by Francine Witte
Bloom isn’t much. Near 60, and like a bag of saggy potatoes. On top of that he smells. Like urine mixed with tobacco. But there are women, a number of them now, who find his odd smell sexy. Animal pheromones it says to their lonely vaginas.
There’s the one he knocked up, and then the married one he wouldn’t sleep with and the other married one he did. A few others besides all that. And, of yeah, of course there is his wife.
This particular day, Bloom is on a quest for sunlight. Wants to warm his balding head. If he sits in the front yard, he knows what’ll happen. Some passing-by woman will ask for directions, thinking Bloom is a safe, old coot. But when she approaches, leans in, that’s when he gets too close to her nose.
At first, she will be disgusted by the stink. Doesn’t he wash? she will wonder, backing away, convinced she was better off lost. But as she starts to leave, she will find herself unable to move.
That’s when Bloom’s broomstick of a wife will come out to chase off the love-struck female. “It’s like having rats,” the wife will say.
Bloom goes up to the roof. He has built a garden there. Lush and fragrant. Roses to blur his own odor. Sunlight strong, and here comes a bunch of bees waving ocean-like on the summer air. He thinks he’ll be okay, but just then the Queen herself gets a whiff of Bloom. Flies too close on her way to the roses. Circles Bloom and lands on his shoulder.
Any minute now, his wife on the rooftop, newspaper in hand. Any minute now, a dead ball of bee-fuzz falling from his shoulder, another flattened female thudding to the ground.