I work at a morgue. Or I did at least. I know what you’re thinking. This guy is fucked in the head, he probably killed small animals as a child…Well, while that last part is true, it isn’t any obsession with morbidity that led me to work in a morgue. It was kind of a natural career choice for me. I have severe OCD, a disorder that predisposes me to being a happy groomer. (A groomer by the way is the person that cleans up the bodies all nice and good before sliding those suckers into their cold stoves—they’re not really stoves, we just call them that). So, do I get off to clipping toe-nails, shaving pubes, and brushing the teeth of the recently deceased? Sure, I guess so. It’s somewhat therapeutic—like I said, I have a psychological disorder that nags me to clean shit up—like an overbearing mother who won’t leave you alone. But it wasn’t just this OCD that made me groomer of the month at Gein’s Grove, it was another peculiarity—a gift to me, a curse to most—which made me the proverbial big man on campus.
See, a lot of guys get this job for whatever wacko reasons—maybe to whack off to the dead or recreate childhood memories with dead mother figures—but the second we pull the sheets off the first corpse…they pass out. From the smell. Yeah, I guess it’s that bad. I wouldn’t know, my nose never worked. It’s a thing called nostril defectus. Nah, I actually just made that shit up, I forget the medical term for my inability to smell anything. A disorder good for public bathroom usage; bad for the fast food industry. At a time, I worked at McDonald’s—cash register, late night—and some dumbass in the back had left a burger on the stove for like 200 hours. Needless to say, I couldn’t smell the fire brewing in the kitchen. Needless to say, the McDonald’s burned down. Needless to say, I was out of a job.
Flash-forward, now I’m “Living La Vida Loca” as a groomer in the largest morgue in the most populated city in the state of New York. Again, I know what you’re thinking…Bobby, it must be terrible to look at the bodies of people murdered by crack-heads and freakishly large rats…Well, you’d be right again. New York is a crazy place, and that type of crazy shit does happen. In fact, it happens so often that most of the people I know are either in, or going into, the detective or extermination work. That’s how I got this job actually, through a detective friend of mine, Jorge Velasquez. If you think my job is morbid, you’d think I worked at Disney World after hearing some of the shit he’s been through. I remember this one case he had, a serial butt-stabber. Yeah, you heard that right—a guy walking around with a knife stabbing people in the ass. Not so weird now, am I?
Anyways Velasquez’s work is pretty entwined with mine. Oftentimes, I get bodies from cases Detective Jorge was solving (or not solving). This intermingling of our jobs is natural and actually quite welcomed as I learn Jorge’s solved-to-unsolved ratio each time I get his bodies…(psst! Its poor!). Yet it was another, more unfortunate intermingling of our lives that would lead to my fate as EX- groomer at Gein’s Grove. There was another serial criminal on the loose—this one called the “Portsmouth Puncher”—who walked around, randomly punching people in the face.
Well guess what, I met this guy. In a grocery store market…while shopping for Spic and Span. I pick up the bottle, turn into the next aisle for Clorox (don’t ask why they weren’t in the same aisle) and Wham! A fist meets my face. I later learned that this guy was a former boxer. According to Abu, the market owner, I was out cold for about ten minutes. When I woke up, I had a bloody nose and a strange desire to eat curry. I went home that night, hungry and too tired to use the cleaning products I nearly died to attain. However, I was so uncomfortable that I couldn’t trust myself to sleep and breathe at the same time. I stayed awake all night and drove myself to Starkweather hospital in the morning—by that point my face hurt like a motherfucker.
The doctors told me I had a severely fractured bridge and that I’d have to stay overnight to await further examination (probably as to whether any bone got lodged up in my brain—5 Deadly Venoms style). Fortunately, I was okay. The next day I woke up to the sweet bouquet of flowers—lilacs, violets, and such. Yep, you heard that right. I could smell again. My anosmia (ah! That’s what it’s called) was cured. My OCD, however, was not (the lilacs, violets, and such were all out of order).
I reported to work when I was good and healthy. I pulled the sheet back on a fresh, plump cadaver and…Slam! I was back on my ass. Much like those sensitive wackos I was talking about earlier. And that, my friend, is the story of how I gained my sense of smell, and lost my job.