The Senses: Smell

I wandered through the video store, passing the only other customers, two firefighters from the station around the corner. They were both sporting those heavy insulated pants, held up by suspenders. As I walked by, firefighter #1 asked #2, “Hey, what’s Sin City about?”

FF#2: “Oh, we saw that already. Me and Joe’s crew saw that back at the house last week. It was good.”

FF#1: “Oh, okay.”

I passed on by, sneering at #2’s appraisal of the film, and after a short while, found the movie I’d been looking for.

When I arrived at the counter to pay, the store employee, a stocky bottle-blonde in her early 30s, wasn’t there. She was back with the firemen, helping them find a flick. As they worked their way back to the counter, she was explaining that, believe it or not, she wasn’t Italian, but actually “Slovakian.”

New York’s Bravest settled in next to me at the counter, and the clerk offered them her recommendation, Jarhead, explaining that though it wasn’t technically a “war movie,” it was close enough.

[It struck me as weird and yet somehow completely appropriate that New York City firefighters, with probably one of the world’s most stressful, adrenaline-laded jobs, had a taste for war movies. I could just see them lounging around the firehouse, jazzing to the fear and violence, waiting for that bell to ring, summoning them to the next three-alarmer.]

Firefighter #1 asked her if she’d seen Jarhead, and she demurred: “Oh no, I haven’t seen any of ’em. I hate movies.”

FF#1: “You work at a video store and you don’t like to watch movies? Do you like to go to the movies? You like ’em then?”

Bottle-blonde: “No, I’m a terrible date! I either fall asleep or I walk out.”

As I listened to firefighter #1 striking out, I sniffed the air. I thought I smelled something. It smelled like something was burning!

And then I realized: the firefighters’ clothes — probably especially those rubber pants — stank of smoke.

About joshcomix
Brooklyn-based cartoonist specializing in nonfiction comics about topics like Hurricane Katrina, the media, travel, and finance.

7 Responses to The Senses: Smell

  1. dangoldman says:

    I loved this. Your 2 minute observations are top-notch.

  2. thamesrhodes says:

    I liked this post.
    You would think the firemen would have Netflix already. Maybe the video store is just an opportunity to meet the ladies, though I recall once going into Blockbuster video and asking the gal there if they had WHITE HEAT, and she asked: How do you spell that?

  3. iconotrast says:

    Ass Shot
    I know a fireman in the…NYC area. He told me they got a DVD player at the fire house
    and found that you can get porno DVD’s in which you can choose the camera
    shot and angle as you’re…watching the action.
    This is not to say that ALL firemen watch porno! I know he likes war movie too.

    • 4_eyez says:

      Re: Ass Shot
      sure: porn, war movies – what’s the diff?
      seriously, many people claim that the “orgasmic” experience of watching war & violence is similar to that of watching porn; that both offer a form of vicarious release. i think sam packinpah would agree with that connection.
      as far as the other thing, the first dvd player i ever owned had a function for changing angles as well. the only thing is i never found a dvd that offered that feature. ‘course i never tried it with dvd porn…

  4. benchilada says:

    Firefighter #1 asked her if she’d seen Jarhead, and she demurred: “Oh no, I haven’t seen any of ’em. I hate movies.”
    CLERKS, anyone?

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