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Kelly II and The Search for That Scent
Kelly II and The Search for That Scent
Jake cringed at the sound of his obnoxious alarm, rubbing the sleep from his eyes. He squinted in the dark and checked the weather app on his phone: a brisk 24 degrees.
“Dylan!” he whispered to his roommate. “Can I borrow your jacket, it’s freezing outside!”
Dylan grunted and rolled over in bed.
“Thanks,” he whispered back. He changed into jeans and a t-shirt, grabbed his backpack and Dylan’s jacket off of the floor, and headed out the door.
Just as he was making his way up the stairs to his class across campus, he received an urgent text:
“dude did u take my jacket”
“yeah I didn’t bring any winter clothes to campus u said I could borrow it this morning” Jake replied.
“u have to bring it back”
“sorry im already to econ class”
“bring it back”
Jake hurried to his usual back row seat in the massive lecture hall. He checked the clock: only four minutes late, not bad.
Pulling his notebook and pencil from his backpack, he sniffed, annoyed the freezing weather had made his nose runny. He paused and sniffed again. He thought he had smelled flowers… he sniffed again, then sniffed his shoulder.
“Why does Dylan’s jacket smell like flowers…?” he thought.
Dr. McKaffey switched slides on the display screen, droning on about supply and demand. Jake’s head nodded as he blinked groggily. Eight a.m. was too early… too early…
Suddenly he heard muffled laughs coming from his classmates. He snapped his head up and his mouth fell open. Dylan had rushed into the lecture hall in his pajamas, t-shirt backwards, huffing and puffing.
“Sorry to interrupt, sorry- is Jake Morgan in this class? I need- I need-” he paused to catch his breath, then noticed his roommate turning red in the back row. “Jake, give me my jacket!” He ran up the stairs and squeezed past people in their seats as the professor looked on with a glare.
“Dude, get out of here,” Jake hissed.
“Give me my jacket, I mean it. I need it!”
“It’s below freezing, you have jackets warmer than this one!”
“I NEED IT!” Dylan pleaded.
“What’s wrong with you?!” Jake exclaimed, shrugging it off his shoulders. Dylan grabbed the sleeve and yanked it off the rest of the way, holding it to his face and inhaling deeply as he raced out of the room.
Jake ripped his phone out of his pocket, hunched in his seat.
“i will kill u and forget sharing the ramen packets” he texted angrily.
That evening Jake opened their dorm room door with a bang.
“DYLAN! Wait- what are you doing?”
Dylan was curled up on the floor with his face buried in the jacket.
“It’s gone… it’s gone…”
“What do you mean it’s gone? You ripped it off of me in the middle of class, remember?” Jake fumed. “What the heck is-”
“KELLYYYYYY!” Dylan cried out suddenly as Jake flinched in surprise.
“Don’t say her name- too painful-” Dylan blubbered, drying his eyes with the hood of the high school class jacket.
“Is she your girlfriend or- ick, stop sniffing that thing, it’s creeping me out.” Jake wrinkled his nose, taking a soda from the mini fridge.
“It- it doesn’t smell like her anymore… she wore it all the time when we were dating, it was all I had left of her.”
“Um… was it a hard… breakup?” Jake asked as he cocked an eyebrow at his roommate, now rocking back and forth in the fetal position.
“Well, I dumped her-”
“SERIOUSLY?! You dumped HER and you’re that broken up about it?” Jake said, dumbfounded.
“It’s not my fault!” Dylan moaned. “She was PERFECT for me! Smokin’ hot, super smart, could eat a quarter pounder deluxe in under a minute, really cool-”
“Wait, she could wha-”
“SHE HAD THE VOICE OF A HOWLER MONKEY!”
“Do you know what that’s like, holding the perfect woman in your arms, then she opens her mouth and it’s like I become a dog and she becomes one of those really high-pitched, excruciatingly painful dog whistle-caller thingies?!”
“It’s not cool, Jake! I had to give up the love of my life, and all I had to remember her by was her scent on my jacket…” He looked up stonily and stared him dead in the eyes. “And now it smells like your B.O!”
“I don’t have B.O! I was late for class, though, I didn’t have time to shower-”
“KEEEEELLYYYYYYYYY!” Dylan sobbed. “I MISS YOU, KELLY!”
“Dude, just get back together with her!”
“She’d never take me back! I broke her heart, bro- her fragile, lady-heart… plus she threw her calculator at me, so I think she’s mad…”
“Well, either make up or get over her.” Jake eyeballed his roommate lying facedown on the floor. “This is unhealthy.”
Dylan opened his eyes. “Or…”
The next night as Jake was fervently typing his paper that would be due the next morning, the door slammed open.
Jake yelped in surprise. “Ugh! What the- where have you been? Did you even go to class today?”
Dylan paced the little floor space they had, his brow furrowed. “No, I was in Alabama.”
“That’s a nine hour drive!”
Dylan waved him off. “I went to Kelly’s house…”
“To get back together with her?”
“No... that’s what she thought I was doing, though. I brought her the jacket and asked her if she could wear it for a couple weeks along with her Daisy Fields perfume then send it back… then she called me sick… I tried to put it on her, you know, just to have her try it out, and her dad made me sign a restraining order…”
“DUDE! Are you insane?!”
“It’s okay, though, it’s okay! I saw this billboard on the way back- and one of her hairs shedded on my shirt- this’ll work!” Dylan pulled a Ziploc bag out of his pocket with a long blonde hair in it. “It’ll be perfect…”
Jake stared at his roommate. “You’re psychotic.”
Dylan looked up and smiled, putting a hand on his shoulder. “I’m gonna be just fine.” Then he raced out of the room.
The next couple of weeks, it was like Dylan had dropped off the face of the earth. Jake had considered applying for a new roommate when one day he received a text:
“hey meet me in the old north quad building”
“the one boarded up and condemned for termites eleven years ago” he replied.
Jake wondered what he had done to get stuck with such a weirdo as he climbed through a broken window in the creepy old building on the opposite end of campus.
“Oh, hey, you made it! Over here!” Dylan’s voice called.
Jake turned his head. “What… what… what did you…”
Dylan was surrounded by tables covered with scientific gadgets and an old chalkboard covered with calculations, standing proudly next to a huge cylindrical tank with a blonde girl floating inside. She waved.
“Dylan…” Jake said slowly. “Who is this…?”
“Meet Kelly II. I made her with the Clone Kit 4000 and Kelly’s DNA hair sample. She wore my jacket awhile ago- she has to get back in the tank every so often to rehydrate- but it smells perfect!”
“Dylan?” Jake slowly turned his head from the wide-eyed stare of the girl blowing bubbles to his roommate. “Do you… see something wrong here?”
“Well… the jacket has more of a petunia undertone than daisies- I’d make a Kelly III to remedy it, but I put a down payment on the kit that was worth second semester, so I can’t really afford that right now-”
“ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!” Jake exploded. “YOU GREW A HUMAN SEA MONKEY TO GET A SCENT BACK INTO A SECURITY BLANKET YOU COULD’VE EASILY RECREATED BY BUYING A SIX DOLLAR PERFUME?!”
“It had to smell like HER, dude! You can’t recreate memories just like that! But anyway, I wanted to tell you- now that I’ve gotten the scent back… I feel like I can move on. I met this awesome girl named Alicia in Spanish class- she can rap and she makes a mean crème brûlée, isn’t that cool? And we’re thinking about getting an apartment together! But um, Kelly II doesn’t have anywhere to live, so I was wondering if you could hide her in our room for awhile, just until she gets back on her feet-”
“Um, are you sure she knows how to literally get back on her feet… I’m getting the idea this girl has the mental capacity of someone who was born a week ago.” Jake raised his eyebrows at the girl as she licked the inside of the tank.
“Aw, sure! She’s fine- just like the old Kelly, just likes to be silly, dontcha?” Dylan patted the tank affectionately. “And she can breathe underwater, that’s a plus!”
Jake shook his head. “My ethics class would have a field day with this one.” he sighed. “Dylan?”
“You’re on your own with this one. Can’t always count on people to raise your hatched ex-girlfriend clones, ya know?” he said matter-of-factly.
Dylan hung his head. “You’re right. I gotta be a stand up guy. Gotta do the right thing here.”
“And the right thing is…?” Jake cocked his head.
“No time. Tell ya later,” Dylan said quickly. He stood up on a chair and lifted Kelly II out of the tank, slinging the woman-child over his shoulder as she giggled and chewed on his hoodie string. He put a hand on Jake’s shoulder before he ran out. “You’re a good friend.”
“Um, what are you-”
And with that, Dylan and his ex-ex-girlfriend left.
It was two months before Jake heard from him again. By this time, he had gotten a new, quite normal roommate named Brad who enjoyed beef ravioli and football and never once tried to create life with an infomercial kit. One day while Jake and Brad were sitting in their room watching the game, Jake’s phone went off on his desk across the room.
“Hey, Brad, can you check to see what that text says?”
“Sure,” he replied, picking up the phone. “Let’s see… ‘hey bro hows it hangin hey i need a favor can u bail me out of jail i got a call from kelly she ran into kelly II at the beach (i returned her to the sea where she can be free) she had me arrested for cloning without consent help a bro out?’”
His jaw dropped open. “Dylan’s real? The whole thing about the jacket sniffing- and the girl in the tank-”
“Yes! I knew he’d get in touch eventually!” Jake laughed. “Okay, dude, pay up.”
“Okay, here ya go,” Brad sighed, fishing a bill out of his wallet.
Moral of the story: every cloud has a silver lining. Translation: if you have to go through the trauma of having a psychologically unstable roommate who drags you into his mad scientist issues, maybe you can get a couple bucks out of it.
St. Louis, Missouri
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