The Sweetest Stink

I wrote another ficlet today, adding to the wave of ficletty goodness that seems to have overtaken me this week. It was in answer to another most excellent challenge, "The Sweetest Stink." This was such an interesting challenge, but I'm not completely happy with my entry. I hate when that happens - it's an awesome challenge, and I know, I know exactly what I mean to write, the story is crystallized perfectly within my head, but then the words are set down and it's not the same.

Le sigh. Anyways, here's my sweet/stinky story. (Mostly stinky.)

Ammonia, Iodine, Dust, and Death

Gene shrugged into his coat and eyed the clock. It was two minutes before five AM, two minutes before his shift started. It promised to be a long one. He grabbed his clipboard and walked briskly into the hallway, his steps echoing on the marble floor. Today marked his 30th day as a resident doctor at Blessed Cross Hospital.

As he opened the door to his first patient’s room, the familiar scent accosted his nostrils. He breathed it in with a sharp sigh. It had always simultaneously bothered and tantalized him that he could never identify the smell. What was it? Ammonia? Iodine? Dust? Death?

It bothered Gene, too, that his wife would never truly understand what pulled him here. To say that she was displeased with his new work schedule would be the grossest understatement.

“I don’t know how you could be happy working like a slave. I’ve barely seen you all month!” she’d shouted last night before grabbing her bag and leaving the house.

She didn’t stay to hear his reply: “I just love the smell of hospitals.”

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