August 10th, 1994
I’ve decided to keep a journal of sorts. Well, it’s a travel journal, and I suppose I ought to record what happens to me in the places I go. Well, I’m still in the same place I’ve been for twelve years. Although, something peculiar happened. I got a phone call from a friend I haven’t seen in, well, since high school, really. Can you believe that?
I was actually rather curious as to why he wanted to see me, specifically. I don’t even know if I should tell you, but, well, it’s not like anyone else is going to read this. We talked for quite a while, mostly catching up, but he invited me on a trip to Oregon. I wish I could say it was for vacation, but it’s for something much… greater, if that’s the proper term to use. He said I was just the guy for the job, whatever that means. He hasn’t told me much yet about it, but here I sit in the airport terminal, waiting for the six-hour layover to pass me by.
It’s been raining all day. How dreary. Looks like there’s more where I’m headed.
To be frank, I’m actually rather glad to be getting out of town. I didn’t really notice it for a while, but people have slowly stopped talking to me. I used to have plenty of friends, and I used to visit my family quite often. Now… besides that phone call, it’s been a while since I’ve talked to anyone, really. Maybe they’ll start to miss me after being out of town for a few days.
August 11th, 1994
It’s dark out, and I’m a little tired, but I guess I ought to write something.
Oregon is such a nice place. I could get used to the green scenery and the clean scents.
Not really too much to report, except I met up with my friend from high school, Don. He hasn’t aged very well, but then again, neither have I. We sat down to dinner at this nice Japanese restaurant. I can’t think of the name, but it was so delicious. We discussed briefly why I’m here. I’m currently staying at Comfort Inn. I would be staying at Don’s, but he said the place is a bit of a mess right now and he wants to clean it up before I come. As if I care whether or not his house is messy – I left my place a pig stye.
Well, I better get a bath and go to bed early. I’d like to catch breakfast at the cafeteria instead of sleep in.
August 12th, 1994
I woke up feeling rather ill. I blame the airport food, but I’ve been throwing up all day. Poor Don had to deal with me the entire time we were driving to his house in Eugene, pulling over every other mile so I could vomit. So much for waking up early to catch free breakfast. I couldn’t even keep it down.
I feel a little better now, but I hardly have the strength to get out of bed. Thankfully, Don’s been taking good care of me, bringing me up soup and Gatorade.
The strange smell of his house isn’t really helping my nausea. His house is at least tidy, but the scent… I can’t quite describe it. Maybe it only smells bad because I’m sick.
Who knows? Maybe he got sick too, and that’s why it smells. Although it doesn’t smell like vomit. The closest thing I can compare the scent to is cat urine, even though he doesn’t have cats, save for the strays that wander around his house sometimes. Maybe one wandered in just to soil his carpet.
I better stop here before I make myself sick.
August 14th, 1994
I’m feeling a lot better. I still felt too queasy to do much yesterday, but I feel better than ever.
Today, we volunteered at the orphanage. Ah, it made me feel so alive again. It’s strange, but Don was right – I am the man for the job. I always wanted kids, but well, it’s kind of hard to swing that with no wife.
We told the children bible stories, and we even acted out the scene between David and Goliath. Ah, it was so much fun. Oh, and then we had lunch – turkey and cheese sandwiches. The buns were a little stale, but it was nice to actually be able to keep hard food down.
Even though it was fun, I somehow doubt this is what Don needed me for. On the phone, he told me to not tell a soul what I was doing in Oregon, but why would I need to keep volunteering at the orphanage a secret?
The scent is unbearable. I can’t really even describe what it smells like. I compared it to cat urine, but come to think of it, it smells more like feces.
August 15th, 1994
The odor is at its worst today. I finally decided to ask Don what that smell was since it doesn’t really show any signs of going away, and he told me he had no idea. He told me it’s been lingering around for a while now, even before I got here. Every time I think I get used to the smell, it hits me in a large wave all over again. I’ve resolved to go outside for some fresh air. It’s nice writing in the sunlight, anyway.
I’m not quite sure what we’re going to do today besides the orphanage, but Don told me we’re going somewhere else tonight. The days are just going by so fast. I can’t believe I only have a few days left here. I’m really going to miss it here; Oregon is so much greener than Arkansas.
Well, I better wrap this entry up.
We went to the hardware store for some tarp and a saw. Don told me he’s going to be working on a project soon. After that, we drove off into the middle of nowhere. It was rather eerie. He told me to wait in the car, and he was gone for maybe an hour or two. I don’t remember. I didn’t keep track of the time. It seemed like a while.
I began to worry and thought about going out to find him, but just as I did, that’s when he returned. I asked what he was doing and what took so long, and he told me to not ask too many questions.
What could that mean?
August 16th, 1994
I don’t know what to do. Do I burn it? Erase this journal?
I don’t know what I should do. How could Don not have known about this? I don’t even know if I should talk about it. I don’t want my own thoughts to be held against me, but… I know what the scent is.
As soon as I discovered what the odor was, I nearly fainted. Should I even talk about it?
I think I understand now why Don needs me. Maybe I better not say anything to him. I’d very much like to go home. Yeah, I’ll just keep quiet about it, just in case he decides to tear up my plane ticket. Call me a coward, but… I really think it best if I just keep my mouth shut and not say a word.
Now I wish time would pass by faster. I can’t leave until tomorrow.