A Smell You Don’t Forget

It was time for my biannual body inventory at the dermatologist this morning. I had a hunk of skin cancer hacked off my face a few years ago, so I’m supposed to go back for inspection once or twice a year.

Hinkle Young fatal fire 01-11-1967(When I showed up at the office with a huge bandage on my face back then, I answered the inevitable question by saying, “I was just sitting there minding my own business when this gang wearing masks and gloves surrounded me demanding money for drugs. Even though I paid off, they cut me anyway.” Well, it WAS true, kind of.)

After a bunch of uh-huhs and some picture taking of various and sundry body parts, he froze some places, scraped some places and sliced away at some others.

When he hit a couple of spots with a cauterizing iron, I commented, “That’s a smell I’ve never forgotten. The first fatal fire I worked was a guy who fell asleep with a cigarette smouldering in a feather bed.”

I could tell by the expression on his assistant’s face that’s not a comment she hears every day.

Just by the luck of the draw, I was scanning a queen crowning tonight when I found that fire on the same roll of film. I’m not going to provide a link to the story or any details except to say that the guy in the white jacket on the right is coroner Don Kremer. The remains of the featherbed are scattered all over the yard.

I hadn’t turned 20 yet

Hinkle Young fatal fire 01-11-1967That wasn’t the last smoking-in-bed fatal I encountered, but it’s the one I flash back to.

I just looked at the file date on the film. I hadn’t turned 20 years old yet. That’s a long time to hold onto a memory.