02 December 2011

"Parents Just Don't Understand"

By Curtis C. Chen

"I'm telling you, the contents of this diaper were weapons-grade," Sandy said. "I never saw so many different shades of brown. And the smell!"

"Will you stop talking about this?" Blake said, holding up her mega-sized cup of soda. Out of the corner of her eye, she noticed more than one of the teenagers in the food court eyeing her and Sandy. Good. "What can I do to make you stop talking about this?"

Sandy waved a hand. "You know how, when you've been away from home, like on vacation, and you come home and step inside the front door and suddenly smell everything you didn't notice before because you'd just gotten used to it?"

"Fatigue, right?" Blake swept her eyes around the mall. The RF overlay in her eyeglasses painted bright circles near the midsection of every single teen around them—sitting, walking, dancing to unheard music from their iPod implants. Needle in a goddamn haystack.

"Yes! Olfactory fatigue." Sandy spoke louder as they walked past a Muzak-blaring potted plant. "It's when you become desensitized to a certain odor, like not noticing your cat's litterbox because you smell it every day. Which is different from anosmia, a permanent condition—"

"You want some cookies?" Blake waved her soda at the Mrs. Field's on the other side of the food court. They had to make sure everybody in the search area heard their conversation. "Let's go get some cookies for you and me, and then I can toss mine. How does that sound?"

"So anyway," Sandy said, "this smell, I kid you not, the smell that comes out of these diapers is like an incredible new sensation every time. And not in a good way. How is it possible for such a tiny creature to produce such huge amounts of foulness? And so many times a day? I swear, it's like every hour, on the hour, poop!"

"I am so glad we are talking about this," Blake said. "I am so glad you brought this shit into my life. Literally." Come on, partner, remember the code word.

"But listen, we figured out how to deal with it," Sandy said. Blake bit her tongue to keep herself from grinning. "Scott had this brilliant idea last night, just brilliant. Total genius. Are you ready?"

Two girls, one with bright pink hair on Blake's left, and one in an oversized camo jacket on her right, turned their heads to listen. Close enough. Blake used the hand that wasn't holding her giant soda to hit SEND on her own cell phone.

A cloud of white incoming signal blossomed around pink-hair's midsection, and she jumped as the phone in the back pocket of her jeans vibrated. Blake came up to the table before the girl could leave, with Sandy one step behind. Both detectives had their badges out.

"LAPD, Miss Wagner," Blake said. "You're a tough girl to find."

The suspect, Clarissa Wagner, looked up, then slumped in her chair. "Shit."

"Enough about that," Sandy said. "Let's talk about the baby you stole."


Image: No diapers by Leo Reynolds, June, 2009