Your Sheets Don’t Smell Good by Susan Tepper

Your Sheets Don’t Smell Good

For starters, I had to climb a shaky wooden ladder to his loft ‘bedroom’. If you could call it a bedroom. A mattress squeezed into an area where the ceiling sloped sharply.

He was pretty tall, over six foot. I’m 5’4 and couldn’t sit up in that bed without bashing my head on the ceiling. Looking at each other, we both sort of scrunched up there.

The sheets stank. He hadn’t the decency to change the sheets from his prior shags. It was that kind of odor. I told him: “Your sheets don’t smell good.”

“I’ll have to change them,” he said before climbing on top of me.

What was sexy about him clothed became disturbingly unsexy up in that loft. He had way too much body hair everywhere. His back reminded me of a mossy knoll where you might picnic. He moved like a half-dead animal. Like his body had gone into early rigor mortis.

The whole thing rather stunned me. I had expected a James Bond-style love-making scenario and instead got The Hunchback of Notre Dame. I couldn’t blast that image from my brain.

His kisses were good on my lips and perfunctory on my body.

When he started to sweat, The Hunchback of N.D. became a slithery sea creature moving slowly across a stationary landmass (me). I couldn’t do a goddamn thing. Not one fake moan found its way into my throat.

When ‘it’ was over, I gave the pee excuse and made my way down the unsteady loft ladder. His phone began ringing. “Do you want me to answer your phone?” I called up to him.

“No don’t answer it,” he said.


In his bathroom a small, white, standing floor cabinet, which I’d seen at Pottery Barn, held his collection of watches spread in a neat row across the top. I stood there counting them. Eleven. Some had names I’d never heard of but others, like a vintage Cartier, caught my interest. I picked up the black-banded Cartier, so perfectly round and trimmed in silver that was possibly platinum. And strapped it to my wrist. Too large for my thin wrist but gorgeous nevertheless. I looked around his bathroom for somewhere to stash it temporarily. Then decided it was time to go home.

“I have to get up early,” I called up to him.

“Did you flush? I didn’t hear the flush,” he yelled down.

“Whoopsy! Forgot to flush.” I went back into the bathroom and made two good flushes so he’d be sure and hear.

Then I put on my clothes and stuffed his vintage Cartier into my bra.

“I’ll be seeing you around,” I called up to him. He was already snoring.




Susan Tepper has been an award-winning writer for twenty years. She is the author of five published books of fiction and a chapbook of poetry. FIZZ her reading series at KGB Bar, NYC, is sporadically ongoing these past eight years.


If you like Susan’s story, check out Breasts

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(Artwork by Frans Masereel)