256 Words

Berry Perfume

M. Stanley Bubien

She slept on the grass, and the skunk's nose twitched while it explored the books spilling from her backpack. Had someone happened by at that moment, no doubt they would have hesitated, faced with the illusion that the little creature was contemplating "Philosophy," "World History," and "An Approach to Physics."

But, as it was, the only thing that passed was a breath of wind, and it wafted over her, carrying her perfume into the skunk's busy nostrils. Berry perfume. He scampered up to her flowing hair---slipping as he crossed the philosophy text---and shook his head in an attempt to determine the source of the scent---for surely nothing he saw here resembled a patch of berries.

Snuffling at her neck, his wet nose brushed the exact spot where she had applied the perfume that morning. The slight touch caused her to inhale loudly and lift her arms over her head in an exaggerated stretch. She rubbed her eyelids and rolled onto her side.

Nose-to-nose, they faced each other---student and skunk.

The skunk simply twitched, while she, still in a slumber-induced haze, simply stared. Emboldened by her stillness, the skunk resumed his search for the berries, poking his nose into her hair. She giggled. The skunk's ears perked, convinced that she was not a patch of berries after all, and, with one final twitch, he waddled away.

Gazing beyond her textbooks at his retreating form, all she could think was that, somehow, she had come closer to a skunk than anyone she'd ever known.

Copyright ©1997 M. Stanley Bubien. All Rights Reserved.

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June, 1997
Issue #14

256 Words