Cleanup in aisle 5

I live in a big-ass apartment block that has a basement hallway running the length of the building. Along the hallway are doors, some of which lead into small apartments and others into storage rooms. Each storage room is divided into four cubicles, each of which belongs to an apartment. When I needed to access my storage cubicle yesterday morning there was a lingering smell in the room that was something like a combination of very sour milk and rotting meat. I though maybe a rat had gotten in and died. As I entered my cubicle the smell intensified, and when I bent down to pick up a book that had tumbled down from one of the shelves, it got even stronger.

As I started lifting things off the floor to look for the source, the smell seemed to take on a life of its own and the cause of the stink was revealed. Nothing had died, but something had taken a big dump on the floor of my storage cubicle. These cubicles are closed with lockable doors but the gap between the floor and the bottom of the door is at least 15 cm, enough for a cat or a small dog to slip in and do their business.
Unfortunately I found the stuff by stepping in it. This broke the slightly dry surface crust and released even more potent eau du turd into the air. The shit got on my canvas sneakers, the hem of my jeans, a book press that was on the floor nearby, and on a gym bag that was also on the floor. The cleanup was far from enjoyable, and before I was done the smell escaped out of the storage room and spread the joy upwards until it could be smelled on the top floor.

One of the neighbours then got out a bottle of air freshener and sprayed it liberally around, making things smell very rustic, like a field of flowers recently spread with manure, except cow shit smells really pleasant in comparison with this.

I can’t help thinking there’s a metaphor somewhere in this.

There is no way an animal could have got in there of its own accord. Whoever closed the cat/dog/whatever inside the storage room is either even more absent-minded than I am, or really, really cruel.

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