New May Waht?

Ew, it stinks, the lady says.


I move away a little so she knows it's not me. I suspect it's the guy, not the cleanest-looking, hovering over the frozen bun section, stinking up the little piece of ground on which I planned to stand. I stepped off to the side - he smelled like a dead body - and I'm waiting for him to stop touching frozen bun packages and go away.

He won't go, though. He leans over, touches a bag, stares, touches another bag. Am I stupid? I'll just reach over and grab something. Wrong decision. Even a few inches closer and I felt like my nose hairs would burn off. I grabbed a bag anyway but it was nasty bamboo rather than red bean. For a second I thought about keeping it so I could get the hell out of here. Now this lady is standing on the other side of me, pushing me closer toward Mr. Stinky. Why won't he leave?

Durian, the lady says.

Oh yeah. I forgot how nasty durian smells, and New May Wah sells it on the stands outside. It smells like this. Did the guy take a bath in it?

I took another dive into the frozen bun packages, pulled out a red bean, and got the hell out of there. It was weird that I kept smelling durian all the way home, though. I even looked to see if the stinky man was following me. I figured out it was something in my bag. Can stink attach itself to a frozen bun package, just from slight contact?

It got me home fast, as I was wanting to say 'it's not me - it's my package' when I passed by people. I kept trying to outrun that smell. Durian is amazing to eat but it's not allowed on public transportation in Southeast Asia. It smells like dead body and feet.

When I got home nothing in my bag smelled at all. I took it out and put it all away. Still - stinky. Why is my bag, the bag I held against me while shopping and all the way home, full of wet marks? When did I brush up against something wet? The only time I touched something all afternoon was . . . I need a shower.