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Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/1977597-Just-giving-it-a-Sniff-Test-982-words
Rated: E · Short Story · Other · #1977597
Entry for Writer's Cramp (2/16/14 due noon 2/17/14)
“I can’t believe it,” Shelly blurted as she walked through the front door of her Virginia home.  “I have been the butt of jokes and tasked with doing all the gross and smelly jobs for 35 years because I can’t smell and now… now….Now I just passed the first round of testing for a Sniffer job with FBI.”

“Yeah, right,” said Danny as he walked into the front room carrying a freshly mixed drink and offering it to Shelly.

“Thanks babe,” she said laughing.  “Seriously, I knew everyone would think I was crazy so I applied to take the FBI Sniffer test and didn’t tell anyone.”

“You what?”  Danny asked.

“I completed an online application for an FBI sniffer position,” Shelly said as she took the offered drink and joined Danny on the living room couch.

“Are you crazy?” he asked.  “You can’t smell.”

“Yes I can, just not what other people smell.”  Pointing toward the adjoining dining room, Shelly said, “Remember when we had that electrical short in the dining room?”

“Yeah.  That was just a fluke.  A lucky coincidence,” Danny said.

“No it wasn’t.  I could smell the electric and if I hadn’t thrown a fit, you would not have checked that plug and this place would have caught fire,” she said indignantly.

Pointing out the window and toward the large kennel where over a dozen Saint Bernard dogs could be seen playing in the fenced yard she said, “I was the one that knew General was sick.  Everyone thought I was crazy because he was eating, drinking and playing with the other dogs.  No sign anything was wrong.  Remind me what the vet said when I made him to a full round of blood and urine tests.”

“He had cancer and if you hadn’t suspected something it would have progressed untreated and he could have died.  I know all this, but again these are just flukes.  You can’t smell a chicken house for god’s sake,” Danny said.  “And besides, you have a great job that you like.”

“I know that,” Shelly said.  “I don’t want the job.  I just wanted to verify to myself that my nose works.  It works different than everyone else’s but it works.”

“Ok, so how did they test you?” Danny asked.  “What would they want you to do?  What does it pay?  Why don’t you want it?”

“Oh babe it was so cool,” Shelly said with a huge smile.  “First they called me and I had to answer a bunch of questions.  Then they had me come to an FBI testing center in D.C

“The test was really weird," she said.  "I sniffed all kinds of stuff without knowing what they were, just little bottles and boxes with really nothing in them.  I simply let them know when something didn’t smell ‘right.’  I couldn’t tell them what I smelled, cause you know I don’t know what things are when I smell them, but I know whenever I smell something, anything, it’s wrong.”

“They kept looking at me weird but kept handing me things to sniff,” she said with a shrug.

“Did you tell them you can’t smell?” Danny asked.

“Not to start with,” she said.  “But when the test was done they asked me why I didn’t comment of the flower, spice and other smells, so then I told them I can’t smell.  I think they thought I was lying or joking but I explained the whole thing.  I told them about the horse accident and not smelling anything since I was 15, but how I can smell electrical leaks, cancer in my dog, infection in my kids, and preservatives and chemicals in food.”

“Ok, so what did they say about the other stuff?”

“Well, I identified 13 of the 15 illness or infection smells they had in the mix,” she said as she rose from the couch and made her way to the kitchen.  “I need another one of these,” she added as she lifted her empty drink.

“You hungry,” Danny asked following her into the kitchen.  “I have homemade lasagna just ready to come out of the oven.  “I’ll set the table while you mix drinks and keep talking.  You’re weird but at least you’re entertaining,” he added with a smile and a passing kiss.

“Ok, so they said I identified more of the relevant smells than anyone to date,” she said.  “They want me to come back for more testing.  I am curious to know what this could lead to but I really love my job and like I said, I just applied so I could prove to myself that my sniffer works, but differently.”

“They said I could have my choice of assignment locations if I pass all the background screening and the pay, well the pay is impressive," she added.  "I just don’t know about doing this.  It is all so new and being government, I worry ‘FBI Sniffers’ could end up being asked to identify things that are either dangerous or violate people’s privacy rights.”

“Well what are they saying you would be sniffing for?” Danny asked.

“They are looking for sniffers to identify people traveling that may have infectious diseases,” she said.  “At least that is what they are saying right now.  But what if they start sniffing people as a job screening thing or when applying to college?  What about the honesty of the sniffing?  If you are traveling and get identified as maybe having some sickness, what, they don’t let you fly?  What if they are wrong?  What if the sniffer or someone just has a prejudice and says you have something when you don’t?”

“Hey maybe it will be a good thing,” Danny said with a sly smile on his face.  “Maybe you’ll be the first person to be able to sniff out liars and they’ll make you an honorary judge,” he added laughing.
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