This morning I awoke, cold, wet, but victorious. The Stench had been defeated. I had reclaimed the apartment from the depths of Sensory Hell to which it had been dragged by sort of olfactory demon.
A little background: Due to some shit that went down in my personal like in the spring, I was kicked out of college and my house and since June I've been poor as shit getting by with a little help form my friends.
For a while I was sleeping on a friends couch, but the last 4 weeks I've had an apartment to myself. The friend of a friend is in Korea for two months so the friend gave me the apartment keys.
The place was a shithole whenever I had gone over there before. This guy was just a slob. I never stayed longer than it took for a few bongs to get passed around, so I didn't realize quite how bad it was.
When I moved in, the first thing I did was clean. It was like un-livable otherwise. BAgs of old take out sitting under the couch, trash on the floor, bong water, ash, beer stains all over the carpet... it was truly disgusting. With some amphetamines and elbow grease I managed to clear out the bathroom and the living room, which is basically all I need. Couch, computer, tv, bathroom.
Because I'm poor as shit, when I eat it's either on the spot I bought it or immediately after shoplifting it. So I had really no reason to use the kitchen. I wasn't doing any cooking, when we drink here we wouldn't have any left to refridgerate. So I just kind of ignored the kitchen. It was dirty like the rest of the house but I didn't need to live in there so I said "Fuck it." All the food was in the fridge so I figured I'd just leave it closed, the food will stay cold, things can't get that bad.
I was wrong.
Over the weeks, an odor started to emerge. At first, it was of the type that you can't quite tell for sure if you even smell anything or not. After that, it smelled a little pleasant from a distance, but got sour closer up. Like a skunk kind of. About a week ago it got downright funky. You couldn't smell it outside of the kitchen still so I only had to deal with it when I was getting some water or something. I started leaving the window next to the kitchen wide open with A/C blasting (i'm not paying the bill
)and this served as a buffer between the kitchen and the rest of the apartment.
Early last week it was getting bad, real bad, so I got a trash bag and just threw everything this kid had left lying around out in the dumpster. I thought that must take care of it for sure.
This is where things go horrible.
for the last four days, there has been a bit of a heat wave where I am. The apartment is not well ventilated/circulated. This wouldn't have been so bad except the day the heat wave started, a friend broke the apartment key. While I waited and waited for the landlord to get back to me, I had to stay in the unlocked apartment because there's some nice stuff in here but it's in a shitty area.
I spent three days in the hot stench of the apartment. It got worse and worse, the odor just cooking and fermenting in the heat. The smell impermeated things to the point I could barely smell it anymore. Yesterday morning I woke up not smelling anything at all. I also woke up with a headache and the worst nausea I've had since the flu. I have no doubt it was from breathing in dirty air. At some point in the morning I had gone out in to the hall way for a second, and I noticed the air was much different... so I step back in to the apartment. After breathing fresh air, the apartment stank was clear to me once again. It was so powerful I could barely get inside the door. I made sure all the windows were open, turned the AC as high as it would go, set up every fan I could find on "max". I threw some shit in my back pack and got out of there, no burgler could withstand that.
The rest of the day I chilled with friends. I told them about how bad it had gotten (they had expereinced the smell before the heat wave). So we let it air out all day and get back around 11pm.
One friend and I open the door and step in. It felt like in The Exorcist when they leave the girl in the room and she's kinda fucked in the head but still normal, then they open the door again and all the furniture is spinning around while she vomits from the ceiling. Enough was enough, we were going to take care of it.
Seeing as how I had thrown out all the trash, there was only one source left for the smell: The Refrigerator.
I knew this would be difficult already so I donned a pair of latex gloves, got a trash bag, and slowly opened the door. Instead of feeling a cool blast, I felt.... warmth. The refrigerator was plugged in and running, but clearly broke as shit. For the last four weeks, an assortment of half eaten American and Korean food was slowly cooking in this death box. The stench that hit me upon opening that door was truly one of the worst things I've ever smelled. I started grabbing jars and boxes, not even looking at them, just tossing them in the bag. This wasn't so bad.
After that, I had to start reaching for blocks of cheese, packages of sandwich meat, more "interactive" foods. I got one bag full, tied it off, and opened another. Things were the opposite of how they should be, hard things were liquified, liquids had solidified. There was water every where, washing rotted food particles down and down to the bottom, soaking everything on the way down. In went mayonaise, an entire quiche, some half drank skunked beers, a soggy bag of something, a jar of... well honestly I don't know, it looked like pink jellied bacon co-mingling with some anchovies in yellow liquid. when the jar hit the floor through the bag, it cracked. It unleashed more odor some how. It was like getting shot in the face when you're already running around on fire. I added to the garbage bag the contents of my stomach. My friend fought through the rest of the fridge while I got my shit together. I was soaked in sweat, tears streaming down my face, vomit at the corners of my mouth.
Finally, it was over I thought. We just had to bring the bags down four floors to the dumpster. About half way down my friend says "Oh shit, my bag is leaking!"
we get out to the dumpsters and toss the bags. Feeling greatly releived and accomplished, we went back inside. On the way up the stairs, there was a thin steady trail of liquid coming all the way down. It was garbage juice from the leaking bag. This tiny trail of liquid dots overpowered the entire stairway with it's stench. One the landing below my own, I looked down at the trail and saw it was yellowy liquid with little chunks of red and brown material in it. Seeing that combined with the smell caused me to empty my stomach again out the window in to the parking lot.
We got back inside, the sell seemed to have subsided. We high fived, my friend left. I took a cold shower and then slept in the tub in case it came back in the night.