“Can I interest you in a sample, madam?” The clerk held forward a crusted bottle of murky perfume, his hand poised around the nebulizer’s pump.
The ogre mother shuffled nearer, eyeing him suspiciously. “Is what?” she asked, sniffing at the offering.
“This particular fragrance is called Porkbunting. It is a new addition to Le Grey, our classic line of fragrances designed with the modern ogre in mind. Our dedication to quality assures that, while all the other, imitation fragrances use chemical processes to recreate the aroma naturally created by swamp water, we import our base directly from the source in northern Uggbadd. Perhaps you are familiar with the region?”
The ogre mother made some sort of noncommittal grunt as she shifted from foot to gargantuan foot, swinging her arms laden with bags collected elsewhere in the shopping mall.
“Excellent. Well, as you know, the pungency of Uggbaddian swamp gas has traditionally kept all outsiders from entering the territory and has, therefore, become a signature scent for the ogrish community. You can fulfill tradition while remaining your own ogre by paying attention to the notes of barbecued pork flesh, which give this fragrance its name.”
Dropping one load of bags with a surprising variety of squishes and clangs, the ogre mother poked at the bottle with a muscled, apelike hand. Finally she said, “Give, give.” The clerk puffed a sickly green cloud of moisture, which settled around her palm and wrist. She huffed the smell voraciously.
“Ah, you have an exceptional palette, madam. Yes, what you have detected is the subtle notes of mildew that have been incorporated into Porkbunting’s bouquet. Our unwise competitors would have you believe that allowing a scent to fester on the skin for a number of days is the only way to achieve that desirable smell of decay, but we think it best to have it present from the first sniff.”
The ogre mother nodded, wrapping a paw around the bottle. “I take.”
“Ah, madam, there is the small matter of-”
She plunked a handful of gold on the counter, and the clerk was happy to watch her walk away without explaining that she had taken the sample bottle.