Stench and Stenchibility

I made a time capsule once. It wasn’t buried with items that would tell future generations about what life was like 50 or 100 years before them. This was an accident.

This wasn’t a special canister or sealed box. It was a beer cooler. And it didn’t have newspapers, pictures or any other mementos in it. Just a pack of leftover Ball Park franks I’d forgotten about from a Fourth of July camp out. There wasn’t a special ceremony when it was opened. Just my dad – alone and innocent, getting stuff ready for a Labor Day picnic.

Unprepared, the festering horror that slithered out when dad cracked the lid was unimaginable. An ancient evil, yet only a few months old. It was like when everyone’s faces melted at the end of “Raiders of the Lost Ark.”

Still in shock, “They plump when you cook ‘em” was the only phrase my poor pops could stammer for several days.

Heinous as it was, this time capsule did its job. Its rotted contents took my old man back to another place in time. Where he saw and felt everything that those tortured hot dogs did.

“There’s another hand digging around for a beer. And another. And another,” he’d recount in a trance. “Oops, someone dropped a Bullhead in here thinking it was the fish cooler. Wait, they took it back out and they’re grabbing a beer.”

His voice started tripping over itself with fear. Then he began to speak of the smell ...


What you’ve just read is the start of a short story I’m writing that’s tentatively titled, “Stench and Stenchibility.”

It actually started out as a column that was going to argue that time capsules are worthless. Personally, I can’t understand why everyone gets so jazzed about freezing time in a shoe box. All younger generations do when they unearth them is laugh at the stupid haircuts people had and talk about how lame it must have been in the old days. My idea was that we should use time capsules to send elaborate practical jokes into the future. But I couldn’t think of any. The column was lousy so I let my inner weirdness take over instead.

However I’ve a hit a road block, and I’m asking you, the readers, for help. If you dare, send in 200-300 words picking up where the story leaves off. Feel free to throw in alternate title ideas, too.

You can e-mail your submissions to me at by noon Wednesday, June 25. Authors can remain anonymous. Only the top three entries – or maybe just the ones that make my editor and I laugh the hardest – will be chosen. Remember, this a family newspaper. Only clean stuff will get printed. That means no profanity. Have fun.

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