Tuesday, July 13, 2010

ISDP: With This Hot Weather, There’s No Good Answer

We interrupt FirstNerve’s ongoing coverage of The Mystery of Musk—the all-natural, non-competitive perfume competition—to bring you the latest installment of I Smell Dead People, our monthly compilation of macabre discoveries triggered by that singular journalistic tic, “a foul odor.” It’s our custom to present ISDP on the thirteenth of the month and if the juxtaposition of the foul and the fragrant (to coin a phrase) disturbs you, then too bad. And be sure to check out the final item in this post.

The body of a homeless man was found on June 19 at a water treatment plant in Atlanta. “The body was found at the plant on Manford Road after workers cutting grass smelled a foul odor.” An investigator for the Fulton County Medical Examiner’s Office was unable to estimate the precise time of death: “With this hot weather, there’s no good answer,” he said.

A week later in Satsuma, Florida, “the decomposed body of Zenovia King was found by residents of the Kerry Road area who were searching for the source of a foul odor.”

The next day, in Springdale, Arkansas, police were called “after residents reported a foul odor coming from a duplex.” The cops found the body of a woman “in the ceiling above the bathroom.” According to KFSM in Fayetteville, “police consider the death to be suspicious.” Ya’ think?

On July 6, NYPD found a “decomposing body in the trunk of a gray 1998 Lexus” parked in the East Flatbush section of Brooklyn after residents “complained of a foul smell.” The remains were those of a 65-year-old woman from Elmont, New York who had been missing since June 23 when her husband and son were found murdered. The couple’s other son, age 30, has been charged in the deaths.

And finally, meet Jean Stevens, age 91, of Wyalusing, Pennsylvania. She is this month’s nominee for the ISDP Norman Bates Award®.
Widow lived with corpses of husband, twin
That right, folks: she had her late husband and her twin sister June disinterred and kept them in the house for company. James had the garage to himself.
She kept her sister, who was dressed in her “best housecoat,” on an old couch in a spare room off the bedroom. Jean sprayed her with expensive perfume that was June’s favorite.
Now we know what a lot of you are thinking: that we’ve let our editorial standards slip here at ISDP. After all, there was no mention of the definitive “foul odor” in this story. Well, we submit that the use of expensive perfume suggests that her twin sister’s mortal remains were in need of a certain amount of . . . olfactory remediation.

Yes, it’s a rather slender evidentiary thread, but how often do you find a double Norman Bates with twin sister?


Katy Josephine said...

Dude, that is f-ing nasty.

I like it a lot.

Ross Urrere said...

So bad it's good. Something for me to ponder while writing up the next batch of Musk reviews.

Olfacta said...

I read that story. I thought, yeah, that'll show up on First Nerve fer sure.

That said, um...what else is there to say?

Avery Gilbert said...


It is clear that you have inhaled deeply from the many-splendored bouquet that is FirstNerve. And the fetid fumes of the cankered black rose have lodged high in your nasal passages. Whenever the name "Jean Stevens" is spoken, a few more molecules will be knocked loose.

Avery Gilbert said...

Ross Urrere:

I hope nothing negative spills over into your reviews.

But now that I think about it, maybe FirstNerve should sponsor a Dark Side natural perfumery competition--the brief would be for Eau d'Macabre, an idea we kicked around here a few times with some of the other characters, er, commenters.

Exit question: If another ISDP reader sat next to you on the subway, would you change seats?

Avery Gilbert said...


Hah! Made ya' look.