On Compost & Scent Demons


This is a guest post by my fiancé Colby. Occasionally, when urged, he puts pen to paper and his inner poet comes out in full force. Enjoy.

We like to be upstanding citizens, so we keep a small compost bin in our kitchen. Unfortunately, we are also busy citizens and forget that the compost bin needs to be emptied from time to time. In this particularly grievous instance, “from time to time” represents four consecutive weeks of forgetting that emptying the compost is a thing.

However, all good things must come to an end, and so on the cusp of a short vacation the emptying of the compost bin became compulsory. In penance for my negligence, I volunteered to take the brunt of the trauma and place the (no doubt now tattered beyond repair) compost friendly bag into yet another compost friendly bag for disposal.

I opened the lid. I regret all of my life decisions that lead to this action. I took a look at the state of the contents of the bag (what was once mostly baked potato skins, paper towel and the occasional bit of chicken, and was now an undifferentiated brown mass of hate) and I knew immediately I would need armour. With plastic sandwich bags over my hands, I bent down to pick up the spent bag and hand it over to the fresh compost bag Jill was holding.

I gave the edge of the bag a quick tug and it dissolved in my hand. This was not a good sign.

Something about this action awoke the smell. It was tolerable at first, but I was not prepared for what was to come. I removed the full bucket from the bin and with a firmer grasp on the spent bag was able to remove it, and its unjust contents, from the garbage bin and transfer it safely to a new compost bag. I was later to learn this second compost bag would be further encased in a third bag to contain the evil within.

This left me holding the smoking gun that was the compost bin. A foul fluid had built up at the bottom of the bin, and now I was face to face with the full force of the odour. I dashed to the bathroom, and quickly turned on the hot water in an effort to drown out whatever wretched new life form had become to emerge from the primordial soup of the compost bin and expunge its accursed effluent down the drain. The smell was inconceivable — shifting erratically like an unknowable alien force. It smelt as though an ass had swallowed an ancient eldritch horror, rejected it wholly for being the wrong brand of evil, then reconsidered its position and swallowed it again.

No amount of lemon dish soap would save this day. The smell was in my nose, like a swarm of smell-born piranha destroying my nasal passage.

Regret. Infinite regret.

So anyway, tl;dr: The compost is gone now, and the bin is clean. Accidentally released a smell of ultimate evil that will now infect the dreams of children the world over. Should probably pay more attention to that notification to dump the compost going forward. We need more Febreeze.

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Jillianne Hamilton is the author of Molly Miranda: Thief for Hire, its two action/comedy sequels, and The Lazy Historian's Guide to the Wives of Henry VIII. She is also a graphic designer, a history enthusiast, and a dog mom. Learn more.

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