If only high school science fair projects had been as much fun, Nora might not be in the predicament she found herself now. Maybe, she would have gone on to college, married a good man, found a good job, and be living the American dream – a two-story house in the suburbs, 1.13 children, a two-car garage, maybe a pet or two, summer vacations at the beach, winter vacations in the mountains, and a decent retirement IRA.
Instead, Nora was experimenting with rotting food to determine which ones would best mask certain other odors.
She rejected eggs simply because when they spoiled, they had an easily recognizable sulfur pungency, and that would be a dead giveaway.
Also disregarded were the moisture wicking pads found in the bottom of styrofoam trays of chicken and ground chuck. The familiar gamey stench from old blood would only draw unwanted attention.
It wasn’t until she was making dinner one night that Nora chanced upon the perfect camouflage aroma. A meal of meatloaf and seasoned green beans would only be complete with a steaming bowl of buttery mashed potatoes and brown gravy.
Reaching under the kitchen sink, into the potato bin, Nora caught a whiff of something sour. When she pulled out the bag of Idaho russets she gagged on the stomach-churning funk.
At least two of the spuds had gone bad. Not only soft and covered in eye spouts, but so rotten she put her fingers through one of them. Thankful the plastic bag held, the putrid liquid was enough to prompt her to throw the entire sack away, and not try to salvage any still edible potatoes.
That smell though, it was perfect. It was strong enough, and unique enough, that it would overpower any other smell. Shopping around all the area groceries, Nora knew she could get plenty of vegetables for her purpose. There was a Farmers’ Market that weekend. Homegrown potatoes were probably even more pungent.
Nora wrote herself a reminder to put the reusable totes in her car. She was going to need a lot of potatoes.