Incense - Nag Champa

  • BLACKLIGHT-REACTIVE POSTER

    There was a store about a mile away from the house I grew up in that fascinated me throughout my whole childhood. The façade was painted in insane colors, and it was covered with weird, leering cartoonish illustrations. We drove by it almost every week, and I’d keep asking my parents what was inside – there was nothing on the storefront that indicated what the store was about – and they’d blow me off while making it implicitly clear that I was to never, ever enter that building.

    When I was 12, I asked my parents to take me to the library so I could study. I waited about fifteen minutes to make sure that my dad had driven off, and then I walked over to the fascinating, forbidden mystery store.

    The store was covered, wall-to-wall, in posters that glowed in garish fluorescent colors. Tie-dyed t-shirts, blankets, and flags were everywhere, and the cases were filled with what looked to me like endless rows of genie bottles. Peace signs were everywhere, and tons of merchandise was emblazoned with a plant I didn’t recognize.

    Before they shooed me out – very kindly – this was the scent that imprinted on me: nag champa, patchouli, and weed smoke.

    – – –

    Please do not smoke, eat, or huff this oil. Do not rub it on your gums, do not put it on your privates, do not vape it. It is a perfume and meant to be used as such. No funnybusiness!

    (This perfume contains no actual weed. Zero cannabis. None. Zilch. What do I look like? A dispensary?)

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  • Gaueko

    The Basque God of Night and all the perils of the darkness. Though he is the God of the Danger that Lurks in the Gloom, he is kind to men and warns them against the nighttime hazards and sets rules of conduct for both the living and the dead as they travel through his domain. It is said that since the warm, vibrant daylight is for the living, the abodes of night are reserved for the dead. All who heed his counsel are protected, but woe be to any man that disobeys the laws of Gaueko: he is swift to punish those that would scorn his advice. Blackened sandalwood and misty lavender, with curling wisps of smoky tobacco, nag champa, and labdanum.

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  • Sam

    Tap. Tap. Tap.

    Shadow opened his eyes, and, groggily, sat up. He was freezing, and the sky outside the car was the deep luminescent purple that divides the dusk from the night.

    Tap. Tap. Someone said, “Hey, mister,” and Shadow turned his head. The someone was standing beside the car, no more than a darker shape against the darkling sky. Shadow reached out a hand and cranked down the window a few inches. He made some waking-up noises, and then he said, “Hi.”

    “You all right? You sick? You been drinking?” The voice was high—a woman’s or a boy’s.

    “I’m fine,” said Shadow. “Hold on.” He opened the door, and got out, stretching his aching limbs and neck as he did so. Then he rubbed his hands together, to get the blood circulating and to warm them up.

    “Whoa. You’re pretty big.”

    “That’s what they tell me,” said Shadow.

    “Who are you?”

    “I’m Sam,” said the voice.

    “Boy Sam or girl Sam?”

    “Girl Sam. I used to be Sammi with an i, and I’d do a smiley face over the i, but then I got completely sick of it because like absolutely everybody was doing it, so I stopped.”

    “Okay, girl Sam. You go over there, and look out at the road.”

    “Why? Are you a crazed killer or something?”

    “No,” said Shadow, “I need to take a leak and I’d like just the smallest amount of privacy.”

    “Oh. Right. Okay. Got it. No problem. I am so with you. I can’t even pee if there’s someone in the next stall. Major shy bladder syndrome.”

    “Now, please.”

    Nag champa incense, patchouli, and freshly-soaped skin.

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  • Urd

    Fate

    Muscadine, black and red patchouli, cereus and nag champa.

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