True Short Story: All in a Day's Work
I’ve just earned a promotion in my company and I am on my first day training “in the field” as a property manager. My boss, Adam, and I are planning to inspect a vacant apartment. The tenants had moved several weeks earlier and abandoned many of their belongings. Our notification period had elapsed so it’s time for us to dispose of their belongings.
We arrive at the apartment and Adam is giving me instructions for inspection procedures, including the paperwork. We are taking inventory in the kitchen. Adam opens the freezer and finds several packages of unused 35 mm film. Since we can legally keep any items we find at this point, Adam puts the film in his car.
He then opens the refrigerator and quickly closes it due to a rancid odor. He explains that we must clean out the refrigerator or the smell will embed itself into the appliance. Adam pulled out a casserole dish with an unidentifiable reddish-brown liquid. The smell overpowered him. Cursing, he dropped it. It splattered and made the smell much worse!
As we struggle to keep our lunch down, we open every door and window and run out the front door. We discuss the possibilities of what could have been in that dish. We think it was curry.
Adam is now telling me that when power is shut off for weeks and food goes beyond any biology experiment, it is best not to attempt cleaning a refrigerator. Get rid of it and buy a new unit. He decided that this unit was not salvageable. (Oh, sure, now he changes his mind.)
Alas, we must go back inside and clean up the mess. We hold our breath, re-enter the apartment, clean as much as we can and leave the apartment to air out.
I am now following Adam in my car to the next inspection. Halfway there, he pulls up to a mini-mart looking rather upset. He comes out, cursing again, with a bottle of bleach and pours it on his hands. The unknown casserole had splattered onto hands and the smell was unbearable. He gets back into his car and before we can leave, he jumps back out again. His car smells. He goes back into the store and buys a car-freshener tree.
We get back on the road. Just two miles later he pulls over, yet again cursing. He realized that the rancid smell had embedded itself into the film packages. He unwrapped the film and disposed of the packaging.
I just can’t take it anymore; I burst into laughter! I pointed out that the unknown substance had also splattered onto his pants. There is no way to escape the smell until he goes home, showers, and changes clothing. I know he is going to continue to have a “bad smell” day. Luckily, he has a good sense of humor and started laughing with me, though I had to wonder if this was a normal day at work for a property manager.