My lip balm smells like Suzie.
Suzie was a doll I had when I was very young. She was one of those plastic dolls you could fill with water and then squeeze to make her pee. My mom used her as a potty-training tool for me. I would fill Suzie with water, say "Suzie pee pee!", walk her to the toilet to do her business, and then reward her with an M&M (which I would eat for her). I loved Suzie and her magical ability to land candy in my mouth.
Since she was so water-friendly, Suzie often joined me in tub for bath time, where she was encouraged to pee on my head and rinse the shampoo from my hair. The only problem was that, while Suzie's body was hollow plastic, her head was not-hollow plastic.
I don't know exactly what her brains were made of, but after years of deep-water diving, Suzie began to take on an odd smell. I was old enough to know that the foul scent meant something had gone horribly wrong, but I was young enough to not be in the least bit grossed out by it. I did my best to keep the stench hidden from my mom, whom I was certain would do unspeakable things to Suzie should she be made aware of the situation.
Eventually, though, she got a whiff. Assuming it was Suzie's clothing causing the odor, my mom stripped her of her offensive wardrobe and I quickly shoved naked - and still stinky - Suzie into my pillow case under the guise of keeping her warm while her clothes her washed.
After that close call, I had one final glorious week with Suzie before my mom discovered that it was her, not her clothing, that was so noxious. With disgust spread over her face, she yanked Suzie's head from her torso and exposed the lumps of black mildew filling her skull. I never saw poor Suzie again.
Probably not a good sign that my lip balm smells like her.
Glass Insects by Yuki Tsunoda
6 hours ago