The Man with the Sensitive Nose

38 15 21

It was incredibly inconvenient---washing a body in space...

Lots of people just avoided it and stank.

Most folks learned to live with the olfactory offense; but, only until Rory Cavanaugh became a space engineer.

Rory had an extremely acute sense of smell.

Rory had had difficulty with most of his jobs---quitting if the powers that were didn't amend their smell policies.

"Smell policies!?"

Folks didn't think he was serious until he didn't show up for work.

So, by the time he was able to get into the space business, he'd made it a priority to demand to know their smell policy before he could even consider a job interview.

"Our smell policy? We just put up with it."

"No smell policy?"

"You mean a procedure to make bad smells go away?"


"Interesting... Just had a big flap with some smarty pants lawyer claiming he'd sue us for insulting his nose."

"Did he sue?"

"Tried, didn't stick..."

"Well, with no smell policy, I can't consider applying---"

"Wait. Please. Your background in engineering is interesting---seems you like to solve hard problems..."

"I do..."

"Well, what if we make you our Chief Smell Technician---your first job is to make a space shower that folks want to use---you do that and we'll increase your salary and give you whatever new title you want...?"



It took him two months to come up with a basic idea and it wasn't a shower but a bathtub---better called a "bath-tube"..

During those two months he went to classes that let him know what it would be like when he was ready to take his invention into orbit and test it in the weightless environment it would be designed to work in.


Nine months later, after many twelve-hour-days of construction and an intensive series of practice "weightlessness" sessions in the training tanks (plus, a few suborbital jaunts), he was ready to go to space with the bath-tube.

He hadn't expected it but there was major media frenzy the day of launch---keeping folks smelling good in space seemed to be worth interrupting all the other news.

The fact that it would also make the crews feel more "normal" hadn't entered anyone's mind---yet...


Up he went, a little over 200 miles, to the GCCSS---the Global Community and Commercial Space Station---more than ready to test the bath-tube..

It took about a week for his disorientation and tendency to throw up to subside...

After that, he made great strides, had almost half the crew (and, ten of the passengers) try the bath-tube; and, about a quarter of those folks actually said they wanted one.

He wondered about that...

Sure, it worked good...

Yes, it felt good...

And, it absolutely cleaned off the bacteria-produced substances that caused bad smells...

But, the process to take a bath was not easy---especially not the first time.

Anchor the armpits to the wall restrainers and pull on the leg tubes; slip the tubed feet into their restraints; pull the torso tube on and seal the junction with the leg tubes; connect the in-flow and out-flow tubes; add the arm tubes and seal them; pull on the hood and seal it...

In weightlessness, the average person could take up to half an hour with the task.

Still, some of the passengers---those with no previous experience in space---actually wanted one for themselves!

He did it for the smell eradication, they did it for the sensuous pleasure...

He wondered about that...


He didn't become rich from his invention---the space agency owned the bath-tube.

But, he took them up on their offer of any new job title he wanted---he chose "retired with pension"; plus, he'd also become famous; and, that was worth money, too.

The money bought him a home on an asteroid---one that had an extremely strange orbit (rising high above and dipping far below the planets)---the best view in the solar system, with no grass and only artificial air...

And, the smells?

Whatever he wanted.........


If you liked this story, consider giving it a vote :-)

If you have a question, please ask me in the Comments...

New Tale Next Saturday (USA-time)

Story BazaarRead this story for FREE!