Research was the easy part. Some compounds produce scent and flavor when dissolved in an alcohol solution. Obvious. Which associations are triggered in test subjects depends largely, but not entirely, on the relationship between the synthetic molecule and those found in nature.

Olaf wasn’t in the mood to document. He’d done it all so many times, almost precisely the same paper. This week’s research had focused on butterscotch simulations, but the principle was the same as it had been for vanilla, peanut butter, coconut. Butterscotch. He’d done this exact research before, but the company thought it important to revisit flavors periodically.

He drank some coffee. It stimulated him, but it didn’t make him want to sit at his computer. It made him walk in the snow to his car. He started to drive to work, but he was already there. He felt foolish. He added some whisky to his coffee, and a peppermint.

He checked his email. None of the pharmaceutical companies he’d applied to had written back to him. Every few minutes, he moved from his empty document to his empty inbox.

A cigarette made him work in the furniture factory again. A few minutes playing a game on his phone made him desperate for a change, anything at all. He sniffed a failed butterscotch. What could he say about the failures, except that they weren’t quite right?

He poured some in his coffee. It smelled like late nights in college. He drank it, and though it was vile, he downed the whole mess in one go and looked back on it fondly. Listening to rock and roll music, he began to type.

By @nohoperadio - Leah Lindsaychen

Facilitator and Proprietor of Tales of Insecurity, a podcast of post-modern existential horror. I like to make the best of a bad situation, and also to make better ones. I'm here to be helpful!

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