#206 – The Scent of a New Year

It took a month, but my brother’s prank Hanukah gift finally paid dividends, for him.  Thanks to Frank, the gathering at my house last night won’t soon be forgotten by any of the attendees.

Sophia and I hosted a murder mystery dinner party for New Year’s Eve.  We invited three other couples: her brother and sister-in-law, Giuseppe and Gina; and our friends, Jimmy and Melinda and Ron and Tracy.  Since the game takes place at an English manor in the Victorian era, everyone dressed in formal wear.  To set the proper mood, I purchased a selection of eerie orchestral music.  And Sophia complemented her normal array of scented candles with vintage candelabras to serve as lighting for the evening.

The trouble began moments after we ushered our guests into the dining room.  Almost in unison, each of the women flashed her partner a venomous glare.  Then the whispered accusations commenced with each wife hissing at her husband: “Is that you?!!”  In turn, each husband stridently protested his innocence, while at the same time snickering at what he assumed to be the “work” of his neighbor.  A few minutes elapsed before someone pieced together that the malodor of passed gas wafting through the air emanated not from a human’s posterior but rather from the scented candle Sophia’d lighted upon entering the room.

Though everyone could tell the stink came from the candle, none of us could figure out why.  The label on the jar read “French Vanilla,” which the scent most definitely was not.  Thoroughly mortified – and baffled – Sophia dowsed the offending flame and apologized to all.  Then she went off in search of a replacement unit to “clear the air.”  Soon after, she returned from the kitchen with another jarred candle, this one titled “Fleur de Lilac.”  She lit the wick and began serving dinner. 

I can’t recall if I’d ever smelled a lilac before.  If I hadn’t prior to last night, then my streak remains intact.  Whatever the aroma drifting from Sophia’s replacement candle, it certainly wasn’t floral.  To the contrary, everyone agreed that the new scent filling the air reminded them more of a decomposing animal on the highway.  Not exactly a smell which encourages one’s appetite either!  As a result, most of the elaborate meal my wife had slaved over went untouched.

After the last of our guests departed, Sophia and I returned to the scene of the crime and investigated matters.  We discovered that she’d drawn both candles from the collection received from my brother as a Hanukah gift.  I’d viewed them as a gag from the outset, but only because the idea of scented candles for me seemed ridiculous.  It turns out my conclusion was correct, but for the wrong reason.  As Frank confirmed this morning, he’d scooped out the original contents from the jars and substituted items from the “Man Candle” catalogue.  The two Sophia happened to choose were titled “Fart” and “Roadkill.”  Clever; oh so clever!




Not suitable for every occasion, as our dinner guests can attest.







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