The call over the intercom alerted Gordon to a situation in the bathroom department. He worked his way up to supervisor at the Mega-home Renovation Superstore, and he took pride in his customer service.
Gordon rounded the corner and spotted a couple beside a display of bathroom vanities.
“Hello. How can I help you today?” asked Gordon, pleasantly.
“Yes, please,” said the woman.
“We’re looking at vanities for my mother-in-law.”
“Okay, and how may I help?” asked Gordon. As he spoke he got a whiff of something terrible. It was as though something died.
The man noticed Gordon’s expression. “You notice it, too? Good. That’s what we want to ask you. We want to purchase this vanity, but would like a discount for the smell.”
“Is that what it is?” asked Gordon, sniffing around the display.
“It’s awful, isn’t it?” said the woman.
“Noxious,” said Gordon.
“If you don’t mind me asking, why would you want to buy something that smells so bad?” His eyes were starting to water.
The couple looked at each other nervously. “Truth is, my mother-in-law has no sense of taste or smell,” explained the woman.
“Yeah, but her visitors,” said Gordon.
“My mom is a misanthrope. She hates people,” said the man.
“But what about when you go over for a visit?” asked Gordon. He didn’t like being so personal, but his curiosity overwhelmed his sense of propriety.
“You don’t understand. She hates all people,” said the man.
“The woman works hard at driving people away. She’s practically mastered the art,” added the woman.
“She has a skunk for a pet,” said the man, “and it still has it’s scent glands.”
“She brought it to our wedding,” said the woman. Gordon noticed tears forming in her eyes. He wasn’t sure if it was caused by the memory or the smell of the vanity.
The man reached out and caressed his wife’s shoulder. “The stupid thing sprayed the bridesmaids.”
Gordon hesitated. “If you don’t mind me prying, why are you helping her if she’s such a miserable person?”
“She’s family,” said the woman.
“And she’s loaded. We don’t wanna risk losing the inheritance,” said the man.
“What, Sharon. It’s true.”
Bill and Sharon eagerly looked at Gordon. “Can you help us?” asked Bill.
Gordon took one more sniff of the vanity. The stench forced an involuntary cough. “We can do something, as long as you take it way tonight,” he said.
Gordon led the couple down the aisle and back to the fresh air of the warehouse. As the three made their way to the customer service, Gordon’s mind wandered, ‘How much crap would I put up with to inherit a fortune?’