The smell was noticeable; it crept unabated from between the cracks in the wall separating Ken’s apartment from the one next door. He did his best to ignore it but tonight it was unbearable: a combination of dish liquid, fried fish, and–he couldn’t quite distinguish, but every fiber of his body said–human flesh. He turned up Alex Trebeck as if the joy of people providing the right question would make it go away. As Robert Wagner smiled about his reverse home mortgage during the commercial break, Ken knew what he had to do. He made his way quietly to the kitchen and put a large bag of Orville in the microwave; he stood staring at the shared wall, arms crossed, triumphant as the popcorn began to burn. He liked his well-done and carefully popped a few crispy kernels in his mouth as Alex geared up for the final round. Upon settling into the recliner he heard a gagging sound from the other side of the wall: What is that smell? The husband asked. Just the neighbor burning something again, responded the wife.
For the Speakeasy.