To catch up on the adventures of Nawt so far, if you’re new to the story, you can go here. This is the continuing adventures of Nawt Agin, with a new installment most Fridays, rookie perfumer for Irrational Fruity Florals, who has been contracted, against his will, better judgment and perfuming principles, to make the celebrity scent for Voracia Tatas, who is famous for absolutely nothing.
When we last left Nawt, Voracia Tatas, the woman he is making the celebuscent for, had spun out a story about being an orphan, raised by wolves and chattering nuns, and Nawt bursts into laughter….
Voracia: What are you laughing at? I mean, sure, my childhood is a bit odd, but I don’t think it deserves this cruel regard!
Nawt: Voracia, I’m sorry, but you do know that Mauritius is not an island that would support wolves as occupants, much less enough remote land to hide an orphaned little wolf-girl for years?
Voracia: How do you know?! Have you ever been there?
Nawt: Yes, I have. My father’s family was originally from Madagascar, and we traveled to that area several times while I was growing up visiting family.
Voracia: *looks perplexed* Oh. Well, it may not have been Mauritius or a Dodo bird, or maybe they were island wolves, not the sort you normally think of… bigger! Or… monkeys. Or was it Romania? I was young, and my memory is a little hazy on some details.
Nawt: Listen, Voracia, you really need to be honest with me. Getting yanked around with some fable is not how I like to spend my fictitious sick days.
Voracia: *a pause as Voracia stares off into space, deciding something, and she turns back with a look of resolution on her face* Nawt, we have a choice here. We can go with the childhood I’ve given you and believe that it lines up essentially with what was my childhood experience, though some details may be less clear in my head this many years later, or you can insist that I be more accurate on the details because truth is more important than avoiding facts that may be a little uglier and more pedestrian. Either way, the essentials are the same –my parents are dead from a car accident, I have no family, I was raised for a time by animals who, by turns, were cruel and kind. I eventually was saved or rescued and taken to live with a bunch of chatty nuns, and Jean-Claude did make me a wonderful perfume with all the notes I gave you.
Because it is my memory of my life, I’m going to insist on the details I prefer. If that doesn’t suit you, then, by all means, insist on accuracy, but I’ll not participate in that sort of vivisection of my life. This 2.0 Version of Voracia’s Life spares me the looks of pity that long ago became unbearable and the endless dwelling on things that I can never change.
Nawt: *long silence* So tell me, I’m curious, when they rescued you, did the pack try and protect you, or was it every wolf for itself? It’s a miracle you survived, but it seems like they were as kind as wolves can be, no?
Voracia: *smiles woflishly* Definitely every wolf for itself, though my adoptive wolf-mom, Toofiika, did at least fight alongside me. That’s their nature, you know, so I expected nothing else.
(Voracia and Nawt giggle and then break out into hooting laughter, followed by companionable silence with the occasional chuckle)
Nawt: So what time you want to head over to Unkie JCE’s hotel for dinner?
Voracia: We should probably start soon, but I have to ask, why are you so hot to talk to Jean-Claude?
Nawt: Oh… That. For a little while, I completely forgot why I’m so depressed. Smell has been my life since I was little, it’s always fascinated me. My mom (Nawt smiles impishly) — um, the banished Queen of Finland — wore, of course, Chanel No. 5 most of the time, but she was one of the few women of that time that had more than one or two perfumes. She must have had 20 bottles — Replique, Shalimar, Jicky — the classics… in parfum… Solid 24k gold bottles (smiles bigger). She wore perfume every day. My memories of her are wrapped up in those perfumes mingled with the smell of bacon or cinnamon rolls, or whatever else she was cooking or baking, and sweat from an overheated kitchen. She spent a lot of time in the kitchen, which is unusual for deposed royals, but the housekeeper was more often than not off on some revolutionary escapade, which was pretty normal for Peru in those days .
Mom died when I was in college. To this day, when I smell Chanel No. 5, I also smell the bacon and sweat and I see her and feel like she’s right there beside me.
So, after my chemistry degree from college, I got a job interning at Irrational Fruity Florals for a summer. Usually you get shoved over into consumer scenting — smells for detergent, towels, bubblegum, the pedestrian stuff that’s their bread and butter. I got lucky and worked in the perfumers’ division. The first time I realized I could create a scent that had the aldehydes, bread, jasmine and sweat in it that smelled like my mother AND smelled great, I knew that’s all I wanted to do forever. After my internship, I got hired on in a permanent position and worked my way into the perfumers’ division as an assistant. Thus far, I’ve only been assisting on perfume projects, but I make all sorts of things for me and my friends just for the fun of it, honing my skills, waiting for the big olfactory break.
I knew I was close to getting my first lead assignment on a perfume, and I was so stoked. When they called my name for this one, no offense, but I was horrified. Everyone knows that doing a celebufume is grunt work. They want the same thing every time. There’s no art to it, just sales. While I understand the business side of things, I think there’s room for a little bit of artistic interpretation to get something similar, but with a little bit different mark of individuality.
After our meeting, where y’all shot down my ideas on making it distinctive, I had resigned myself to just doing the job and shutting up… Until I read that Jean-Claude was in town. I thought if anyone can give me some advice on what to do – how to make this or to buck up and be a good little perfumer and do my job – he would be the guy to point me in the right direction.
Voracia: Ah. Well then…. let’s scoot, Nawty! I’ll drive. This should turn out to be one of the more interesting nights of my life.
To be continued…