The Beast

Jerry Seinfeld gets his car back from the valet, and something is amiss.

Jerry: Boy, do you smell something?
Elaine: Do I smell something? What am I, hard of smelling? Of course I smell something.
Jerry: What is it?
Elaine: I think it’s B.O.!
Jerry: What?
Elaine: It’s B.O. The valet must have had B.O.
Jerry: It can’t be. Nobody has B.O. like this.
Elaine: Jerry. It’s B.O.
Jerry: But the whole car smells.
Elaine: So?
Jerry: So when somebody has B.O., the “O” usually stays with the “B”. Once the “B” leaves, the “O” goes with it.

— Seinfeld, “The Smelly Car”

I may have solved the Mystery of the Cat at Midnight, without any help from Nancy Drew (though I still envy her blue convertible and general efficiency). It seems that Roscoe may in fact have been amusing himself with a late bird behind the box of my late father’s letters.

Working all the time has not improved my general domestic disability, but the strange smell that made its odoriferous appearance lately was above and beyond my lack of housekeeping skills. I pulled out the couch, but there was only a crop of unscented dust bunnies back there. I virtuously vacuumed them up and replaced the couch. The smell was still there, so I kept hunting. Oh Nancy, where art thou?

My house is small, and basically one room, so the places to look in this game of stink hide and seek were limited. Eventually, I thought to remove the box of letters, revealing a very dead Steller’s Jay. I swept the deceased onto a dustpan and removed it to the woods, but even though the “B” was gone, the “O” remained, and it seemed that the removal made the O worse.

I mopped the entire area under the stairs with Clorox and water, which I had previously believed had omnipotent cleaning powers. But it was powerless against the O. As Jerry said, “This is not just an odor – you need a priest to get rid of this thing! It’s a presence! It’s The Beast!” I borrowed Nature’s Miracle from my sister, thinking that if it gets rid of skunk smell, it can get rid of dead bird smell, but The Beast just laughed at it and turned up the stink. I applied more Clorox and prayed. Rob came by and applied Pine Sol, crawling around under the stairs with a sponge which went straight into the trash, but the cure was temporary. At this point, I have to hope it fades with time, or move. Any cleaning or exorcism tips gratefully accepted.

A YEAR AGO: Birthdays and anniversaries. Unscented.

pixelstats trackingpixel

6 Comments


  1. Oh, boy. I feel (smell?) your pain. Last summer there was a dead mouse in the vent at my family’s cabin. It took a while to locate said mouse and dispatch it (while trying not to do the hurka-hurka like my cats do). I cleaned with whatever was there…409, maybe? We were lucky that the odor didn’t linger.

    Maybe you could put some baking soda in the spot. Or clean with white vinegar? I wish I had better advice for you!


  2. I think your friend Alison is right on, a dead mouse or animal will fill the house with an odor that can drive one crazy. It does go away but it takes a while until the animal dries up entirely. Of course that does not help for the moment but again your friend has the right idea with baking soda could work, I deal in antiques and whenever there’s a smell baking soda does the trick. Apply where the smell comes from and then vacuum the area. I also used baby powder on occasion, at least the baby powder has a better lasting effect.


  3. I’m beginning to wonder if maybe there’s something dead under the house. It seems like a lot of smell for a bird who wasn’t leaking blood or anything. I might see if I can finagle a boy into groveling around under the house. Cadaver detectives: Hooverville edition! 🙂

    White vinegar sounds like a good idea.


  4. That’s what I also wanted to suggest, but I did not know if you had a basement. The cats would love to hunt under there and it would certainly be a good place to start looking if you or Rob can get down there.


  5. There’s no basement – California houses don’t have them – but there is a crawl space. I’ll see if I can get Mark or Rob to have a peek for me.


  6. I use white vinegar all the time – when the cats have a throw-up, or worse! We once had a dead mouse in the walls somewhere. Ugh!!!!!!!! the worse smell ever and you have to wait for the creature to decay completely. I can feel for you – or, as Alison says….smell for you.
    Poor you…..

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *