An ominous thick cloud lingers over Dovecot Towers, and it stinks. But then, Dovecot Towers often smells bad. Some of this is caused by a malodorous and determined criminal lurking in our midst: the guerrilla farter. Pernicious flatulence is so anti social. Farting in the lift should be a hanging offence, but hanging is too good for them. Perpetrators exit the lift wearing a smug and knowing grin, just before I enter and nearly die. All lifts should be fitted with those oxygen masks that drop from the ceiling in airplanes, to save our lungs from dissolving in an acrid pall of human methane.
As if that’s not bad enough, there then follows the humiliation of another stranger stepping into the lift, recoiling, grasping at their throat and retching, clawing and banging on the door for release, screaming: ‘SWEET JESUS LET ME OUT!!!’
Their piercing, hate-filled eyes betray the fact that they are blaming me!
So then I stutter unconvincingly: ‘Oh god - it’s horrible isn’t it? It wasn’t me…no really…honest…it wasn’t…DEAR GOD - PLEASE BELIEVE ME!!!!’
But they glare at me again, clearly sceptical about my now desperate please of innocence. Then I become frantic; I couldn’t live another day if anyone actually thought a delicate thing like me was responsible for a pungent, vituperative stink like that. Mind you – that snotty woman on the floor below me? I bet it’s her.
Along the corridors, you can usually inhale the smell of simple quotidian existence, like cooking, takeaways and smoke. It’s a not entirely unpleasant proof of life, and since smaller flats have bathrooms next to the front door, you can occasionally even smell bubble bath, which is proof of bathing. On a Saturday and Sunday morning, there’s an odour of vomit, alongside the smell of skunk, and the accompanying, fruitless perfume of supposed skunk defeaters, like incense. Nice try.
As of last week there’s a new stench around here, which is worse than the fetid odour of bin rooms. We are banned from starting a compost heap (why would you want to in a flat?) but some residents seem to stack up vegetable matter. No, worse than that, it’s the air freshener used to hide the fetid odour of the bin rooms; a sticky, treacly, sickly, syrupy sweet aroma. It’s horrible. I haven’t seen the cleaner around as much as usual, and I suspect his hours have been cut, and that air freshener cubes are the management company’s attempt at disguising their mean spirited short sightedness. Either that or someone’s stashing a corpse. Could be either, really.
This morning there was another new addition to our repository of fragrance. The entire building reeked of beer. On the ground floor, outside the lift, someone had dropped an entire cardboard carton of Stella, which had smashed. What a waste. Of course, some people might return to their flat for a mop and bucket and start cleaning, but this is Dovecot Towers, and that would count as deviant behaviour. Mind you, there was a time when a large pool of free beer would have seen most residents running home for a straw.