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Unsolved Mystery

Unsolved Mystery
From the PorchBy Amber Nagle
Unsolved Mystery
From the PorchBy Amber Nagle

I opened the refrigerator door, wrinkled my face, and slammed the door shut immediately.

“Something in the refrigerator stinks,” I announced to all the occupants of our house yesterday.

“Yeah, I smelled that this morning,” my husband yelled from the great room. I walked to where his voice was coming from, stood in front of him and stared.

“If you smelled it this morning, why didn’t you figure out where the smell was coming from and remove it from the fridge?” I asked.

He didn’t have an answer for my question.

Thirty minutes later, I was pulling containers out of the refrigerator one by one and sniffing around the edges to try and detect where the “eau de stink” was coming from. The leftover stuffing from the night before wasn’t the culprit. Neither were the veggies and meats in the vegetable drawers and meat and cheese compartment. The milk was fresh. The sour cream hadn’t soured. The salsa still smelled perfectly edible.

“Maybe it’s a bad egg,” my husband said from behind me.

I lifted each egg and inhaled, but all I smelled was eggshell.

I wet a paper towel with a bleachy solution and wiped over the surfaces of the appliance’s interior. I love the way bleach smells — so clean. I closed the doors and went about my day and kind of forgot about the odor.

In the late afternoon, I opened the refrigerator door again to pull out a mess of turnip greens and roots I planned to prepare for dinner.

Yikes, there’s that smell again! What could it be?

I was a woman on a mission. I began unloading the refrigerator and moving all the items inside to the countertop for further inspection — mayonnaise, ketchup, mustard, pickles, jelly, applesauce, orange juice, shaved parmesan cheese, etc. I pulled out the vegetable and meat drawers and looked behind them. I further analyzed the contents of both, but nothing drew my suspicion and nothing set off my nose alarm.

I wiped it down again with a bleachy paper towel and let it dry out with the doors both open. Then I put everything back in.

An hour later when I opened the door to retrieve the pitcher of tea, the rotting stench hit me in the face again — like a ton of bricks. Not only that, but the odor seemed stronger.

Could it be in the lower freezer, I wondered to myself.

A minute later, I was unloading the contents of the freezer onto the counter and studying each item, but everything seemed fine and frozen solid. Plus, my nose didn’t detect any odor coming from the freezer compartment.

It’s a mystery, I thought, but a very solvable mystery. The smell is originating from something in this refrigerator. It’s right in front of me. I just have to find it.

My husband also tried his hand at searching for the origin of the bad smell. He looked for the culprit and threw out a few suspect items that didn’t necessarily stink, but said, “Let’s just go ahead and get rid of this, just in case it’s this.” We said goodbye to a pack of bacon bits and two slices of turkey.

But he, too, failed. As we sat on the couch last night, I looked at him and said, “How can two fairly intelligent, fairly capable people like you and me not be able to figure out what’s causing the refrigerator to stink?”

He didn’t have an answer for my question.

As of today, we still don’t know. It’s a great unsolved mystery.

One time when I was about six continued from page

years old, a rat got into our house and died in between some camping cots we were storing in a side room. I remember the smell of roadkill emanating from the room, and I clearly remember my parents doing exactly what we did yesterday — removing items one by one — until they found the big, dead rat. But they found it, scrubbed the area with bleach, and moved on with their lives.

I can’t move on with my life yet.

But maybe that’s it. Maybe a mouse got in the house and died behind the refrigerator and that’s what we smell. It’s time to pull out the refrigerator and look behind it with a flashlight. I’ll let you know what we find.

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