143. Define the smell of happiness

Define the smell of happiness.

The first question of the exam had an entire room of perfumers-in-training bewildered.

Constance wrote down that happiness was to be found in the essence of violets, slowly ground on a wet summer day and then mixed with dew dripping from a freshly mown lawn.

She did not make the cut.

Fournier imagined koala sweat infused with the whiff of a new mother’s sigh, boiled down to its soul during the week between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Day.

His answer did, to no-one’s surprise, hardly satisfy the committee.

Other responses were equally unimpressive, ranging from petals from a rose without thorns to the tear of a football fan, caught in the dying seconds of an undefeated season.

The selection committee had almost given up on this year’s batch when they came across the question paper of Gander Whiltcliff, a mediocre student at best, who had slipped under the radar for most of the year.

Yet his answer was everything the committee had hoped for and more. Though thorough training and years of expertise would still be required, it seemed all but certain that Gander Whiltcliff would one day be a giant of the perfume industry.

For in response to the question ‘define the smell of happiness’ but a single answer was on the nose:

‘Define happiness’.



Did you enjoy this story? Then why not try the 101 stories in 300 words or less in YOU’RE GETTING SLEEPY, THE HYPNOTIST’S APPRENTICE YAWNED.

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4 thoughts on “143. Define the smell of happiness

  1. PurplesShade says:

    It’s not really relevant to your story, but I came away from that somewhat less inspired than I think is intended, because I couldn’t help thinking what a horrible trick this would be on a synesthete who literally had a smell for happiness.
    They’d get turned down for not being philosophical on a question which to them, would be querying the factual on a level equivocal to asking what colour grass is.

    But, that’s what I get for thinking more literally about a story. heh.

    Thanks for writing these, they are excellent pass-time reading. 🙂

  2. Miss Molly says:

    Dieter, I love your story. One of my psychology profs actually put us through the “define happiness” exercise years ago, so the winner’s answer to the smell of happiness seems quite perfect. Excellent job with 300 words.

    And thanks for stopping by The Cellist at the Starfish Cafe…that’s the title of my current novel and my current sounding board as well. For writers, I also host Skylark Writing Studio at WordPress.com. For music lovers, JazzCookie at WordPress.com.

    We’re all in this together…
    Molly Cook

  3. sweetstuffbybecka says:

    One of my favorites thus far!

  4. b00kreader says:

    Loved it!
    By the way have you ever seen the movie Perfume? It was insane!

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