘Brock’ had escaped, just a “whoopsy”, no big deal. A few minutes later, though, I let loose with a world class RRIIIIPPPPPPP. Well, my God, you’d have thought I ate a baby!
“For God’s sake!” barked ‘Rip of the North’.
“Excuuuse You!” added ‘Brock of the South’.
Well, I never!
The next morning, I happened to pass both of them walking to Patriot Square. They looked at me, kind of disgusted, shook their heads and walked on without speaking. Their disapproval and indignation were obvious. The real kicker came that night when I went to turn in. Rip and Brock had both bought stick-ups and glued them to their hooch doors, I guess as a subtle hint to me to try and control myself.
That night as I lay in my bunk, listening to the cheerful cacophony of farts, belches, whistles, snorts and wheezes coming from all sides, I couldn’t help myself. “Excuse Me”, I said, and waited. No answer. “EXCUSE ME”, I literally yelled. Nothing.
No wonder they were so incensed the night before: they were awake.
Me and Ronald will see you all soon!