Last Friday the refrigerator in our flat started to falter, cooling only partially. By Sunday, it had completely stopped working and all the food began to smell. Two of us removed all of our food from the refrigerator, but the third roommate left his frozen meats in the freezer. On Monday the stench was so strong that it was painful to open the fridge door. I finally threw out the offending food, but the stench remained. On Wednesday morning the cleaning lady came and scrubbed the fridge, but the smell only got worse. By that afternoon the scent was unbearable. I really thought that our fridge must be possessed by the Devil; the smell was so terrible that I could smell it from the street around the corner from my apartment complex on Thursday morning!
Neighbors began complaining to Jorge, the condominium manager who lives on the floor below us with his aging television actress mother and their small dog. (He is somewhat lonely, I think, and since the three of us in this apartment are the only residents near his age, he is always hanging around the apartment to talk. I guess he considers us good friends. This week he even brought a huge potted plant as a gift for us and placed it outside our front door since our's is the only apartment without plants in the staircase.) Trying to defend us, he replied to each complaint by saying that we had an appliance problem, but that the smell should dissipate soon since we had emptied and cleaned out the broken refrigerator.
Finally, on Thursday afternoon things began to improve, and by Friday we could finally breath through our noses without wanting to up-chuck.
Tonight Tony sat on the front steps of the complex with Jorge who was terribly sad. Tony asked Jorge why he looked so gloomy. It turns out the Jorge's dog, who was very old, had to be put to sleep this week. My roommate asked Jorge where he buried the dog. When Jorge didn't answer quickly, Tony looked at Jorge and my roommate's eyes got very big. He questioned the manager again. Jorge hid his face with his hands and told Tony he would relate the story only if Tony promised not to tell a soul.
It turns out that Jorge's mother, a devote Catholic, didn't want the dog cremated and wanted it buried near the apartment. Jorge came up with the idea of placing the animal's corpse in the large base of a potted plant so that his mother would feel like the dog was still close by to her. He wanted to do something nice for my roommates and I and so he place the pot in front of our doorway. Unfortunately, he had not thought that the decomposing body would create such an incredibly fetid aroma. Luckily for him, we had problems with the refrigerator about the same time he hid the dog in the potted plant and so he thought he could blame the smell on us until the rotting stench of the dead dog's body went away. Finally he realized that he would have to get the plant out of the stairwell or his plan would eventually be uncovered.
At four in the morning on Thursday, he tried to move the enormous pot down several flights of stairs but the task was daunting since the plant weighed close to 150 pounds. As he worked at taking the corpse inside the pot down the staircase, the pot slipped from his grasp, fell down several stairs and broke. As you might well imagine, the result of the fall was not a pretty sight.
Finally he got the remains of the dog and the potted plant out the building. He looked up for a moment of rest and saw his mother watching him out of the window, crying at the loss of her beloved pet.
Jorge would not tell Tony what he did with the dog after getting it out of the complex, but he did say that it was someplace close, but that it's decomposing smell would not offend the residents again.
After telling me the story, Tony, a television-film major, said he thought it was a story worthy of Alfred Hitchcock. I think I would agree.