Funny stories in under 500 words.

The Smell in the Library

funny short story: The smell in the library

I am at computer number 6 and am typing. It is lunchtime. The vinegary smell of chips sneaks into the subconscious of my nose like a thick fog and I glance around me. The strict librarian is working this afternoon and she most adamantly does not allow food into her domain: This is why my stomach is churning and I am surreptitiously sneaking a grape into my mouth, not chewing because she does not allow gum either.

Who has chips?

The obvious culprits has to be one of the boys. They are brazen enough. There is a chip shop only opposite the college. Nobody has dared, in my time here, to sneak in chips. The smell of them is enough to give you away. I think maybe this is why food was banned in the library in the first place.

The boys are howling, playing ping pong and discussing video games

The librarian, I hear remarking to the other, ‘Do you smell that?’

And the librarian slips from her post and strides to the boys. They stop and stare at this intruder but she refuses to be intimated.

“Have you boys bought any chips into here?” She asks.

“Nah, no chips” One of the boys answers.

"I can smell them!"

A couple of the boys shrug, others snigger and then one of them hits the other with his ping pong bat and he responds with his bat and so the tomfoolery begins. The librarian shakes her head, looking across at us at the computers and I raise my hand, ‘It could be Bill’ I suggest.

"Actually, you know, that might be," Bill, the handyman, says. He sits at the basis of the computer printer, with its parts out on display. "I’ve been doing all sorts of jobs this morning and I’ve oil on my hands, do you think that’s it?"

The librarian doesn’t think to smell him, she simply steps over and sniffs.

"I think it may well be," She says.

"I’ll go wash me hands," Bill scrambles to his feet.

"Thank you," The librarian murmurs.

It dawns on me. I chuckle and brush my hand past the grape packet, and into the crinkly loose paper of the chips. I slide one out and take a bite.

This story is brought to you by Katie Lewington. Katie loves her boyfriend, bacon sandwiches, poetry and reality TV. She also writes the occasional story. Check out her blog at, and you can contact her through Twitter @Idon'twearahat or Tumblr at klluniverse.


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