A perfume story: Review of Midnight in Paris
Four minutes till midnight © 2016 Frankie Chocolate
(For Tracy my office manager)
The klaxon is screaming out Ahh—ooo—gaaa, Ahh—ooo—gaaa and its frying me. It’s four minute till midnight and the end of world. I’m sitting at the console in the dense pack hardened bunker and there are a thousand blinking lights. In the center of all those lights is a huge slammer button shaped like a mushroom with a steady red light. Next to it is another slammer of black. We just passed Defcon 4 and are rising fast.
My chargé d'affaires Tracy has gone thorough all the paperwork and she knows what the Rooskies think. She’s so good she knows what Chinese think. She knows what they had for breakfast. She knows what they’ll have for breakfast tomorrow—if there is a tomorrow.
I sign some papers. She shuffles more in front of me and I sign those too.
She looks at me calmly and says, “ Ok. I think that about does it.”
She doesn’t think that does it. She knows that does it.
“Now sir, there’s just one more thing. You must choose the proper scent.”
“How was that Tracy?”
“You must choose the proper scent. Chose the right one and all will be well.”
We moved to Defcon 3 and I am as near to redlining as I’ve ever been in my entire life.
“And if choose the wrong one?”
“You love Jesus don’t you sir?”
“Yes of course I love Jesus. What’s that goy to do with anything?”
“It’ll be ok. You love God you go to heaven. Isn’t that what you believe sir?”
“Yes I love God but I got 300 million fellow Americans plus the almost seven billion other people on the planet to consider and I can’t have a come to Jesus moment with each of them in four minutes.”
“You don’t have to.”
“Boy I’m relieved to hear that. I mean just the thought of…
“You don’t have to because you only have three minutes now.”
Ahh—ooo—gaaa, Ahh—ooo—gaaa. Ahh—ooo—gaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!
“That’s not helping. Tracy will you turn that off.”
“That’s much better. Thanks T.”
“I didn’t do it sir.”
“The computer does it automatically when we move to Defcon 2 sir.”
“Defcon 2. What does that mean again?”
“Either the pistol is loaded or…”
“Or what Tracy? Or what?”
“Or sayonara Charlie.”
“Do we got another Defcon to go?”
“I think so sir.”
“Okay. Then lets all just take a deep breath and sort this out. How did I get in this situation anyway T?”
“It’s your story sir…”
“I know it’s my story but I need a little help.”
“Very well sir.” And she sat down and explained it all to me.
“You see the world powers decided if someone could discern the proper scent to wear at a time like this they’d also be able to decide whether to push the button or not.
“That’s the stupidest idea I’ve ever heard.”
“And yet you posted it here on Basenotes sir.”
“I narrowed my eyes at her but had nothing snappy so I let it go.”
“So I have to choose which scent to wear to stop the end of the world. Is that about right?”
“Mm Tracy, not to put too fine a point on it but I usually say that line.”
“Sorry. Exactamundo sir. You say the right perfume and you push the black button and if you’re right then it’s all good.”
“And if I choose the wrong one?”
“You love Jesus right sir?”
“YOU’RE NOT HELPING!” Oh, bye the bye, what if I push the red button?”
“The floor falls out from under us and we’re standing over a pit of half starved crocodiles sir.”
“Got it,” I say. Then my hand, my right button pushing hand starts to shake and of its own accord begins to inch its way towards the panel that will end the world. My other hand shoots out and grabs the rouge agent by the wrist but he’s too powerful. The treacherous hand drags both of them and the rest of the world to the absolute brink of absolute annihilation.
Three millimeters from the surface the bad hand stops. I am quivering uncontrollably from head to foot, soaked with sweat, shaking with terror and relief at what I just avoided.
I turn to Tracy with a crazy look of desperation in my eyes, crying and laughing at the same time. I start to laugh hysterically drained of all energy and emotions.
“Yes! Sir you did it. You did not push the black button. I knew you had it in you. Now if you’ll just pick the right cologne…”
I blurted out, “ARAMIS,” then my bad hand shot out and mashed the black button as hard as it could. I stare wide-eyed in horror and disbelief not believing what I just did. I have a full bottle of Aramis on the shelf I can’t give away.
The ground shook with the roar of ICBM missiles. Earthquakes rent the land, tsunamis the sea. The sun and the moon were darkened and as smoke from the bottomless pit arose around us. From the smoke came a plague of lawyers, locust, infomercials and carpet cleaners.
Walls cracked and fell, people screamed and ran in the streets.
It’s not my fault I shouted but no one was there. They were all gone. There is only me and the lonely radioactive wind left.
I stumble down the stairs to my office and Tracy my office manager was somehow there and I only imagined it. It’s Friday and she’s got the paperwork and checkbook out and ready.
Sign here. Initial there. Sign this form. Date that one. It goes on and on and on. We finally finish. I drag myself out the door to get some Sushi as my consolation price for getting through the worst part of my job. Just before I pass though the door I tell her,
“If I had to do it all over again I’d choose Midnight in Paris by Van Cleef & Arpels because it yummy. It starts out with leather and almonds and has a touch of burnt rubber but dries to a yummy soft velvety suede. Very calming, soothing and cheery but you have to let the tires burn down first. And somehow the name just fits for this story don’t you think?
Tracy just looked at me and went back to work because she had no idea what I was babbling about.
I thought I heard someone say, “Go back on your meds,” but it mighta just been my imagination—maybe. The end.