A Short Story For Saturday

Andrew Sullivan —  Nov 16 2013 @ 2:31pm

A passage from “Find the Bad Guy” by Jeffrey Eugenides:

I remember going into people’s houses as a kid and thinking, Can’t they smell how they smell? Some houses were worse than others. The Pruitts next door had a greasy, chuck-wagon odor, tolerable enough. The Willots, who ran that fencing academy in their rec room, smelled like skunk cabbage. You could never mention the smells to your friends, because they were part of it, too. Was it hygiene? Or was it, you know, glandular, and the way each family smelled had to do with bodily functions deep inside their bodies? The whole thing sort of turned your stomach, the more you thought about it.

Now I live in an old house that probably smells funny to outsiders.

Or used to live. At the present time, I’m in my front yard, hiding out between the stucco wall and the traveller palms.

Read the rest here. Check out a Q&A with Eugenides about the story here. Peruse his latest novel, The Marriage Plot, here. Last week’s short story is here.