Animals emit scents in mating season to attract the opposite sex. According to certain entrepreneurs, the bottled essence they sell has a similar effect on humans.
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Max picked up the ringing phone. "Damn it, Ellen, I told you no more calls. I've had my fill of aggravation today. These FDA scumbags are draining my life's blood. No more, I tell you. NO MORE!"
He slammed the receiver down.
Max Pheromone, formerly Napoleon Maximilian Farren, looked at the stack of unfilled orders on his desk, then turned and spat.
"What the bloody hell do those government assholes know, anyhow? My customers write me unsolicited testimonial letters. They keep reordering. It works just fine for them. It WORKS, dammit! So what if it's just red food coloring in cologne? People believe in it, and it works.
"Gotta remember my blood presure. Another heart attack is all I need right now. Like they say, this too will pass. The court'll have to lift the injunction, and I'll be able to ship merch again. Soon. It's gotta be soon. My cash reserve is hemorrhaging. Bills unpaid. Don't know how I'm even gonna make payroll next week. Life is shit, ain't it?"
"It can't be that bad, Maxie. Something will turn up. It always has."
"Nah, Tommie. Not this time. This is the end. My string of luck's finally run out. It was nice while it lasted. I had -- what? -- deuce million in the bank six months ago. Then the Feds got interested. Those fucking Communist thieves in Washington hate successful businessmen. They hate with a bloody passion successful businessmen who don't make political contributions to them. If you don't pay 'em off, they shut you down."
The comm buzzer went off again.
"What is it this time? Dammit, Ellen, haven't I told you and TOLD you... "
"Mr. Pheromone, there's an inspector here from the FDA. With a court injunction. She's threating to have us all arrested if I don't let her into your office. Immediately."
"Bloody hell! And I was hoping for at least another week to get my affairs in order. Dammit, Tommie, by this time tomorrow we'll probably be standing in line for a plate of biscuits and beans at the Mission."
"Aw, Maxie, c'mon now. You've always managed to wiggle out of tight spots before. Remember when that loan shark threatened to break your arms and legs and then you hit the numbers for ten thou the next day? Something'll turn up. Just wait and see."
"Ouch, dammit! You and your fucking pep talks, Tommie. You got me so fucked up that I knocked these samples over. Now I got this shit slopped all over my new eight hundred dollar suit!"
A tall pyramid of Mones bottles had toppled over, soaking Max Pheromone's shirt and pants in the process. The reek of cheap cologne filled the air. At that precise moment the woman walked in.
"Mr. -- uh, Pheromone, is it? I have a court order here... and what's that godawful stench? Open a window, someone, please (cough, cough)."
She was a tall, officious-looking woman, possibly in her mid-thirties. Under more favorable circumstances she might have been considered attractive, but Max had no time to follow that train of thought because -- without warning -- he was under attack. The woman had leaped upon him and wrestled him to the floor. She was clawing at his clothes, ripping them off his body. She was rubbing her breasts in his face and had somehow managed to thrust a hand down past the waistband of his pants and grabbed onto his penis. "Stick it in me, stud! Do it! DO ME! I need you in me!"
Max tried to fight her off, getting only negligible help from Tommie, who was trying to choke down laughter all the while. Then she shrieked wildly and shoved him away.
"Lady! What's with you? You've gone crazy! Serving court papers is one thing, but assaulting me? That's part of your job, too? Your supervisor is gonna hear about this as soon as I can get to the phone."