Olfac

His nostrils weren’t extra large, or hairy — pretty and delicate if anything, he just had this incredible thing with smells. Sniffing. Lived and breathed odors, whiffs and aromas. Ancient, before language, “minimally adulterated indexical signifiers”, he called them. Be that as it may, they certainly excited him. Apparently, a German had written a book about this man whose nose was as sharp as a hunting dog’s; could smell at once if someone was lying. Didn’t have a smell of his own though, which caused him to be killed in the end by the stinking rabble. Oh, he enjoyed the book but didn’t think it went far enough. It didn’t get past the cerebellum. Says we’ve got three brains. Top one: Neocortex– very recent, came with speech, logos and all that high culture. Underneath that the mammal brain — looking after live born, social life in the burrows. Leaves the fish brain and that’s the one that smells. Smells remember things — chemical storage — very reliable. Eats fish every day now and can easily recreate whole years of his past from the aroma of burnt toast and applesauce, or conjure his infancy from the reek of seaweed and egg mayonaise sandwiches and a musty beach towel. Pushing earlier all the time. Soon get back to the making of his own brainstem. After that no limit – all life forms available. Driven wild by the thought of remembering being a slime mold, of becoming an orchid, a tree sloth, or a smoked salmon in a New York deli. Was working on sniffing out the future; on certain days thought he could smell the smoke in his own funeral pyre.

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